ChrisWeigant.com

Everyone Will Be Covered (Except For 24 Million)

[ Posted Monday, March 13th, 2017 – 17:14 PDT ]

Today was the first reality-check for the Republican goal of health insurance reform since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed. The breathtaking numbers from the Congressional Budget Office just proved what many of us have been saying all along -- this is the first time in the past seven years that Republicans have tried to bring an actual piece of legislation to the floors of Congress for a very good reason. The numbers just don't quite add up the way the GOP has long wished they would. By never writing an actual bill before now, they avoided letting the public in on this crucial bit of information. But now it was "put up or shut up" time, so Republicans were forced to come up with an actual bill. And the C.B.O. just confirmed what Democrats have been saying for a long time -- replacing Obamacare is going to throw millions of Americans off health insurance.

Donald Trump's insistence that "everyone will be covered" has now been proven to be a gigantic lie. Everyone will be covered, except for the 24 million who will lose coverage in the next ten years (starting with 14 million who will lose it next year alone). The number of uninsured Americans will skyrocket from the current 27 million to over 50 million. This won't be because (according to Paul Ryan) they never really wanted health insurance in the first place and would now use their expanded "freedom" to refuse to pay for it -- it will instead be because tens of millions of people will not be able to afford insurance. This was always going to be the reality under a Republican revamp of Obamacare, but now that the C.B.O. has finally been given a chance to run numbers on an actual bill, we can all see just how drastic this is going to be for millions of American families.

Last week, while Paul Ryan was attempting to hustle the bill as far as he could as fast as he could (even holding votes on it at 4:30 A.M.), independent analysts were already predicting that millions would lose their insurance. These estimates ranged from a low of about six or seven million up to 15 million. What we now know is that they were actually far too generous in their assumptions. The 24 million figure is so staggeringly larger than anyone expected that it will instantly change the political debate. Even before the C.B.O. numbers came out, there were few Republicans (outside of the White House and Paul Ryan's office) who were vocally supporting the bill in public. How many of them are now going to make the case that 24 million more uninsured Americans is a good thing?

As is true for many issues, Donald Trump wasn't outside the Republican mainstream in his comments on how wonderful GOP health insurance reform would look like. He may have been more direct, but the things he was saying were pretty close to what Republicans had been saying for a long time -- that their Obamacare replacement would cover more people, bring everyone's costs down, and give better results at the end of the day. Trump just put the icing on that cake, he didn't bake it himself, in other words.

Trump, of course, had no actual plan himself, even while loudly insisting that he did. He felt free to expound on how big and beautiful his non-existent plan was going to be, because he intrinsically trusts his own brain to solve any problem no matter how intractable. Turns out he was not only fooling the voters, he was also fooling himself. He even admitted so about a week ago, complaining that health reform was a lot harder than anyone could have ever guessed. "Anyone" except, you know, for pretty much every person inside Congress, just to name 535.

On the campaign trail, Trump was free to boast about the paradise he was going to create in the health insurance industry, and his voters lapped it up. But, tellingly, after he was sworn in as president, no Trumpcare plan appeared. He put off inquiries by moving the goalposts a bit, saying his beautiful reform plan would be announced the day his nominee to head the Health and Human Services department was confirmed by the Senate. This has now happened, but there is still no Trumpcare plan. When Paul Ryan finally unveiled his own plan, Trump quickly embraced it -- but that is not the same thing as coming up with a plan on his own. Few, so far, have even noticed this contradiction.

By tying his wagon to Ryan's plan, Trump (like the rest of the GOP) has been forced into defending reality, rather than just painting visual castles in the air. And the reality is (quite obviously) going to fall far short of Trump's promises. Democrats are already gleefully recycling all of Trump's grandiose promises into talking points of their own, and this could indeed continue all the way to the 2018 midterm elections. As well it should. It's too good a political opportunity to miss, really. All Democrats have to do is run a clip of Trump saying "everyone will be covered" next to the C.B.O. numbers. Or point out the many times Trump pledged not to touch Medicare and Medicaid, together with the reality of Ryan's plan to dismantle as much of Medicaid as he thinks he can get away with. Also buried in the C.B.O. numbers is the fact that the price of insurance is going to immediately head upward -- 15 to 20 percent more than under Obamacare. There's another easy ad for Democrats to make.

Twenty-four million people is a lot, to state the obvious. It is such a large fraction of the American populace that few people will not personally know someone directly (and negatively) affected by Ryan's bill. This is what happens when you simultaneously allow insurers to charge a lot more money while drastically shrinking the subsidies available. It's pretty basic math, and it will even affect Trump voters disproportionately to the public at large.

Ryan and any other Republicans who rally around his plan are going to have a tough sell in the weeks to come. They can try to discredit the C.B.O. report all they want, but while that might have worked if the number was a lot lower (say, six million), it's going to be pretty hard to convince anyone that 24 million uninsured Americans is just "some sort of rounding error."

Ironically, the only good news for Ryan out of the C.B.O. report is that he might now have an easier time convincing the Tea Partiers in his own ranks to vote for the bill. Their main argument has been that the bill is far too generous -- it didn't kick enough people off health insurance, in other words. With the staggering 24 million figure now out, perhaps some of them can now be convinced that the bill actually is Draconian enough for them to support.

