The Real Death Panels

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Health Care, Obama Administration

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned yesterday, which the Right heralds as a sign of victory. Some guy at the Federalist already is salivating over the grand fight they’re going to have nominating her replacement —

In any case, it appears that this resignation presents Republicans with a golden opportunity to reignite their crusade against Obamacare with Sylvia Burwell’s nomination as a proxy for all the problems with the law. Burwell is a political loyalist and a veteran of the shutdown fight with no record on health care, and will likely be coached to avoid answering questions about specific challenges with implementation at HHS. Senate Republicans actually have an advantage here in the wake of the Nuclear Option’s implementation: they can easily come up with a list of facts they claim the administration has hidden, details kicked aside, statutes ignored, and a host of other challenging questions on accountability over the implementation (and non-implementation) of the law. A list of every question Sebelius has dodged over the past several years would suffice. By demanding answers before the HHS nomination moves forward and refusing to rubber stamp the president’s pick, Republicans could force more vulnerable Democrats to take a vote that ties them both to the Nuclear Option and Obamacare six months before a critical election.

I understand Rachel Maddow was bothered that the resignation stepped on a week of good news about the ACA. But by November, it may not matter. I do not think most folks give a hoo-haw about the nuclear option, and who knows what public opinion of the ACA will be by November? If Republicans grandstand overmuch over the nomination hearings, they risk overplaying their hand, as they are prone to do.

Krugman writes,

When it comes to health reform, Republicans suffer from delusions of disaster. They know, just know, that the Affordable Care Act is doomed to utter failure, so failure is what they see, never mind the facts on the ground.

Thus, on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, dismissed the push for pay equity as an attempt to “change the subject from the nightmare of Obamacare”; on the same day, the nonpartisan RAND Corporation released a study estimating “a net gain of 9.3 million in the number of American adults with health insurance coverage from September 2013 to mid-March 2014.” Some nightmare. And the overall gain, including children and those who signed up during the late-March enrollment surge, must be considerably larger.

However, we still have the huge injustice of the refusal to expand Medicaid.

What’s amazing about this wave of rejection is that it appears to be motivated by pure spite. The federal government is prepared to pay for Medicaid expansion, so it would cost the states nothing, and would, in fact, provide an inflow of dollars. The health economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the principal architects of health reform — and normally a very mild-mannered guy — recently summed it up: The Medicaid-rejection states “are willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. It really is just almost awesome in its evilness.” Indeed.

And while supposed Obamacare horror stories keep on turning out to be false, it’s already quite easy to find examples of people who died because their states refused to expand Medicaid. According to one recent study, the death toll from Medicaid rejection is likely to run between 7,000 and 17,000 Americans each year.

There’s your death panels, folks. They’re called “Republican governors.”

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 11, 2014 @9:27 am

    ‘There’s your death panels, folks. They’re called “Republican governors.”’

    And let’s not let state legislator’s off of the “awesome in its evilness” bandwagon.

    And I’d bet that probably well over half of the people dying in those Red states are Republican voters,who’s last breath is spent cursing out that Kenyan SocialiFasciCommuniHeatheMusliAtheist Usurper, and his Obamacare and Medicaid!!!

    Being stupid AND evil isn’t much of a way to live.
    It’s a sadder way to die…

  2. Stephen Stralka  •  Apr 11, 2014 @11:18 am

    I would say they’re already overplaying their hand. I just don’t see how this kind of stuff even makes sense to anyone outside the right’s mass hallucination:

    …they can easily come up with a list of facts they claim the administration has hidden, details kicked aside, statutes ignored, and a host of other challenging questions on accountability over the implementation (and non-implementation) of the law.

    I mean, some of their delusions are at least intelligible. It would be very bad thing indeed if the administration really was using the IRS to harass its political opponents, or smuggling guns to Mexican cartels. But then you’ve got other situations, like Benghazi or now this strange ranting about the ACA, where it’s just word salad to me. If you don’t already assume that everything Obama does is inherently scandalous, it’s just baffling.

  3. uncledad  •  Apr 11, 2014 @1:01 pm

    “I understand Rachel Maddow was bothered that the resignation stepped on a week of good news about the ACA”

    Wow well that is too bad, maybe President Obama should have checked with Maddow before accepting the resignation? Why do all these bobble-heads eventually morph into self-aggrandizing backseat drivers?

