Monday, May 6, 2013

Helping Sick Americans? Nope

LOL Of The Week: House GOP Prepares Its 37th Useless Vote To Kill Obamacare
Nobody told House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) that the Republican Party was joking. 
He apparently read the GOP’s 2012 “Growth and Opportunity Project” autopsy’s recommendations and thought Republicans were actually trying to act as if they care about people who can’t afford lobbyists for their beach house. So the congressman went to work.
Cantor came up with a bill that at least appeared to help those Americans who have been denied by insurers because of pre-existing conditions and weren’t being helped by Obamacare. He even gave it one of those names that you can’t vote against without shaming everyone in your gene pool –  The Helping Sick Americans Now Act.
The response from the conservative base was as predictable as it was loud. Fix Obamacare? Accept the results of the 2012 election? Appear willing to help extremely sick people? Oh, hell no. 
The right-wing blog Red State decided that for the very first time they would “score” a vote.
“Vote no or you’ll get on our scorecard as someone who voted to help fix Obamacare and save it,” wrote Red State’s L.Ron Hubbard-figure Erick Erickson — one of the chief proponents of using the debt limit as a hostage to demand cuts, a gambit that cost America as much as $18.9 billion
On Friday, Cantor sent a memo to House Republicans promising they would vote to repeal Obamacare for the 37th time.
Why a 37th vote to demonstrate that you have no actual power to repeal Obamacare? Apparently some Republicans need to lose their repealing Obamacare “virginity.” 
“If you’re a freshman, the guys who’ve been up here the last year — we can go home and say, ‘Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare.’ — tell me what the new guys are supposed to say,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) explained recently in a talk at the Heritage Foundation. “We haven’t had a repeal or replace vote this year.” 
Republicans may rightly sense that we’re actually coming to the end of the golden age of pretending to repeal Obamacare.
Republicans rant that Obamacare is driving costs up. But they don’t mention that for the first time, thanks to the law, insurance companies have to justify increases. Insurers must also refund customers’ money if they don’t use 80-85 percent of it for actual care. More than $1 billion in refunds have already been sent out.
Republicans say that the law may drive prices up for those — mostly upper-income — Americans who will be moved into higher quality plans. But they never explain — and Democrats are lax to point out — that all Americans who earn up to $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four will receive subsidies to help pay their health insurance. 
That’s right, as many as 26 million Americans will pay less for health insurance thanks to the law. And these subsidies will be mostly paid for by a small tax on those earning over $250,000. (SPOILER: This the real reason conservatives hate Obamacare. It taxes the rich to help the middle class pay for health care.) 
Republicans rant about employers not hiring because of the law but they never mention that research shows the costs will likely only be higher for mid-sized businesses who didn’t previously offer coverage, effectively passing their health insurance costs on to the public. 
The reality is that with tens of millions new health care customers, countless middle-class jobs will be created. 
And Republicans never point out that what they’re doing when they vote to repeal Obamacare is voting to keep a system where 26,000-45,000 Americans die every year for lack of insurance. They’re voting to keep paying for each other’s health care in the dumbest possible way — emergency rooms. They’re voting to allow insurers to deny coverage to kids and adults with pre-existing conditions. They’re voting for a return to a system where your insurer can invent some reason to drop you when you get sick. 
What could the House GOP be doing instead of wasting millions pretending to repeal Obamacare? They could do something they’ve never done before: create jobs. Or they could at least stop killing 750,000 jobs by simply voting once to repeal the sequester. 
But then it might seem as if they cared. And why would they want to do that?

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