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Now that Donald Trump has decided we all have to panic over the border again, he's not quite so shouty about making the GOP the "party of great healthcare," because that was, after all, last week. He's still harping on it on Twitter today, so that at least is some indication of his laserlike focus on ... hey, did you see that "Fox & Friends" story about sharks collecting food stamps? Is that what they said? OUTRAGEOUS!

Even so, Trump said a thing, and that means the White House and Republicans are now scrambling to act like they have any idea what he meant. So it was time for Republican Healthcare chat on the Sunday shows and in the wingnut media. Of course, if Trump gets his new wish and the federal courts DO throw out every last bit of Obamacare, the GOP doesn't have a Plan B. Or maybe the Washington Examiner isn't lying for once and somebody has a Plan B.


Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was asked by ABC News this weekend whether he could "guarantee" to the American people that nobody would lose their healthcare coverage. Did he tell the truth and admit that some 20 million people would lose coverage if we went back to the bad old days before Medicaid expansion and protections for people with preexisting conditions? Oh heck no! He insisted that every single GOP healthcare proposal of the Trump era protected preexisting conditions, which of course they haven't at all -- most would require that insurers sell policies to anyone, but would allow huge rate hikes or denial of coverage for those specific conditions. You'd have "insurance" that wouldn't actually cover your preexisting condition.

Florida Man Rick Scott, one of Trump's designated Healthcare Ideas Guys, went on CBS's "Face the Nation" to not answer questions about what the GOP's very sensational healthcare plan would look like, and he explained that while the Democrats are very very bad, the Republicans are very very good, and would focus on reducing healthcare costs, because lower costs are good! Asked for specifics, he said he was focused on driving down costs. Oh, and protecting folks with preexisting conditions, but remember that that does not mean anything real. But mostly keeping costs down and not doing Medicare for All, which would kill you.

Not surprisingly, Scott remained very slippery on what a GOP plan would entail, largely because there's no plan. We believe we have mentioned that! Scott did introduce a bill last week aimed at containing the costs of prescription drugs, but that's a far cry from a wholesale reform of the healthcare system. It even has a sort of intriguing idea; the bill would

mandate that drug companies can't charge Americans more for prescription drugs than they charge "in other industrialized nations like Great Britain, Canada and Germany.

"I know there will be critics that say this is too much government interference in the free market," Scott said. "I am a strong believer in free-market capitalism. I ran one of the largest health care companies in the world. But Americans, particularly our seniors, are facing a crisis of rising drug costs, and we can't wait any longer to act."

Of course, the details would matter a lot there -- like, is he talking limiting drugs to the average price elsewhere in the world, or the highest price a pharma company can get away with somewhere else? The bill would also require insurers to inform every patient of the total costs they'd pay for prescriptions before each year's open enrollment period, so consumers can shop around -- again, a nice idea, but that's hardly a terrific plan to replace Obamacare.

Also too? Let us never forget Rick Scott was CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain when it was guilty of US America's then-biggest Medicare fraud case to date in 1997, which you may want to keep in mind forever with this guy. But it's OK, because Scott wasn't personally charged with a crime, making him totally exonerated, no collusion, that is the law.

And then there's this Washington Examiner story, "White House working on secret healthcare plan with three conservative think tanks," which sure sounds impressive! Lookie, Team Trump finally learned its lesson, no running off semipenised here! Except the reality is considerably less firm than the phrase "secret plan" implies.

While it is not clear how far along the process is, work on a proposal has been going on for months. The effort appears to belie criticism that Trump's decision to restart the debate on healthcare, an issue Democrats used to their advantage in the 2018 midterms, was an error committed without forethought.

But the overall impression given in the piece is that Trump administration people have been asking the think tanks -- the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, and the (Koch-funded) Mercatus Center -- to do some thinking, and not much more. Presumably the Mercatus Center hasn't been asked for a copy of its study finding Medicare for All would save trillions of dollars compared to our current hodgepodge of health systems.