But it's certainly not going to help Ryan with the moderate Republicans (especially those in the Senate). Paul Ryan's initial scheme was to get the bill through both houses of Congress and on the president's desk so fast that public opinion wouldn't have time to react. The original schedule Ryan wanted was to pass the bill before the next big congressional vacation period, when they all go home to get an earful from their constituents. This aggressive schedule was never very realistic, but now it looks downright fantastical. Which means we'll have time for some town hall outrage, in the meantime. Because my guess is that a fair portion of the 24 million people who will be affected are going to speak up to their congressional representatives, quite loudly and unequivocally. Which was precisely what Ryan was trying to avoid. The problem all along has been that castles in the air are a lot easier to defend out on the campaign trail, but when actual bills are drawn up they get scored by the C.B.O. Now we can all see precisely what Ryan (and all the rest of the Republicans) have been trying to hide for the past seven years -- they are truly on a mission to throw tens of millions of people off their health insurance. Obamacare so offends their ideological concept of the world that they simply don't care if 24 million Americans again face bankruptcy whenever they get sick. No wonder they haven't written an actual bill before now, because now everyone can see exactly what they stand for -- and it's not a pretty picture.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

71 Comments on “Everyone Will Be Covered (Except For 24 Million)”

  1. [1] 
    neilm wrote:

    24 million, at 2,200 unnecessary American deaths / million / year uninsured =

    52,800 dead Americans / year.

    Thanks 45!

    Oh, and if they block grant Medicare those numbers are going to shoot up.

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    The numbers just don't quite add up the way the GOP has long wished they would. By never writing an actual bill before now, they avoided letting the public in on this crucial bit of information. But now it was "put up or shut up" time, so Republicans were forced to come up with an actual bill. And the C.B.O. just confirmed what Democrats have been saying for a long time -- replacing Obamacare is going to throw millions of Americans off health insurance.

    The weasel Ryan was hoping he could shovel the thing through so that the GOP and Vice-President Trump could claim "victory!", trusting that their usual application of misinformation and misdirection would create confusion, and their base-of-credulous-sadistic-deplorables could be convinced to blame Obama once the medical and insurance bills started arriving in the mail.

    I think they picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: The 24 million figure is so staggeringly larger than anyone expected that it will instantly change the political debate.

    Anyone except Neil! Neil wins the Internets today for being totally right about this.

    Oh, I am glad I have TRICARE For Life, and I will fight like hell to make sure that Americans do not get further conned by Benedict Donald. He is not going to get away with his fleece of the American people. This doesn't end until single payer!

  4. [4] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    It's a shame you didn't compare the projected numbers for deficit reduction between Obamacare and Trumpcare.

    They are almost identical according to CBO projections, yet Republicans are claiming the deficit reduction angle as a selling point.

    "Obamacare so offends their ideological concept of the world that they simply don't care if 24 million Americans again face bankruptcy whenever they get sick."

    A harsh reality is that Obamacare isn't perfect though, and something around 800,000 Americans are still filing for bankruptcy when they get sick... and a good percentage of them have health insurance.

    I don't think it is helpful to the debate to ignore that reality.

    Now that the Republican plan is out and scored, I hope Democrats adopt the wisdom Liz has been spreading here and they start working on a plan to improve Obamacare to present to voters for comparison instead of pretending everything was hunky dory... despite the millions still uninsured and the loopholes that were allowing insurance premiums to unsustainably rise way out of whack with inflation.

    I don't know if you're still in tax hell, but neil and others here were discussing the political benefits and potential pitfalls of not presenting a plan with her, but I believe she is correct.

    Maybe they should wait a little while longer and let the Republican mess simmer and sink in ( maybe even a few months), but at some point having something to offer would be politically useful.
    Assuming that voters won't fall for another con is a risky proposition at best, and the old saying is the best defense is a good offense.

    A

  5. [5] 
    altohone wrote:

    Kick
    3

    "This doesn't end until single payer!"

    Yup.

    And it needs to be the Democratic rallying cry.

    BTW, my response is up in our discussion.
    Haven't seen your comment released from the filter yet though.

    A

  6. [6] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula
    2

    "deplorables"?

    Are you incapable of learning from history?

    A

  7. [7] 
    altohone wrote:

    BTW

    I'm not going to link to it, but there is an article on HP about a cop beating on an unarmed guy and pulling his gun and cursing at onlookers to get back.

    Ugly story and video...

    ... but the geniuses at HP quoted an onlooker as saying-

    "the cop was whaling on him for no reason".

    Whaling, wailing... quality editing... or unintentional comic relief.
    Thar she blows!

    A

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    Barry Ritholz has some fun with the sudden acceptance of the BLS jobs report:

    http://ritholtz.com/2017/03/trump-memo-sean-spicer-phony-jobs-data/

  9. [9] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Alto-

    I'm not going to link to it, but there is an article on HP about a cop beating on an unarmed guy and pulling his gun and cursing at onlookers to get back.

    Ugly story and video..

    I saw the story....and yes it looks ugly, BUT, I happen to know exactly where that incident happened. It is in an ugly place where there is a bit of a problem with thugs...

    Contrary to our local HTS (Hysterical Trump Supporter)'s assertion that I only support the left and all of his other blah, blah...Oh who am I kidding, it's all just fact free bull shit. I have to go with the PD on this one.

    Believe me the police department in question has some issues. In this case however, the person in question is a known frequent flyer and if you watch the video, the "locals" were moving in on multiple fronts and being aggressive...

    I just wish this level of attention had been focused on the PD a couple of years back. Fortunately after a little house cleaning courtesy of yours truly, and a new police chief who is from a town with a good record I think our department is heading in the right direction...

    But I am sure this missive alone will be enough to have this comment section already achieve terminal logic velocity, thus making it worthless for discussion about the subject at hand.

    Tomorrow, mainland Honduras, Oh joy....