  4. moonbat  •  Apr 11, 2014 @1:34 pm

    Remember that post about how emotion precedes rational thought?

    Conservatives believe in their bones, emotionally, that helping others, PAYING FOR OTHERS’ medical care is axiomatically BAD. And so it therefore, by definition it is going to fail, and BRING DOWN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

    With this emotional belief going on, their minds then seize on any data points, or even make some up, in order to prove to the world that they’re rightl, ignoring all the evidence that says they’re wrong.

  5. pluky  •  Apr 11, 2014 @2:22 pm

    Hmmm! Just checked, Pat Roberts is up for reelection to one of the Kansas US Senate seats this year. Only declared Democrat is a County DA.

  6. Doug  •  Apr 11, 2014 @7:38 pm

    I have to digress on a point of history. What twigged this thought is the name of a conservative blog, <b.‘The Federalist’. When the US Constitution was written, it was submitted to the people of the states to ratify, not the state legislatures or governors. States Rights advocates, those who saw every state as a sovereign country were ‘anti-federalists’. They mobilized with full force to oppose the proposed Constitution. The modern Tea Party would be right at home with the anti-federalists.

    Hamilton, with some help from John Jay and James Madison anonymously wrote for publication in New York a series of articles, ‘The Federalist Papers’. The authors of the Constitution were federalists as were the supporters of the new proposed government. They were trying to sell the idea of a strong central government with the power to tax and authority over the states. The ‘Federalist Papers’ were an attempt to spin the ideas of the Constitution prior to the election of state delegates who would vote in NY state.

    The point being, the Federalists were for what the Tea Party is against.

    The election(s) state by state were close. A consensus arose in the marginal states that they wanted a ‘Bill of Rights’ in order to ratify. The last of the ten amendments should not be considered the centerpiece of the Constitution though Libertarians seem to think so. The Bill of Rights was an afterthought, opposed by Hamilton, the tenth in particular was poorly crafted IMO and was NEVER part of the original design.

    ‘The Federalist papers’ are important – they provide an in-depth analysis of the intended function of the Constitution, from the viewpoint of Hamilton, Madison or Jay. But it’s also a sales pitch, as biased as ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli. The objective of ‘The Federalist Papers was to get the Constitution ratified, so it emphasizes the points that a skeptic of a strong central government would want to hear. While I don’t demean the importance of ‘The Federalist Papers’, they have to be read with the (biased) intent in mind. Did any of the authors ‘fudge’ on what he wrote, citing what the reader needed to hear, rather than what the actual members of the Constitutional Congress intended and discussed?

    People who cite ‘The Federalist Papers’ as if those opinions are the Constitution itself don’t get what essays were about. Sorry to run on about a bit of trivia – if I help one insomniac get to sleep with my tripe, then it’s worth it.

  7. Bill Bush  •  Apr 11, 2014 @8:45 pm

    It seems to me that the conservatives feel (not think) that everything anyone else has means less of it for them. Expansive freedom therefore is against their restrictive view of the amount of freedom that can exist. This may be terribly obvious, but I think it explains part of their world view.

  8. maha  •  Apr 12, 2014 @7:33 am

    It seems to me that the conservatives feel (not think) that everything anyone else has means less of it for them.

    Exactly. If somebody else is getting something, there’s less of that something for them. The only exceptions are high-status authority figures who, of course, are anointed by God to have stuff.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 12, 2014 @12:59 pm

    Bernie Sanders exposes the Koch Brothers goals – or, what they were when one of the Kochsucker’s ran for President in 1980. They’re probably worse now, because they’re far richer than they were 34 years ago:
    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/04/bernie-sanders-exposes-koch-brothers-goals

    You’ve got to read this list to believe how truly evil these psychopathic MFers are!!!!!

  10. moonbat  •  Apr 12, 2014 @3:52 pm

    It seems to me that the conservatives feel (not think) that everything anyone else has means less of it for them.

    Shorter version: Conservatives believe there isn’t enough to go around. Liberals believe there is.

    Shorter yet: The conservative universe is one of scarcity. The liberal universe is one of abundance.

    Shorter still (Einstein’s Most Important Question: Is the Universe Friendly or not?) – Conservatives: no. Liberals: yes.

  11. ronspri  •  Apr 12, 2014 @4:11 pm

    ” they risk overplaying their hand, as they are prone to do.”

    Well, no truer words ever spoken there!



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