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Is Florida’s Rick Scott the single most evil politician in America?

Rick Scott, the vile, freaky clown who is the governor of Florida has announced that his state will not take that DIRTY Medicaid money as mandated by the ACA to subsidize the purchase of health care by THE POORS.

As The Daily Beast’‘s Michael Tomasky reports, Scott’s announcement means that at least several hundred thousand—if not many more—of Florida’s poorest families and individuals (those who are up to 133% above the poverty line) will not receive subsidies to purchase health insurance which would be 93% covered by the Feds anyway:

Funny. I seem to remember a time when Scott was quite eager to take Medi-CARE money! That wasn’t his. You remember what I’m talking about.

So this is what social programs mean to Scott. As a private-sector businessman, something to steal from. As a public “servant,” something to play political games with. Floridians will die so that he can be first in the wingnut line.

I don’t know the precise number, but in a state that size, surely a couple million people/families who’ll be eligible for care under the new law in 2014—families of four earning up to $88,000 are eligible for the subsidies—will be denied the chance to buy coverage at subsidized rates because Scott has refused this money. From a policy perspective, this is the next battleground, the pressure point of resistance for the hard-shell ideologues. How many states will really sacrifice billions in federal dollars for the sake of ideology, and how many will do it before the election so they get a gold star from Rove?

Those interested in what we used to call facts may want to read through this nice primer from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which describes the Medicaid transfer from the feds to the states and explains how the federal government will actually be picking up 93 percent of the costs over the next nine years.

If you lived in Florida and you were having a hard time coping like a lot of people are these days—let’s say that maybe you have a handicapped child and have lost your job for the sake of this thought experiment—and you watched last week’s SCOTUS announcement and cried tears of joy that your kid would finally be able to get medical care without making the rest of your family homeless, and now you get THIS NEWS that a mutant shitstain on humanity like Rick Scott is going to deny your kid healthcare because he wants brownie points with the fucking Tea party, what would you think about doing to Rick Scott?

Ponder that for ten seconds. Don’t even give yourself the luxury of a full minute. What comes to mind that you would want to do to Rick Scott?

And if you, dear reader, are thinking what I am a thinking… have a look at the trailer for the powerful (and very underrated I feel) 2002 film, John Q.

Will life imitate art? In the case of Rick Scott, let’s hope it fucking does!

Posted by Richard Metzger
07:04 pm
DROP DEAD: Clarifying the Republican position on healthcare

I love Jonathan Chait’s writing. His New York essays are laser-sharp and well-argued and he’s in the first tier of intelligent political commentators in America today.

With the imminent news from the Supreme Court on the fate of “Obamacare” about to be revealed, Chait’s latest column lays bare the moral issue at the very heart of the debate in a way few other writers have, and really compels his readers to consider what’s at stake.

Several reporters have recently filed dispatches showing in human terms what sort of conditions we would be perpetuating in the event that five Republican Supreme Court Justices, or a potential Republican-run government next year, partially or completely nullify the Affordable Care Act. A man will watch the tumor in his leg grow to the size of a melon, and his wife will sew special pants to fit the growing bulge, because he has no insurance. A woman will hobble around for four years on an untreated broken ankle she can’t have repaired. People will line up in their cars and spend the night in a parking lot queuing for a rare free health clinic.

Maybe these stories sound like cheap emotional manipulation. They are actually a clarifying tool to cut through the rhetorical fog surrounding the health-care debate and define the question in the most precise terms.

Opponents of the law have endlessly invoked “socialism.” Nothing in the Affordable Care Act or any part of President Obama’s challenges the basic dynamics of market capitalism. All sides accept that some of us should continue to enjoy vastly greater comforts and pleasures than others. If you don’t work as hard as Mitt Romney has, or were born less smart, or to worse parents, or enjoyed worse schools, or invested your skills in an industry that collapsed, or suffered any other misfortune, then you will be punished for this. Your television may be low-definition, or you might not be able to heat or cool your home as comfortably as you would like; you may clothe your children in discarded garments from the Salvation Army.

This is not in dispute. What is being disputed is whether the punishments to the losers in the market system should include, in addition to these other things, a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment. The Republican position is that it should. They may not want a woman to have to suffer an untreated broken ankle for lack of affordable treatment. Likewise, I don’t want people to be denied nice televisions or other luxuries. I just don’t think high-definition television or nice clothing are goods that society owes to one and all. That is how Republicans think about health care.

This is why it’s vital to bring yourself face-to face with the implications of mass uninsurance — not as emotional manipulation, but to force you to decide what forms of material deprivation ought to be morally acceptable. This question has become, at least at the moment, the primary philosophical divide between the parties. Democrats will confine the unfortunate to many forms of deprivation, but not deprivation of basic medical care. Republicans will. The GOP is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world to hold this stance.

The maddening thing is that Republicans refuse to advocate the position openly. The more ideologically stringent ones couch their belief in euphemisms, like describing health care as a matter of “personal responsibility.” But even such glancing defenses are too straightforward for most Republican leaders. Instead they simply rail against the specifics of Obamacare and promise to “replace” it, without committing themselves to an alternative path to universal coverage. It is to maintain this pretense of wanting some different solution that John Boehner warns Republicans to hide the unadulterated joy they will feel if the Supreme Court does their work for them.

