Republicans: Hoist by Their Own Petard?

Democrats are famous for forming circular firing squads, but I’m not sure there’s a name for the exercised in self-destruction Republicans have been engaged in this year. The closest I can come is Shakespeare’s “hoist with his own petard,” which apparently refers to a bomb-maker being blown up by his own bomb.

The latest bomb is that a federal judge in Texas just ruled the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. There was a time that the entire Republican party would be celebrating that result. Now they’re probably quietly hoping the Supreme Court will save their asses and toss out the lower court decision.

Eztra Klein writes,

The Texas ruling finding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional is ludicrous in its reasoning and unlikely to survive appeal. It argues, in short, that since Congress removed the penalty from the individual mandate, the individual mandate is no longer a tax; because the individual mandate is not a tax, it is no longer constitutional; and if the mandate is no longer constitutional, the entire law must be judged unconstitutional.

To do anything else would be, of course, immodest. As Judge Reed O’Connor writes, courts “are not tasked with, nor are they suited to, policymaking.” Yes, he is literally writing that as he tries to overturn Obamacare with a stroke of his pen. You can almost hear the “lol” he must’ve deleted from the first draft.

“If you were ever tempted to think that right-wing judges weren’t activist — that they were only ‘enforcing the Constitution’ or ‘reading the statute’ — this will persuade you to knock it off,” wrote law professor Nicholas Bagley. “This is insanity in print, and it will not stand up on appeal.”

Well, on a sane planet it would not stand up on appeal. In a nation that would put Beer Bong Bret on the Supreme Court, who knows?

This was, of course, the ruling on the lawsuit brought by a number of right-wing state secretaries of state to end the ACA, which at the time must have seemed like clever politics. Now, not so much. Along with Trump’s border policies, health care was one of the issues that got House Republicans killed in the suburbs. “Hoise by their own petard” sounds about right.

 Imagine a world where Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld. In that world, a Republican judge cuts tens of millions of people off health insurance mere weeks after Republicans lost a midterm election for merely trying to cut those people off health insurance. The aftermath of that would be a political massacre for the GOP, and a straightforward mandate for Democrats to rebuild the health system along the lines they prefer.

Preexisting conditions, anyone? Colby Itkowitz writes for WaPo,

The big question facing Republicans tonight is whether they will support legislation ensuring people with preexisting conditions continue to receive equitable health insurance coverage. Throughout the campaign, Democrats pointed out the hypocrisy of Republicans supporting the lawsuit while also telling voters preexisting conditions protections would be preserved. The problem with that promise is that Congress has not put in place any safeguards or contingencies for those protections in the event the law gets overturned.

I can’t find it now, but before the midterms one Republican idea I heard about to encourage insurance companies to sell policies to pre-existing conditions is to allow them to deny coverage for the pre-existing condition but cover everything else. Yeah, that’s work. And there’s this one:

Hawley says everyone would get insurance at roughly the same price with the same coverage. He goes on to say: “The federal government would then pay for insurance costs that exceed, say, $10,000. And the insurers, in turn, would be required to give most of the premiums they collect from these patients to the government.”

The Hawley campaign says that means the federal government would pay premium costs “above a certain threshold” for patients with pre-existing conditions. It says that will keep premium costs low.

But that also means insurance companies would be getting a taxpayer-financed federal subsidy to cover those patients. Hawley’s answer? Require insurers to send premiums back to Washington.

I’m not the sharpest tack in the box when it comes to numbers, but … that makes no sense to me. Does it make sense to you? Why is it not just saying that sicker people will be paying their premiums to the government which then would pay them to the insurance company? What would that accomplish? How does that keep cost down?

The quick-and-easier solution to the demise of the ACA would be to allow people with preexisting conditions and who are turned down for insurance to buy into the Medicare program or be covered under Medicaid. Nice way to expand the idea of Medicare for all, seems to me. Republicans won’t support that, though.

After all these years, it’s obvious Republicans will never, ever come up with a health care plan that does want they want health care to do — allow the health care and health insurance industries to price gouge and deny coverage to maximize their profits while also satisfying voters they are getting a good deal. Ain’t ever gonna happen. No way, no how.

