Recently Senate Republicans put forward another Republican health care bill. This isn’t the first one; GOP lawmakers trot out bills from time to time that are mostly word salad meant to serve as props at press conferences.
The newest one is supposed to be a real health care bill. As I understand it, provisions include limits on medical malpractice awards, incentives for states to reduce the number of uninsured, and a program to allow small businesses to band together and buy insurance exempt from most state regulation. (Translation: The policies won’t cover whatever it is you have.)
I have read that the bill also allows people to purchase insurance across state lines. The bill does not require insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions, nor would it stop them from dumping policyholders. It does allow states to create high-risk pools for people who are hard to insure, meaning only the wealthy in those high-risk pools could afford to purchase the insurance.
CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won’t have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that …17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won’t have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.
But maybe, you say, the Republican bill does a really good job cutting costs. According to CBO, the GOP’s alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.
However, in Wingnutland, these statistics don’t matter. The GOP bill is only 230 pages long, while the Democrats’ bill comes in at around 1,990 pages. That makes the GOP bill better, because (as we shall see) big stacks of paper with lots of writing on them are inherently evil.
So yesteday the insurance industry and other parts of the medical-industrial complex funneled money through Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the corporate front group founded by Koch Industries billionaire David Koch, to bring busloads of hysterical people to Washington to demonstrate. Most accounts put the crowd at between 3,000 and 5,000, although a producer of G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show estimated the crowd at “about one million,” proving that wingnuts count about as well as they can read.
A spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity put the number at 20,000, meaning that the 3,000 to 5,000 estimate is correct.
Christina Bellantoni reported for Talking Points Memo that ten teabaggers were arrested after they stormed into Congressional office buildings and behaved badly. The ten were charged with unlawful entry into legislative offices (they did not leave when asked to do so) and/or disorderly conduct.
Teabaggers who saw the ten being taken away by police were furious. Rumors quickly formed that the ten had been arrested for praying (they were not) or for ripping up pages of the Democratic health care bill (I told you paper was inherently evil). Some in the crowd began to rip up paper in defiance of the imagined paper ripping arrests, which must have baffled the police.
Did I mention these people are hysterical? Not to mention dim?
Dana Milbank’s description makes the demonstrators sound like inmates at a 19th century insane asylum.
In the front of the protest, a sign showed President Obama in white coat, his face painted to look like the Joker. The sign, visible to the lawmakers as they looked into the cameras, carried a plea to “Stop Obamunism.” A few steps farther was the guy holding a sign announcing “Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds” [sic], accusing Obama of being part of a Jewish plot to introduce the antichrist.
But the best of Bachmann’s recruits were a few rows into the crowd, holding aloft a pair of 5-by-8-foot banners proclaiming “National Socialist Healthcare, Dachau, Germany, 1945.” Both banners showed close-up photographs of Holocaust victims, many of them children.
I like this part:
Immediately in front of this colorful scenery, various House Republicans signed autographs and shook hands with the demonstrators. Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), who recently said the health-care bill is more dangerous than terrorists, gave out stickers saying “Govt Run Healthcare Makes Me Sick!”
Rep. Foxx must not like the government run health care she gets as a member of Congress. Also:
By the time it was over, medics had administered government-run health care to at least five people in the crowd who were stricken as they denounced government-run health care.
No one says this crew is overcrowded with smarts.