Remember the good old days of “death panels”?


Those were the days, when Republicans tried to scuttle health care reform by claiming it would be heartless, cruel, bureaucratic, and would kill your grandma. That was their official stance everywhere, that they were paragons of kindness who were concerned about the liberty of citizens, while Democrats were going to callously ration your health care.

At least that pretense has been exposed. The new Republican ‘health care’ plan that isn’t (it’s actually a massive tax cut for rich fuckers that will move money out of the pockets of the poor) has finally been revealed. It features little details like lifetime limits on medical support that the insurance companies love, that doctors and hospitals hate, and that has triggered more protests from disabled people and those with chronic conditions, leading to optics like this: protesters in wheelchairs being hauled away by the police.

This is a bill that is ruthless to the disabled and poor, and, I would add as I look at the ticking clock bringing me closer to retirement, guts Medicaid, so it also hurts old people. Apparently, I’m supposed to trust that my kids will be rich and support me in my dotage.

Obamacare was flawed because it was a compromise bill. But Trumpcare is flawed because it was written by rich motherfuckers who want to intentionally harm the poor, the elderly, the sick, the needy, or, as they prefer to regard them, the undeserving. There is a fairly straightforward solution to the problem of creating a just society:

In the case of healthcare, the answer to this conundrum is simple: fund the healthcare system not through premiums or deductibles, but instead through progressive taxes, such that nobody is liable to pay more for healthcare than they can afford.

Of course, if you are trying not to reduce inequality, but to exacerbate it, this makes little sense: better to bleed Medicaid, transfuse the cash into the pockets of the rich, and call the whole bloodsucking endeavor an exercise in “freedom.”

Republicans are the party of inequality. At least there are no death panels, though, because they’ve decided that they’ll just let everyone who isn’t rich die, no review needed.

Comments

  1. says

    The life time caps are the equivalent to a farmer selling the cow to the butcher because he won’t make good on the milk anymore. Your healthcare cost is over the estimated profit they’ll make off you so bye bye.

    Have any pro-lifers talked about how this will deprive premies of medical insurance before their due date?

  2. weylguy says

    Three weeks ago my wife spent two days and two nights in the hospital for a bout of autoimmune anemia. A serious condition, but not life threatening, with lots of blood tests and monitoring, including a transfusion of two units of whole blood. The total cost came to $45,847.41. A couple more of these and we’ll be financially wiped out.

    Now the Republicans want to transfer even more money from the poor and middle class to wealthy hospital administrators and doctors, under the guise that socialized medicine is not only communistic but anti-Christian as well. This is insane.

  3. jaybee says

    PZ, you obviously have something wrong to point fingers at Republicans. Democrats are just like Republicans, virtually interchangeable, dontcha know. Because Hillary wasn’t tough on Wall St., it means it is OK to give back gains on gay rights, give the keys to the bulldozer to Republicans so they can mow down Planned Parenthood, and tell the sick and old that it is their fault for not being rich.

  4. Zeppelin says

    Calling UHC “rationing health care” is just fucking infuriating to me. You are already rationing healthcare. The ration cards are called “dollars”.

  5. magistramarla says

    I keep wondering how long it will take before the blue states just tell the red states to F off? Governors and mayors are already going their own way with climate change. California is considering universal healthcare, and I would really like to see several blue states band together to provide healthcare to all of their citizens.
    I would also like to see those blue states kick the federal ICE agents out and begin to enforce their own (kinder and gentler) immigration laws.
    I know that it’s not fair to progressives who live in red states (unfortunately, I’m one of those for now). Perhaps that is what it would take for the voters in those red states to wake up and demand what those in blue states have.
    I really, truly can’t wait to move back to California.

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    “Trumpcare” aka [ DeathComes4U ]

    Pure evil, literally, not figuratively.

    What will these tax breaks actually provide to the super wealthy other than a bigger number on the book. When money is used as scorecards and not as a tool to buy items then …
    Shit I’m done

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re jaybee@3:
    Sorry I sometimes have difficulty recognizing satire in a thread that is so important to me.
    Oh well

  8. ctech says

    –“Obamacare was flawed because it was a compromise bill. But Trumpcare is flawed because it was written by rich motherfuckers who want to intentionally harm the poor, the elderly, the sick, the needy, or, as they prefer to regard them, the undeserving.”

