Categories
Politics

Republicans Drop ‘Repeal,’ ‘Replace’ From ‘Repeal and Replace’ Pledge

Washington – The House Republican leadership held a press conference Thursday to announce that the party is dropping both the “repeal” and “replace” portions of their oft-repeated pledge to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The phrase now contains only the word, “and.”

“While we are no less opposed to this destructive, highly-flawed piece of legislation, the reality is that repealing the law is all but impossible at this time,” said Eric Cantor of Virgina, the House Majority Leader. “In terms of the ‘replace’ aspect of our promise, to be honest, all we had come up with was the name: ‘Oboehnercare.’ And even on that front, I think you’ll agree, we had our work cut out for us.”

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, many Republicans have promised repeatedly to “repeal and replace” it, including the Republican candidate for president in 2012, Mitt Romney. But none of the various alternatives that have been put forward have gained any traction, and in the meantime, the Affordable Care Act appears to have survived its disastrous rollout. The White House recently announced that they had met their goal of getting 7 million Americans enrolled in health care plans through the law, and the more time that has passed, the more of a foothold the Affordable Care Act has gained.

Finally, Cantor said, the party leadership was forced to look each other in the eye and admit the time for repealing and replacing Obamacare had come and gone.

“It is time to focus on more achievable goals,” Cantor said, “like getting a gun into the hands of every American, regardless of their age or mental health status. We can do that, if we work together.”

Finally, Cantor said, conservatives and Republican voters should not lose heart.

“I urge you not to see this as a defeat,” Cantor said. “For what word are we left with? ‘And.’ And isnt’ that perhaps the most open, the most possibility-filled word in all of the English language? So, let me say this to you today, and you can consider it a new Republican call to action, if you like. And, ladies and gentlemen. And.”

Categories
Editorial

Mr. Obama Should Have Lied More About Health Care

President Obama has taken some flack for his “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie. Let us say up front that the statement in question is, in fact, a lie. This is assuming “lie” still refers to something you say as if it were true, even though you know it to be untrue. If it means anything other than that, we were not informed.

Mr. Obama’s health care plan is the signature policy initiative of his entire presidency, and certainly of his first term. If any reader thinks for one minute he didn’t know the full implication of what he was saying, and the facts surrounding it, that reader is likely insane. (Note that this does not mean this reader should cease reading The National Protrusion. In fact, it might be even more appropriate than ever for them to become an avid reader if they’ve recently discovered they might be insane.)

Yes, we acknowledge the statement was a lie. But with that acknowledgement does not come condemnation. In fact, not only are we fine with the lie, we think the president should have gone further.

Let’s remember the environment in which this statement was made, admittedly what seems like thousands of times. We had people protesting outside all types of federal buildings, holding up signs comparing the president to Hitler and/or Stalin for having the audacity to have the government take part in Americans’ health care coverage. Many of these people were already happily receiving government assistance in one form or another, though they may have failed to realize that what they were getting was in fact government assistance. But stupidity is not a protection from hypocrisy.

We also had the Queen of the Dumbed, Sarah Palin, warning that there would be “death panels” that would decide people’s ultimate fate, and many like-minded voices screaming about the government trying to kill your grandmother. Trust me, no one wants to kill your grandmother, except maybe you. And we couldn’t really pass judgment on such a thing, not knowing your grandmother.

We also must consider how the American people prefer to have their information fed to them. If history is a guide, and we think it is, at least until it is changed by those in power, then one can reasonably assume Americans like information to come in the form of catch phrases, sound bites and easily digestible generalizations. In fact, the food metaphor is rather fitting in this case: Americans like their politicians’ statements the way they like their food — cheap, tasty and devoid of any substantive value. They don’t like things that are filled with nuance; they like things that are filled with cheese. If any reader thinks the bill would have had a prayer of passing if the president said, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, but there are several caveats to that,” that reader is probably one of the people who realized earlier that they were insane. In fact, we’re not sure Americans even know what a caveat is. We offer them this helpful hint: It has nothing to do with fish eggs.

In all, the president was battling misinformation, disinformation, a lack of information, and just plain stupidity disguising itself as information, when this bill was being debated by citizens and the Congress alike. So, the question isn’t, Why did he lie? It’s, Why didn’t he lie more?

If it were us, we would have promised whatever was necessary to get the bill through. “Not only will you be able to keep your current plan, if you like it,” we would have told the American people. “You will also get a lifetime supply of free ice cream. And it’s magical ice cream. It is specially designed to not give you type 2 diabetes, no matter how much of it you eat.”

