Nel's New Day

April 29, 2014

Obamacare Terrifies GOP Leaders

What happens when GOP leaders accidentally tell the truth? There’s a lot of backpedalling!

What Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said last week:

“We need to look at reforming the exchanges.”

The news that over 600,000 residents in Washington state probably led her to say that the Affordable Care Act will persist with reforms occurring within that structure.

What Rodgers said this week via her spokesman Nate Hodson:

“The headline is not an accurate or representative portrayal of what the congresswoman said in the interview, what her voting record reflects, or what she believes. She will continue fighting to repeal Obamacare at every opportunity moving forward and replace it with patient-centered reforms.”

What House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said last week:

“[To] repeal Obamacare … isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can’t recreate an insurance market overnight.”

About immigration, Boehner blamed rank-and-file House Republicans for the lack of immigration reform and ridiculed them for an unwillingness to work hard.

What Boehner said this week:

“There was no mocking. Listen, you all know me. You tease the ones you love. But some people misunderstood what I had to say. And I wanted to make sure that members understood that the biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform forward is [the president].”

People who watch the video of Boehner’s mocking his own party members might disagree with his assessment. Spokesman Brendan Buck tried to cover for Boehner’s comments about the ACA: “For four years now, the House Republican position has been repeal-and-replace.”

That’s not necessarily true:

  • 2012: Boehner said, “It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected. Obamacare is the law of the land.”
  • 2013: Boehner shut down the federal government using, in part, the opposition to the ACA.
  • 2014: Boehner said that the ACA is “the law of the land” and full repeal “isn’t the answer.”

Would the real John Boehner please stand up?

Scott Brown, briefly a GOP Massachusetts senator now running for the same office in New Hampshire, also demonstrates the GOP confusion related to the Affordable Care Act. Because opposition to Obamacare helped elect him to senate in 2010, much of his current campaign is based on his opposition to the ACA. He has declared Obamacare a disaster and want a plan that sounds almost exactly like the ACA:

“I’ve always felt that people should either get some type of health care options, or pay for it with a nice competitive fee. That’s all great. I believe it in my heart. In terms of preexisting conditions, catastrophic coverage, covering kids–whatever we want to do, we can do it.”

This is his position for New Hampshire healthcare:

“As a matter of fact, in New Hampshire, I would encourage everybody to do a New Hampshire plan that works for New Hampshire, that deals with individual freedoms, and doesn’t have mandates put on by bureaucrats in Washington … a plan that is good for New Hampshire … can include the Medicaid expansion folks who need that care and coverage.”

Throughout the country, GOP candidates are campaigning on an anti-ACA platform that replaces it with the existing ACA provisions:

  • Thom Tillis (NC GOP Senate candidate) says that of course he supports protecting people with preexisting conditions, just not with Obamacare.
  • Tom Cotton and Terri Lynn Land (AR and MI GOP Senate candidates) want to expand health care to those who need it but don’t take positions on state Medicaid expansions.

Voters need to ask GOP candidates these questions:

  • What do they intend to replace the ACA with?
  • How many consumers would lose coverage if Republicans have their way?
  • What’s wrong with Medicaid expansion?
  • Why would they oppose the ACA’s most popular provisions?
  • How does one endorse ACA goals while condemning the ACA policy?

One man, Dean Angstadt, represents everything that terrifies GOP candidates and legislators. A self-employed logger, he refused to have anything to do with the ACA because he thinks that the Democrats are “full of it.” Yet the worry about his faulty aortic valve led him to either use the ACA to buy a health plan for life-saving surgery or die. The pacemaker and defibrillator implants that helped his heart three years ago weren’t working any longer. He hoped to save money for surgery but couldn’t work to make the money.

Luckily he had a friend who persuaded him to sign up for health insurance through the ACA and pay his premium of $26.11. His plan started on March 1, and his surgery for life-saving valve replacement was on March 31. Angstadt said, “Not only did it save my life, it’s going to give me a better quality of life.”

He continued, “For me, this isn’t about politics. I’m trying to help other people who are like me, stubborn and bullheaded, who refused to even look. From my own experience, the ACA is everything it’s supposed to be and, in fact, better than it’s made out to be. A lot of people I talk to are so misinformed about the ACA.”

Conservatives like the Koch brothers pay for ads to keep Angstadt and others like him from signing up for health care. He learned that they were wrong, and he’s alive to tell others that opposition to “Obamacare” is wrong.

Not everyone will be as lucky as Angstadt. Despite the 13 million people who got healthcare because of the ACA, over half the states refuse to expand Medicaid with federal money. Other court challenges could do away with the ACA in another nine states. The body count of preventable deaths in states that refuse Medicaid expansion is from 7,115 to 17,104. Opt-out states will have 712,037 more people with depression, and 240,700 more people suffering catastrophic medical expenditures. Another 422,553 people won’t get medication for diabetes, and another 443,677 women won’t get pap smears to detect cancer.

gop_obamacare_body_count

In just Rick Perry’s Texas, up to 3,000 people will needlessly die, joined by 671 from Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, 1,176 in Nathan Deal’s Georgia, 2,221 in Rick Scott’s Florida, and 1,145 in Pat McGrory’s North Carolina. These deaths can be directly tracked to the state governors and legislators.

Medicaid refusers are states that already have the lowest Medicaid benefits to working adults. These are places where people with below-poverty incomes don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t get tax credits for coverage on the insurance exchanges. Leaders in these states condemn thousands of people to death because they refuse money from the federal government.

left out people

States even lose money by refusing federal funding. For example, Georgia refused $33 billion in Medicaid funding during the next decade and has to make up the difference of Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments. Federal funding would have meant an annual $60 million and coverage of 27,000 uninsured patients for Grady Memorial Hospital instead of a $45-million loss. A fourth rural hospital announced it was closing its doors in February after a shortage of patients who can pay their medical expenses. Savannah’s Memorial Hospital is losing about $50 million in annual subsidies. And that’s just one state out of the 25 refusing ACA funding.

The shame of these states is their refusal to help the most vulnerable—at no cost to themselves. All because of politics. The states of shame are largely those who vote Republican. And those states are the unhealthiest in the country.

uninsured

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1 Comment »

  1. Love that logger!

    Like

    Comment by Lee Lynch — April 29, 2014 @ 10:51 PM | Reply


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