    Ain’t that the truth. In my opinion, the compromises in Obamacare were simply sabotage lines and I think after the way the republicans treated Obama it is hard to have sympathy for Trump and the republican regime now. It would be great if we could all get along and I know 2 wrongs don’t make a right but all I am saying is that I understand.

    Additionally, what you sum up in those 2 lines is the idea behind socialized medicine which only an idiot would go head to head with Bernie on socialize medicine. That guy was Ted Cruz and if you remember a long debate they had just a few months ago. In fact, I would not argue with anyone on socialize medicine because they are arguing for an utopian idea even though there are problems with it, it is still just hard to go against the idea of healthcare for everyone. However, the ideology at the heart is whether you believe healthcare is a right or a privilege. So, undeserving is a great word, but I don’t think they want to “intentionally” harm the poor but rather it seems they ignore the collateral damage done to the poor in order for the “deserving” not to lose anything and stay on top. The fear of loss is such a peculiar one and they seem to have the a hoarding condition but not for junk but rather goods and services. They treat going to the doctor like going to an MLB game…. “I got box seats so I better not have to wait behind the poor people in the nose bleeds.” Unfortunately, after discussions with many republicans I noticed that mindset is a difficult armor to penetrate. Simply, ration out healthcare based on highest bidder.

  9. vucodlak says

    Obamacare was flawed because it was a compromise bill.

    The Affordable Care Act was flawed because they started from the you-assholes-better-pass-this-or-I’ll-drone-strike-your-summer-AND-winter-houses compromise position, and then made it worse. I knew the whole “we’ll build on it” was a crock of shit from the start. The Republicans made it perfectly clear every step of the way that the bill was dead just as soon as they got the power to kill it. Never underestimate the spiteful greed of the right.

    There is a fairly straightforward solution to the problem of creating a just society

    There’s an even more straightforward solution to the problem of creating a just society- shut down the health insurance companies as criminal enterprises, seize all their assets (as well as the assets of the top 15-25 earners in the company), and use that as seed money to establish a universal healthcare system. I mean, you think Osama bin Laden crafted diabolical plans that killed a lot of people? He’s a rank amateur compared to insurance companies. The only outfit that kills more people every year is the military industrial complex, and some years not even that is true.

    As long as health insurance companies exist, there is no chance of anything approaching a just society. As long as the “healthcare industry” is profit driven, there is no chance of a just society.

    The ACA was dead the moment the president declared there would be no public option, and it’s going to take an awful lot of vulnerable people with it. The insurance companies have to go. There is no room for compromise in this; it’s them or us.

  10. Jessie Harban says

    This is what, the 50th? 60th? pointless symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare? They’ve been doing this nonstop for years now. Why is everyone pretending this bill is some massive threat to the country? That it won’t pass is a foregone conclusion unless (a) the Republicans somehow obtained 60 seats in the Senate since November, (b) the Democrats support it, or (c) the need to scrap single payer in favor of the Obamacare compromise because filibuster was a crock of shit.

    If (a) were true, I’d expect to have heard about it on the news, but I did not.

    If (b) were true, then it would mean the Democrats were just as bad as the Republicans and people here would be denouncing them, but they are not.

    If (c) were true, then the Democrats would have been complicit in this entire mess from the start and people here would have stopped supporting them long ago, but this is clearly not the case.

    As such, we can safely conclude that Trumpcare never had any chance of passing. Perhaps all the effort spent protesting it could have been used more effectively. There’s no shortage of terrible things the Republicans are actually doing; we can’t afford to waste energy protesting the Republican wishlist items that they can’t actually pass.

  11. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    @Jesse Harban,

    The gop has constructed this as a tax bill, so it only needs 50 votes to pass.

    So it’s not pointless, and it is a threat.

  12. Jessie Harban says

    The gop has constructed this as a tax bill, so it only needs 50 votes to pass.

    So then (c) is correct; the Democrats could have chosen to pass real health care reform by constructing it as a tax bill, but instead chose not to. As such, the Democratic Party has been complicit in this entire mess from the start and there’s no justification for supporting them.

