Thursday, July 24, 2014

They Shoot Healthcare, Don't They?

Conservatives Find Typo in Obamacare, Try to Kill People With It

Tuesday’s heartless Halbig decision, in which two judges decided that a typo strikes down a key piece of the ACA, ignores both common sense and the millions of Americans who depend on affordable health care.

It’s truly extraordinary, the lengths modern conservatism will go to to ensure that more members of what Dickens called “the surplus population” will die. First, refuse to set up state-run exchanges, so that the poor and working-class people of your state who are desperate to buy subsidized health insurance have to go to the federal exchange. Next, after your own decision not to set up an exchange has made the existence of the federal exchange necessary, you scour the Affordable Care Act and find one sentence that left out one or two words that could enable you to discredit the federal exchange.

Then you sue, claiming that the federally facilitated exchange, which exists because legislators had to plan around what they knew would be your own inaction and hostility, is illegal! Then, you get a couple of aggressively activist judges to agree with you. All that’s needed now is for John Roberts to get back on the team, and the deed will be done: Millions of people will be at risk of losing their no-longer-subsidized insurance, or see their rates shoot up to levels they simply can’t afford. And some, or many, will surely die sooner than they would have. What a legacy.
Any day the Right can hand Barack Obama a loss, is a good day for Conservatism. But if they can do it while ramming a hot poker through a Liberal's bleeding heart?  And immiserating millions of poor, desperate people in the process?

Well that's not just a good day.

Yowza, Yowza...that's fucking Christmas.

Hell, that's the full wingnut TurDuckEn: A War on Christmas, stuffed inside Nathan Bedford Forrest's birthday, stuffed inside Reagan Ascending Bodily to Heaven Day!

A great fucking day for American Conservatism.

The only times I remember them being this giddy was when they cheered and danced in the streets and mocked the dirty Liberal anti-war protesters after they re-elected George W. Bush in 2004...and then again in 2010 when, in full teabagger regalia and swearing they'd never even heard of George W. Bush, they cheered and danced in the streets and mocked the dirty Liberal clean up crew who were trying to clear the rubble and put out the fires that George W. Bush had left in his wake.

Oh, and there was also that 90 second interval when they creamed their collective breeches at the thought that the US Supreme Court had stripped millions of American of any hope of ever getting heath insurance:

But it was not a day of celebration here at the New Castle Driftglass.  It was not a good day at all.  My incredibly strong, smart and compassionate wife was in tears for much of the morning, for two reasons. First because we are among those millions of Americans who (as Brother Charles Pierce writes):
...have spent the last several months with a great weight lifted from their shoulders. Every ache and sudden twinge no longer felt like it could be the first step toward personal ruin. They have been able to look at their sleeping children without a familiar knot in their guts. They have been able to pursue happiness, like all of us have a right to do so, without feeling like they're running in leg shackles.

All of these people have been tossed into uncertainty -- again -- because their government has been rendered dysfunctional by a political philosophy of nihilistic vandalism, which is being judged now by a judiciary fully politicized through a long game that has extended over decades.

Or, to put it in medical terms, two months ago kindly Ol' Doc ACA metaphorically told us both that were gonna be OK.  Finally, OK.  That our labs had come back negative and that our family was no longer completely vulnerable to a quirk of fate or age or genetics which can destroy us.

We sighed, we laughed, we cried with relief, we popped a cork and got on with our lives.

And then yesterday kindly Ol' Doc ACA called us again -- out of the blue -- to tell us that he was very sorry but, someone at the lab screwed up our blood tests and...uh...we might actually be doomed after all.  

So we're frankly terrified, because this is where the metaphor breaks down.  A lab glitch would be a case of human error with a bad result: what's happening with the ACA is that a typo is being exploited by awful, awful people in order to further terrorize millions of our fellow citizens who are barely holding it together as is.