16 thoughts on “Republicans: Hoist by Their Own Petard?

  1. I live in Canada and am covered under a provincial plan. It seems so much easier. One payer, almost automatic billing and so on.

    The plan could have better coverage for drugs and dental coverage but if I need to see my doctor or go to an Emergency Ward, I hand over my medical card and that is it. No fuss and so much more cost efficient.


    Pity that the USA could not just extent the Medicare or  Medicaid program.

  2. Anonymous,

    The Republican's would gladly extend Medicare and Medicaid!

    But only for wealthier white people.

    'Hey, we can't afford to cover "Them."  "THEY" have so many diseases!  And bad habits!!  And look at what THEY eat!!!  And all THOSE kids!!!!  Jesus, can't THESE people stop fornicating like bunnies?!?!?!'


  3. If the SC agrees to kill the ACA, this could be a great opening for Medicare-4-All, with the new majority in the House. It's kind of like a football game, where the opposing team is in complete disarray, and our team is tanned, refreshed, and ready.

  4. "Be Careful What You Wish For – You Might Get It."

    Set aside the lives healt and very real pain involved in access to health care (or lack of access.) There's a critical philisophical war for the heart and soul of federal political philosophy. The Federalist Society wants government to allow business to exploit people to the nth degree. That includes killing them (us – you and me) off for the sake of profit.

    It's not just health care – it's consumer protection, banking regulation, rules on insider trading, energy policy, the environment, education and even prison/criminal justice. Wherever big business can make big profits, the power behind conservatism wants the government to be prevented from interfering with the rape of the US citizen that begins at birt and ends slightly after death.

    The last ten years have changed the opinions of a lot of conservative-leaning citizens who side WITH health care and oppose the previous system which allowed insurers to pick healthy patients and let people with health problems die. Even conservatives don't like watching parents or children die of conditions that CAN be treated. 

    If Obamacare is struck down entirely a month or so after the House goes to the Democrats, it will be a political gift for liberals who didn't like the structure of Obamacare. How mainstream will the concept of Universal Health Care become when people who were receiving health care are dying for what the GOP delivered? Yeah, if this turns into a real health care system for all, it will come at the cost of people's lives.

  5. When I was a teen-ager I spent a lot of Saturdays and Sundays at the Detroit Public Library, housed on both sides of Woodward Avenue. Wonderful collection, including books on fireworks. A petard was basically a bucket full of gunpowder. This was in the early days of gunnery, when gun barrels were as likely to burst as not and they hadn't figured out the technology of reliable fuses. The idea was you wanted to enter a castle and the gates were shut. So you handed a petard to one of your sappers or engineers, and had him run up to the gate, pound a nail into the wood (or cracks between the stones if you were trying to go through a wall), and hang the petard on it, then run to safety. The fuse had to be already lit, because you couldn't easily carry a lit fire around in those days. You didn't want the fuse to be too long, or the people inside the castle could come outside and put it out. Since it was hard to be sure just how fast the fuse would burn, sometimes your sapper didn't run fast enough and got killed by the petard he had planted. Interestingly, both Russian and Waffen SS anti-tank troops did kind of the same thing in World War II, except the fuses on their satchel charges were more reliable. History is so cool.

  6. The quick-and-easier solution to the demise of the ACA would be to allow people with preexisting conditions and who are turned down for insurance to buy into the Medicare program or be covered under Medicaid.

    I have thought that allowing anyone who wants to to buy into Medicaid. It's unfortunate the states administer Medicaid. 

  7. With Mitch McTurtle filling all the vacant federal judge seats with extreme right wingers, it may not matter if Democrats take over DC, as any legislation they put through will be knocked down by these judges, effectively neutering whatever platform the Democratic Party pursues. So unless the Dems have a plan to change those judicial seats, the long game that the GOP is so effective at, may pay off down the line.

  8. In the midst of the collective madness and political corruption that we're experiencing now, I'm reduced to a mere observer.  Hope and conjecture are usually ground to bits in the space of a day or two.  The aging, sickly Republican base have served their purpose, they're deadwood in post-democratic America.

