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Why Democrats and Republicans will never come to agreement on healthcare

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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:54 PM
Original message
Why Democrats and Republicans will never come to agreement on healthcare
Dale Earnhardt once said, "second place is the first loser."

The first loser in the 2008 presidential election, Thorazine spokesmodel John "single-payer healthcare gets you sent to the Hanoi Hilton" McCain, says President Obama must work with Republicans to create a bipartisan healthcare bill.

Let's skip over the fact that this man lost the presidential election so his words carry no more weight than those of any other senator. Let's also skip over the fact that to a Republican, "bipartisanship" means "we expect to get our way whether it makes sense or not, and if we have to we'll stand in the Senate chamber reading the phone book into the Congressional Record until you give in."

Back to my point: There are vast differences between the kind of healthcare bill a Democrat will support and the one a Republican would grudgingly accept. Republicans think the healthcare system as it stands right now is perfect. They wouldn't change a thing, and they've got the Mighty Wurlitzer telling the rank-and-file to get their asses out in the streets to protest until any effort to change it is either killed or turned into something Republicans like--arguably the same thing.

There are two Democratic views on this. A really serious liberal would like nothing less than single-payer healthcare. More pragmatic ones would like single-payer but she'd take a public option plan if that's the best we can do right now. (My thinking: get the public option in place now. Get people into it. If it's decent, and there's no reason it couldn't be, as people drop overpaid private coverage for the public option it would become a true single-payer on its own.)

Republicans prefer this plan: "Give people tax cuts so they can buy their own health insurance." Since Republicans only have one answer for anything--they tried paying for a very expensive war by cutting taxes--let's look at this answer in two ways. First, assume employers will maintain their current healthcare coverage and employers who DON'T offer it now will start doing so; many of the small businesses Republicans are so in love with can't afford to give their employees health coverage. Say it costs $120 per month per covered person to pay the employee's share of health insurance--or for a family with a married couple and two children, the share is $480 per month. If you earn $35,000 per year and you pay 40 percent in total payroll-deducted taxes, including local, state, FICA, etc., etc., etc., your monthly taxes are $1166. That's ALL your taxes. If you cut this worker's taxes enough to afford a $480 healthcare bill, you'll reduce his taxes by over 40 percent. Which of course means you've got to talk the states out of half of it, and a tax cut that large would kill any state. For that matter, it would kill the federal government.

Now let's attack it from the angle of the employer dropping coverage and requiring the employees to pay full freight. As of right now, the average health insurance bill for a family like the one above is $12,000 per year, or a thousand dollars a month. Cut this employee's taxes enough to afford a $1000 health insurance bill and you're looking at receiving, from this worker, $166 per month in total taxes.

And worse, the Republicans' plan does nothing to deal with copays and deductibles.

We know the government isn't going to cut taxes by a thousand dollars a month on this worker, so let's work with a $500/month reduction. We're being very generous here because the government isn't going to cut taxes even that far, but we'll play. I read a LTTE by a Repuke that said people just couldn't afford health insurance because they made bad life choices. If they'd just stop smoking and drinking, cancelled their cell phone service, cable TV and Internet access and quit going out to eat, they could afford health insurance. So let me see...in exchange for getting rid of all their luxuries and a couple of essentials--many people are required to have cell phone and Internet service as conditions of their employment--they can get a nice wallet-size card from a big company to throw in the desk drawer and never look at again because they can't afford the copayment their doctor demands.

Where are we at? The only way we'll get the Republicans to sign onto any healthcare plan is to come up with one that simply will not work. We have three alternatives. Only one is acceptable.

The first alternative is to completely drop the plan. This would have one immediate result: the Republican National Committee would claim that they saved American citizens from paying for illegal immigrants' healthcare, kept Trig Palin from being put to sleep by the evil Democrats and saved fifteen million jobs. They would take this to victory in the 2010 elections. President Obama would lose the 2012 election, and America would look exactly like Margaret Atwood's Gilead by 2015. Even the Republicans would be sick of it by 2016, but the Constitution would have been rewritten to require a religious test for public office that would keep anyone even slightly less religious than Pat Robertson out of office.

The second alternative is to give in to the Republicans and build a plan primarily around tax cuts and private coverage. Results same as above.

The third alternative is to do what the Republicans did when they were the majority and Bush was in power: rent a convention center--I recommend one in Seattle; it's nice there and Republicans are personae non grata--lock the fucking Republicans out, bring in a bunch of realistic people to sit down with our leadership and hammer out something affordable that will work. We then pass it on party lines--last I checked, our party has a long enough line we don't need a single Republican vote to do anything we want--and give it to the people. And we sell it to them in a very simple fashion: tell them "Ronald Reagan was on government-sponsored healthcare for the last few years of his life, when he suffered from Alzheimer's Syndrome, which is a very complex, very expensive to treat illness. If government-sponsored healthcare was good enough for Ronald Reagan, it will be great for you." Reagan is so revered by the right, the revelation that his care was paid for by the government--and there's no way they can deny it because every former president has lifetime health coverage, and Reagan wasn't so magnanimous he would forego free care--will change a lot of freeper minds.
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well said.
And I would also add that Republicans oppose any major changes in health care because they ascribe to an ideology that holds that profit is always a good thing, and therefore we should not take away or impair in any way the ability of health insurers to make a profit. They also do not believe anyone has a right to medical treatment or that government has any obligation to provide them with any help in getting it, consistent with the fact that Republicans have always been against "welfare" in all of its forms. This goes back to the first principle, which is that profit is always good. A corollary to this is that anything that takes away from profit (i.e., taxes) is always bad. In order to provide health care or any other kind of public welfare you have to impose taxes. Taxes cut into profits. Therefore taxes are bad, and to justify this point they claim that cutting taxes, always, for any reason, will always benefit the economy, which it doesn't and never has.

And as a practical matter, specific to the point that Republicans want a tax cut so people can buy their own insurance, it's stupid on its face because if you don't have a job in the first place, a tax cut is the least of your worries because you have no income to tax. And, of course, the people most desperately in need of health care and who can't get it at all are the unemployed.

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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. ReThugs will never come to agreement because they're a Narcissistic Personality cult, who's Party
Platform is a multifaceted Dominionist 2 fold Dogmatic agenda,

1/ Cut Taxes to the rich only..Wealth is a measure of gods favor of a man/corporation. thus taxing the rich is a sin against god, the poor are fair game to loot/abuse/provide the rich with the tribute they deserve. cutting taxes also will reduce the size and influence of the government.. "reducing it to the size it can be drowned in a bath tub". ..that is when the Utopia for the Rich will rise out the ashes of the Constitution.

2/ all Republicans must oppose/obstruct, in lock step and pride in their ignorance and avarice , all democratic attempts to initiate change thru the Democratic Process.

that is about it...

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