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Smiling granny starver says what?


White House budget director Mick Mulvaney just keeps bringing the hits -- we have a feeling the smiling sociopath will get a lot of attention here at Yr wonkette, at least until police start getting complaints about the smells and muffled cries for help coming from his house's crawlspace. After last week's brilliant observation that we simply can't justify federal spending on Meals on Wheels, which has utterly failed at making poor old people not old or poor any more, Mulvaney brought us another dispatch from the weird parallel dimension he calls home. Oh, sure, we all remember how Donald Trump promised -- way back in January -- that his replacement for the Affordable Care Act would definitely provide "insurance for everybody." But in reality, it turns out that health care is actually really complicated, which nobody knew, so it turns out that really covering everybody is impossible, because to do that, you'd have to start threatening people with some sort of penalty if they didn't have insurance. And that's simply UNPOSSIBLE in a free country, because it would require throwing people in jail if they're uninsured, as Mulvaney explained Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation":

Well by god, Mick Mulvaney believes in freedom, not government mandates!

The only way to have universal care, if you stop to think about it, is to force people to buy it under penalty of law [...] What you've got now is, we're forcing people to buy it under ObamaCare under penalty of law, and people are still looking for a way not to buy it. So clearly the government mandate doesn't work. The better process, the better function, is exactly what we're trying to do now, which is to encourage people and enable them to buy a policy they want and can afford.

How true this is! TrumpDoesn'tCare does mandate 30% higher premiums for anyone who doesn't have insurance for two consecutive months. And it makes affording health insurance far less affordable. But that's a private health insurance incentive, not a mandate, so it's not really a penalty, now is it? Mulvaney explains why government mandates simply don't work, and can't work:

The only way to get truly universal care is to throw people in jail if they don't have it. And we are not going to do that.

He's so very principled! Far more principled than all the states which require drivers to have car insurance, and fine people who drive without it -- or even jail repeat offenders.

If only there were some way to ensure that everyone had healthcare without throwing anyone in jail! As Jonathan Chait points out, all you have to do is look at Europe and Canada and every other industrialized democracy in the world, where the prisons

are filled with the uninsured. There is literally no other way to ensure that people who can’t afford medical care have access to it. So that’s why Republicans have no choice but to enact a huge cut to health-coverage subsidies to finance a huge tax cut for the rich.

Still, apart from universal single-payer systems, which turn entire countries into socialist prisons where people have higher life expectancy, no bankruptcies due to hospital bills, better access to care, and better overall health, Mulvaney does have one point: One of the few places in America where a basic level of health care is an absolute right is in our prisons, thanks to court decisions holding that not providing health care to inmates constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. (And let's not even get into the sad fact that prisons are where we now warehouse poor people with severe mental illnesses.)

You may remember the case of Richard James Verone, who in 2011 robbed a bank in North Carolina in the hope that he could at least get treatment for a growth on his chest and two ruptured disks in his back. Unfortunately, since Verone handed the teller a note demanding one dollar, and then sat down to wait for police, he was only convicted of the much lesser charge of "larceny from a person," and didn't end up getting the longer imprisonment -- and health care -- he was looking for.

So if ACA repeal passes and throws 24 million people off their insurance, there's a strategy for folks to consider, going forward. Just be sure to do your research and find a nonviolent crime that'll send you to federal prison long enough for what ails you.

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[Face the Nation on Twitter / The Hill / New York / Daily Beast / LAT]

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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