My fierce and compassionate wife also shed tears because we both happen to be supremely well equipped to patiently navigate the Kafkaesque Rube Goldberg machine that is the ACA in our home state.  We have enough patience and education and technical savvy to thread our way through the pitch-dark rejection maze that dispenses chances to buy affordable health insurance but only after scaling one mountain range after another of bureaucratic fuck ups, repeated and arbitrary denials by temp workers who have no idea what they are doing based on bad information which we never gave them, maddeningly conflicting and contradictory instructions from everyone involved and a general sense that everyone at every stage -- including janitors and interns -- have been randomly handed enormous authority to affect our lives in the most intimate ways imaginable, but that ultimately no one is in charge of anything.

We are emotionally and educationally equipped to slog though this shit all over again if we have to, but what about the millions of people who are not?   

What about people who quit after they leave their eighth unanswered message to a rejection letter because they don't know you have to call back ten times if you want to talk to a human?  Who don't know that even after they have refiled their paperwork again, its six-to-five that some temp in a hurry will round-file it because it's 4:59 and they've got someplace to be? Who are unaware that they will have to personally follow up over and over again to make sure their forms are hopping successfully across the Catch-22-strewn Frogger course on their way to Approval Land, and that each of those follow ups means making ten calls?

And it didn't have to be this way.  Even if a simple, national single-payer system is something I will not live to see, as goofy as the ACA is, it never needed to come to this.  Just like we never needed to default on our national debt obligations or let our infrastructure rot.  Just like we never had to let every madman have as many guns as he wishes or shut the government down in a fit of pique.

The father of these preventable disasters is not "our partisan system" or "these extremes on both sides".

It's the Republican Party.


And until the Republican Party is ripped out root and branch, their battle to take away your Mom's mammograms and your Dad's cancer meds will never end. 

And once they have that, they're coming for grandma's Medicare, and Uncle Pete's Social Security. If not this year, then the next. If not this decade, then the one after that. 

Evil is very patient capital, and they have shown they are willing to shrug off failure and defeat -- shrug off iron-clad evidence of their own insanity and incompetence and fraud -- and Just. Keep. Coming. 

And until they are reduced in fact to the beset, besieged, despised and powerless minority they consonantly fantasize they are, this is going to go on and on. Their political rockets will continue to rain down pell mell on anything they can hit, because breaking the system is the agenda and chaos is the goal.

There is no point debating these people anymore because facts do not move them. 

There is no point engaging with them as rational actors or competent citizens, because they are neither.

As I have said before, this nation cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free. Like it or not, we will become all one thing, or all the other.

And the grim outlines of that struggle have never been clearer than they were this week as the Right once again danced and sang in delight at the thought of inflicting petty political damage on Barack Obama and making Liberals cry by screwing millions of their fellow Americans in the most calculatedly vicious way imaginable.  

Yowza, Yowza.


Monster from the Id said...

OK, Drifty, you say the Fox half can't be persuaded--maybe I should say "reconstructed".

And you won't entertain the idea of letting the two groups go their separate ways (assuming there are only two groups).

So what can you do, other than wait for Godot--er, demographics?

I do not mean this as a taunt, but as a legitimate question. (Your mother was NOT a hamster, and your father did NOT smell of elderberries.) ;)

tony in san diego said...

I have been watching a Terminator marathon on Netflix, and what you are describing, intentionally or not, it almost a word for word description of the Terminators. Never made the connection before. Skynet lives!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Drift:

Im likely losing your literary devices here, but were you being metaphorical about lab tests or actual? If the latter, I'm so sorry to hear that.

Anonymous said...

tony in san diego,

Dammit. Beat me to it. Well, at least I can provide the exact quote...

"Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."

Enjoy your day, Mr. Glass.

---Kevin Holsinger

Grung_e_Gene said...

Subsidies still exist in Illinois, drifty.

Unsalted Sinner said...

It's quite mind-boggling to a European to think of the massive bureaucracy American conservatives have created to decide whether people deserve healthcare or not. So much money and effort spent to keep the "looters" and "parasites" away from a doctor! It must be really important to them -- important enough to make them forget their professed love of small government...

