Not All Needy People Are As Deserving As Others: Paralyzed Arkansas Lawmaker Who Receives Medicaid Benefits Opposes Medicaid Expansion in His State

JoshMillerArkansasSubmitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Meet Josh Miller. He’s a young Republican state legislator from Heber Springs, Arkansas. He took office in 2013. Miller also manages a rental property business. More than a decade ago, he was paralyzed when he broke his neck in a catastrophic car accident. Fortunately, Miller hasn’t been confined to an unproductive life because of his accident and subsequent paralysis.

More about Miller from the Arkansas Times:

Miller, 33, was on an alcohol-fueled drive with a friend about 11 years ago (he can’t remember who was driving) when their pickup plunged off a ravine near Choctaw. He was rescued, but suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. Miller was uninsured. What young, fit man needs health insurance, he thought then. (He had some reason to know better. Not long before, he’d broken his hand in a fight and had to refuse the recommended surgery to fix the injuries properly because he was uninsured.)

Months of hospitalization and rehabilitation followed, including a long stretch in intensive care at St. Vincent Infirmary. There was a $1 million bill. Medicaid paid most of it. Miller was placed on disability and checks began. In time, between Medicaid and Medicare, all his health costs were covered by the federal government. For that reason, he need not be among the 82 Arkansas legislators (61 percent of the body) who enjoy heavily subsidized and comprehensive state employee health insurance.

According to the Arkansas Times, health insurance isn’t the only benefit Miller receives from the federal government. A Medicaid program also provides funding for his daily personal care assistance. Miller is able to enjoy a productive life as the manager of a rental property business and as a state legislator because of “his own grit”…and also because the government paid for his trauma care and continues to pays for his ongoing Medicare and Medicaid coverage and personal care assistant.

Yet, this man who owes his own well-being to being a recipient of Medicare and Medicaid benefits is opposed to the expansion of Medicaid coverage in his state of Arkansas. Just last week, Miller “orated against the private option Medicaid expansion. He even invoked FDR’s New Deal — a “hand up,” he said, not a “handout.”

Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times wonders how someone who has received—and continues to receive—so much public assistance could oppose health insurance for “the working poor.”

Brantley:

Miller sees it differently. He said some who qualify for the private option aren’t working hard enough. He claims many want health insurance just so they can get prescription drugs to abuse. He draws distinctions with government help for catastrophic occurrences such as he suffered. He falls back, too, on a developing defense from private option holdouts that they prefer an alternative that wouldn’t end coverage for the 100,000 people currently signed up, at least until next year. This is disingenuous. He and other opponents have made clear that they want to strip Obamacare from government root and branch. Here’s how Miller boiled his opposition down:

“My problem is two things,” Miller said. “One, we are giving it to able-bodied folks who can work … and two, how do we pay for it?”

Lucky for Josh Miller, such thinking didn’t prevail when Congress — over Republican opposition — created the programs that sustain him.

On Thursday evening, Miller was interviewed by Chris Hayes of MSNBC. During the interview, Miller “defended his opposition to Medicaid expansion in the face of his own significant benefit from the program.” Miller said that the government “can’t afford to cover more people.” Miller also claimed, once again, “that he and other opponents don’t want to take coverage away from people already signed up.”

Rep. Josh Miller (R-Heber Springs) talks Health Care in Arkansas with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

Brantley says that Miller’s claim that opponents of Medicaid expansion in Arkansas “don’t want to take away coverage from the 127,000 who’ve already been signed up” is inaccurate. Brantley adds that Miller KNOWS his claim is inaccurate—and that to “knowingly say something inaccurate is, well, a lie. “

David Ramsey (Arkansas Times) said that the opponents of the “private option do not believe there should be a publicly funded safety-net program providing health insurance for low-income Arkansans.” He added that they’re “putting enormous energy into ending the private option, which would take away coverage from 100,000 (and counting) people.” Ramsey noted that for some of the opponents politics is at the root of their opposition. He said there are others who “have sincerely held reasons for that belief.” They think the private option “is bad public policy.” Ramsey said, however, that the “outcome of their preferred policy — ending the private option — is precisely to kick 100,000 people off of the coverage they’ve gained this year through the private option, and to ensure that around 100,000 more eligible people never gain that coverage at all.” Ramsey said that it’s time for the opponents “to own that.”

According to Kris Giuliani (UPI), lawmakers in Arkansas “must re-approve funding for the expansion, with a 75 percent supermajority, to keep the program intact.  Approval of the bill is still a few votes short, including Miller’s.”

Brantley:

A coldly rational person might say a cook in a fast-food restaurant, working long hours at low pay to feed a family, looks more deserving than an uninsured person injured on a drunken joy ride. I would not. No one should be pre-judged on a subjective merit test for health care. We are all God’s children — all residents of a country Republicans like to call exceptional, despite its lack of universal health care.

