Pearls(tein) of Wisdom

From Steven Pearlstein at The Washington Post:

I’m not sure what else was accomplished at Thursday’s Blair House summit, but surely one result is that we learned what Republican “leaders” really think about health care and health insurance.

The most important thing Republicans think is that if there are Americans who can’t afford the insurance policies that private insurers are willing to offer, then that’s their problem — there’s nothing the government or the rest of us should do about it.

Original movie poster

    1. Paul Organic Cheesehead Ryan
    2. Peter Etch-a-Sketch Roskam
    3. Dave Band Camp
    4. Charles Buster Boustany
    5. Marsha The Cheerleader Blackburn
    6. Frank Talking Points Luntz
    7. Joe Fartin’ Barton
    8. John Scrappy Kline
    9. Lamar Dork Alexander
    10. Chuck Yer-Ass-Is Grassley
    11. Mike Flounder Enzi
    12. Mitch No-Chin McConnell
    13. John Capt Underpants McCain
    14. Tom Stork Coburn
    15. John Bare-Assed Barrasso
    16. Eric Look A Jew! Cantor
    17. Jon The Lobbyist Kyl
    18. John Boohoo Boehner

“We just can’t afford this,” said Eric Cantor, the fresh-faced House minority whip from Virginia, while John Boehner, the House Republican leader, called it “a new entitlement program that will bankrupt our country.” What they were referring to, of course, was the $125 billion a year that Obama and his Democratic allies propose to spend in subsidies so tens of millions of low-income households can afford to buy health insurance and handle the co-payments. But if paying for those subsidies means raising taxes on high-income households with lots of investment profits, or capping a tax break for people with extravagant health insurance, or charging a modest fee on medical device makers that refuse to moderate future price increases, then Republicans are agin’ it.

That was their clear message Thursday.


Judging from Thursday’s discussion, Republicans have much more sympathy for those who can afford to buy health insurance but are denied because of a preexisting medical condition. They oppose Democratic efforts to end this industry practice directly through regulation, preferring instead to refer those customers to special high-risk insurance pools where they would be guaranteed to find coverage.

In some versions of the high-risk pool, the cost of a policy would be so high that households with average incomes would have to set aside a third or even half of their income to pay for it.


Another of the Republican “big ideas” was to make it possible for small businesses to collectively negotiate with insurance companies for better deals on health plans. But that’s what Democrats have in mind with insurance exchanges […]. Although they never quite came out and said it, what apparently bothers Republicans about these insurance exchanges is that they would be overseen by governments — the same state and federal governments that for decades have negotiated a wide selection of competitively priced plans for tens of millions of satisfied government workers, including members of Congress.

Then there’s the issue of what minimal level of benefits a basic health insurance package should offer. Republicans, of course, used Thursday’s forum to denounce the idea that such decisions should be made by Washington bureaucrats and politicians. [However, they] would have no problem if those standards were to be set by bureaucrats and politicians in Nebraska, or North Dakota or whatever Republican state decided to offer itself up as the regulatory haven from which insurers could sell their policies nationwide.

To give them their due, Republicans did manage to raise some serious issues and make a few constructive suggestions in between their carefully choreographed talking points.

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, among others, complained that the minimum standards set in the House and Senate bill weren’t very minimal at all, but in fact exceeded the actuarial value of the average policy now sold in the individual and small-group markets […].

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan raised legitimate concerns about the way malpractice suits and excessive damage awards can cause physicians to practice defensive medicine, needlessly driving up the cost of health care.

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma suggested using undercover agents to weed out the waste and fraud that he claimed were responsible for the fact that one of every three dollars in the Medicare and Medicaid programs is misspent.

And Sen. John McCain demanded that his former presidential rival renounce the special Medicaid funding formulas for Florida and Louisiana that were used to buy the support of those states’ wavering senators.

What we didn’t hear from Kyl, or Camp, or Coburn or McCain, however, was an offer to vote for a health reform plan if these problems were fixed and their ideas were incorporated.


Filed under Barack Obama, Chuck Grassley, Congress, Democrats, humor, John Boehner, John McCain, Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander, Medicaid, Mitch McConnell, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, Tom Coburn, Wordpress Political Blogs

16 responses to “Pearls(tein) of Wisdom

  1. writechic

    Gamma Omicron Pi 😆

    They’re hopeless.

    • did you like that little touch? 😆 i really wanted them to be from FU, but there’s no f in the greek alphabet, and phi upsilon didn’t have the same oomph.

      • writechic

        You were perfect. Don’t change a thing. I’m glad I live a life that won’t necessitate ever being put in a picture like that. They’re just brutes. Right down to the “tough shit” for the unemployed.

  2. Remember that Blutarsky, Joe Belushi’s Animal House character ended up being a senator after the end of the movie. Once again, it looks like reality has lapped satire.

    • and i was wondering what to use as a nickname for coburn, so i checked the list of nicknames in animal house, and stork was one of them. perfect for an ob/gyn!

      animal house is one of my faves. i haven’t watched it in a long time, because i have it on vhs, and my vcr took a crap a long time ago.

  3. It’s amusing to hear these great ideas like selling insurance across state lines-illegal in Texas, letting small companies pool their buying power to lower premiums-illegal in Texas. Republicans have run this state so long that there is no hope. None. One had better know their place or else. At least they can take comfort from the idiotic statement by Trent Franks about how swell the slaves had it. That is a real popular notion in the old south about how easy life was with a 15 hour workday out in the hot sun doing field work.

    • yeah, it’s a great idea. just look what selling across state lines did for the credit card industry. look how low the rates and fees are! 😡

    • IADem

      ..and then a good whippin’ waiting back at the house for them as gets uppity. Yeah, they had it pretty good back in those days, no worries ’bout civil rights or any o’ that there librul horse apples..

      • hello iadem,

        welcome to the raisin! 😀

        trent franks is one of the most despicable reps in the house. he’s dimwitted and nasty. he lost more elections that he won, and he only got his seat due to redistricting and money he made in the oil biz.

  4. They did offer a blank page to start over.

    Another blank page to add to the historic collection of 21st Century GOP brilliant idea archives.


  5. Yeah–GOP leadership by the ream! Fresh from Staples, and still in the package.

    Splendid PS, Nonnie.

    • i saw a video of batshit bachmann on the sean insanity show (talk about a vacuum where brains belong) before the summit ever took place. she was already using the same language that they used at the summit–start over, scrap the bill, blank page, etc. don’t these people realize how easy it is to compile these things? don’t they think that it looks rather odd that they all think the exact same way? as much as people bitch about the dems not being able to come to consensus, isn’t that how it should be? if they all thought exactly alike, where would new ideas come from? normal people don’t agree 100% of the time on 100% of issues. the rethugs look phony, which they are.