I can only wish you the best of luck.

Monster from the Id said...

It would actually cost less tax money to put up with a few chiselers, but of course, this isn't really about money.

It's about three persistent and overlapping national myths: the myth of moral hazard, the myth of cosmic justice, and the myth that the majority of beneficiaries of government programs for the non-rich are non-palefaces.

Meanwhile, we common taxpayers lose far more money to wealthy chiselers, who own the politicians, than the pittance we lose to the few non-wealthy chiselers. Much of that vast fortune which goes to wealthy chiselers is called "defense" spending. Of course, "defense" here means "making the world safe for capitalist plunder".

The non-rich right-wingers bitch and moan about the mosquito, while ignoring Dracula--or as the Teacher many of them claim to follow is said to have said, they strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

gratuitous said...

Once upon a time, whenever major legislation was enacted (and quite a bit of minor legislation, too), Congress would revisit the new bouncing baby law from time to time and iron out the wrinkles of unintended consequences or internal inconsistencies. No, really!

With big laws, you often have various persons or groups writing different sections, and sometimes one section will refer to contingency X, while another section calls the exact same situation contingency Y. A quick amendment of the law makes all the references uniformly refer to contingency X.

Those days, however, seem to have passed our nation by. Nobody knows why. For a couple of hours yesterday, the Republicans got to win the morning. Until the afternoon. And that's pretty much all governance is about anymore.

dinthebeast said...

And to John Boehner and his caucus, who could fix the typo in an afternoon if they DID THE GOD DAMNED JOBS we're paying each of them more money than I'll ever see to do: May all of you be buggered to death by sheep.
And yes, I do have Irish blood in me, why do you ask?

-Doug in Oakland

preznit said...

well we know by the preponderance of confederate flags amongst the fucktards that being on the wrong side of history is a source of pride for them

Anonymous said...

Remind me again how a vote for a Democrat is EXACTLY THE SAME as a vote for a Republican.

casimir said...

Monster from the Id (9;36 am), I agree entirely. The Confederates were just ahead of their time (leaving aside the whole slavery bit). Please bifurcate the damn country already. They can even have the scenic land, if they will just stop infecting our attempt to sustain human civilization with their nihilism wrought of existential terror. Create two constitutions, one authoritarian and one based on freedom & justice, define the physical boundaries of the two countries, and give everyone six months to pack up and move.

There was a time when the gradual rise of the population above level 1 of Maslow seemed a feasible aspiration. The concentration of wealth and its deployment to forestall that process of moral evolution puts an end to that aspiration.

Anonymous said...

Shorter Casimir and Monster from the Id of a Teahadist: "Liberal Tribe or Death! Liberal Tribe or Death! Burn the Heratics! Cast out the unclean!"

So if the two of you ever wonder why the regulars on this blog don't take you seriously or accuse you of actually being wingnuts, you should look no further than your own comments on this page.

We can see you. And we can see the logic underpinning your arguments. And we can see that it is mostly word substitution of right wingnut talking points with left wingnut terminology. And we are not moved or convinced.

So please, we don't care if you go away mad, just go away.

casimir said...

Anonymous - I haven't ever wondered "why the regulars on this blog" don't take me seriously. Indeed, I wasn't even aware that "the regulars on this blog" don't take me seriously. Indeed, I wasn't even aware that "the regulars on this blog" meet to decide whom they take seriously and whom they don't. And I wasn't aware, either, that they appointed a spokesman - you - to advise commenters like me of their official decisions that certain commenters should go away.

The only thing I'm wondering is what your comment is saying. Am I a right wingnut? A left wingnut? A liberal? Seriously, I have no idea what you're saying.