Apart from the core philosophical difference — Miller opposes an expansion of government expenditures; I don’t — Miller’s position seems to boil down to the belief that some needy people are more deserving than others.

~ Submitted by Elaine Magliaro

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

SOURCES

Paralyzed GOP Lawmaker On Medicaid Opposes Medicaid Expansion (Talking Points Memo)

Rep. Josh Miller, recipient of significant government assistance, opposes Medicaid expansion in Arkansas (Arkansas Times)

Rep. Josh Miller gets national exposure on MSNBC as Medicaid expansion opponent (Arkansas Times)

Ending private option would take away coverage from 100,000 Arkansans, whether opponents like to admit that or not (Arkansas Times)

GOP lawmaker dependent on Medicaid opposes Medicaid expansion: Josh Miller received over $1 million in Medicaid assistance, and continues to speak out against the program’s expansion. (UPI)

77 thoughts on “Not All Needy People Are As Deserving As Others: Paralyzed Arkansas Lawmaker Who Receives Medicaid Benefits Opposes Medicaid Expansion in His State

  1. This is just gut wrenching…. In some parts of Arkansas…. They are not much better off than WV…..

    The guy sounds like an entitled loser…..

    Maybe we could have a reality show called the biggest loser…. Based upon the number of bad legislators losing their elections…..

  2. To put forward the twisted logic of the TEAGop, it requires many twisted people with twisted visions of right and wrong, but who will always side with tax cuts over anything else.

  3. I AM for ending this guys Medicaid and Medicare and SS payments. Most insurance policies DO have clauses that deny coverage when engaged in illegal activities such as drunken driving. He IS one of the undeserving under any insurance policy for health or accidents. He needs to be kicked off now and make room for hard working honest folks who ARE deserving.

  4. I hope that Miller’s condition gets much worse and that his medicaid funding ends. Suffer you miserable fool

  5. Watching the video, it is clear that Josh Miller is interested in the question of how to pay for the Medicaid coverage instead of gambling that they will be able to pay for it. That sounds like responsible stewardship to me. Most criticisms of him seem to be unfounded.

  6. davidm,

    The criticisms of Miller are well-founded. It’s hypocritical of him to say that others shouldn’t receive Medicaid expansion benefits when he is a beneficiary of Medicaid. If Miller feels there isn’t enough money to fund the benefits, he should be brave enough to say that he is willing to stop receiving them. Otherwise, it speaks to a “some of us are more equal/deserving than others” attitude.

  7. Payment for taking care of needy Americans is easy. There is already plenty of money in the system even if the 1% are not asked to return some of the money they have scammed off of the public. Simply move money from the Department of Offence and from corporate welfare to taking care of those who are truly needy.

  8. I guess I could wax eloquently, but when I used to work physically for a living, we had a phrase that applied to people like this guy: M***** F*****, which summed it up for all of us.

  9. L99: All teabaggers want is fiscal responsibilty. Welfare has doubled under Obummer, are you still happy you voted for this goof.

  10. Elaine M wrote: “It’s hypocritical of him to say that others shouldn’t receive Medicaid expansion benefits when he is a beneficiary of Medicaid.”

    I read other people claiming that he is saying others should not receive Medicaid. That is not what I heard him saying. He said they need to study it to figure out how to pay for it. I heard him express thanks that he was helped by Medicaid. He sounded to me like he wanted others like him to be helped by Medicaid. I didn’t hear him saying anything like you claim he was saying. He certainly did not want to abolish Medicaid.

  11. david The problem is that this crook does NOT need Medicare or Medicaid, or SS payments since he has such health coverage available to him by other programs. So he is simply a LEECH that is taking money away from others who are truly needy and prohibiting others from getting the same assistance that he is getting and does not need! That is like a rich man taking food away from the hungry just because he can. This guy is simply corrupt and evil and is unfit to represent anybody.

  12. Josh Miller gets constituent mail; good arguments for all legislative holdouts on Medicaid expansion
    Posted by Max Brantley
    Mar 1, 2014
    http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/03/01/josh-miller-gets-constituent-mail-good-arguments-for-all-legislative-holdouts-on-medicaid-expansion

    Excerpt;
    Carol Balderree of Heber Springs thought she heard a different sort of representative when now-Rep. Josh Miller was campaigning for the legislature. But his words and deeds on implementation of the Affordable Care Act have made her think otherwise. Her letter to Miller, published by Blue Hog Report, is worth a read.

    It’s a good letter for any of the holdouts, though she also emphasizes Miller’s personal situation, a recipe t of Medicaid benefits who opposes expanding coverage to others. Condensed version of her letter:

    1) Arkansas taxpayers are paying to the feds whether it takes the Medicaid expansion money or not. If we don’t take it, our money goes to others.