At this point, there's not so much a plan as a few half-baked ideas that might become a plan if the courts yank the rug out from under Obamacare and the Trumpers need to try passing something. How's this for specific?

Policy leaders at several conservative think tanks confirmed to the Examiner that a healthcare plan is indeed the works. They said a proposal would take concepts from the Graham-Cassidy bill [...] and the Health Care Choices proposal, which was signed by many conservative policy leaders, including the Heritage Foundation and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn.

Oh boy! CONCEPTS! Graham-Cassidy! Convert all federal healthcare spending into ever-shrinking block grants to the states! And let some disabled people relying on Medicaid die, because those people are EXPENSIVE. And you just know that any plan endorsed by Rick Santorum just has to be great. Or maybe parts of it are. Oh, there's very much a plan, you bet. It's secret, though. Even the "conservative policy analyst" the Examiner used as a source acknowledged there's no plan, just some ideas that will need to be put together. By top minds, no doubt.

In conclusion, this is just going to be the greatest healthcare plan ever, once it's written, like in the 12 hours immediately following a Supreme Court decision on Obamacare sometime next year, maybe a few weeks before the election. Rest easy, America, you might be fine.

[ABC News / WaPo / CBS News / Orlando Sentinel / New York / Washington Examiner]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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You guys, hi, hello, it is almost the holiday weekend, so we are going to share you a real video posted last night by "Doctor" Sebastian "Don't Call Me A Nazi" Gorka, that hilarious old knucklecuck. We guess now that he had to give up (or gave up voluntarily!) his Fox News contract, he just makes videos for the Twitter. Hoo ... ray?

Anyway, Gorka is super-excited that Donald Trump issued that order last night, giving Bill Barr all kinds of new powers to expose the Deep State for what it is and PROVE once and for all that the gremlins who live inside Trump's diarrhea are correct when they say Hillary ordered the Deep State to do an illegal witch hunt to Trump, yadda yadda yadda, you've seen these people huff paint before, we don't have to type it all.

Here is the video, after which Wonkette will either transcribe it OR we will provide our own dramatic interpretation. Which one will it be? We don't know! Would you be able to tell the difference between the two? We don't know!

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We want to say right here at the outset that we hate Julian Assange. Aside from the sexual assault allegations against him, and aside from the fact that he's just a generally stinky and loathsome person who reportedly smeared poop on the walls at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, while reportedly not taking care of his cat, an innocent creature, he acted as Russia's handmaiden during the 2016 election, in order to further Russia's campaign to steal it for Donald Trump. All signs point to his campaign being a success!

So we are justifiably happy when bad things happen to Julian Assange. We are happy his name is shit the world over, and that any reputation WikiLeaks used to have for being on the side of freedom and transparency has been stuffed down the toilet where it belongs. We are happy he looked like such a sad-ass loser when the Ecuadorian embassy finally kicked him out and he was arrested.

And quite frankly, we were OK with the initial charge against him recently unsealed in the Eastern District of Virginia. If you'll remember, he was charged with trying to help Chelsea Manning hack a password into the Defense Department, which is not what journalists do. Journalists do not drive the get-away car for sources. Journalists do not hold their sources' hair back while they're stealing classified intel. Assange is essentially accused of doing all that.

Now, put all that aside. Because -- and this is key -- journalists do publish secrets they are provided by sources. That's First Amendment, chapter and verse, American as fucking apple pie and fast-food-induced diabetes. And that is what much of the superseding indictment of Assange unsealed yesterday was about. (And nope, it wasn't about anything regarding Assange's ratfucking the 2016 election or Hillary's emails. Why would the Trump Justice Department prosecute anything about that? It's all about the older Chelsea Manning stuff, the stuff the Obama Justice Department considered charging Assange with, but ultimately declined, because of that little thing called the First Amendment.)

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