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Democrats are already gleefully recycling all of Trump's grandiose promises into talking points of their own, and this could indeed continue all the way to the 2018 midterm elections. As well it should. It's too good a political opportunity to miss, really. All Democrats have to do is run a clip of Trump saying "everyone will be covered" next to the C.B.O. numbers. Or point out the many times Trump pledged not to touch Medicare and Medicaid, together with the reality of Ryan's plan to dismantle as much of Medicaid as he thinks he can get away with. Also buried in the C.B.O. numbers is the fact that the price of insurance is going to immediately head upward -- 15 to 20 percent more than under Obamacare. There's another easy ad for Democrats to make.

    Is this really all Democrats have to do?

  11. [11] 
    altohone wrote:

    goode trickle
    9

    Well, the guy screaming "I am god" while being beaten after kneeling in surrender makes for a scene that is difficult to judge. But I would say there is room for debate.

    Clearly he wasn't too off his rocker to surrender and a less violent approach to arresting him may have been just as successful.

    The argument I have seen to justify the actions of the cop was that he was resisting arrest by refusing to allow himself to be handcuffed. But there is a natural instinct to shield your face when blows are being administered, and it overrides the "put your hands behind your back" command... particularly when you are tackled and the blows precede the command.

    When you say the onlookers (thugs) were "aggressive", I suppose you are referring to verbal aggression in response to the physical aggression they were witnessing by the police in the videos... and I find your characterization of the people and neighborhood interesting.

    There's more than one way to skin a cat is an old saying... and whenever someone insists there's only one way, red flags go up.

    "Fortunately after a little house cleaning courtesy of yours truly"

    No chance can you drop a line like that and not explain further. Come on now, spill it.

    A

  12. [12] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [7] altohone

    "the cop was whaling on him for no reason".

    Whaling, wailing... quality editing... or unintentional comic relief.
    Thar she blows!

    Wait... you left out 'waling'...!! Actually it's really not clear which of these is 'correct'...

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/whaling-may-result-in-weals/

  13. [13] 
    michale wrote:

    Contrary to our local HTS (Hysterical Trump Supporter)'s assertion that I only support the left and all of his other blah, blah...Oh who am I kidding, it's all just fact free bull shit. I have to go with the PD on this one.

    Well, color me shocked.. :D

    There's more than one way to skin a cat is an old saying... and whenever someone insists there's only one way, red flags go up.

    Go on a ride along with inner city cops and after that regal LEOs with your insightful wisdom and espouse all the different ways..

    At least, then you'll have some experience to back it up....

    But you will also learn that, in some situations, there is only one way...

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I think they picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

    @paula,

    airplane! loved that gag. sorry, drug treatment isn't covered either.

    JL

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    also agree with liz, democrats can't just be the party of no like the republicans were. it isn't who they are, and it will not work for them. democrats win when they inspire, and intransigence without a legit vision is not very inspiring.

    also agree with ritholtz on the jobs numbers (thanks neil!):

    "[ii] During the Obama Administration, monthly jobs creation exceeded 235,000 on 30 separate occasions.

    [iii] Over the past 18 months, job growth has been averaging over 200,000 while GDP was below 2 percent.

    [iv] From October 2010 to January 2017, over 14 million jobs were created.

    [v] During President Obama’s two terms, the economy created jobs for 75 consecutive months of job gains, the longest streak on record.

    [vi] The Unemployment Rate has been at or below 5 percent since August of 2015.

    [vii] The Labor Force Participation Rate peaked in early 2000 at 67.3 percent. The overall trend has been downward ever since. This is especially pronounced among men.

    [viii] Over the last 24 months of Obama’s second term, the Unemployment Rate has averaged 5.0 percent.

    [ix] People have been returning to the Labor Force since October 2015, when the LFPR bottomed at 62.4 percent.

    [x] Wages have been ticking higher for several years now. See this, this and this.

    [xi] Corporate plans created prior to Trump winning the Presidency, some dating as far back as 2013, are responsible for most of those jobs.

    [xii] The deals announced since the November election add up to less than 2000 jobs."

    i left out the first bullet point because it's just snark and a link, but i'll provide the link: https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/02/24/daniel-dales-donald-trump-fact-check-updates.html

    JL

  16. [16] 
    michale wrote:

    As to the subject of the commentary..

    Yes, ya'all now have a President Trump lie as big as Obama's lie....

    How ironic that, with only a couple exceptions...

    NO ONE HAS ANY MORAL FOUNDATION TO CONDEMN PRESIDENT TRUMP!!

    "Oooooo that's gotta hurt!!!"
    -Jim Carrey, THE MASK

    :D hehehehehehehe

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    ryan's plan is predicted to kill tens of thousands of people due to lack of insurance. i don't want to be pedantic about it, but i'll just point out briefly that moral foundation (or lack thereof) has no bearing on the fact that the criticism is accurate.

    there's a reason the president kept his distance from this. he should continue to keep his distance, and if he purports to be independent then he should veto the thing if it passes.

    JL

  18. [18] 
    michale wrote:

    also agree with liz, democrats can't just be the party of no like the republicans were. it isn't who they are, and it will not work for them. democrats win when they inspire, and intransigence without a legit vision is not very inspiring.

    Agreement of the elders.. :D

    Awesome!! :D

  19. [19] 
    michale wrote:

    ryan's plan is predicted to kill tens of thousands of people due to lack of insurance. i don't want to be pedantic about it, but i'll just point out briefly that moral foundation (or lack thereof) has no bearing on the fact that the criticism is accurate.

