DEATH FERRET DREAM PLAN TAKES A CAB
MAR 6 — MAR 24 2017
Seventeen days. Well, that didn’t last long, did it?
The first thing you read in any obit is the cause of death, and since this is quite obviously an obit for Trumpcare, we need to understand how and why it died. I’m not talking about all that garbage today on Capitol Hill — Oooooooo! Congressman Bag de Douche from Tennessee just changed from a No to a Yes! Those assholes and which way they were going to vote had absolutely NOTHING to do with the death of Trumpcare. It may have been a political defeat for Gimlet Eyed Death Ferret Ryan and Amateur Hour Trump, but the important thing here is that nothing about the policy itself added up. Not the “health,” not the “care” not the “act,” hell, not even the “American” part, because this was by far the most un-American law in the history of our Republic. The fact is, Trumpcare began its death spiral on March 6, the day it was introduced. But to understand why it was basically DOA in the House, not to mention the Senate, you will have to follow me down a couple of rabbit holes. Since I am fond of my readers, I will do my best to keep them as shallow as I can and our visits as short as possible.
Trumpcare was incubated way back in 2010 or so, when some idiot on Capitol Hill made the grave error of ceasing to talk simply about repealing Obamacare and began to say what they really wanted to do was “repeal and replace” it. OOOOPS! Replace? Replace it with what?
Much has been made of the fact that over the last seven years, Republicans have voted some 54 times to repeal Obamacare either entirely or to fatally cripple it by voting to repeal key parts of it. But not once did they try to vote on something to replace it. Clever bastards, weren’t they? Because now we can see that replacing Obamacare with any sort of healthcare program at all is impossible.
Will you let me take you down the Obamacare rabbit hole briefly? Okay, here we go. There is one key thing to remember: Obamacare was conceived basically as an alternative to a single payer health plan like Medicare, which is what most Democrats have wanted quite literally for nearly 7 decades. Such an alternative was thought necessary, of course, because conventional wisdom held that “single payer will never pass.” Well, you dumbass conventional wisdomites, we’ll never know whether or not single payer will pass until we write a bill and put it up for a vote, will we? Anyway, the result of this lilly-livered chickenshit retreat was Obamacare, a plan pundits came to describe as combining the best parts of socialism and the free market — as if anything combining the words “health care” and “free market” could be “best.” The idea was, the government will set up some mandates setting forth minimum standards of care alongside a mandate to participate in the program, and combine this with the “free market” of for-profit insurance companies. Let’s put aside for a moment the notion that there is anything even marginally resembling a “free market” involving health insurance companies because these companies have endeavored over the last 50 years to turn themselves into a monopoly, and monopolies are in no way shape or form “free.” Nevertheless, Obamacare was cobbled together out of this grab bag of concepts and massaged into something relatively coherent and then subjected to the vagaries of what is known as the “legislative process.”
This is what pundits like to call “making sausage,” as if there could be any kind of legitimate comparison between the quite marvelous process of producing actual sausage and the fucking criminal disaster area of any legislature in the nation. Anyway, this was the opportunity the Republicans had to “negotiate reasonable concessions” from the Democrats in return for promised “support” for the law. Actually as we now know, the concessions demanded by Republicans were in reality time bombs intended to blow up the program, and the “support promised by Republicans evaporated like a saucer of ethyl alcohol left in the sun on the day they voted no.
This gave Republicans excellent opportunities to watch their little bombs go off and then point their stubby little fingers and scream, see! We told you so! Obamacare is failing! It’s in a death spiral! Obamacare, as we know, hasn’t been a failure, and it’s hardly in a death spiral with more than 20 million Americans newly insured under the program and the percentage of uninsured droping from about 20% to 10%. That’s your death spiral right there, asshole Death Ferret Ryan. As the number of uninsured spiraled down, the number of people who died from lack of insurance spiraled down as well.