    2) We are the only developed country that doesn’t provide health care as a birthright.

    3) Who’s deserving?

    You implied that basic health care coverage should only go to the “deserving” in your comment regarding the lady with Parkinson’s. When you were injured in a drunk driving car accident, were you “deserving” of care? Should you have been refused care and allowed to perish because your injuries were of your own making? Of course not! If we are a nation that judges and refuses to care for those we deem not worthy, then we are not a Christian nation!

    4) The mandate:

    The one aspect of the ACA that Republicans seem to hate the most is the individual mandate–the requirement that uninsured individuals buy health insurance–yet you don’t seem to object to laws requiring individuals to buy liability insurance when they drive a car. Why is that? Why should taxpayers like myself pick up the tab for young, healthy individuals who drive drunk and are severely injured as a result? Does not that young, healthy individual have a responsibility–not only to himself, but to his fellow citizens–to prevent that from happening?

  13. An Open Letter to Rep. Josh Miller from a Constituent
    February 28, 2014
    By Matt Campbell
    http://www.bluehogreport.com/2014/02/28/an-open-letter-to-rep-josh-miller-from-a-constituent/

    Excerpt:
    [The following letter was written to Rep. Josh Miller from one of his constituents, Ms. Carol Balderree. It is reprinted here with her permission. -Ed.]

    Mr. Miller,

    When you were running for office, you attended a number of the Democratic Party meetings, where you portrayed yourself as a representative of ALL the people of District 66. Because of your own experience as a recipient of Medicaid, you portrayed yourself as someone who was sympathetic to the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and as someone who would not be the lackey of the “Tea Party” wing of the Republican Party. What a surprise and disappointment you have been! Obviously, your own career and the support of the Tea Party elements in your own Republican Party are more important to you than is doing what’s best for the people of Arkansas.

    I found your arguments in your interview with Chris Hayes to be weak and disingenuous:

    1) You argued the “possibility” that fully implementing the private option would somehow take much needed funds from Medicaid or other government services (though the federal government is paying 100% of the cost for the next 3 years) and 90-95% of the cost after that. Taxpayers in this state are paying taxes to the federal government, whether Arkansas takes back its share or not (and as a poor state, Arkansas stands to get back much MORE than our share). Are we going to refuse to help our own citizens just because Republicans hate President Obama and want to see him fail?

    2) Prior to passage of the ACA, this was the only developed country in the WORLD that did not provide basic health care to all its citizens. Different countries use different means to provide coverage–our system of employer based coverage was (and is) the most costly and least effective. The ACA is certainly NOT ideal, but it is a start. You and your fellow legislators should be doing everything in your power to build on and improve, rather than to tear down and destroy, this Act. Prior to passage of this law, the United States spent more (nearly twice as much more) per capita on health care than the people of any other nation, and yet we still had 50 million uninsured or underinsured people. Healthcare costs were rising astronomically, contributing to a broken and unsustainable healthcare system.

  14. Randy, I find it somewhat of a shock that you would support creating a program like Medicare and then call someone a leech if they take it according to the rules setup for the program. Fox News a few days back profiled this surfer dude in California, driving a nice shiny escalade and buying lobster with the food stamps he qualified for. His position was that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. If the system allows him to do it, then why not take advantage of it.

    I don’t know much about this Josh Miller guy, but if we are going to have programs like Medicaid, I would rather someone like him look over how it is going to work and how to pay for it since he has first hand experience with its need and benefits. My biggest concern is that he might have a tendency to favor it too much because he has benefited from it.

  15. Lobster would qualify as food. If he runs out of benefits before the end of the month, then he’ll be SOL. That’s freedom of choice.

    Fox Lies doesn’t know if he owns the car or if it was leased, loaned, or borrowed. Or if he purchased it before falling on hard times.

    Real scholars watch Fox. Not; it’s a phony propaganda tool and a waste of time. As are you.

  16. I’m sorry, but it has to be said….He has a big R behind his name. That means in his world he has his protections, screw everybody else.

  17. If you look up Hypocrisy in the dictionary, you will find Mr. Miller’s picture. I guess Mr. Miller and others here think he is more deserving than the thousands locally and millions nationwide who are being harmed by the refusal of states to expand Medicaid, even though it would be 100% covered by the Feds for 3 years, I believe and a significant percentage thereafter. The only possible answers are the I have mine mentality and screw everyone else, or politics. I find it amazing that those on this site that argue constantly on the abuse of food stamps and other government programs by double dippers and those that have sufficient funds, but when a Republican state legislator gets government entitlements while earning a paycheck from the State, it is somehow a good thing to them!?? Hypocrisy has a name and it is spelled MILLER.