    I completely agree that the criticism is accurate. As things stand now, there is no doubt that the criticism is accurate...

    But my point is, that (with a few exceptions) NO ONE here has the moral authority to bring that criticism..

    And THAT point is dead on ballz accurate...

    there's a reason the president kept his distance from this. he should continue to keep his distance, and if he purports to be independent then he should veto the thing if it passes.

    Time will tell, but I have a feeling that THAT is exactly what President Trump is going to do...

    Covers him and tells the GOP to get off their asses, ignore the path of least resistance and get it right...

    For President Trump, it'll be a HUGE win... :D

  20. [20] 
    michale wrote:

    also agree with liz, democrats can't just be the party of no like the republicans were. it isn't who they are, and it will not work for them.

    And yet, that is the EXACT path that the Democrat Party is going down...

    And it's going to be disastrous for the Dem Party.. As Mopshell pointed out, it will likely result in a SUPER MAJORITY for the GOP and President Trump winning such a huge landslide in 2020, it will make Reagan's look like nothing...

  21. [21] 
    michale wrote:

    Paula,

    I think they picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

    I'm so proud.. {{snuffle}}

    heh :D

  22. [22] 
    michale wrote:

    Covers him and tells the GOP to get off their asses, ignore the path of least resistance and get it right...

    For President Trump, it'll be a HUGE win... :D

    Add to that the continued awesome news on the JOBS front and President Trump will be unstoppable!! :D

    It's not to late to join the winning side and get with Team Trump!! :D

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Add to that the continued awesome news on the JOBS front

    as ritholtz laid out factually, most of what happens with the economy in the first year or so of a presidency (if not longer) can probably be put down to the effects of the previous president. however things are now, obama still gets a share of the credit and the blame. if healthcare hasn't been gutted and the job numbers are still going up at this time next year, then i'll consider a change in my stance.

    JL

  24. [24] 
    michale wrote:

    as ritholtz laid out factually, most of what happens with the economy in the first year or so of a presidency (if not longer) can probably be put down to the effects of the previous president.

    Perhaps in normal times.. But I am sure you would agree that these are not normal times..

    It's simply IMPOSSIBLE to think that the JOBS announcements would have been THIS good if NOT-45 had been elected..

    however things are now, obama still gets a share of the credit and the blame. if healthcare hasn't been gutted and the job numbers are still going up at this time next year, then i'll consider a change in my stance.

    And 10,000 quatloos says you'll likely be the ONLY one who will.. :D

    Well, you and one other... :D

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    It's simply IMPOSSIBLE to think that the JOBS announcements would have been THIS good if NOT-45 had been elected..

    it's not impossible at all. hillary could well have experienced similar numbers, although she certainly wouldn't have made as big a show of them. if donald doesn't do anything to screw it up, maybe a sliver lining is that making a big deal of this will boost public confidence.

    JL

  26. [26] 
    michale wrote:

    it's not impossible at all. hillary could well have experienced similar numbers,

    I disagree.. a big part of those numbers is that businesses have more confidence in President Trump than they would have had in NOT-45...

    if donald doesn't do anything to screw it up, maybe a sliver lining is that making a big deal of this will boost public confidence.

    Public Confidence is already thru the roof, but yes, it can (and will) go higher and yes, it will be a good thing for Americans, America and President Trump..

    I look forward to the day I can welcome you to Team Trump.. :D

    It's awesome!!! :D

  27. [27] 
    michale wrote:

    Oh... And Happy PI day, Weigantians... :D

  28. [28] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    A quick glance at CNN, Fox News, and Drudge Report this morning barely show an indication of last night's CBO report. Upstaged by a snow storm. It'll be 71 degrees today where I'm writing from.

  29. [29] 
    michale wrote:

    A quick glance at CNN, Fox News, and Drudge Report this morning barely show an indication of last night's CBO report. Upstaged by a snow storm.

    Or, the CBO report is only being hyped by the Left Whinery... :D

    It'll be 71 degrees today where I'm writing from.

    It's like 47 degrees here now.... And I am in my customary shorts and a t-shirt...

    Where's some global warming when ya need it, eh?? :D

  30. [30] 
    neilm wrote:

    A few more thoughts on Trumpcare:

    Adding more competition seems like a good idea, but as well as being difficult for a consumer to make buying decisions during medical emergencies, there are efficiencies in markets that favor cities over rural areas.

    Just like supplying electricity, you can run a 1 mile wire down a street and supply 500 homes in a city, but only one home in a rural area. Thus the cost of infrastructure and maintenance in cities is going to be far lower. The same applies to healthcare (hospitals, labs, outpatient clinics, doctors groups, specialist centers, etc.) which is why Obamacare gave higher subsidies to more expensive areas. Trumpcare eliminates this.

    A second issue then kicks in - if it is expensive to build infrastructure, there is little incentive to build competition to existing healthcare providers in rural areas. If there is a county hospital that is just surviving, who is going to open another one to compete with it, especially when you can open a new hospital in a growing population in a city? So the whole concept of competition falls apart.

    A third issue also is a problem, and that is the desirability of rural areas for medical professionals. Canada has a shortage of doctors and nurses and so imports them on the provision that they work for a time in rural areas where they can't get Canadian medical staff to work. The same problem exists here, except in 45 country there is increasing hostility to immigrants, plus there is no program of incentives for immigrants to move to low salary areas (all that bigotry makes you sick, irony and karma are alive and well however).

    The net net here is that the tax credits for people in cities is going to rise, their costs are already significantly lower and with more money coming in, more insurance company competition will help drive costs lower still, and there is a larger pool of medical staff competing for jobs.

