Respectful responses to yesterday’s firestorm.

Yesterday’s post resulted in a firestorm of comments. Most (well, nearly all) were negative.

It was not possible to respond to all the comments (I venture that yesterday’s comments were approximately a 600% increase of the usual banter my blog receives). But one thing is certain. The issue of Obamacare is very important to Republicans. I will attempt today to respectfully respond to the bulk of the comments.

The two most common sentences that have appeared in my now more than 2000 posts are: “Big government is bad government. It’s axiomatic.” I am no fan of government intrusion into our lives (plus I’m a physician, so I definitely dislike government intrusion into my professional life). But those of you who opined that “government has no place in healthcare,” while you have an excellent point, must then be prepared to remove Medicare. There are 53 million Americans receiving Medicare, a federal “intrusion” into healthcare that has been around since 1965. Are you prepared to get rid of it? If you say you want “the government out of healthcare” then that must be your position. If you are not prepared to do that then you must COMPROMISE in order to “get government out of healthcare” except for Medicare. (Also, Medicare is here to stay regardless of who is in power and how big their majority is – at least until it goes broke.)

I became a Republican because of Ronald Reagan. Many Americans of my age also left the Democrat Party for the same reason. Here is what Reagan recommended when he was roundly criticized for compromising on his famous tax bill. “I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want.” I still consider that sound advice.

No matter all the arguments about “start over,” “we don’t need to rush”… tomorrow and for the foreseeable future Obamacare is the law of the land. Deny it if you will, but that is an immutable fact. If you want to change that fact you will need 216 votes in the House of Representatives and 51 votes in the Senate. If you want to go the route of “end the process of reconciliation” you will need 60 votes in the Senate.

Let’s do a vote count.  There are 237 Republicans in the House of Representatives. Among them are 36 members of the Freedom Caucus (FC). That means that 201 RINOs were unable to convince 36 FC members to compromise. But you are somehow convinced that the 36/237 = 15% FC members will be able to convince all those RINOs to compromise with them. But, of course, the FC members don’t want to compromise at all – that wouldn’t be what a real Republican would do.

Many commented that the Freedom Caucus wasn’t “to blame.” It is difficult to argue that the Freedom Caucus is not responsible for the outcome of the “vote” on the American Health Care Act. They immediately bragged that they were the reason for the bill’s failure. Rep. Mo Brooks, a member of the defiant Caucus, immediately ran to the microphones after the final attempt to reach compromise was abandoned. He was pleased with the power his caucus had exhibited. “I would hope that the Freedom Caucus would get credit,” Brooks said. OK. I’m giving the FC credit. But many who commented negatively on yesterday’s post didn’t seem to want that particular “credit.”

Nope. “It’s still the Democrats” said many. Nope. “It’s those RINOs who promised us repeal but didn’t give it to us,” said many more. Why not “just send the repeal legislation that was already voted upon to Trump’s desk,” was another common refrain.

The House has actually voted to repeal Obamacare in its entirety six times (yes, the Democrats say “50 times (jerks),” but it was actually only six times.) But that was when Republicans were playing “pretend politics.” Those were easy and meaningless votes because Obama was sitting in the Oval Office with his feet up on the Resolute Desk. The “repeal” would be vetoed and there weren’t ever going to be enough votes to override his veto. Their vote meant nothing and would never come back to bite them. But that is very different from “real politics.” Full repeal would probably garner fewer than 40 votes today. That leaves you 176 votes short. As well, I seriously doubt that even Donald Trump would have the temerity to sign a full repeal without some follow on legislation. The repercussions would be deafening.

Then there is the “let’s get it right” group. I certainly agree that we should “get it right.” Obamacare is definitively and indisputably “wrong.” The House of Representatives was proposing a bill that would largely dismantle Obamacare (you may call it “Obamacare lite,” but the AHCA would, indeed, have largely dismantled this entitlement – the first real entitlement change EVER). Let’s say they didn’t get it exactly “right.” Republicans would still be in control of Congress and could have improved it with time (after all, Congress is not about to stop legislating), but Obamacare would have been GONE. Further legislative efforts could have improved the American Health Care Act, just as Obamacare could have been repealed last week. Legislation can be changed. And that magical day when there are no more RINOs or Democrats in Congress would still be in our future (I include myself in this wish) to make the world a perfect place.