  18. RTC wrote: “If he runs out of benefits before the end of the month, then he’ll be SOL.”

    He’s been doing the food stamp thing for several years. This was a follow up interview. They didn’t make a big deal about the car, but I noticed it when he got out of it. But things are looking up for him. He is playing with a band now and he hopes to get off food stamps in a few months from the gigs. He was thankful and appreciative for a system that allows him to pursue his dream of surfing and becoming a rock band star. Fox did not spin the story the way this interviewer tried to spin the story with Josh Miller.

  19. rafflaw wrote: “… when a Republican state legislator gets government entitlements while earning a paycheck from the State, it is somehow a good thing to them.”

    I don’t think it is good. I don’t think we need a big federal Medicaid program. But this Republican, Josh Miller, is more liberal than me. He does not want to take anyone off of Medicaid, despite all the misinformation being spread here about what he is saying. I don’t agree with him, but he is entitled to his opinion. Most of my comments are simply about keeping the facts straight.

    From my perspective, people like Josh Miller were helped before there was Medicaid. If Medicaid did not exist, Josh Miller would have still gotten the help he needed. It is quite obvious to me that Medicaid makes health care expenses go up for everybody. That’s what I don’t like about insurance.

  20. Reminds me of the CEO of Oil-Qaeda (a.k.a. ExxonMobil) who is suing to prevent a water-tank-tower from being built near his ranch.

    It will be used for fraking, which he supports, but would impair his pristine view of the nature his company is destroying.

  21. I am not buying it david. Let’s look at facts. He wants to keep the needy off the same program that helped him and is helping him. Josh Miller and his apologists are looking for a way to get their money while arguing others in similar situations will just have to go to the emergency room which actually cost us all even more money. And now there are states looking at outlawing poor people from being able to go to emergency rooms. WWJD?

  22. President Eisenhauer warned of a military industrial complex. Had he lived a little longer, he would have soon warned of a healthcare industrial complex. This is really the larger issue here. You put free stuff on the table, and people make pigs out of themselves. But the bigger pigs, really, are in the healthcare industry. Poor people never lobbied for Medicare. Healthcare pigs did. This larger picture is lost on massive health care expansion today, by industry to sustain revenues otherwise impossible. And I might as well as add, as long as politicians are whores to industry, wars will always be with us from now on.

  23. rafflaw wrote: “I am not buying it david. Let’s look at facts. He wants to keep the needy off the same program that helped him and is helping him.”

    Did you watch the same video that I did? He said that nobody currently on Medicaid would lose it. He wanted to scale back new enrollments until they figure out how to pay for it.

    Why is it so hard to understand that these programs need to be paid for. Do you run your personal finances this way, just run up the credit cards without any idea how you are going to pay them off?

    I learned very early in life that I can only help people with what I have. Otherwise, I would run myself into bankruptcy trying to help everybody. I knew a liberal guy like that once. He took his girlfriend’s American Express card and rented every room in a hotel for a few months to give homeless guys a place to sleep. After two months, the card wouldn’t work anymore and everybody got kicked out. I don’t see how that strategy is very helpful at all. I didn’t agree with it then, and I still don’t agree with it. We need programs that are sustainable.

    Personally, I think there are enough kindhearted individuals that we don’t need government doing this stuff.

  24. davidm,

    Did you miss what I wrote after the video?

    Here’s an excerpt:
    Brantley says that Miller’s claim that opponents of Medicaid expansion in Arkansas “don’t want to take away coverage from the 127,000 who’ve already been signed up” is inaccurate. Brantley adds that Miller KNOWS his claim is inaccurate—and that to “knowingly say something inaccurate is, well, a lie.”

    David Ramsey (Arkansas Times) said that the opponents of the “private option do not believe there should be a publicly funded safety-net program providing health insurance for low-income Arkansans.” He added that they’re “putting enormous energy into ending the private option, which would take away coverage from 100,000 (and counting) people.” Ramsey noted that for some of the opponents politics is at the root of their opposition. He said there are others who “have sincerely held reasons for that belief.” They think the private option “is bad public policy.” Ramsey said, however, that the “outcome of their preferred policy — ending the private option — is precisely to kick 100,000 people off of the coverage they’ve gained this year through the private option, and to ensure that around 100,000 more eligible people never gain that coverage at all.” Ramsey said that it’s time for the opponents “to own that.”

  25. Seriously? Adults who are seemingly intelligent would call others Healthcare Pigs? This must come straight from the Ayn Rand edition of the Bible.

  26. Actually, Ayn Rand thought that being piggish was just grand. So in her world the Health insurance Industry are doing the “lord’s” work.

  27. david,
    I don’t believe what he said on the video. His actions speak louder than his words on camera. Secondly, he does not need to find a way to pay for it. That is a dodge. That is already taken care of and the CBO has chimed in on how it actually helps the deficit. He has to “own” the fact that his injuries were caused by his and his friends drunken driving and he took advantage of programs to help the needy, but claims the needy no longer are needy enough to use the program because “he” doesn’t know how it will be paid for. All he has to do is read the ACA. He can probably get a Cliff Notes version to help him. Finally, this is the mentality of the “entitled” like the Georgia governor who wants to stop the poor from going to emergency rooms for care, even though he refused the Medicare expansion funds for his state and his people. Disgusting.