    The exact opposite is true in rural areas.

    Now, remember all those maps of America after the election that showed massive amounts of red, yet 45 still lost the popular vote by millions? Guess what party wins the low populated areas?

    Dead on arrival doesn't begin to describe Trumpcare. Don't bother sending the ambulance, just send a couple of guys with shovels. Healthy guys if they have to go out of the city ;)

  31. [31] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    neilm (1)-
    The pinnacle of voter suppression efforts.

  32. [32] 
    neilm wrote:

    I struggle between advocating that the Democrats propose their own fix to Obamacare's issues, or just let the Republicans own the whole medical coverage and delivery issue.

    Pros and cons of for the Democrats proposing their own bill:

    Cons:

    1. It "admits" Obamacare needs improvement, which will be spun as "even the Democrats know Obamacare is failing" by an increasingly desperate Republican Party

    2. It will turn story from "Just how bad is Trumpcare?" to "Trumpcare vs. than Obamacare 2.0, which is worse?"

    3. Democrats have zero chance of getting a bill passed and signed, so what is the point?

    4. Being the "Party of No" helped the Republicans win in 2010, 2014 and 2016 - riling up the base with defiant opposition works.

    Pros:

    1. The humiliation of 45 if he has to sign the Democratic bill in 2018 after the Republicans lose in a landslide would be icing on the cake.

    2. It would show that the Democrats care about solutions and Americans, not politics as usual

    3. ?

    Anybody got any other pros and cons?

  33. [33] 
    neilm wrote:

    The pinnacle of voter suppression efforts.

    Snarky - I like it. And a massive own goal if the analysis on impact is correct.

  34. [34] 
    michale wrote:

    Adding more competition seems like a good idea, but as well as being difficult for a consumer to make buying decisions during medical emergencies, there are efficiencies in markets that favor cities over rural areas.

    But the entire idea about Health Insurance is to HAVE IT ALL THE TIME..

    That way, there is no decision making process during a medical emergency..

    I mean, isn't that what ya'all have been saying??

    The people should be FORCED to have insurance..

    1. It "admits" Obamacare needs improvement, which will be spun as "even the Democrats know Obamacare is failing" by an increasingly desperate Republican Party

    Oh come on Neil!! No one who has more than 2 brain cells to rub together thinks that CrapCare is perfect as it is...

    4. Being the "Party of No" helped the Republicans win in 2010, 2014 and 2016 - riling up the base with defiant opposition works.

    As Joshua points out above, Republicans can make that work for them..

    If Democrats try it, it will work... For Republicans..

  35. [35] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "...democrats can't just be the party of no like the republicans were. it isn't who they are, and it will not work for them."
    Democrats have to say to no to what the Republicans are trying to do. That is who they are. They are the party of NOT Republicans.
    They will appear to fight the good fight while the Republicans screw everything up and then they will run as the NOT Republicans that they have been pretending to be and hope to inspire enough fear that they can make some electoral gains in 2018 and 2020.
    If that's the route the Democratic Party chooses let's hope that you are at least right that it won't work for them.
    Then maybe they will finally learn that the party has to inspire more than just the fear that things will be worse with Republicans and actually work to make things better instead of just settling for easing some pain while slowing down the decline.

  36. [36] 
    michale wrote:

    Then maybe they will finally learn that the party has to inspire more than just the fear that things will be worse with Republicans and actually work to make things better instead of just settling for easing some pain while slowing down the decline.

    Ding, Ding, Ding!!! We have a winner!!!

    THAT is the Democrats entire problem..

    They have nothing.. They have proven that they cannot govern..

    The ONLY thing they have is hysterical fear-mongering...

    And the American people showed the Dem Party the door...

    It's that simple...

  37. [37] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @Michale [#34]

    Personally, I'd like to remove employer-provided health insurance from the equation completely. That was something that disappointed me about ACA which further institutionalized it. Either an open market insurance at the individual level (rather like auto insurance) or a single-payer system. If the former, then the overall costs of health coverage (and really that's what we're talking about) hopefully become more transparent because consumers are buying it directly rather than being hidden in group coverage.

  38. [38] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    Don't get to excited.
    Remember, the Republicans have less than nothing.
    The Republicans have also proven that they cannot govern and all they have is fear mongering.
    Unfortunately the only door the American people have shown the Democrats is the revolving door of the two party two step that they are counting on to return them to the top.
    Neither party is ever completely out of power or in power. Until citizens realize they are being conned by the power establishment of both CMPs and either take over their parties or leave for a third party the illusion of change from switching which party is on top will continue.
    Both parties are going to have to find a different approach when the American people are finally pushed to the point when fear is no longer effective.

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Anybody got any other pros and cons?

    Does anybody have any idea about how an effective and efficient healthcare system works?

  40. [40] 
    Paula wrote:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/he-seems-nice--2

    The White House thinks this loon is who they need to talk to about healthcare.

  41. [41] 
    neilm wrote:

    Does anybody have any idea about how an effective and efficient healthcare system works?

    There is the single payer model that works for most countries. Smart insurance works in Switzerland - it is basically Obamacare with an individual mandate, etc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Switzerland

  42. [42] 
    Paula wrote:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/opinion/want-to-keep-the-president-at-bay-two-consultants-have-an-inside-track.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

    For a fee, Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s pugilistic former campaign manager, and Barry Bennett, a former Trump senior adviser, will protect you from “tweet risk” — what happens to the stock price and reputation of your company when the president tells his 26 million Twitter followers that you’re killing factory jobs or refusing to sell Ivanka Trump handbags.

