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Jul 8, 201301:47 PMLeft Business Brain

with Tom Breuer

Republicans across the country unite to derail Obamacare — Wisconsin pitches in

(page 1 of 2)

You know, I’m starting to get the feeling that Republicans don’t want to see President Obama succeed at all. Call me paranoid, but it’s almost like they’re going out of their way to sabotage his efforts. I know. Crazy.

The latest indication came when leading Republicans banded together to head off an Obama administration plan to have the NFL and other sports leagues help promote Obamacare.

Senate Republicans got wind of the fact that Obama and his confederates were actually trying to make implementation of the Affordable Care Act go smoothly and sprang into action, urging the NFL, et al., to stay out of the business of helping our president help the country.

In a recent letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Tobacco) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Red Meat) said the league should lay off trying to help promote such an unhealthy law.

“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care law, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” the two senators who are very concerned about your health wrote.

The gambit worked. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello later replied: “We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the law’s] implementation.”

Two observations:

  1. While a recent CNN/ORC international poll did indicate that a majority of Americans currently oppose Obamacare, fully 16% said they opposed it because it wasn’t liberal enough. Interestingly enough, as the Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of the law last summer, polls at the time also showed that Americans tended to oppose the law. Of course, they also tended to support many of the provisions of the law, particularly the part about preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. That leads me to believe many Americans actually like the Affordable Care Act, which they’ve never heard of, but hate Obamacare, which Sean Hannity talks about every day in the most unflattering and demonic terms imaginable.
  2. The cows are out of the barn on this one. In other words, the Affordable Care Act is law. It was passed by Congress, signed by the president, validated by the Supreme Court of the United States of America and, as of this writing, has survived 37 (no, seriously) House Republican attempts to repeal it. So the “political” part is over. What the Obama administration wanted to do by partnering with the NFL was educate the public about the law (like Massachusetts did with Romneycare) and get young people, whose participation is vital to the success of health care reform, to sign up for health insurance. Getting young folks to enroll in health care plans to shore up the system, an idea that was originally proposed by the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation and later supported by both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (before they opposed it), would help make health care reform (and universal health care) viable. That’s one outcome the GOP can’t tolerate, however, so obstruction is the one and only health care reform plan Republicans have to fall back on.

Of course, the other obstructionist strategy is to interfere with the implementation of Obamacare on the state level. For instance, under the law, states can expand their Medicaid programs, extending coverage to people whose incomes put them at 133% of the poverty level. The federal government would pay for 100% of the expansion in the first few years and 90% thereafter. Who in their right mind would turn that down?

Well, Scott Walker for one. Of course, what Walker and Republican legislators did makes no sense at all because, as state Democrats pointed out, rejecting the additional Medicaid funds means it will cost the state $150 million more to provide coverage to 85,000 fewer people. But on the bright side, it will also make Obamacare appear less successful to people who aren’t paying very close attention. So — lose-win.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced it plans to delay the implementation of the employer mandate in the health care law, saying it has listened to the concerns of businesses and recognized that most employers need more time to implement the law’s requirements.

Naturally, Republicans pounced. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

“The best delay for Obamacare is a permanent one,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said just hours after the administration’s announcement.

Yeah, brilliant one-liner, Rep. Cantor. Maybe you could go on tour with Ted Nugent.


Old to new | New to old
Jul 9, 2013 01:01 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mr Breuer, your column, Left Business Brain, is falsely named - I really doubt you make much use of yours;

Obamacare; You make the point that the 'young' must sign up for health insurance to finance the cost of the 'old'. Good luck! Your logic is based on "The United States has long spent the most per capita on health care of all industrialized nations (by far) while for the most part getting worse results". Never once in the Obamacare debate did I hear anyone even suggest tort reform. Most health care professionals I know pay more in medical malpractice premiums than I earn. Great 'reform' democrats.

The clincher is your "restrict a woman’s reproductive rights". Great concept! Now, tell me about the rights of that human being in the woman's womb? Do you advocate for the right to be murdered?

Jul 11, 2013 08:01 am
 Posted by  Torrey

"The federal government would pay for 100% of the [Medicaid] expansion in the first few years and 90% thereafter. Who in their right mind would turn that down?"

This argument from the Left continues to bother me. You seem to be arguing that the money that comes from the federal government is somehow free. It is not.

If I want a $10,000 boat and my rich uncle offers to pay for it that's one thing. But if Visa sends me a credit card offer for $10,000 in credit and tells me I should use it to purchase that boat, well that's quite another thing. When it comes to Medicaid expansion Washington is not our rich uncle - rather, Washington is our credit card issuer. They are Visa.

Any money that goes to the states from Washington either came from the states in the first place, or will have to come from the states in the future to pay down the debt. There is no "free" money from Washington, contrary to the Left's logic. Any money that is spent by Washington, the state of Wisconsin, Dane County, or the city of Madison is OUR money - the people's. Government at any level cannot spend any amount of money without first extracting it from the populace.

The Medicaid expansion looks like a free lunch to those who don't think it through. But we all know there is no free lunch. The Medicaid expansion scheme is nothing more than a deferred payment plan - additional debt piled upon the citizens of this country, who already are on the hook for over $52,000 per person for our current national debt.

Jul 11, 2013 12:51 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mr. Breuer, I have a proposal for you that, being in your right mind, you cannot turn down. I need a car to get to work so I can be gainfully employed, make a contribution to society, and help increase the employment base for Washington to tax. I am asking you to make my car payment of $500/month to GM (I guess as good of an analogy for Medicaid as anything else) and, for the next 2 years, each month when I get the funds, I promise to send you back $500 - 100% of your out of pocket cost.

But under this deal, you must agree to make my monthly payments forever (of course, after the first 24 payments, I only plan to pay you back $450/month, 90% of your out of pocket - and I might at any time decide to change my mind on what that percentage is going to be, from year to year).

But, one additional thing - I will also require you to send me a 10% fee on top of the $500 to help pay for my assistant's salary, so she can keep track of the books on payments and to ensure you are entitled to that $450 payment. Such a deal - why in your right mind would you turn that down? Please post a response as to where you would like for me to send the payment information.

Jul 15, 2013 06:56 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Key issue here that is ignored in the argument is how do we provide affordable health care that is of good quality for all of our population. Currently we have the most expensive health care and the highest medical error rate in the industrialzied world.

Largely ignored in the above discussion is the same budget that cut medicaid(especially in Dane and Milwaukee counties) and rejected the Affordable Care Act had a large special allocation to battle a drug resistant TB outbreak in Sheyboygan. When people do not have access to health care these types of things are not caught early.

And germs do not care much how you vote or your income level. The people serving you at restaurants ,caring for your children and elders often lack health care and paid sick time.

But the problem will not be solved until we get money out of politics and quit worshipping the Free Market as a God that will solve all of our problems as opposed to a tool that works well in
some areas of our lives and not in others.

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About This Blog

Tom Breuer, IB Web editor, has spent much of his life trying to explain his leftward leanings. As the sixth of seven children from a predominantly Republican family, he's used to being surrounded and ganged up on, so he welcomes comments from conservatives. He is the co-author of three political humor books, including Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly. Find him on Twitter .



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