Friday, November 15, 2013

Upton's Phony "Fix" Is Nothing But Another Try To Repeal Healthcare-- 39 Dems Voted For It


A couple hours ago the Democratic Motion to Recommit-- their response to Upton's bill to gut the Affordable Care Act-- would have given State Commissioners authority to go after bad actor insurance companies. It didn't extend health plans permanently like bill offered by Mary Landrieu, only extending them through the end of 2014. The smart thing would have been to just offer an end to Obamacare altogether and allow anyone who wants to buy into Medicare that opportunity and anyone who wants to keep GOP junk health insurance do that. But expanding Medicare is, of course, the worst nightmare of conservatives and something they (and the insurance companies will fight to the death to prevent). In fact that's how we got stuck with a hard-to-defend "solution" like Obamacare, a compromise with the insurance companies and Republicans, both of which have successfully undermined it to the point of… well, to the point where we are now. But the Republicans refused to even allow a vote on the Motion because it had too many consumer protections and was therefore, according to the chair, "not germane."

As Jonathan Chait explained for New York readers yesterday, conservatives are confident that America now hates Obamacare enough so that they're ready for the bad old days. "Here is the basic ideological division," he wrote. "Obama wants the health-care system to do more to pool risk-- which is to say, to shift the burden of covering the sick onto the healthy. Republicans want it to do less to pool risk, so that healthy people can be free of the burden of subsidizing the costs of those less medically fortunate… The final, and deepest, mistake of the right’s triumphalism is to mistake a fear of change for an affinity for the kind of change they’re proposing. Our broken health-care system has taught Americans to associate change with change for the worse. The system resists change because even tiny groups of beneficiaries cling to the status quo. Fear of change has been the right’s most powerful ally in the health-care wars. Those days are drawing toward an end, and soon-- when hundreds of thousands and then millions have joined the exchanges-- it will be their enemy."

Paul Kane warned in the Washington Post that the vote would test the loyalty of congressional Democrats. It also tested their intelligence.
The political fallout from the botched launch of the health-care law is presenting congressional Democrats with one of their toughest tests of party loyalty in the five years of the Obama administration.

House Republicans are expected to pass a bill Friday that could dramatically undermine the law. And after years of trying to impale the initiative, GOP leaders are hopeful that the political turmoil over the rollout will provide them the support of a sizable bloc of Democrats.
NBC's Chuck Todd warned that "20 or 30 red-state Dems voting for it is one thing; but double or triple that amount would be a rebuke and would signal that House Dems weren’t satisfied with the supposed fix Obama announced."

Keep in mind that last July, 35 Democrats voted to delay the employer mandate. That was lead by the New Dems, although several Blue Dogs and unaffiliated cowardly conservatives joined in as well. Many of them are multimillionaires who can feel far more empathy for wealthy people who don't like paying taxes than they can for poor families struggling to survive. Here's the list: Ron Barber (New Dem-AZ), John Barrow (New Dem-GA), Bruce Braley (candidate for Senate-IA), Julia Brownley (CA), Cheri Bustos (IL), John Carney (New Dem-DE), Gerry Connolly, (New Dem-VA), John Delaney (New Dem-MD), Suzanne DelBene (New Dem-WA), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Bill Enyart (IL), Elizabeth Esty (New Dem-CT), Bill Foster (New Dem-IL), Pete Gallego (New Dem-TX), Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL), Jim Himes (New Dem-CT), Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA), Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL), Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Mike McIntyre (New Dem-NC), Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Bill Owens (New Dem-NY). Scott Peters (New Dem-CA), Gary Peters (New Dem/candidate for Senate-MI), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Nick Rahall (WV), Raul Ruiz (CA), Brad Schneider (New Dem-IL), Kurt Schrader (New Dem-OR), and, as always, Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ).

In the end, Upton's bill passed 261-157. The 4 very radical right Republicans who voted against it-- Paul Broun (GA), Jim Bridenstine (OK), Ralph Hall (TX) and Tom Massie (KY)-- just oppose healthcare in general and oppose anything short of ending all public healthcare. 39 Democrats defected-- most of the defectors from July plus Ami Bera, Tim Bishop, Jim Costa, Pete DeFazio, John Garamendi, Ann Kuster, Dave Loebsack, Jerry McNerney, Rick Nolan, Carol Shea-Porter, Filemon Vela and Tim Walz:
Ron Barber (New Dem-AZ)
John Barrow (New Dem-GA)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Tim Bishop (NY)
Bruce Braley (IA)
Julia Brownley (CA)
Cheri Bustos (IL)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Pete DeFazio (OR)
Suzanne DelBene (New Dem-WA)
Tammy Duckworth (IL)
Bill Enyart (IL)
Elizabeth Esty (New Dem-CT)
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)
Pete Gallego (New Dem-TX)
John Garamendi (CA)
Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH)
Dave Loebsack (IA)
Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Mike McIntyre (New Dem-NC)
Jerry McNerney (CA)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
Rick Nolan (MN)
Bill Owens (New Dem-NY)
Gary Peters (New Dem-MI)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Brad Schneider (New Dem-IL)
Kurt Schrader (New Dem-OR)
Carol Shea-Porter (NH)
Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ)
Filemon Vela (New Dem-TX)
Tim Walz (MN)
Right after the vote, Donna Edwards (D-MD) explained why it was a mistake for Democrats to vote for Upton's bill: "The Upton Bill is a Trojan Horse that aims to undermine, dismantle, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.  This disingenuous legislation has nothing to do with providing Americans access to quality health care.  Instead, by allowing non-ACA-compliant, substandard plans into the marketplace indefinitely, Republicans would once more subject 100 million Americans to lifetime limits on their health coverage and the probability that these substandard plans will not provide the coverage consumers deserve when they need it most. Republicans would deprive 30 million women of screenings like mammograms. Republicans would repeal coverage for pre-existing conditions for 17 million children.