    “If he’s gonna come after you, there’s nothing we can do to stop it,” Mr. Bennett said of Avenue Strategies, the firm he and Mr. Lewandowski opened in offices overlooking Mr. Trump’s White House bedroom window. “But if you want to figure out how to win in this environment, we can help you...The two men say they’re not swamp creatures, because they are not just helping their clients; they are helping Mr. Trump.

    Trump pals learn from the top swindler/conman and come out with their own ways to profit from his presidency. All part of Bannon/Trump's needs to fake some kind of positive activity they can try to take credit for. Who needs to anything real when you can just blackmail companies into inviting the orange man to come out and take credit for something you've been planning for 5 years?

    Deplorable.

  43. [43] 
    michale wrote:

    Personally, I'd like to remove employer-provided health insurance from the equation completely. That was something that disappointed me about ACA which further institutionalized it. Either an open market insurance at the individual level (rather like auto insurance) or a single-payer system. If the former, then the overall costs of health coverage (and really that's what we're talking about) hopefully become more transparent because consumers are buying it directly rather than being hidden in group coverage.

    Can't argue with your logic...

  44. [44] 
    michale wrote:

    Don,

    Remember, the Republicans have less than nothing.

    And yet, they have utterly decimated the Democrat Party since 2010....

    The Republicans have also proven that they cannot govern and all they have is fear mongering.

    Troo....

    At least we agree on BOTH Partys suck..

    But, we're in a unique situation whereas we have a POTUS who is not beholden to ANY Party..

    That's going to change the dynamic considerably..

    And, from all indications to date, change it for the better..

    Both parties are going to have to find a different approach when the American people are finally pushed to the point when fear is no longer effective.

    And I think that time is now and President Trump may be the solution.. :D

    Time will tell...

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil,

    By "anybody have any idea" I was referring to American politicians.

    Of course, the rest of the civilized world knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to providing universal healthcare.

  46. [46] 
    neilm wrote:

    By "anybody have any idea" I was referring to American politicians.

    I should have guessed that, what with you having personal experience of a functional healthcare system and all ;)

  47. [47] 
    neilm wrote:

    But, we're in a unique situation whereas we have a POTUS who is not beholden to ANY Party..

    The denial runs strong in this one, young Luke.

  48. [48] 
    michale wrote:

    The denial runs strong in this one, young Luke.

    Yes it does.. But the denial is yours..

    Ya'all have proved beyond ANY doubt that the GOP is almost as much against President Trump as the Democrats are..

    But you want to have it both ways..

    When it suits yer agenda, you want to claim that the President and the GOP are one.. When it suits your agenda that the GOP hates the President as much as the Dims do, then THAT is yer story..

    You can't have it both ways..

    I won't allow it.. :D Heh

  49. [49] 
    Paula wrote:

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d0716d0813de4c4f969c6da3e5d98bbd/library-named-charleston-church-shooting-victim-targeted

    The racist and anti-gay remarks were sprayed at three buildings, including the library named for Cynthia Hurd, one of nine people shot to death at Emanuel AME Church. Hurd had been manager of that library when she was killed. It was named for her after her death.

    One of the statements sprayed on library property targeted black women specifically.

    Trumpers.

  50. [50] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    "And I think the time is now and President Trump may be the solution."
    Let's hope the time is now and I refuse to believe that there is, as you claim, no hope for a positive solution. :D

  51. [51] 
    neilm wrote:

    Ya'all have proved beyond ANY doubt that the GOP is almost as much against President Trump as the Democrats are..

    Yeah, when I look at 45's cabinet, the people he praises and those he attacks and makes false accusations against, and you can see exactly what he is - a lost clown who wraps himself in Republican talking points he gets from Fox News and Breitbart, and sometimes even Infowars.

    Where is HIS healthcare plan? Where if HIS plan to end ISIS in weeks? Where is HIS plan to bring back manufacturing jobs?

    Nowhere. He just trots along behind Ryan and mouths off some nonsense.

    Pathetic.

  52. [52] 
    altohone wrote:

    13

    The police tackling and beating people who get on their knees and surrender is the only way?

    Those who would make that claim and defend the police who do it are lacking more than just imagination.

    A

  53. [53] 
    michale wrote:

    Where is HIS healthcare plan? Where if HIS plan to end ISIS in weeks? Where is HIS plan to bring back manufacturing jobs?

    The plan to bring back manufacturing jobs???

    I think that's already in the works.. :D

  54. [54] 
    altohone wrote:

    chazzzbrown
    12

    Interesting.

    I guess when the cop was beating the guy with his flashlight, it comes close to meeting the definition the way it was used in the past.

    Are you claiming the author/editor were assuming that is what the onlooker intended?

    I'm still leaning towards it being a mistake that spellcheck wouldn't catch.

    A

  55. [55] 
    michale wrote:

    Altohone,

    The police tackling and beating people who get on their knees and surrender is the only way?

    Those who would make that claim and defend the police who do it are lacking more than just imagination.

    My point is, you speak from ignorance... Unless you have been a police officer, you simply cannot intelligently pass judgement...

    Even going on a ride along, as I suggested, would at least offer you some second hand experience...

    I don't mean this to be insulting..

    "There is no dishonor in not knowing everything"
    -Subcommander T'al

    If you would like to gain a SMIDGEN of insight, find a book called SIGNAL ZERO...

    It's written by a college professor who USED to think like you do..

    Until he actually went thru the Academy and became a police officer...

    NOW he thinks like I do....

