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Won't it be great to have insurance company death panels back again?


President Obama and Vice President-elect Pence held meetings with members of Congress this morning to plan out how their respective parties will approach the Affordable Care Act. The President urged Democrats to fight repeal of course, and said they shouldn't "rescue" Republicans from the consequences of dismantling the ACA. He also suggested using the name "Trumpcare" for whatever mess of warmed over dog vomit the Republicans come up with as a replacement. As he left the closed-door meeting with Democrats, Obama said to reporters, "Look out for the American people."

For his part, Pence said exactly the same robotic lines we've heard ever since the ACA passed in 2010:

Make no mistake about it: We're going to keep our promise to the American people -- we're going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with solutions that lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government.

And what will that plan be? Let's see what New York Rep. Chris Collins had to say!

Well, why the big hurry, guys? You've been getting ready to replace Obamacare from day one, so why not give yourselves another six months? Or a year? Or forever? Haha, we remember back in 2015 when the Republicans took over the Senate: Mitch McConnell and John Boehner promised they'd have a terrific replacement for the ACA really soon, a plan that somehow never actually saw the light of day. Now John Boehner's gone and Paul Ryan's in charge of the House, and there's still no replacement. Imagine that. But just wait and see what they come up with in six months! Or six years. Or never.

Following the meeting, Democratic leaders, channeling the smartest thing Alan Grayson ever said, summed up what they believe the Republican agenda for health care really is: "Make America Sick Again." Crom knows we've been feeling queasy all day! House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the only thing the Republican slogan "repeal and replace" had going for it was alliteration, which got our English Major heart going pittypat.

Also, "Democratic" Sen. Joe Manchin skipped the meeting with Obama in favor of a one-on-one meeting with Pence later today, because "bipartisanship." Uh huh.

Thankfully, we at least know the broad outlines of what a Republican plan will do, thanks to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, who promised Tuesday nobody would lose their health coverage.

"That is correct. We don't want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance," the advisor, Kellyanne Conway, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Isn't that reassuring? If you can't trust Kellyanne Conway, well then, you must be a rational human being who knows how trustworthy Kellyanne Conway is. Conway added this irrefutable fact:

"These folks have a mandate to repeal and replace Obamacare," Conway said Tuesday, citing the presidential and congressional election results from this past fall. "Obamacare was on the ballot. People want it repealed and replaced."

Huh! You know, it seems to us that if you were going from a purely numeric standpoint, it might be worth pointing out that nearly three million more Americans voted for the candidate who promised to preserve and fix Obamacare. Sure, the electoral college gave Trump the presidency, but one might want to be a little careful about treating it like a public opinion poll. We might also point out a record number of Americans signed up for insurance through the exchanges -- so many the government actually had to extend the deadline to handle the demand. Pfft, but the 20 million people relying on the ACA for health care don't really matter anyway. And who cares if some people die when their insurance -- which won't be taken away -- is taken away?

Along similar lines, Paul Ryan himself said a month ago, in a quote Mother Jones's Kevin Drum would very much like to remind us of today, "There will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off." Again, while nobody should believe anything Paul Ryan says simply because he said it, that would be a very useful quote to keep handy as the debate moves forward. Say, Mr. Ryan, it looks like this plan you're about to pass actually leaves X-million people out in the cold. What's up with that, huh? And of course, Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy would like to remind us of some promises the president-elect made after he was elected, just as a little something to hold his lying feet to the fire while we're at it:

So there's your benchmark for evaluating Trumpcare. If what gets put forward instead resembles Alpo recycled by a Labradoodle, then there just might be a few problems with the Republican "plan."

Still, the Republicans have promised to kill Obamacare, which means they have no choice but to do exactly that. We have a suggestion for them: How about they take a market-driven health insurance reform that was developed by the Heritage Foundation, implemented in Massachusetts by a Republican governor, and call it "Trumpcare"? They could rename the exchanges "markets," and instead of providing a "subsidy" to people who need help buying insurance, they could call that a "market incentive" or even a "tax bonus." We bet they could get a lot of support for something like that, especially if they point out that the program helps more whites than minorities.

[CNN / WaPo / CNN / CNBC / MoJo / LAT / TPM]

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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