But let us take an inventory of what conservative concepts are not happening today that would have happened with a “yes” vote (and I’m sure you will inform if any of these are wrong, but please be specific):

  • $900 billion in Obamacare taxes did not go away
  • $1.2 trillion in federal spending on Obamacare will still take place
  • The first Medicaid reform ever is not happening
  • Individual and employer mandates are still with us
  • Planned Parenthood will not be defunded
  • Enhanced medical insurance requirements of Obamacare must still be in every insurance plan (a supposedly “final” demand of the Freedom Caucus to which President Trump agreed in his final negotiating session)

Obamacare and everything in the above list could have been gone TODAY! It may have been replaced by something less than a “true Republican” wants (damn those pesky compromises), but IT WOULD BE GONE! That is another immutable fact. Why is it still in force today? (By the by, that is a rhetorical question.)

Finally, I was disappointed to see the term RINO cast about so casually. That is a term I very much dislike. It is just another way for some Republicans (the minority of Republicans, by the by) to say they are better Republicans than other Republicans. I see it as the Republican equivalent of the “N-word” and said with about the same level of contempt. I thought the Republican Party was the “Big Tent” Party. Apparently not.

Roy Filly

About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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14 Responses to Respectful responses to yesterday’s firestorm.

  1. Steve Kemp says:

    Roy: I enjoy your articles and opinions. I’m not sure which way to go on this one, but I wish Trump had waited until he got some real traction elsewhere. We need successes. After all, a builder without successes won’t be a builder for long.

    • Roy Filly says:

      Well said, Steve. Couldn’t agree more. However, we are where we are… and I think we would have been better off with the AHCA. Obamacare lite is better than Obamacare.

  2. in_awe says:

    My principal issues with the proposed bill were:
    1. that it actually made things substantially more expensive for some citizens (e.g. 55-64 yo)
    2. depended on later several “phases” (bills) to do much of the heavy lifting, while there was no convincing explanation of how a non-reconcilation process bill would ever garner enough Democrat votes to pass

    This reminded me of the South Park underpants scheme:
    Phase 1 – Collect underpants
    Phase 2 – ?
    Phase 3 – Profits

  3. Stabee. says:

    This bill left Obamacare largely intact – and completely intact when it comes to the regulations on insurance that cause the rise in our costs. I can’t afford it. And honestly, Paul Ryan is no more qualified to make my healthcare decisions that Barack Obama. I’m glad it was defeated and hope to see obamacare defeated as well. The establishment Republicans seem to be in no mood for compromise though. In fact, they deliberately kept FC members out of the process when they came up with this plan, giving them no input, offering no compromise. And tried to force it through. Of course it failed Of course the FC took responsibility for help bring this down. They should, and they should be proud of it, too. Half a loaf is only better than no loaf if the loaf isn’t poisoned. There is no nutrition in this loaf – it’s detrimental. I find it odd that you defend Republicans duplicitous behavior in voting to fulfil their campaign promises whenthey were sure to be vetoed and then merely months later doing an about face and reneging when they were sure to succeed. They campaigned for 7 years to do this, did every thing they could to fraudulently convince their constituents that they were doing their level best to repeal this and you present that as not a problem??? Listen to Paul Ryan, 15 months ago, promising what would happen when they send the same bill next year (now) that Obama just vetoed: at 33 seconds- “We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So next year, if we are sending this bill to a Republican President, it will get signed into law. Obama care will be gone.” That is a promise not even 1 1/2 years old that he has proven he had no intention of keeping. Look at how he speaks, so emotionally and convincingly. Yes. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul must be the problem.

    • Roy Filly says:

      Your statements would be of concern if they were accurate. In the final bargaining session, the one that collapsed the deal, the FC was offered the elimination of the Obamacare insurance “enhancements” that so increase the costs for everyone (they had previously negotiated the end of Planned Parenthood funing and the end of Medicaid expansion). They demurred and wanted more. The Republican plan would have put far more of your medical decisions back in your hands, but instead we all still live under Obamacare. That the FC is “proud” to have caused the collapse is exactly the reason the OWN OBAMACARE NOW. The duplicitous behavior you decry was all done by the “holier than thou” set of Republicans. So, lucky us, Obamacare is still the law of the land when it could have been gone last week. There is no way that a clean repeal bill could pass Congress today. It was, in fact, the certain Obama veto that made is so easy for Republicans to vote for a “clean repeal.” They would never have to take responsibility for that vote. A vote for repeal today would lay squarely on their shoulders. There is no path to 216 votes.