Or, “Not only will you be able to keep your health plan if you like it, you’ll get a free rifle, pre-loaded.” We would say we would offer them the ability to bypass the background checks required to get a rifle, but there don’t appear to be any such checks in this country, so we don’t see that as a necessary addition to the offer.

A final option might have been to offer Americans cash in exchange for supporting the bill. We are well aware, however, that it wouldn’t have been possible for the president to offer money from the government. The public would see that as a handout, and they would not accept it, even though they were simultaneously aggressively taking advantage of as many government handouts as were available. We feel they would accept it, though, if they felt it was being taken from someone else — preferably someone of a different race and/or class than them — in order for it to be given to them. If we combine this one thing Americans love — hatred of the “other” — with something else they love — the lottery — we can offer the following as a way the president could have phrased such a sales pitch:

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. And in addition, you will all be entered in the Affordable Care Act Lottery. Now, this is a special lottery. It has millions of winners, all of whom win thousands of dollars each. The winnings are taken from a group that doesn’t deserve it. It’s all done with a complicated algorithm. Just suffice it to say that if you’re a racist, your portion will be taken from a black family. If you’re a sexist, it will be taken from a women’s group. A homophobe? Great — your portion will be taken from a married gay couple. All you have to do is tell your representative in congress that you support this health care law, and you are automatically entered in this lottery. No further action is required on your part. You just get the money, money taken from someone else who totally doesn’t deserve it. And, I’m not sure if I mentioned it already, but you can also keep your health care plan if you like it.”

Categories
National

Obama Vows to Hit Target Health Care Enrollment Number by 4017

Washington – President Obama held a press conference Friday to assure the American people that his Affordable Care Act was on track to reach its target of 7 million enrollees by the year 4017. The president pointed out the date was less than 2,000 years after the initial target date, March 31st of next year.

“We will have this website up and working by no later than 3011,” Obama said, referring to healthcare.gov, which has been plagued by technical problems since its troubled October rollout. “And at that point, people will be able to get on the site and shop for an affordable insurance plan that covers them for things they really need.”

Categories
NPN

Week in Review with Ed K. Mulrooney 11-17-13 (Video)

Trusted newsman Ed K. Mulrooney reviews the previous week’s top stories.

Categories
National

Woman Was Fine with Her Health Care Plan, Until Discovering it Covered Two Band-Aids and Some Gauze

Sacramento, CA – Karrie Banh, a 35-year-old small business owner, thought she had great health coverage.

“It was affordable, and I was under the impression that it covered me for the things I needed,” Karrie said. “Then I found out that wasn’t true.”

Karrie is one of the millions of Americans who make up the individual health insurance market. She was covered under Anthem Blue Cross California, but when Karrie needed to be hospitalized six months ago, after a bad car accident, she experienced a terrible surprise — she wasn’t as covered as she thought she was. In fact, she was hardly covered at all.

Karrie’s plan covered her for two Band-Aids and a modest roll of gauze padding. “The third band-Aid, and any gauze over that initial roll, I would have to pay for,” she said.

That wasn’t all she would have to pay for. Karrie required surgery to repair a broken bone in her left leg, and was in the hospital a total of five days.

“I never worried about the bills while I was in the hospital” Karrie said. “I figured, I was covered. I was much more concerned with the surgery and that it go well, without any complications.”

The surgery went fine, and Karrie has since fully recovered, though she does bear a large scar on her left calf where the incision was made.

The scar, she could handle, she says. The really painful surprise came when she discovered what her Blue Cross plan actually covered, and what it didn’t.

“I was in shock when the bills came in and I called Blue Cross, and they told me the plan covered only the two Band-Aids and the gauze,” Karrie said. “I thought the woman was kidding. I said, ‘You’re funny,’ and she said, ‘Thank you, dear, but I’m not kidding.'”

Karrie says she was assured by a Blue Cross representative that the plan would cover hospital stays. “I blame myself, too, obviously, for not reading the fine print of the plan,” she said. “It’s my responsibility. But I really do think it’s deceptive for the insurance company to do that — to tell you you’re covered when you’re not.”

As a result of the huge hospital bills, Karrie has had to take out a second mortgage on her home and dig into her retirement savings.

“There’s almost nothing left now,” Karrie said. “I’m going to have to worry about that after paying off the debt.”

Karrie has since changed health care providers, and is now actively searching for affordable, sufficient coverage through the healthcare.gov insurance marketplace. As far as her old Blue Cross plan, because the plan didn’t comply with the so-called “ten essential health benefits” that the Affordable Care Act requires, Blue Cross chose to cancel the plan rather than modify it to fit the new law.

Karrie thinks that’s just fine. “I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through,” she says. “Two Band-Aids and a roll of gauze, it’s just not enough. Trust me.”