    I figured as much ever since the campaign season threads when the most common accusation hurled against me is that I make political decisions based on politics rather than tribal identity.

    Sarcasm aside, the Republicans’ decision to use the reconciliation process doesn’t preclude the Democrats from blocking the bill. The reconciliation rules remove the “unlimited debate” clause and preclude the traditional filibuster of talking the thing to death, but they add an “unlimited amendments” clause that enable the Democrats to block it by amending it to death; they can easily introduce hundreds of thousands of amendments, each of which requires a vote before the bill can proceed.

    Not that they’re going to. In fact, the Democrats largely support Trumpcare; they feel it’ll give them an advantage in 2018.

    Frankly, the healthcare debate was already lost as of 2010-ish, when the organized left abandoned the push for healthcare reform in favor of “defend Obamacare.” By positioning Obamacare as the liberal choice that represented a complete victory for the left, it all but guaranteed the thing would be repealed the minute the Republicans had control.

    Meanwhile, I just learned that I can’t get disability benefits because the system is a broken wreck. That’s before Trumpcare; not after. So rather than fight a doomed battle in a desperate attempt to score a Pyrrhic victory to win health care for other people even though I can’t get it myself, I’ll devote what few political spoons I have to more pressing causes, like trying to take down a massive pro-Republican lobbying program being run by my Senator (D – eep Blue State)

  13. Marissa van Eck says

    This is going to cause nationwide riots, mark my words. We’ve locked ourselves into that path as a nation; there is no recovering from what we’ve done to ourselves. This will end in blood, tidal waves of blood, most of it innocent. But until we start doing the modern equivalent of sending these assholes to the guillotine, nothing is going to change.

  14. says

    @#3, jaybee

    PZ, you obviously have something wrong to point fingers at Republicans. Democrats are just like Republicans, virtually interchangeable, dontcha know. Because Hillary wasn’t tough on Wall St., it means it is OK to give back gains on gay rights, give the keys to the bulldozer to Republicans so they can mow down Planned Parenthood, and tell the sick and old that it is their fault for not being rich.

    The gay rights Hillary was notoriously not comfortable with? The Planned Parenthood she was the first Democrat to try and throw under the bus when that faked video came out a few years back? The sick and old who the Democrats have been perfectly happy to screw over in a myriad of small ways for years? How many old and sick people lost their houses in the mortgage crisis and never got any relief because the Democrats under Obama decided to bail out the lenders rather than the homeowners? How many old people got screwed over by the chained CPI Obama liked so much? How many got screwed over by Mario Cuomo keeping property tax loopholes for rich landlords, or by Rahm Emmanuel working with his buddies the bankers to make the transit card system an incredible ripoff? (Old people rode the Chicago transit system for free in the last few years before Emmanuel became mayor — Rahm killed that off right away; it was one of the first things he did on taking office.) There are hundreds of small examples; when finances are rigged for the rich, it’s the powerless who get screwed, and the old and poor and ethnic minorities are usually “the powerless”. Heck, even gay people are statistically more likely to be poor than straight people. The bottom line is: right-wing economics which screws the poor is totally incompatible with social liberalism. The “New Democratic” (i.e. Clintonite) idea that you can be socially liberal and propose corporate- and bank-friendly economic policies is an outright, egregious lie.

    Unfortunately, that’s what an overwhelming majority of the party is now committed to, because (in essence) the Clintons had control of the party, and installed people who believed that in every available position, and Obama — contrary to his fuzzy, charming public persona — agreed with them and kept those people in place. The Democrats have been shivving any candidate who thought otherwise for decades now, and all of a sudden the party is starting to say things like “where are all the young candidates? Why are there practically no up-and-coming progressives?” The answer to those questions is: those people kept trying for years, and got slapped down repeatedly by the people who controlled the party, and still do control the party, and they’d rather lose every election from now until the end of time than cut off their access to corporate cash.

    But enough about that; what you presumably mean is that you miss having a fig leaf of deniability and pretense. When Gilens and Page issued their report a while back, the result wasn’t “the Republicans do what the rich want, and the Democrats answer to the people”, it was “American politicians of all stripes ignore the populace and obey their rich donors; any pretense otherwise is a lie”. It’s like the way you probably think Trump’s foreign policy is barbaric and horrible, even though he’s pretty much continuing what former presidents, including Obama, did, just without lying about it as he does it.

