Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

Did Rod Blum Get a Spine?

Thursday is apparently the day when Paul Ryan, the anointed intellectual godfather of the right wing in Congress, and Donald Trump, otherwise known as a Russian stooge at this point, are going to put the American Health Care Act to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

According to members of the Freedom Caucus, a right wing group of Tea Party conservatives, the bill does not have the votes.  According to Donald Trump, the self-styled ultimate closer and dealmaker who somehow went bankrupt in the casino business, the bill is going to pass because…um, Obamacare bad.  Seriously, that is the logic at this point.

What about Iowa’s first district Congressman Rod Blum?  Normally, his vote is in line with Paul Ryan and the stooges because Rod Blum is a nothing member of the House.  Really, take a moment and try and find any legislation the guy has authored or fought for in any way that is substantive.  Take a moment and try to find a hearing where he was a forceful contributor.  I will be here waiting for your reply.

The guy will not meet with his constituents, but according to his own Twitter account he is not going to support the bill.  Blum adds the important caveat “in its current form” which allows him the wiggle room to vote yes if some inconsequential change is made and he can go home without being called a spineless liar.

I will not hold my breath expecting him to be an actual no vote when the arm twisting is done, but stranger things have happened.

The Right Wing Health Care Shell Game

Republicans in Congress, with the House leading the charge under the guidance of Paul Ryan, are conducting a great game of three card Monte with the American public.

The proposed American Health Care Act is a joke.  It’s like Diet Obamacare and everyone with half a brain understands that fact.  It is also the type of bill that is so neutered yet destructive enough that it is finding strange bedfellows in opposition like the entirety of the Democrats in Congress and Rand Paul.  If you ever thought Rand Paul would be a dissenting vote on Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act raise your hand?

Now the spin begins.  Republicans and Donald Trump are trying to sell the idea that the goal is cheaper health insurance.  This is a farce because cheaper health insurance generally does not cover any health care.  If something is cheaper it usually means one of two things: someone else is picking up the tab or you are getting less coverage.  It is a zero sum game.

Under the Affordable Care Act the federal government was subsidizing your health insurance if you were so qualified to receive subsidies on the individual market.  Under the American Health Care Act you will just receive less coverage.  “But it is cheaper!” Paul Ryan will scream with Ayn Rand-esque shrillness.  Yes, just like a regular cab rear wheel drive F-150 is less expensive than a crew cab four wheel drive F-150.  Both trucks are F-150s, but one is cheaper because it has less content.  Everyone understands why those two trucks are priced differently and people will understand why health insurance is cheaper under Paul Ryan’s plan when they discover it covers no actual health care.

Thankfully, after seven years of claiming to work on a replacement for Obamacare and despite Donald Trump’s promise of amazing coverage for everyone Republicans have shown their utter lack of vision and leadership on the issue by producing a piece of crap bill.  Furthermore, provisions in the bill that would be windfalls to multi-millionaire CEOs and other rich people just show who the paymaster of the Republican Party really is in 2017.

Paul Ryan is Coming for Your Health Care

Paul Ryan, the wunderkind of the right wing, finally saw fit to release his proposed “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act.  Let me sum it up for you:

  1. If you relied on the individual market or Medicaid for health coverage you will get less. According to Paul Ryan you will like it because the free market will warm your insides with the fiery glow of Ayn Rand’s ridiculous ideology.
  2. If you relied on Planned Parenthood for any health services you are screwed because Paul Ryan hates Planned Parenthood. This is red meat thrown to a conservative base that might have a hard time supporting the bill, but can now hide behind the fact that it defunds Planned Parenthood.  Imagine the member of Congress going back to angry constituents, “I realize you are getting less health care, paying more, and even being denied coverage but we defunded evil Planned Parenthood.”  Look for this to be Ted Cruz’s defense when the human blobfish eventually goes along with passage.
  3. If you are wealthy you like this bill. Why?  You will pay less in taxes.  It is the right wing salve for the soul.  Got an HAS?  You will get to sock away more money under this plan.  The problem with this part of the plan is that poor people are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to fund an HAS for future health obligations.
  4. The bill keeps the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act that deal with keeping your children on your insurance until age 26 among others, but I suspect that these provisions will be weakened or removed entirely as the bill works its way through committee and reconciliation assuming it gets that far in the process.