    But, as nerd, I can tell you that the petard was a device primarily used to blow down heavy doors and such.  It was shaped like a broad, short cannon.  It was hoisted into position with the mouth against the the target, so when the charge went off, the force was very direct.  It is easy to see that the heavier a petard, the more effective it was.  So, it was conceivable that the petard could outweigh the team of men hoisting it and a comical failure would ensue. 

    Shakespeare also included something in the image for the "groundlings."  That has to do with powerful flatulence hoisting the afflicted one.

    Sorry, my degree was in English and it seldom comes in handy.

  9. Procopius & goatherd, 

    Great, cool, and fun info!!!

    I knew a bit about this before, but now I know more about petartd's and the ensueing possible hoistinghoisting thereof.    Oh, and farts!

  10. "…allow the health care and health insurance industries to price gouge and deny coverage to maximize their profits…"

    This, and doing anything they can to undo whatever Obama accomplishes, has always been the GOP's only motivation when it comes to health care.  Its NEVER been about making sure more people have access to affordable care.  


  11. @Chris: the rules on judicial retention may need to be revisited. Agreed the we don’t need a bunch of frothing ninnies in positions of responsibility.

    And, perhaps many of Trump’s actions can be summarily reversed once he’s behind bars. It’s not like he won legitimately…. he was a “gift” from Vladimir.

  12. Ya know, I think I figured out why that TexASS judge made the decision he did:

    – The weekend after tRUMP'S innauguration, women in America (and around the world) marched in protest – and so did pro-tRUMP protesters.

    – In Charlottesville, VA, the Nazi's marched – and so did the Anti-Fa's.

    – Down on our Southern border, Americans marched to protest the separation of families, and the caging of children.

    – There's been a march to protest a tRUMP mis-administration decision/policy almost every day – with some pro-tRUMPer's marching nearby.  i

    So, with all of that marching, we're all in so much better shape, who needs ObamaCare or Medicare-for-all? 😉

  13. I hadn't read Procopius' comment before I wrote mine, but, his account is quite accurate and adequate.  So, mine, apart from the more puerile bits, was superfluous.

    I checked George Cameron Stone, and Petards only weighed about sixty pounds on average and were most often suspended by a  simple frame against the door.

    Some were placed on a simple two wheeled device called called a madrier, which could extend quite a distance forward, for example over a narrow moat.  So, leverage would be an issue in the matter of being hoisted.  Stone notes that they "frequently did more damage to the users than to the gate, it was said to have been invented in 1579."

    So, when Shakespeare coined his phrase, the device was recent technology, which, proved to be less than satisfactory.  

    In French, the word refers to a firecracker, which might come in handy someday, one never knows.

  14. Well petard would not be a word I would use here just because I am not all that literate. I sure enjoyed the education about it though.  Republican suicide due to multiple personality disorder I can go along with though.  One personality  Doug is referring to here is  the 110% pure capitalism greed personality. (When it comes to purity, well,  totally pure is just not pure enough)  Trick or treatment for profit. Oh yes, let the buyer beware in healthcare, as you may in all reality be, literally, betting your life.  

    Doug also refers to the somewhat dated Compassionate Conservative personality of the party, who championed treatments for Terry Schiavo and reared it's head in Sarah Palin's death squads.  This relies on the wealth of talent this Republican personality has in knowing how to interfere in maters they should just flat stay out of.  In more sensible moments, this personality does not like people dying on the streets from treatable conditions for sure. 

    The new alt-right personality of the party has yet to weigh in.  Like the Saudis it likes to work through agents and maintain a low profile, but exposes its bone saw mentality.  Triage planning is it's major emphasis, using factor of race, ethnicity, social standing, wealth, and insurance club membership to allot resources.  It is surely at work attempting to add political party affiliation to the equation.  So far the Josef Mengele Medical Research Center remains unapproved and unfunded.  

    What about the personality of the illusion of Christianity you ask?  The good old boy personality?  Too much of this is bad for one's mental health.  I need to go to the gym or get some work done.  Man does not live by satire alone.  

    Do remember, though, to figure out when talking to a Republican which personality (singular or plural) they are presenting at the moment.  Also remember that these personalities fight and attempt to dominate and destroy each other.  Enough said.  

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