  28. davidm said: “Personally, I think there are enough kindhearted individuals that we don’t need government doing this stuff.”

    If that were true, all people in need would have medical coverage. Unfortunately, they don’t.

  29. If you charge me $700 for an aspirin, you are, well, piggish!!!

    Why do you sling so much mud at Christians and conservatives? Don’t you consider yourself intelligent?

  30. Elaine wrote: “Did you miss what I wrote after the video?”

    No, I read it, but these are the reporters who hate the Republicans. Just read everything they write and you can see it. They falsely portray us Republicans as arms crossed naysayers who won’t cooperate with anything good. They are like children yelling to mommy and daddy about all the candy their friends are offering them and don’t understand why their parents don’t just take it.

    The Arkansas Republicans have attempted to draft their own health care reform and the Democrats are running to Obamacare and trying to mix it in with it under the cry of, “look at all the free matching money being offered.” The system is a bit more complex that what is being presented here.

  31. rafflaw – the ACA had a problem when the Supreme Court found part of it unconstitutional. The States have an option to opt out, but Arkansas has been trying to forge a third way to work this out. This is all just messy politics with people spinning stories left and right to rile up their political party. The liberals are stirring up people to hate the Republicans, and the Republicans are trying to find a way to reform health care in Arkansas and pay for it responsibly.

  32. Samantha you implied users of healthcare were piggish, or are you trying to back away from that assertion? I think she’s addressing me, Elaine.

    “You put free stuff on the table and people make pigs of themselves”.

  33. davidm,

    I’m sick and tired of Republicans/conservatives bitching and moaning about the ACA. I put much of the fault for not having a better health care law at their feet. Why didn’tt hey work diligently with Democrats to craft a better law? BTW, the ACA, which is similar to a health care law instituted in my state, was brought in by a Republican governor–Mitt Romney.

    *****

    Conservatives Sowed Idea of Health Care Mandate, Only to Spurn It Later
    By MICHAEL COOPER
    Published: February 14, 2012
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/health/policy/health-care-mandate-was-first-backed-by-conservatives.html

    Excerpt:
    It can be difficult to remember now, given the ferocity with which many Republicans assail it as an attack on freedom, but the provision in President Obama’s health care law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.

    The concept that people should be required to buy health coverage was fleshed out more than two decades ago by a number of conservative economists, embraced by scholars at conservative research groups, including the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and championed, for a time, by Republicans in the Senate.

    The individual mandate, as it is known, was seen then as a conservative alternative to some of the health care approaches favored by liberals — like creating a national health service or requiring employers to provide health coverage.

  34. Elaine M wrote: “Why didn’t they work diligently with Democrats to craft a better law?”

    They were trying to do that, but the Democrats decided that having control of both Senate and House that they would sneak the bill through without Republican support by promising backroom money deals to Democrats who would vote for it. In the Senate they forced it through on Christmas Eve without a single Republican vote and without a single vote to spare. If you are tired of the complaining, your party should have thought about this before they forced a bill through without a single person from the other party voting for it.

    It’s not too late to stop all this. Just get your party and your President to agree with the Tea Party to repeal the ACA and let’s start over where we all work on the problem.

  35. And perhaps I should add that nobody even had time to read the bill? Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats should pass it so they could find out what it was. It was Democratic politics climaxing.

  36. Jake Tapper: Obama ‘Resentful’ GOP’ers in Congress Refused to Help Craft Obamacare
    by Noah Rothman
    October 21st, 2013
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jake-tapper-obama-resentful-gopers-in-congress-refused-to-help-craft-obamacare/

    Following the conclusion of President Barack Obama’s speech on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the problems some people are experiencing while attempting to navigate the insurance exchanges online, a CNN panel dug into comments Obama made during that speech attacking Republicans. CNN host Jake Tapper said that the president is “resentful” of Republicans who refused to collaborate on the crafting of the ACA, forcing it to be passed with only Democratic votes.

    CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Tapper if he was “surprised” by Obama’s pivot to a political attack on Republicans in Congress amid his defense of the ACA’s implementation.

    “No,” Tapper replied. “Because President Obama, when I was a White House correspondent when they were doing health care, and he really did — there were many efforts on Capitol Hill.”

    “It passed as a partisan bill, but there were many efforts on Capitol Hill for it not to be a partisan bill, for Republican ideas to be included,” he continued. “That was a big source of frustration. And I know, in the White House obviously, the president is still resentful of the fact that Republicans were – he attempted to bring them on board to do this bill and then they were not part of it and they have been trying to block it, as we saw with the government shutdown.”

