Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Biggest of those Death Panels You Heard So Much About Has Been Found, The Republican Caucus In The Senate

Neal Gabler has written a very good article about what I've been saying, that Susan Collins will almost certainly help her fellow Republicans kill health care for tens of millions of Americans and make it incredibly expensive for many more.  Here is the evidence as he presents it:

The problem is that Collins all too often stands up to her fellow Republicans on the small issues, while she shakes her head and frets about the big ones, only to toe the party line in the end. Yes, she wrote an op-ed declaring that she could not vote for Trump, and then said she wrote in on her ballot the name of Paul Ryan (!), one of the few party figures worse than Trump. Yes, she voted against DeVos and Pruitt, but introduced attorney general-designate Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearings and gave him full-throated support, despite his long record of racism. Yes, she opposes Trump more than her fellow Republicans, but she still votes with him 85 percent of the time. She has a checkered record on immigration, opposed net neutrality, and got only a 38 percent rating from the Leadership Conference on Human Rights.

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, challenging the characterization of Collins as some apostate conservative, assured his readers that she is “one of us.”

But it is on health insurance where Collins could arguably make her biggest political mark and establish a legacy as a defender of the vulnerable, including the vulnerable among her own constituents, who have benefited enormously from Obamacare in a state that has the oldest population in the nation. But don’t hold your breath. Collins has been as doggedly resistant to Obamacare as any Republican. She voted against Obamacare in 2009 and then against the Senate-House reconciliation act. She voted for repeal in 2011 and 2015 and again this past January.

When her fellow Republicans shut down government in 2013, insisting that they wouldn’t approve funding without an Obamacare repeal, she claimed, disingenuously, to have bucked her party. What she really did, according to Mother Jones, is vote three times to keep the government running but if and only if Democrats defunded or delayed Obamacare.

“There is no denying that the Affordable Care Act has made insurance available to millions of Americans and allowed people to leave corporate jobs and start businesses,” she told The New York Times. But Collins claims that she worries about instability in the health markets, rising premiums and the dearth of facilities in Maine — all of which might be legitimate concerns if the instability of the markets wasn’t largely the result of Republican sabotage, if premiums had risen anywhere near as much as critics contend, and if access to facilities had anything to do with Obamacare. Oh, and one more thing. Collins opposed Obamacare before it was implemented, so none of these criticisms makes much sense.

To shore up her moderate credentials, Collins, who opposed the House Republican bill, has introduced her own replacement bill along with Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy. She calls it a “compromise,” but it is clever window-dressing. Its big features are Health Savings Accounts instead of direct subsidies, a Republican panacea for all ills, and waivers for states to construct their own insurance systems. Without getting into details, the first has been largely discredited as a sop to the wealthy, since everyone knows Republicans would never adequately fund these accounts, and the second is already a feature of Obamacare as well as an exit strategy for Republican governors.

And if this issue wasn't literally life and death for millions of Americans, I wouldn't have posted so many of his powerful words on the topic.

We now know where that "death panel" Sarah Palin and other Republicans talked about are, they are the Republican caucus in the Senate of the United States.   Susan Collins is a member of it, as are all of her other Republican colleagues who are hell bent on killing the ACA and replacing it with a monstrosity as a fig leaf to cover them when people start dying and healthcare in the United States is destroyed except as a luxury market.

I know Susan Collins, I've been watching her low grade hypocrisy, her calculated game of being as Republican as she dares to be in a state which used to not put the likes of Paul LePage into office.  Even our worst Republicans, such as the husband of her former Senate Colleague, Jock McKernan was more incompetent than depraved, though he was a bit that too.  Now she is about to do one of the most depraved things a Maine politician has done in living memory and if you are holding your breath waiting for her to go out on a limb and fulsomely oppose her fellow Republicans in kicking tens of millions of Americans off of health insurance, you'll only do to yourself what they're going to do for you.  Those improbabilities I've been talking about so much this week,  Susan Collins taking a moral, courageous stand and giving her full opposition to the Republican Death Bill  is one of them.

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