Friday, September 27, 2013

How Will Rand Paul Explain His Deranged Opposition To Obamacare In 2016?


Martin County won't care... They love Rand Paul there anyway

Republicans just can't help themselves when it comes to their latest bout of nihilism-- the fake battle to "defund" the Affordable Care Act and deny health insurance to millions of Americans. It's not just their instinctual hatred for minorities and poor people. It's a business model. As Gene Lyons explained in the National Memo today, scamming is in their DNA: "First they lie to you, and then they ask you for money." All this commotion over defunding Obamacare is "about TV face-time and harvesting donations from gullible voters misled both about the Affordable Care Act itself and Sen. Cruz’s nonexistent chances of ending it."

Also this morning, Ron Brownstein reported that the messy Republican effort to derail healthcare isn't helping their outreach to minorities.
This week's United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll tested attitudes about two of the most incendiary issues now dividing the parties in Washington: health reform and gun control. While the survey found substantial convergence between whites and minorities on some fronts, it also underscored the consistent tendency of minorities to support a more activist role for Washington than many whites now prefer.

The gap was starkest on health care. Both whites and nonwhites were dubious of Republican threats to shut down the federal government, or default on the national debt, if President Obama does not agree to delay or defund his health reform plan. But minorities were especially resistant. While 33 percent of whites said Congress should withhold funding if Obama won't shelve the Affordable Care Act, only 16 percent of minorities agreed. And while whites divided relatively closely on whether Congress should raise the debt limit only if Obama concedes on health care-- 36 percent said yes and 48 percent said no-- nonwhites stampeded against the idea by exactly 3-to-1. Minorities were also far more likely than whites (53 percent to 33 percent) to say they would blame Republicans if a shutdown occurs.

The contrast was even larger on the underlying issue of the health care law itself. A 51 percent majority of whites agreed that "Congress should repeal the program to expand coverage because the government can't afford it at a time of large budget deficits," while only 43 percent said "Congress should keep the program to expand coverage because it's important to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance." Minorities, by comparison, broke 2-to-1 in favor of the health care law: 62 percent said it was more important to expand coverage, while only 31 percent backed repeal.
And then there was Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's eye-popping OpEd in the NY Times. Luckily for Kentuckians, there's more to Kentucky politics than Miss McConnell and Rand Paul. Romney beat Obama there 1,087,127 (61%) to 679,340 (38%) and of the state's 120 counties, Obama only took 4-- Jefferson (Louisville), Fayette (Lexington), Shelby and Elliott. In backward little Martin County (where Prohibition still reigns supreme and where 99.25% of the population is white and 37% of the population lives below the poverty line), Obama only got 15% of the votes. Governor Beshear:
Sunday morning news programs identify Kentucky as the red state with two high-profile Republican senators who claim their rhetoric represents an electorate that gave President Obama only about a third of its presidential vote in 2012.

So why then is Kentucky-- more quickly than almost any other state-- moving to implement the Affordable Care Act?

Because there’s a huge disconnect between the rank partisanship of national politics and the outlook of governors whose job it is to help beleaguered families, strengthen work forces, attract companies and create a balanced budget.

It’s no coincidence that numerous governors-- not just Democrats like me but also Republicans like Jan Brewer of Arizona, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan-- see the Affordable Care Act not as a referendum on President Obama but as a tool for historic change.

That is especially true in Kentucky, a state where residents’ collective health has long been horrendous. The state ranks among the worst, if not the worst, in almost every major health category, including smoking, cancer deaths, preventable hospitalizations, premature death, heart disease and diabetes.

We’re making progress, but incremental improvements are not enough. We need big solutions with the potential for transformational change.

The Affordable Care Act is one of those solutions.

For the first time, we will make affordable health insurance available to every single citizen in the state. Right now, 640,000 people in Kentucky are uninsured. That’s almost one in six Kentuckians.

Lack of health coverage puts their health and financial security at risk.

They roll the dice and pray they don’t get sick. They choose between food and medicine. They ignore checkups that would catch serious conditions early. They put off doctor’s appointments, hoping a condition turns out to be nothing. And they live knowing that bankruptcy is just one bad diagnosis away.

Furthermore, their children go long periods without checkups that focus on immunizations, preventive care and vision and hearing tests. If they have diabetes, asthma or infected gums, their conditions remain untreated and unchecked.

For Kentucky as a whole, the negative impact is similar but larger-- jacked-up costs, decreased worker productivity, lower quality of life, depressed school attendance and a poor image.

The Affordable Care Act will address these weaknesses.

Some 308,000 of Kentucky’s uninsured-- mostly the working poor-- will be covered when we increase Medicaid eligibility guidelines to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Studies Institute at the University of Louisville concluded that expanding Medicaid would inject $15.6 billion into Kentucky’s economy over the next eight years, create almost 17,000 new jobs, have an $802.4 million positive budget impact (by transferring certain expenditures from the state to the federal government, among other things), protect hospitals from cuts in indigent care funding and shield businesses from up to $48 million in annual penalties.

In short, we couldn’t afford not to do it.

The other 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians will be able to access affordable coverage-- most with a discount-- through the Health Benefit Exchange, the online insurance marketplace we named Kynect: Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection.

Kentucky is the only Southern state both expanding Medicaid and operating a state-based exchange, and we remain on target to meet the Oct. 1 deadline to open Kynect with the support of a call center that is providing some 100 jobs. Having been the first state-based exchange to complete the readiness review with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, we hope to become the first one to be certified.

Frankly, we can’t implement the Affordable Care Act fast enough.

As for naysayers, I’m offended by their partisan gamesmanship, as they continue to pour time, money and energy into overturning or defunding the Affordable Care Act. It’s shameful that these critics haven’t invested that same level of energy into trying to improve the health of our citizens.

They insist that the Affordable Care Act will never work-- when in fact a similar approach put into effect in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor, is working.

So, to those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, “Get over it.”

The Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land.

Get over it... and get out of the way so I can help my people. Here in Kentucky, we cannot afford to waste another day or another life.

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At 10:47 AM, Anonymous me said...

Another nut case from the Paul family. The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like "teahadist." (stolen!)

John Puma

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Host Eric said...

Indeed, the Republican hypocrisy is troubling. As is the hypocrisy from the left. Opposition to Obamacare, however? Not troubling. It's a very poorly written law, in which costs go up because of minimum services rules which preclude catastrophic care coverage packages (think liability insurance for your car) that would better solve the free-rider problem than does ACA. Additionally, it doesn't even help with the free-rider problem in it's current state because until penalties exceed the cost of coverage, there is actually a very clear financial incentive to NOT get coverage, given that the requirement of acceptance for pre-existing conditions is prohibited.

But worst of all, however, is the precedence it sets. The Federal government is now enabled to punish anyone for anything/nothing (not purchasing something) with fines, as long as it calls them taxes.

It's an unconstitutional individual mandate, plain and simple. Even if you like the results, which you shouldn't, because they are objectively terrible, you shouldn't be willing to sacrifice fundamental, critical restraints on Federal power just to get there.

The ends don't justify the means man. Especially when the ends are crap anyway.


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