  37. Elaine, it is very difficult for me to understand how an intelligent woman believes all these lies you keep posting. Doesn’t the fact that they did not allow the bill to be read, and the fact that they took an unusual vote late Christmas Eve in order to pass it, mean anything to you? I remember very vividly when all this was going on, and I thought it was deplorable how they would use their majority in such a partisan way.

  38. Why Republicans Have No Business Being Upset About Obamacare
    October 29, 2013
    by Robert Reich
    http://billmoyers.com/2013/10/29/why-republicans-have-no-business-being-upset-about-obamacare/

    Excerpt:
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans will seek to delay a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty. “With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn’t make any sense to impose this one percent mandate tax on the American people,” Cantor said last week.

    While Republicans plot new ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it’s easy to forget that for years they’ve been arguing that any comprehensive health insurance system be designed exactly like the one that officially began October 1st, glitches and all.

    For as many years Democrats tried to graft healthcare onto Social Security and Medicare and pay for it through the payroll tax. But Republicans countered that any system must be based on private insurance and paid for with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers and a requirement that the younger and healthier sign up.

    Not surprisingly, private health insurers cheered on the Republicans while doing whatever they could to block Democrats from creating a public insurance system.

    In February 1974, Republican President Richard Nixon proposed, in essence, today’s Affordable Care Act. Under Nixon’s plan all but the smallest employers would provide insurance to their workers or pay a penalty, an expanded Medicaid-type program would insure the poor and subsidies would be provided to low-income individuals and small employers. Sound familiar?

    Private insurers were delighted with the Nixon plan but Democrats preferred a system based on Social Security and Medicare and the two sides failed to agree.

    Thirty years later a Republican governor, Mitt Romney, made Nixon’s plan the law in Massachusetts. Private insurers couldn’t have been happier although many Democrats in the state had hoped for a public system.

    When today’s Republicans rage against the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, it’s useful to recall this was their idea as well.

  39. Elaine they wanted the ACA to be unworkable and a monsosity. If it would’ve had a public option they would called those who took it even bigger pigs.

  40. Exactly, davidm, people forget that Republicans had been shut out of the process. The backlash came with the Tea Party, which threw the Democrats out of the house. Next time you liberals blame the Tea Party for anything, think about what might have been accomplished had not so many pissed into the wind.

  41. David,
    once again, I am not buying it. If you are going to argue a bill is bad, you need to know what is in it. As I said earlier, the comment that they are trying to pay for it responsibly is nonsense. The Medicaid portion would be paid by the Feds for 3 years completely and most of the cost after that. They are looking for a way to stop anything that Obama is for, period. The right is against it so they will lie, as shown above, and misrepresent and lie some more, as in the case of the fake patients on the Koch bought ads.
    annie,
    Most of us would have preferred a public option or Medicare for all, but there is no way that could have gotten passed.

  42. annie,

    They’d bitch about having single payer. They’d bitch about having a public option. They’d bitch about any health care plan the Democrats came up with–even though it was similar to those once recommended by their own party.

  43. If David believes there are enough kind heated people out there willing to help so we don’t need insurance, he hasn’t had a child or grandchild need cancer surgery and chemotherapy. Or spinal cord surgery. I am sure his plumber would be happy to take care of his heart or kidney transplant.

    I have come to the inevitable conclusion David and his like minded compatriots live in an alternate universe, where reality stands on its head.

  44. I think the Republican in Arkansas is a pig. I don’t believe in giving someone a free pass just because they are, say, conservative.

  45. Why the Health Care Law Scares the G.O.P.
    By EDUARDO PORTER
    Published: October 1, 2013
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/business/economy/why-the-health-care-law-scares-the-gop.html?_r=0

    Excerpt:
    This spring, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce urged the state Legislature to accept the federal government’s plan to expand Medicaid for the poor and disabled.

    The business lobbying group had not suddenly gone rogue. Here is how Daniel P. Mehan, its president, summarized his feelings about President Obama’s health care law: “We don’t like it.”

    But the Chamber was cognizant of the plea of its members directly affected by the issue: dozens of Missouri hospitals stood to lose $4.2 billion over six years in federal support for uncompensated care if the state refused to increase the income ceiling for Medicaid eligibility.

    Pragmatism suggested accepting the expansion. Washington would pay the extra cost entirely for three years and pick up 90 percent of the bill thereafter.

    And it would expand health coverage in the state’s poor, predominantly white rural counties, which voted consistently to put Republican lawmakers into office.

    Missouri’s Republican-controlled Legislature — heavy with Tea Party stalwarts — rejected Medicaid’s expansion in the state anyway.

    After their vote, a frustrated editorial in The Missourian, a faithfully conservative newspaper in Washington, Mo., asked of the state’s elected Republicans: “Who Do They Represent?”