"The physical and financial well-being of the American people would suffer significantly if we allow a return to the status quo of substandard insurance coverage that left 48 million people without access to affordable, accessible, quality health care. The 800,000 Marylanders without insurance deserve quality health care coverage, and they need it now."

In 2010 there were 34 Democrats who voted against passing it. Today there were 39 voting, essentially, to repeal it. Many more Democrats-- like all the progressives-- would have voted to repeal it if they could replace it with Medicare-for-all. The Democrat Blue America is backing for the Michigan seat Upton holds, Paul Clements, scoffed at Upton's phony "fix" and told us that "first Fred Upton voted 40 times to defund it, then he voted to shut down the federal government to try to scuttle it. Today Upton took another swipe at the Affordable Care Act. Will we help everyone get good health care at a reasonable price? Whatever Upton says with his words, his actions say no. The bill he wrote that passed the House today with support from 39 frightened Democrats, HR 3350, is just another hopeless effort to undermine the ACA. By allowing insurance companies to continue to offer substandard plans to healthy young people it would drive up costs for everyone. It would lead to sicker risk pools, and, when poorly covered people do have big health problems, push the costs back onto the rest of us. But of course this will not happen, because of course President Obama will not sign it… another day of wasted time in a broken Congress, while the serious challenges facing the country linger on."


I just watched a pundit on Chris Hays' show claim-- falsely-- that "all" 39 Democrats are in "tough districts." Some are but many aren't. In fact, some are in completely safe districts. Normally Republicans never win a seat in a district that is even a D+1 or D+2. Some of these conservative Democratic cowards voted with the GOP even though they're in extremely safe districts, like these untrustworthy galoots:
Tammy Duckworth- D+8
Bill Foster- D+8
Ron Kind- D+5
Dan Maffei- D+5
Filemon Vela- D+8
Brad Schneider- D+8
Suzanne DelBene- D+5
Jerry McNerney- D+6

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At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be a phony fix but now Obumma is negotiating the dismantling of his "signature" legislation.

In the American political realm, apparently persistence and unmitigated gall can override clinical insanity.

John Puma

At 3:35 AM, Blogger Minnesota Central said...

The autopsy of why the Republicans increased their House advantage in the 2014 elections will point to the November15th vote.
If you read the bill, it does not require insurance companies to renew policies but it does allow them to write policies for new customers … and it is for one year.
The timing is prefect.
October 15th … just weeks before the election, insurance companies will announce their new pricing plans sold under the exchanges starting in January (two months after the election) … previously, they assumed that these cancelled policies would force healthy consumers into the exchanges … but now, they can stay out. For the insurance companies, that will be permission to raise prices on the exchange.
Think about it … you bought a policy under the exchange and now you find out that next year that your policy cost will increase … meanwhile, others will get notices saying that the one-year fix, will cause those policies to be cancelled, so you can now enter the exchange and purchase a higher priced policy. Of course, this is just the ammo that the Republicans will use in their final campaign speeches … after hammering the ACA throughout the campaign.

Worse yet, for many of the 35 Dems, they will now get double blamed. Have you seen any criticism of Members who want to repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax … it goes something to the effect,

Senator/Representative XYZ voted for the disastrous Obamacare, and now wants to repeal it -- I want to hold their feet to the fire and ask WHY they voted FOR ACA WITH the medical device tax included! Repeal the whole thing. I will never for a Democrat again. Can’t trust em.

They will get the same criticism over their vote for the “IF your insurance agent likes you, he may keep you act”.
Politically this makes no sense … they should have required a hearing with insurance companies and state commissioners called saying what could be done now. They could have said, “I voted for an alternative that would have fixed the problem (that would give insurance companies the option to continue offering Affordable Care Act non-compliant plans though 2014 to current enrollees only, as long as those plans were in effect as of October 1, 2013) but the Republicans defeated it.
Will the Senate pass H. R. 3350 … and will the President sign it … and insurance companies renew all policies -- no -- so why vote for it, when you know that it will be used against you ?

Now, the only question is : How many seats will the House Republicans pick-up?
My answer is that five of these Members will lose their seats.


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