  15. Jessie Harban says

    @3, jaybee:

    Because Hillary wasn’t tough on Wall St., it means it is OK to give back gains on gay rights, give the keys to the bulldozer to Republicans so they can mow down Planned Parenthood, and tell the sick and old that it is their fault for not being rich.

    Clinton owned slaves.

    That’s… really all you need to say where Clinton and civil rights are concerned. If you are pro-Clinton then you are at least willing to tolerate slavery.

    During the many campaign threads, I often asked Clinton supporters what, if anything, they would consider so evil that they’d refuse to support anyone who did it regardless of their party affiliation or “lesser evil” status. Very few people gave any answer at all. Since we know that Clinton supporters are OK with slavery, that more or less answers that question.

    @16, The Vicar:
    Obviously, the only reason you believe all of that evidence is because you’re an ideological purist SJW who only cares about telling other people how perfect you are!

    Sarcasm aside— that screwing over the powerless means screwing over minorities is true, but it’s actually worse than that.

    When people find themselves in dire economic straits, and are concerned for their future, this exacerbates existing prejudices and makes people more willing to accept scapegoats. The road to fascism starts at the intersection of poverty and bigotry; fascists like Trump take power by telling bigots with genuine economic concerns that the minorities they hate are the cause of their economic woes. As such, New Democrats like Clinton are complicit in Trump’s rise to power because they laid the groundwork for him.

  16. Alex the Pretty Good says

    Re: heath-care, playing for.
    As a Belgian tax-payer, I gladly paid 13,07% of my gross wages to the Social Security as an entry level employee nearly 25 years ago.
    I still happily pay 13,07% of my gross wages now that I earn slightly above average (I’ll admit that I sometimes trimble about the additional 30 to 35% of federal and city taxes).
    If by some inexplicable change of fortune, I were to suddenly double my income I’d still pay those 13,07% into Social Security.
    Because even though the system isn’t perfect, I know it does a lot more good than that it gets abused.
    And it’s this system that makes it that I only have to pay my co-pay when I pick up prescription drugs; that keeps the cost of a visit to the GP down to 7€; that pays my dental as long as I go for a check-up at least once a year; and that will pick up a large chunk of the bill if I ever need to go for the hospital for something serious.
    Sure, local politics is still a mess and there’s a lot of discussion on how to keep healthcare at our current level affordable … But other than an absolute minority of rightwingnuts, none of our politician are so crazy as to suggest gutting our social healthcare would be a good idea.

  17. says

    In fact, the Democrats largely support Trumpcare; they feel it’ll give them an advantage in 2018.

    Almost certainly correct, and they will have a whole new line up of cardboard cutouts, who define their policy based on what, “The polls, which just ask which of a half dozen things our supporters care more about, not what the F we keep doing wrong, and/or completely ignore.”, installed in what passed for their brain.

    Man I am seriously tired of freaking emails from “Democrats”, who all seem to assume that they already know what the F I want, and just need me to tell them which hand picked issue they should babble about during their election campaigns. Because.. The whole universe of things that are wrong with everything from the economy, to society, to.. you name it, is *purely* a result of those half dozen, to a dozen, “catch phrases”. And, heck.. if that is all you ramble on about, when meeting the public, is makes figuring out what your “supporters” want from you so damn simple. Just like ordering from a restaurant menu – while not Fing getting, or caring that its from MvDonalds, and the “problems” are all happening in a flipping real world, where there are 300 million completely different “kitchens” involved (most of which have problems that bear no resemblance, at all, to anything on the menu these people are polling about), not two grills, and a deep fryer, with the “major” issue being whether or not we can, “still have fries with that!” (or, in this case, whether or not Planned Parenthood needs to be protected more than we want to save medicaid, while ignoring, entirely, every other flipping issue that is going down the toilet.)

    That “supporting the less stupid party”, is the best we can possibly hope for doesn’t make it heroic to do so, just… less suicidal. Sort of like opting to eat you leather boots, rather than pretending to eat steak, in the hope that, as the politicians promised, it will, “one day, soon, become a real one!”

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