    Today, the same forces that blocked the expansion of Medicaid in Missouri are going all out in Washington in a bid to undo all of the Affordable Care Act. Bowing to the vehemence of its Tea Party faction, the House G.O.P. forced a government shutdown when Senate Democrats refused to delay or defund the president’s health overhaul.

    House Republicans are threatening even further damage if they don’t get their way, possibly unleashing financial chaos if they manage to force the United States into its first default ever on the government’s debt.

    Republicans’ efforts raise the same perplexing question posed by The Missourian: What drives Tea Party Republicans and their financial backers? What calculation persuades them that repealing the health care law is worth the risk? Indeed, whose interests do they represent?

    Nearly 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of trying to stop the law by cutting its financing. Even among those who don’t like the law, less than half want their representatives in Congress to try to make it fail.

    It is tempting to discard the Tea Party activists driving the Republican Party as crazy — as some commentators have — motivated by fear and willing to believe that default won’t cause much harm and might even act as a purgative to free the economy of a bloated government.

    “They listen to nobody but themselves,” the Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol told me. “They are convinced of their rectitude and convinced that they alone are qualified to save America from the dire threat of Obama and his polices. They have worked themselves into a dangerous place.”

  46. Typical, “I have mine, you don’t get any,”
    In other spheres in the Universe this is known simply as bat shit crazy selfishness.

  47. annie,
    Elaine M. is correct. This last Christmas I had a discussion with my conservative father (84), my conservative brother (53) and his Russian girlfriend (43). They hate ACA to the core. And I asked them why?

    My father doesn’t need it. He’s covered w/ medicare. his premiums PLUS AARP cost him aprox. $240/mo. He dislikes the idea of mandating everyone ‘get’ covered.

    My brother is a small business owner who has been supplying insurance for his employees. He didn’t even know his small business requirements were extended. He hates the costs his Russian girlfriend has to pay out of pocket because she’s self employed in the USA and she’s sending her 19 year old to private collage. She’s paying an increased premium and lost dental in the exchange.

    My suggestion, single payer. All are against it… SOCIALISM!!!

    I challenged them, “Then if co-paying into a large pot so that we can take from it when needed is called SOCIALISM, then I will assume that you, dad, aren’t collecting your Social Security and that you (brother) are refusing to pay into it?”

    You all know their resounding answer is… “We paid into it!”
    You know they refused to hear the part of everyone taking from Social Security, And you know they refused to hear the part about Medicare… “we paid into it” too.

  48. There are quirks in Medicaid and Medicare. I have a family member who is on disability and is covered by Medicaid. She needed an operation that Medicaid wouldn’t cover; Medicare would cover it, but since she was a stay-at-home mom, raising kids and vegetables and caring for livestock, she hadn’t paid into SS, so she isn’t eligible for Medicare or SS until her former husband dies. In the end, she had to shop for a surgeon competent for the surgery and in a facility that she could “afford”. She borrowed from family members and repaid some of it with her inheritance from her mother. It was due to family, not the government or any insurance program that she is still with us.

  49. to davidm2575:

    Far more money is spent on corporate welfare than social welfare. If we cut the spigot flowing into the corporate welfare trough and protectionism for our Pharmaceutical companies, had a progressive tax system, and cared – as a society should- for those of our citizens who are struggling, we could afford adequate health care for all.

    http://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-welfare-statistics-vs-social-welfare-statistics/

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/the-cost-of-protectionism-in-pharmaceuticals/

    (just two pieces worth perusing)

  50. “Woulda, shoulda, coulda.” Obamacare is a billions of dollar’s boondoggle train wreck and ANY person intellectually honest will admit that.

  51. All the health care in the world will not help those individuals who refuse to heed the advice prescribed. Look around, talk to your friends, observe their actions, – are the heeding their provider advice ? If they are not – how do you feel about subsidized waste of time.

  52. nick spinelli,
    Her experience of Socialism is far different than the GOP imagines it to be.
    To define it as: “Paying into so that everyone can benefit” then Social Security is SOCIALISM!

    So is local taxes raising money for PUBLIC SCHOOLS, and HIGHWAYS.
    Something we all pay into and we all take from.

    Walk the walk. If paying in and taking from is SOCIALISM, then take personal responsibility and STOP playing along. Demand to NOT have Social Security removed from your Federal Taxes… I don’t see that happening as there is not ONE TeaParty Corporation behind it. And as far as NOT collecting benefits, refuse the checks. Send them back!!! Take personal responsibility and stop playing along with the SOCIALISM EXPERIMENTS all together.

    Cake and eat it, too?

  53. How much did Jesus profit from his health care visits?
    A Christian Nation? Hardly…

    I never said why I’m opposed to ACA.
    The middle man’s fat wallet!