      • Stabee. says:

        Phasing out the medicaid expansion is nice. Doesn’t meet Ryan’s promises of the last 7 years or even last year. I’m not sure what obamacare insurance enhancements the fc was offered. Do you have a link so I can read about it?

        Why could a clean repeal bill not pass congress today? Because of the establishment gop you defend. Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to be saying they can’t pass a clean bill because they themselves won’t vote for it and therefore it is not their own fault that they can’t pass it. I should blame the ones who do want to to pass it. What???

      • Roy Filly says:

        I just too tired of this to write a cogent reply. Been a busy two days.

  4. Stabee. says:

    I forgot to add the link;

  5. Stabee. says:

    Oh…and I find it particularly appaling that Paul Ryan and the GOP are STILL trying to hide behind the democrats to cover their true agenda. They did it by passing repeal bills sure to be vetoed in the past and today by claiming they need 60 votes to pass it. You don’t do your cause any favor by repeating that canard. Those types of falsehoods only work with the uninformed. We have factual proof that it is not true by virtue of the fact that Ryan’s house and McConnel’s senate both passed it 15 months ago. Don’t propagate falsehoods!

  6. Peri Dwyer Worrell says:

    You are exactly right: all PPACA or any medical insurance (I hate calling it “healthcare” because that implies that people cannot care for their health without medical assistance and that medical assistance cannot be obtained without an insurance plan) bill can do, is nibble at the edges of the underlying price-fixing, command-and-control mechanism that has magnified medical costs so drastically in the US: Medicare.
    Until and unless Medicare is repealed, medical costs in the USA will continue to skyrocket.

  7. Starchild says:

    Roy, you raise a fair point about Medicare. Many conservatives who complain about Obamadontcare have employed a double standard by refusing to touch that longer-existing program. I for one am absolutely prepared to get rid of it. The Feds are doing many things, some of which ought to be done by someone (e.g. providing health care) and some of which ought not to be done at all (e.g. maintaining nuclear weapons, spying on the public without warrants, arresting people for victimless “crimes”, etc.). Eliminating things that fall into that second category should be the highest priority, while ending programs like Medicare that fall into the first category is less pressing. Someone should be providing health care; it just shouldn’t be government. But yes, Medicare should be ended. It is not helping people get better or more affordable treatment. Getting rid of it should be accompanied by other reforms that expand access to real affordable care – ending licensing requirements to provide medical services, reining in malpractice lawsuits, abolishing the FDA so that new treatments will be more affordable and available sooner, etc.

    You also wrote, “I’m giving the (Freedom Caucus) credit (for defeating the Ryandontcare plan). But many who commented negatively on yesterday’s post didn’t seem to want that particular ‘credit.’”

    Speaking for myself, it’s not that I don’t give the Freedom Caucus credit for stopping the bill, it’s that I disagree passing the bill would have abolished Obamadontcare. I think it would have kept it alive under a different name. When the chips were down, would establishment Republicans in Congress have refused to vote for a clean repeal? I’m not sure how GOP moderates would have voted if a good bill were on the table, but we’ll never know, because the leadership didn’t force them to face that vote. They should have first offered a clean repeal, and then if that proved unable to pass, *then* compromise as necessary to abolish as much as they could muster the votes to abolish.

    I get the impression you believe Ryan and his team refused to put a clean repeal of Obamadontcare up for a vote because they didn’t think it would pass. Call me more cynical if you like, but I suspect they didn’t put forward a clean repeal because the leadership itself is full of establishment type Republicans who simply didn’t want it. This may be because they are too in bed with health care industry interests who don’t want Obamadontcare entirely scrapped, or it may be because they lack confidence in free market solutions, or it may be because they didn’t think the public would be with them and feared paying a political price for doing the right thing, or it may be some combination of the above.

    But the bottom line is the GOP leadership deserves the blame for Obamadontcare’s continued existence. When it mattered, they failed to offer a clean repeal as the House had passed before, but most likely either chickened out, compromised their principles for political gain, and/or simply had the wrong principles to begin with.

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