Yet that’s where we found ourselves as of March 6, when the Death Ferret made his big announcement about the American Health Care Act, almost immediately tagged as Trumpcare. (Whew! Close call for the Death Ferret! Missed Ryancare by a whisker!) This was the big “replace” Republicans had promised for seven years with repeal and replace. And what was it, you might ask? Well, as I have pointed out previously, Trumpcare is a tax cut bill conceived as a chop shop, taking this piece of heath care away here, and that one away there, all in service of paying for the enormous $800 million tax cut for the wealthiest citizens in the country. What did they want to cut? Well, of course being Republicans they started at the bottom with the poorest among us and slashed the hell out of the Medicaid coverage guaranteed in Obamacare, slashing it by a whopping $880 billion, replacing it with something called “block grants” to the states which they can do with what they place, and a so-called “tax credit” for people who are too poor to pay any income taxes in the first place. Then they removed the subsidies provided by Obamacare to middle class citizens used to pay for their insurance. Then they canceled the mandate that everyone buy health insurance or face a penalty, replacing that with a so-called “penalty” of 30% on your first year’s premium if you don’t sign up right away. This turns out to be — you guessed it! — a big fat give-away to the insurance industry, because while they may penalize the consumer, his or her 30 % goes not to bolster the federal coffers to help pay for the plan, but straight into insurance company bank accounts. This has the added real neat result of removing pretty much any incentive for young, healthy people to sign up for insurance, because it works this way: say you’re 26 and you fall off your parents’ coverage. Well, you’re healthy, so you figure, fuck it, I’m not buying health insurance and you stay out of the system until you’re, say, 35, at which time you get real sick and it scares you and you decide you need insurance. All you have to do is pay your 30% penalty for that first year, and you’re in. And oh, by the way, the Death Ferret also canceled the mandate that small businesses offer heath care to their employees, so there you go, people who work for small companies all over the country. Fuck you, too.
And then…TA-DA!…they completely removed the requirement that health insurance companies cover any actual health care at all. How did they do this? Well, they repealed the mandate that insurers cover the 10 Essential Heath Benefits (which I’ve written about previously on this page). This was the Death Ferret’s Dream Plan, under which it would be possible for you to buy a “free market” insurance policy that didn’t cover, say, emergency room visits. So you could be working out in the garden and accidentally slash your leg with your weed eater so you’re bleeding all over your fresh-cut lawn, and you call 911, and you take an ambulance ride to the hospital and get your leg stitched up and you are billed for all of it: the ambulance, the emergency room visit, and the doctor stitching you up. So here’s what it would look like. You sign up for this Death Ferret Dream Plan insurance for, say, $3,000 a year, and when you leave the hospital, the insurance has paid not one cent, and you are stuck with a bill for about $6,000 for your visit. See how cool that is? You end up paying $9,000 — NINE THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS — for your $6,000 emergency room visit, because your insurance under the Death Ferret Plan allowed you to skip emergency coverage. Because…freedom.
The is the plan the Death Ferret and his pals took to the American people and tried to sell on Mar 6. And what did one of the big selling points turn out to be? After the Congressional Budget Office finished its “score,” they announced the Death Ferret Dream Plan would strip insurance coverage from 24 million Americans over the next decade, with 14 million losing coverage next year alone. A 60 year old man who currently pays about $3,000 a year for coverage under Obamacare would be slapped with a bill for $14,000 under the Death Ferret Dream Plan. By yesterday, March 23, 17% of our fellow citizens — apparently including those residing in the deepest of deep red states — thought this was a great idea! Let’s pay lots and lots more for less and less coverage! And when we get old and we’re likely to need insurance the most, let’s fix it so we have to pay so much we can’t afford it! What a good deal!
But 54% of our fellow Americans said fuck you, Death Ferret. Take your “free market” and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
The Death Ferret and his buddies should, but doubtlessly won’t, derive a lesson from all of this, and the lesson isn’t that “health care is difficult” as “President” Trump is said to have learned. Nor is it that the only thing standing between the Death Ferret Dream Plan and victory was a few dozen redneck “Freedom Caucus” loons.
No, the lesson the Death Ferret and the Ignoramus Illuminati should learn is there is no thing as a “free market” when it comes to health care. There are people who get sick and injured, people who suffer heath disasters in mid-life, little infants who are born with defects like spina bifida who need real, tangible help, not some Ayn Rand dystopian wonderland where you get well if you can afford to, and if you can’t afford to, you die.