Republicans do not understand how people actually live.  Asshats like Jason Chaffetz subscribe to the old Ronald Reagan “Cadillac driving welfare queen” when saying bullshit like this:

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.

This is the first shot in a war that Paul Ryan intends to fight over the government providing any sort of assistance to anyone other than the rich and corporations.  Remember, Paul Ryan only has eyes for…

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Having “Access” to Health Insurance is the Latest Right Wing Bait and Switch

Over the next few weeks you are going to hear a lot of right wing talking heads spout off about ensuring “access to health insurance” in whatever plan they happen to be promoting at the time.  However, access to health insurance is not the same thing as being able to obtain health insurance.

Bear with a thought exercise for a moment.  Everyone in the United States has access to a Chevrolet Corvette.  However, only a small percentage of the population of the United States can actually afford a Chevrolet Corvette.  Access does not equal the ability to obtain.

The example is facetious and it does not go far enough.  No one needs a Chevrolet Corvette for transportation when a Chevrolet Sonic will do just fine in most cases.  Yes, it is a completely different car but it provides basic transportation.  Again, a large segment of the population cannot obtain a Chevrolet Sonic even though they have access.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act millions of Americans were denied access to health care based on pre-existing conditions.  Now, Republicans are likely to not totally scrap the prohibition of denial based on pre-existing conditions but it is likely to be modified in a way that benefits health insurance companies in denying you coverage.  Therefore, Republicans will have preserved “access to health insurance.”  See, they are looking out for the little guy.  Aren’t you relieved?

Beyond accessibility is the issue of affordability.  Under the current system, which again is defined by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance for lower income individuals is subsidized.  Makes less money and you qualify for a larger subsidy.  According to Republican logic this is evil.

Under Republican plans the current menu of subsidies would disappear and be replaced with…you got it, tax credits.  These tax credits are not based on income, but age so even if you are rich you get the same tax credit as someone who is poor.  Furthermore, these tax credits will do nothing for the segment of the population that cannot afford health insurance and does not pay taxes because they make too little income.

Make no mistake that the right wing of the right wing, known to most in Washington D.C. as the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” will probably support none of this tax credit nonsense.  The reasoning will be a word salad including the terms “socialism, communism, fascism, Obama, market based solutions, capitalism, Ronald Reagan, America, freedom, and Jesus.”  You can feel free to rearrange the words to match whatever particular politician from the Republican Party happens to be speaking.

In practice this means that whatever mechanism to ensure affordability that survives the gauntlet of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will likely be so meaningless as to make health insurance as unaffordable as it was prior to the Affordable Care Act.  Therefore, “access to health insurance” has been limited because affordability is central to accessibility.  Do not fall for this madness.

Under Republican plans prices for plans will go up, the ability of health insurance companies to screw you over will increase, and the ability of people to actually afford health insurance will erode considerably.  However, you will have “access to health insurance” and that should make you feel all warm inside as you read that dog eared copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Paul Ryan Wants to Make Medicare Look Like a Program He Hates

The pressure of having no legislative mandate, losing seats in both chambers of Congress and having a president-elect over two million votes behind his opponent do not make a mandate, and a caucus full of right wing radicals must be getting to Paul Ryan.  The wunderkind of the right wing is proposing to “fix” Medicare by making it similar to Obamacare.

Wait a second.  I thought that Paul Ryan and his free market flunkies hated Obamacare.  Well, they all liked it when it was Mitt Romney’s plan for health care in Massachusetts.  However, once a Democrat proposed something similar for the entire United States it was a bridge too far.  Cue the Tea Party to bring out signs like this:

keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare

So now Paul Ryan and his coterie of hate want to change Medicare from something that guarantees care into a handout for insurance companies.  They will tell you that the goal is let the free market work its miracle powers.  The free market and the baby Jesus serve the same function as the salve to make unworkable plans or fantastical stories possible.

Remember, Paul Ryan and his Tea Party totalitarians do not think Obamacare works.  They want to destroy Obamacare and Medicare at the same time.  In the process they want to replace Medicare with something that looks just like the system they feel is broken and needs to be replaced.  Talk about keeping your government hands off my Medicare.

