How Can Liberals Defend Obamacare When There Are Starving Children In India, Huh?

If the meme were about Hitler, it would be doubly invalid.

The arguments about TrumpCare are getting weird, folks. Over at The Week, Texas Monthly editor Erica Grieder published a strange column arguing that the Senate's Better Not Need Care bill is really much, much better than most people think it is, because lots of reasons. While we didn't find the argument convincing, we won't really get into it here, since the column itself isn't our main concern, but rather the Twitter fight Grieder subsequently got into with New York magazine's Jonathan Chait, who this morning Twote thusly:

Chait had reasons, too, which we found more convincing than Grieder's, but again, not really what we want to get at here. No, we're just fascinated by this reply by Grieder, where she appears to go sharply off the rails. Chait had tweeted that he thought the Supreme Court's decision to make Medicaid expansion optional, followed by red state governors refusing to accept the Medicaid expansion, was "horrible for poor people." Grieder shot back:

To which we can only reply, as a certified Ph.D. in Rhetoric (University of Arizona, 2000), "What the actual fuck?" Or as Yr Editrix put it in the Wonkette Sekrit Chat Cave,

"let's all get our moles checked this year" "WHY DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE OF PROSTATE CANCER?"

That there is some serious nonsequitur action, and we have to say we're impressed. Even Grieder's explanation of that demand for an apology to the suffering school children of Texas doesn't make a lot of sense -- when someone else asked why Texas didn't just take the radical step of funding both, Greider replied,

Which certainly gives us insight into Texas's stupid priorities, but also missed the point, since Medicaid expansion, you may recall, came with over 90% of its costs covered by the federal government until 2022. So that really seems like a stretch -- we're not sure Grieder has both either-ors in the water there. Also, as others pointed out, if Texas had the will to really help its children and its poor people (which of course is ridiculous; it's Texas), the state constitution does allow for instituting a state income tax via a referendum, not that such a thing would ever pass.

Among other particulars in Grieder's follow-up argument about the good stuff in the Better Not Believe We Care plan is this explanation of why it would be way better for poor people than Obamacare, at least in states that rejected the expansion (we've embiggened the table in the tweet to make it more readable):

OK, yes, in states that didn't take the expansion, there are a lot of folks in the gap between regular Medicaid and the least expensive plans on the Exchange, but that's because the ACA was intended to expand Medicaid everywhere, before the Supremes made it optional for any Rick Perrys who wanted to mug their own states to give Barack Obama a big black eye by the transitive process. And a fix to the ACA that would provide subsidized insurance to low-income people in those gap states would be a great idea! There's no need to destroy all of the ACA and dismantle much of Medicaid to achieve that, though. And you could probably pay for it by not giving an enormous tax cut to the richest Americans.

Even so, the $300 per month plans envisioned by the Senate plan look like a great bargain, except for a little detail Grieder doesn't mention: To qualify for that low a premium, someone would have to have a very low income ($11,400 in 2026), but the deductible for the plan would be about $6000, making it completely unaffordable even if the premium were subsidized. As the CBO score warned, virtually no low-income customers would buy such plans unless they had insanely high medical costs to start with, which would make the market unstable.

Also, speaking of Texas, while we were staring in confusion at Grieder's beautiful nonsequitur, the Associated Press dropped this story, which actually has nothing at all to do with the Senate's plan to slash Medicaid:

Sadly, Texas's ongoing war on kids with disabilities and on funding for special education is not a new story. And the state's latest scheme to screw over kids who need therapy, as detailed by the AP, comes out of Texas's very own meanness, because Texas Republicans are even bigger bastards than the ones in Washington. If Better Care (Than Somalia) becomes law, lord only knows how awful the situation in Texas will then become. Texas is already providing a terrible example of what states can come up with in "innovative" approaches to denying medical help to the poor, and with federal help at risk of being chopped even further, we can look forward to a whole bunch of states following Texas's lead down the toilet.

Just one question, though: Why are we making such a big deal out of healthcare for poor people when our lawmakers clearly need education, and a lot more of it?

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[The Week / Jonathan Chait on Twitter / Erica Grieder on Twitter / Associated Press]

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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