  56. [56] 
    Kick wrote:

    Trump World is preparing to throw Ryan under the bus for the healthcare bill. I'd say that means it's a goner.

    Wonder what's next?

  57. [57] 
    neilm wrote:

    Wonder what's next?

    Who knew healthcare was so complex?

  58. [58] 
    michale wrote:

    Trump World is preparing to throw Ryan under the bus for the healthcare bill. I'd say that means it's a goner.

    I never liked Ryan anyways.. :D

  59. [59] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

  60. [60] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, I know it's been awhile, but I'm jumping back into the fray... sorry for the radio silence...

    altohone [4] -

    Thanks for asking... I am actually now ALMOST COMPLETELY OUT of tax Hell!

    I had to reach into some pretty obscure Pink Floyd lyrics (but not, ironically enough, from Obscured By Clouds, heh) to fully express how I feel. From "Echoes":

    And no one called us to the land
    And no one knows the where's or why's.
    Something stirs and something tries
    Starts to climb toward the light.

    Strangers passing in the street
    By chance two separate glances meet
    And I am you and what I see is me.
    And do I take you by the hand
    And lead you through the land
    And help me understand
    The best I can.

    And no one called us to the land
    And no one crosses there alive.
    No one speaks and no one tries
    No one flies around the sun....

    [interlude: about 25 minutes of psychedelic funkiness, building to a spectacularly light and airy end...]

    Almost everyday you fall
    Upon my waking eyes,
    Inviting and inciting me
    To rise.
    And through the window in the wall
    Come streaming in on sunlight wings
    A million bright ambassadors of morning.

    And no one sings me lullabyes
    And no one makes me close my eyes
    So I throw the windows wide
    And call to you across the sky....

    I've always personally liked the line "a million bright ambassadors of morning," even though I'm hardly a "morning person." But that's indeed what it feels like, rising from very deep and murky waters only to be greeted with a fresh breeze and sunshine and the brightness of a new day.

    It's not even that I owed a bunch of money or anything, I just had to learn a whole bunch of new (and impenetrable) forms and read tons and tons of obscure and vague instructions. The icing on the cake was definitely seeing Trump's returns splashed all over the net tonight... heh...

    OK, I just had to get that off my chest, now on to actually answering stuff...

    -CW

  61. [61] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula [2] -

    Nice "wrong week to stop sniffing glue" quote, there. Wonder if Michale will notice? Heh...

    altohone [4] -

    Hadn't heard that bankruptcy number. Is that down from where it was pre-Ocare? Some context would help, there. Just curious.

    As for Dems preparing their own plan, well, I disagree. I think that might be helpful in a few months, but not now. Dems already have a plan, it's called Obamacare. With the CBO doing comparisons, that's all they need for now. If (when?) Ryancare goes down, THEN they can start making sane suggestions for fixes, but until we reach that point, it would just be a distraction from the GOP admitting it never really had all that wonderful a plan to begin with. There's a time for everything, in other words. I do agree there's work to be done on the "affordability" side, but then again a public option on all the exchanges would solve one whale of a lot of problems, wouldn't it?

    I must admit, I'm still catching up on comments, and working backwards (from Tues night 3/4) so I haven't seen LizM's actual comments yet. So don't get me wrong, I'm not refuting arguments I haven't even read yet...

    altonhone [5] -

    Filters? Oh, damn. Lemme go fix that right now...

    More later...

    -CW

  62. [62] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, filter comments have been released, and my apologies for the agonizingly-long delay for some of them.

    But I see a bunch of emails in the filter too, so I'm going to answer them for a bit before I dig back into comments...

    More in a bit...

    -CW

  63. [63] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm [57]

    Who knew healthcare was so complex?

    Who knew the swamp wasn't draining?
    Who knew the jobs numbers weren't phony?
    Who knew Mexico wouldn't pay?

    Who knew voters were so gullible?!

  64. [64] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [63] Kick

    Who knew xxx...

    Makes of me think of Leonard Cohen...

    Everybody knows.

  65. [65] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    altohone [7] -

    OK, I admit that even I had to stop and think about that. Is it "whaling" or "wailing"? Where did the slang come from?

    This is a tougher one for me than other common metaphor mistakes (usually caused by spellcheckers that don't check grammar, sadly, these days), such as "tow the line" (cringe), or "free reign" (double-cringe).

    That last one, I snuck into a column last week, because it allowed me to (correctly, astonishingly enough) use "free reign" to describe a "special prosecutor." Not only would a SP have free rein to do what they wanted (subpoena anything Trump-related, for instance), but in this specific case, they could also accurately be said to have "free reign," since a SP is essentially a fourth branch of US government. They are answerable to no one, they can investigate anything, and their power is pretty much unlimited in this regard. "Free reign" indeed!

    Ahem. Where was I?

    Oh, right, whaling.

    Well, unquestionably the best rock-n-roll song with a whaling theme was "Nantucket Sleighride" by the band Mountain (of "Mississippi Queen" fame, showing their geographical breadth, I suppose), and they've actually got a great two-sides-of-the-album live version, if you're interested. "Goodbye, little Robin-Marie..."

    Your snarky commentary, however, didn't ring true for me. So I looked it up, and you are wrong.

    In the Oxford English Dictionary, every definition of "wail" is related to sound. But there is this, as a tertiary definition of "whale" (the first is the noun, the beast; the second is the verb, to fish for whales):

    WHALE: Now U.S. colloq. [Of osbcure origin. Commonly regarded as a spelling of WALE, but there are difficulties of form, chronology, and meaning. Perhaps orig. = to thrash with a whalebone whip.]