Thousands of Los Angeles residents showed up for free healcare during an 8 day long free hospital/clinic at the Inglewood Forum in 2009

America stands at a stark crossroads.

Health Care As a Privilege: What the GOP Won’t Admit (New York)

Alan Grayson was obviously right about the Republican’s healthcare plan. Donate to his congressional campaign here.

Posted by Richard Metzger
03:08 pm
A prediction: All Hell will break loose for the GOP if the Supremes reject Obamacare

God help me, but not only do I once again find myself agreeing with something that David Frum has written, I’m actually finding myself drawn to his byline these days.

One of us has changed. It ain’t me!

Frum’s short piece on The Daily Beast yesterday rather eloquently summarizes what will happen after the Supreme Court makes its ruling and was pretty much on the money, I thought. After making the case that Justices who have made their careers decrying judicial activism probably shouldn’t go there themselves—everyone is looking at you, Antonin Scalia—Frum predicts in favor of ACA standing. I wish I could say I was as optimistic as he is, but his analysis of the fallout is still sound:

What then?

What then is that healthcare comes roaring back as a campaign issue, to which Republicans have failed to provide themselves an answer. Because of the prolonged economic downturn, more Americans than ever have lost—or are at risk of losing—their health coverage. Many of them will be voting in November. What do Republicans have to say to them?

Make no mistake: If Republicans lose in the Supreme Court, they’ll need an answer. “Repeal” may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn’t need to worry about health insurance because it’s overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn’t have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It’s frightened, and it wants answers.

“Unconstitutional” was an answer of a kind. But if the ACA is not rejected as “unconstitutional,” the question will resurface: if you guys don’t want this, want do you want instead?

In that case, Republicans will need a Plan B. Unfortunately, they wasted the past three years that might have developed one. If the Supreme Court doesn’t rescue them from themselves, they’ll be heading into this election season arguing, in effect, Our plan is to take away the government-mandated insurance of millions of people under age 65, and replace it with nothing. And we’re doing this so as to better protect the government-mandated insurance of people over 65—until we begin to phase out that insurance, too, for everybody now under 55.


Mitt Romney, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night said the following and it’s blandly revealing of where the GOP stands on the matter:

JAY LENO: Well, suppose if they were never insured before?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, if they’re 45 years old and they show up they say ‘I want insurance because I’ve got a heart disease,’ it’s like hey guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well, and then if you get ill then you’re going to be covered.

Let me translate that for you: “Hey guys, if you’re 45 and don’t have health insurance because you’ve been out of work for the last two years due to the mess me and my Wall Street buddies in the oligarch class have put you in, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO DIE.”

Or you know, Google “WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?” (Google should do the public a service and link the first result to a Willy Wonka meme that says “Don’t have health insurance? You’re fucked”)

Leno pressed him, but Romney kept the line:

JAY LENO: I know guys at work in the auto industry, and they’re just not covered…they’ve just never been able to get insurance. And then they get to e 30, 35, and were never able to get insurance before. Now they have it. That seems like a good thing.

MITT ROMNEY: We’ll look at a circumstance where someone was ill, and hasn’t been insured so far. But people who have had the chance to be insured — if you’re working in an auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure all their employees — you look at the circumstances that exist. But people who have done their best to get insured, are going to be able to be covered. But you don’t want everyone saying, `I’m going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn’t make sense. But you have to find rules that get people in that are playing by the rules.

What an asshole! But this is what the GOP is running on! Does this make any sense? It seems suicidal to me!

“Nothing” is what 31 million uninsured Americans—many of them with pre-existing conditions and children—will get if the Republicans get their way. 31 million people—many of them voters—is a lot of people to fuck over and make angry. If the SCOTUS decides that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the GOP is going to regret what they wished for.

Because if that happens, all Hell is going to break loose.

No one’s going to be talking about “Obamacare” anymore. They’ll be talking about HEALTH CARE and why so many people DON’T HAVE IT in this fucking madhouse of a country. The issue is going to CRUSH the GOP. The BEST outcome for them would be the Supremes letting ACA stand as is because it’s the only thing that would (or could) save the Republicans from themselves.

The thing that’s not getting brought up in all of this, and I think it’s a valid thing to ponder: What happens to 31 million pissed-off people who’ve been counting down the days until they can get health coverage? Do they just shrug it off? Tell their sick kids that it’s what’s best for the country???

Imagine needing a hernia stitched up for years and now that’s off for you, buddy. Just like Denzel Washington in John Q or the main character in Bobcat Goldthwait’s new dark comedy film God Bless America—a guy who is diagnosed with a terminal disease and decides to kill off a bunch of rightwing assholes before his own demise—should they yank away all hope for that many Americans, just imagine the repercussions to the individuals—people with names, social security numbers and street addresses—who will be seen as responsible for destroying the lives of people for whom there was once a light at the end of the tunnel?

My prediction: If the Supremes deep-six Obamacare, things will get fucking nuts.

Posted by Richard Metzger
02:08 pm
Al Franken totally pwns Joe Lieberman!

Senator Franken, I could kiss you!

Posted by Richard Metzger
11:48 pm