  54. davidm,
    “They falsely portray us Republicans as arms crossed naysayers who won’t cooperate with anything good.”
    … I’ll let you argue that point with John Boehner.

  55. davidm,
    “Personally, I think there are enough kindhearted individuals that we don’t need government doing this stuff.”
    … And under what rock can we find these ‘kindhearted folks’ that can manage the crises? One local church is going broke trying to help homeless eat. Another local church is in hot water for letting the homeless camp on their yard because the local community complains about the ‘image’ of homelessness. Another local church is a women’s shelter 5 days a week, used to be 7 days but due to cutbacks, the ladies get two nights on the street. NONE of these three churches can even afford health care for any homeless person. So what next? Just die, already?

  56. davidm, if there were enough kindhearted individuals. I will gladly start believing this as soon as your check to me is in the mail. I would then gladly , cash it and send the money to one of the slaves working on one or other California farm or one cleaning the house of Josh Miller. With his kind of attitude I suspect he pays that person, well, slave wages.

  57. trish, corporate welfare includes things like PBS. The government has no business with corporate welfare whatsoever. In regards to social welfare, it should be somewhat limited so that it functions as a safety net and a help up. And government should never force medical care upon everyone because not everyone agrees with it.

  58. Max-1 wrote: “If paying in and taking from is SOCIALISM, then take personal responsibility and STOP playing along. Demand to NOT have Social Security removed from your Federal Taxes…”

    The problem is that we are put into prison for playing that way. Whether we like it or not, we are forced to play along. There really isn’t anything we can do about it. Our choice has been taken away. We have no liberty on this matter.

    When I am allowed to take Social Security, of course I’m going to take the check. If I am forced to participate in the sacrifice, then I might as well also participate in the benefits. However, if by some miraculous event the Democrats agreed to abolish Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, I would gladly vote for and support that, knowing that I would lose all benefits despite having paid into these programs for 40 years. If it allowed for a path of liberty and freedom for my children and future generations to determine their own future, that would be more important than any paycheck in my old age.

  59. Max-1 wrote: “One local church is going broke … Another local church is in hot water … Another local church … So what next? Just die, already?”

    I think we focus too much on institutions like churches or government helping people rather than individuals helping one another. Start with every person in America having a guest room in their open that is available for strangers. Start with individuals feeding the hungry that they cross paths with. I’m not talking about just handing a dollar to the beggar, but putting your arm around that beggar and taking him or her to lunch. Engage in conversation and get involved in his or her life. Stop expecting others to do the job of helping others and start helping others yourself directly.

  60. Why are there so many Americans with first name Josh? Fifty years ago there were none. Josh, Justin Bieber, Aaron Shootemup, … all these weenie first names.

  61. “Stop expecting others to do the job of helping others and start helping others yourself directly.”

    davodm, I can only and by saying: “Stop forcing others to do the job of helping others and start helping others yourself directly.”

  62. Start with every person in America having a guest room in their open that is available for strangers. Start with individuals feeding the hungry that they cross paths with.

    You do that?

  63. “Start with every person in America having a guest room in their open that is available for strangers.”

    Um–yeah…when I read this, I thought this guy is really walking into it. David–really? Is this something YOU do? Are you leading by example? Then again, there are $1.5 -$3 million dollar homes sitting empty most of the year on Kiawah Island (substitute the name of other posh vacation spots)…how about those kind Americans stepping up and offering rooms in THOSE homes. Can you all just imagine how entertaining the response would be if that proposal get’s floated out there?

  64. iconoclast wrote: “Is this something YOU do? Are you leading by example?”

    Yes, I have done this for many years, and I have raised five children (three are still at home). I have taught them the importance of being given to hospitality toward strangers. Therefore, they had to share rooms while one room remained open for unexpected guests. It is not that hard to do if people just have a willing heart.

  65. MoveOn Launches Campaign Targeting Republicans Over Obamacare Medicaid Expansion
    By Sabrina Siddiqui
    Posted: 03/03/2014
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/03/moveon-medicaid-expansion_n_4887872.html

    Excerpt:
    WASHINGTON — MoveOn.org, the progressive advocacy group, launched an ad campaign Monday targeting the Republican governors who have yet to embrace Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

    The group plans to use billboards, petitions and rallies to ramp up pressure on GOP-controlled legislatures in six holdout states: Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Virginia. With 2014 legislative sessions underway, state lawmakers face a renewed debate around the Medicaid expansion. Democrats and allied groups have been laboring to highlight the impact on states where the expansion has been rejected.

    MoveOn’s billboard campaign, which begins on March 3, will detail how many local residents have been denied health care coverage without the expansion. The Texas billboard, for example, takes aim at Republican Gov. Rick Perry and reads: “Welcome to Texas! Where Gov. Perry has denied 1,046,000 Texans health care and now all Texans are paying for it. It’s like a whole other country.”

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