    1. trans. To beat, flog, thrash.
    1801 Whaleing a gentleman is but a vulgar revenge. 1884 Mark Twain Huck. Finn He used to always whale me when he was sober and could get his hands on me.

    So, you gonna argue with the authority of Mark Twain? Heh.

    :-)

    -CW

  66. [66] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    chaszzzbrown [12] -

    Aha! Another county heard from!

    If the OED is right, it did come from a misspelling of "WALE" so the correct thing for HuffPost to have written would have been: "the cop was waling on him for no reason."

    Heh.

    -CW

  67. [67] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, I fully admit that my first foray into answering comments has not gotten me very far, despite spending a few hours at it. I cleared the filters, I answered some emails, and I somehow got sidetracked by Pink Floyd, Mountain, and the whole wailing/whaling/waling debate. Hey, it did give me an excuse to drag out my OED copy (just have the reduced one, with the magnifying glass you have to use to read it), I suppose.

    I promise, I'll do better tomorrow. I gotta ease back into this, folks...

    :-)

    -CW

  68. [68] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Michale - where do you get your health insurance, privately or through your employer?

  69. [69] 
    michale wrote:

    Michale - where do you get your health insurance, privately or through your employer?

    I am self-employed.. I have a family plan thru my wife's work...

    Personally, it sucks.. The deductible shot WAY up after TrainWreckCare. So much so that it is impossible to use unless something major happens...

    We were fortunate this year with my surgery for my arm. We actually were able to use our insurance because our deductible was met..

    And I don't need to worry about losing my house over medical bills..

  70. [70] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Well, the guy screaming "I am god" while being beaten after kneeling in surrender makes for a scene that is difficult to judge. But I would say there is room for debate.

    Clearly he wasn't too off his rocker to surrender and a less violent approach to arresting him may have been just as successful.

    For the most part I agree, however what is not reported is that he started out in the gas station threatening people after his credit card was declined 6 or so times. He had started shouting "I am God! I am the police! You cannot do anything to me".

    What we don't see and don't know is what occurred prior to the beginning of the filming. If this started as a garden variety response to a complaint he was probably in the process of being checked out for arrest and decided to flee or perhaps the officer had a negative interaction with something on the person.

    We are talking about a person who is a frequent flyer not because of a mental deficiency, but one whose brother is a known registered sex offender and drug dealer ( you name it he sold it), and a serial squatter who, he happened to live with while squatting and attempting to destroy my neighborhood through destroying properties and threatening anybody who had the balls to stand up to them.

    The argument I have seen to justify the actions of the cop was that he was resisting arrest by refusing to allow himself to be handcuffed. But there is a natural instinct to shield your face when blows are being administered, and it overrides the "put your hands behind your back" command... particularly when you are tackled and the blows precede the command.

    Again I will point to we do not know what happened on the initial contact. If the officer had just rolled up and jumped out and tackled the guy ...I would be inclined to say that is a valid point.

    When you say the onlookers (thugs) were "aggressive", I suppose you are referring to verbal aggression in response to the physical aggression they were witnessing by the police in the videos... and I find your characterization of the people and neighborhood interesting.

    To some extent I am referring to reactions, and my characterization of the area is accurate. The actual neighborhood is filled with good people who are under-served and under-protected from some of the bad elements in the area. It is improving, at least now you don't hear gun shots every night...

    The actual spot that the incident took place is known for the itinerants hanging around and the drug dealing with aggressive panhandling and out right threatening / extortion while you try to pump gas. There is a reason they don't let you pay at the pump. Did I mention prostitution?

    While I don't have an issue with anyone expressing their thoughts.... Don't you find it kind of foolish to close in a person with a gun who is probably feeling threatened and is experiencing for lack of a better term an adrenaline rush? From what I saw of the video it was apparent that several individuals were closing in on the officers, never a smart move when they are still trying to place the person in custody...

    There's more than one way to skin a cat is an old saying... and whenever someone insists there's only one way, red flags go up.

    By no means am I saying there is only one way to skin a cat...Just that in this case, with the facts on hand, I am going to support the local PD and give the new chief a chance to prove he is moving the department in the right direction.

    Now if it was the old command staff and chief, I would probably be a whole lot more skeptical of justice being served....

    If this video had been more complete in terms of capturing the incident I would look at the situation different. The fact it is missing the beginning of the incident causes me to error on the side of caution and allow due process to happen.

    "Fortunately after a little house cleaning courtesy of yours truly"

    No chance can you drop a line like that and not explain further. Come on now, spill it.

    It is still an ongoing investigation....but suffice it to say the FBI received some information about 6 homes on my street that were known meth dealers and gang affiliates think a twisted combo of good old school street gangs and the Hells Angels, all married and related in one way or another.

    The city started a program to help us home owners deal with these types of properties when I went to file my complaint imagine my surprise at being told there were zero calls for service on these properties...

    So I compiled all of my evidence and utilized a connection at the FBI. About 12 months later, lets just say that wave one of corrupt folks have been shown the door and the police are now responding to calls in our neighborhood and I no longer have death threats sprayed on the side of my vehicles.

    Once the matter is fully closed I will be more than happy to be a little more precise.

  71. [71] 
    michale wrote:

    Ya wanna know what the REALLY kewl thing is??

    The vast majority of those 24 million Americans **CHOOSE** not to be covered!!!

    Which is INFINITELY better than those millions and millions of Americans who were THROWN OFF THEIR PLANS UNWILLINGLY!!!

    That right there makes TrumpCare a thousand times better than TrainWreckCare....

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