Todd Akin Speaks for the Republican Party

The Lorax may speak for the trees, but Todd Akin speaks for the Republican Party:

If you think that these beliefs are taken out of context consider what is going to be in the official Republican Party “plank” for the upcoming convention:

  • A complete ban on abortions with no exceptions in the case of rape and/or incest
  • No legal recognition of same sex couples because if Republicans just ignore gay people and the hate within their own party maybe gay people will just go away
  • A shout out to the joy of mandatory ultrasounds because Republicans want government out of healthcare decisions unless it is the healthcare decisions they choose to interfere with
  • Arizona-style immigration laws for everyone because Governor Jan Brewer is the person you want to emulate when it comes to effective legislation
  • Audit the Fed because the Ron/Rand Paul acolytes had to be given a little red meat otherwise they were going to throw a fit and take their toys home with them
  • Guns, guns, guns because the NRA said so
  • No new taxes unless it is to fund war or the Department of Defense or an increasingly militarized police force or whatever they want save for actually helping people

It is going to be a fun fall.

Friday Linkage 3/23/2012

It must be a presidential primary and election season because the $5 gallon of gas hype machine is in full swing.  Never mind that the president has little or no impact on the price of oil, let alone the price of gasoline, it has not stopped people like Mitt “My Campaign is a Den of Lies” Romney, Rick “Please don’t Google me” Santorum, and Newt “I am so out of it” Gingrich from somehow assigning blame.

Truth does not matter to these people so why should things like economics, international relations, and science…oh wait, these are the guys pandering to the same people who deny global climate change and argue about the scientific merit of evolution.  Because a guy building a boat to haul all the world’s animals seems like such a plausible thing.  Oh wait, God helped.  It must be nice to have the fallback argument that requires no thought.

On to the links…

U.S. Inching Toward Energy Independence–Long the goal of presidents going back to at least Richard Nixon, U.S. energy independence–e.g. no longer dependent upon Middle Eastern oil–is actually a possibility in the near future.  Granted, it’s about a multiplicity of factors including increased domestic production of fossil fuels, increased fuel efficiency, and decreased demand.  However, I bet the current crop of Republican candidates won’t mention any of this.

New York City Energy Usage Mapped Out–Check it out, it’s an infographic and energy efficiency wrapped into one link.  Love it!

Bold Words About Solar–At the MIT Energy Conference a number of attendees made bold proclamations about solar.  The basic hurdle to widespread adoption is less about the cost of the technology and more about the total cost of the system including the bureaucracy surrounding getting a system installed.  For once I agree with the Republican call for government to get out of the way.

New Geothermal Goes Online Near Salton Sea–Geothermal is a vast underutilized energy resource because it is carbon neutral and it is baseload.  It;s like nuclear without all of the problems.

India Has Twenty Times More Wind Power Potential than Previously Thought–Pretty much says it all right there.

Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal Continues Tradition of Senseless Oil Subsidy–Yep, Paul Ryan thinks it is a good idea to continue lavishing taxpayer dollars on enormously profitable oil companies.  Sounds like austerity to me.

Agenda 21 Now Illegal in Tennessee–Making something illegal seems to be the new mantra of conservatives.  If you do not agree with it, make it illegal. If you like it, stuff it down people’s throats.  Great leadership strategy.

Parking Spaces Cover More Space in America than Puerto Rico–Because making smart growth ideas illegal is such a good idea, we should not talk about things like parking spaces covering more space in the U.S. than the entire island of freakin’ Puerto Rico.  What a joke.

At Bicycle Habitat, Welcoming Everyone–It’s a simple chronicle of a bicycle shop in Manhattan.  It makes me miss the relationship I built over fifteen years with my local shop in Winona, Minnesota.

Norway Leads Call for EU Ban on Fish Discards–Norway, which has already banning the practice of discarding edible bycatch, is now calling for an EU wide ban on the practice.  It is a proven step toward helping our overfished seas recover.

Sustainable Coffee Farming in Haiti–I have always found Haiti to be on of the most glaring and awful failures of the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere.  We spend billions of dollars on foreign aid, a lot of it for military aid, and there is a country in our backyard suffering through horrible deprivation.  Why?  At least Todd Carmichael and  La Colombe Torrefaction is trying to do something about it through coffee.

Rick Santorum–Just because I dislike almost everything about the guy.