My point is that a society can only exist if there is a high level of consensus as to a basic set of values on which to orient laws and norms. We've presumed for 200 years that the U.S. as a society has such a level of consensus, oriented on self-determination, equal opportunity and justice. It is clear now that at least 30% of the population does not share this, but instead subscribes to a set of values in which self-determination is given over to an authoritarian system in exchange for protection. Is a society with this degree of schism in fundamental values sustainable? I think not. Of course bifurcation into two countries is not possible for myriad reasons. But if it were, I would give up much of my comforts to participate in it.

Sorry if my putting in my two cents is so abhorrent to you.

Anonymous said...

It's not that you have an opinion that is abhorrent; it is what your opinion is, that is abhorrent.

You want to uproot families, destroy societies, destroy every concept of legacy and heritage, and abandon and alienate millions of people in the name of your ideology.

You want to tell people that they don't count or matter simply because of where they where born and/or live. And that's just the currently living! That you want to also give up on and wash your hands of the people in those areas who come after your "Great Cleansing" is simply terrifying.

You're actually talking about a complete disinvestment in large swaths of the continent, with no logical backstop to prevent it from becoming global disinvestment as well, that will tell the unfortunate persons who wind up being liberal, gay, Latino, "insert group that's hated by teahadists here" that they are just SOL and should have won the geographic lottery and been born in "Purity Land" if they didn't want to be harassed, tortured, and/or murdered for being out of favor of the Teahadist Tribes when they are born in the future.

It's a purity fire without logical backstop or reason. And you nor anyone crazy enough to try and implement your Monstrous Purity Purge will be able to stop it from turning into the Wingnut version of the Spanish Inquisition.

And you don't see it. You think you'll be able to split that ideological hair in a way that it'll never need to be split again. That you can come up with some perfect set of criteria that would make your purge logically and physically possible.

As far as meetings of the regulars? Nah, it's pretty easy to you know, draw logical inferences from the constant logically valid refutation of the ex-cheese eater, Monster from the Id, and Neoconfederate Tuxedo squawks of "Both-Sides!," "Droneglass!", and "Don't Vote!" by the regulars that they aren't buying what you and yours are selling.

casimir said...

Anonymous - I think I see the problem now. You're confusing me with Pol Pot.

Let me spell out my "ideology" for you: the first purpose of a society is to educate its citizens so that they are informed, able to think critically, and aware of their civic duty in a democracy. Then, those citizens need to engage together, in good faith, on an ongoing basis, to develop, adjust and sustain the best though deeply imperfect structure of laws and norms to give people the best opportunity for self-determination in a profoundly complex society and world.

The bifurcation thing: it is NOT MEANT LITERALLY. As I said, it is not possible "for myriad reasons." You referenced a few.

The POINT is, can you have a sustainable society oriented toward advancing the opportunity for self-determination when 30% of the society favors authoritarianism and will work unrelentingly toward it at the behest of, and due to manipulation by, a great concentration of private wealth?

Don't be so literal, OK? And stop with the "you and yours." I don't even understand your insider references.

Monster from the Id said...


I have never accused anyone here of addressing so much as one prayer to the ancient Greek goddess Hera. Besides, under the First Amendment, it would be none of my business if anyone did.

Or did the terminally earnest Anon @ 7:14 & 11:58 mean "heretic"?

If so, I thought I was a heretic, since I left the "Liberal Tribe" in 2008--one step ahead of being cast out--because I didn't believe in the candidate of False Hope and Chump Change. (To be fair, I now see I would have been more or less equally disgusted with any of his Dinocratic rivals by now--I suppose I will always be an Independent, since the Reptilians disgust me as well.)


If the USA were to be split--and I agree with Casimir that it's not really possible--I lack Casimir's trust that it would be possible for one of the two new countries
to have a constitution based on freedom and justice. I think that since both new countries would be owned by the same predatory capitalist class which currently owns the USA, both constitutions would contain enough loopholes to allow the same sort of de facto dictatorship of the monetariat under which the USA suffers now.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Neoconfederate Tuxedo

Since that appears to refer only to my nom, and not to any opinions I can remember espousing, please to be refreshing me the memory.