Ted Cruz: Blackmailer

By Bill Schneider
September 27, 2013

On October 28, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and his supporters may wish to commemorate the feast day of Saint Jude. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. Because if ever there was a hopeless cause, it is killing the Affordable Care Act.

Fighting for hopeless causes is not uncommon in politics. Think of the nearly two centuries it took to abolish slavery and segregation in the United States. Fighting for a hopeless cause can raise public consciousness about an issue and advance the career of the advocate.

But it has to be seen as a noble effort. Cruz’s effort is anything but noble.

Defunding Obamacare is hopeless because the numbers aren’t there. If a bill were somehow to make it through the House of Representatives and Senate, President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it. It takes a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto. Republicans are not even close.

“Tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is,” Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on CBS News’s Face the Nation on Sunday “and we don’t have the political power to do this.”

Cruz admitted as much in July. “Right now, we don’t have the votes,” Cruz told a group of libertarian students. “We don’t have the votes in the House. We don’t have the votes in the Senate. I’m going to be perfectly candid. We can’t win this fight. No Washington politician can win this fight.”

So what was he doing speaking for more than 21 hours on the Senate floor calling on his colleagues to defund the policy? Cruz went on to tell the students in July, “The only way we win this fight is if the American people rise up in overwhelming numbers and demand our elected officials to do the right thing and stand for principle.” He’s trying to start a bandwagon!

There is no evidence he is succeeding. True, Obamacare is not popular. In last week’s New York Times-CBS News poll, Americans said they disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, 51 percent to 39 percent. But by 56 percent to 38 percent, the public said Congress should “uphold the law and make it work as well as possible,” rather than “try to stop the law from being put into place by cutting off funding to implement it.”

Cruz’s tactics are the problem. He and his allies are holding the federal budget hostage. If they don’t get their way, they’re threatening to shut down the federal government. That angers Cruz’s fellow Republicans — who fear they will get the blame for a government shutdown as they did in 1995. Meanwhile, Obamacare will still be law.

Cruz’s colleagues see the effort as futile and self-serving, damaging the Republican brand in order to advance Cruz’s 2016 presidential prospects with conservatives. Cruz has returned fire, blasting his critics as “defeatists” who belong to the “surrender caucus.”

He even compared the Republican senators to those who tried to appease Adolph Hitler in the 1930s. Yikes! Was Cruz comparing supporters of Obamacare to Nazis?

Cruz may have been thinking about another Texas politician who captured attention by fighting for a hopeless cause. That was Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, who in June delivered an 11-hour filibuster on the floor of the Texas legislature. Davis was trying to stop a bill that placed burdensome restrictions on abortions in Texas.

Her cause was also hopeless — because Republicans hold a solid majority in the Texas State Senate. Davis did succeed in stopping a vote before the special session of the state legislature expired. But then Republican Governor Rick Perry called the legislature back for a second special session, where the anti-abortion bill was promptly passed.

Davis’s filibuster made her a hero to Democrats around the country, and they responded by contributing handsomely to her campaign fund. She has indicated that she intends to run for governor of Texas next year and has said she will make an announcement next week. The pink running shoes she wore during her filibuster have become iconic. Hmmm. Cruz made a point of exchanging his usual cowboy boots for black running shoes when he delivered his marathon speech.

While both causes — stopping the Texas abortion restrictions and defunding Obamacare — are hopeless, Davis’s filibuster did nothing to make the situation worse. The Texas abortion restrictions would have passed in any case. What she did was raise public consciousness of the restrictions and enhance her national stature as a champion of women’s rights.

Cruz’s tactics, on the other hand, run the risk of causing serious problems. He and his supporters could force the federal government to shut down or default on its obligations, which might lead to a worldwide financial crisis. Meanwhile, Obamacare will still be law.

Fighting for a hopeless cause is not a bad thing. It can do wonders for your career, and it can raise public awareness. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did that when he staged an 11-hour filibuster in March to protest drone attacks against suspected terrorists in the United States. Paul helped turn public opinion against secretive U.S. government surveillance activities.

Cruz, however, is doing something different. He’s saying, “Either I get my way on defunding Obamacare, or I will do great damage to the country.”

That’s not fighting for a hopeless cause. That’s blackmail.

PHOTO (Top): Combination photo of Democratic Senator Wendy Davis (L) in Austin, Texas July 12, 2013 and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the Capitol in Washington, September 25, 2013.  REUTERS/Staff

PHOTO (Insert): Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks to the press after leaving the Senate Chamber after his marathon attack on Obamacare, at the Capitol in Washington, September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

 

41 comments

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I think that we … we think too much in our attempts to break “Enigama” of the U.S. conservative elite.
I completely disagree with Krugman’s opinion in the yesterday’s NYT that the elite lost control over the party of its own. It’s just impossible. GOP is the political embodiment of the American elite.

What I think is the following. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (simply ACA) is not only another medical care system. The universal healthcare system is the corner stone of every social system based on what we used to call the European socialism.

It is not a change; it is a qualitative breakthrough, in my opinion. Even in comparatively poor countries like Russia it is impossible to imagine that all citizens are not covered by the universal health care system. It is imperfect. Sometimes simply bad. However. The idea itself that a citizen may not medically have cared – is completely beyond my comprehension.

The U.S. elite understands that the universal health care undermines the whole system. What will follow after that? Just figure out yourself: employees’ co-management in the private corporations. The system of common goals and responsibilities of owners and workers. As a result, the system of income distribution will change. And so on.

It all starts right there – in the Affordable Care Act. So I find it very logical that the conservative elite(s)/GOP are ready for virtually any stakes. Because if they lose – the whole system will change. If they win – it will eventually change; nevertheless, but it may take some more decades.

Talking about present battles in Washington, we are talking about the future of the U.S., about the future of capitalism.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

I agree with outpost2012. There are 45 million people in the U.S. who don’t have health insurance and that number is growing every year. These problems started when Corporate America started shipping every job out of the country that they possibly could. Health care in the richest country in the world is becoming a luxury because it’s too expensive. The Republicans do not care because they work for Corporate America and their obscene profits must be preserved and made to grow to even more obscene levels. Obamacare is the first step to single payer and the whole medical industry is terrified.

Posted by Des3Maisons | Report as abusive

Perhaps Senator Cruz will be the last act in the play that began with George Wallace. But probably not.

Posted by alwayspuzzled | Report as abusive

What Cruz can or cannot do isn’t the point. Even if his cause is hopeless, he must present the expected face to his constituents. Nothing in Washington is about what is good or right for the nation, it’s ALL about politics and political legacies.

Posted by JRTerrance | Report as abusive

I too agree with @OUTPOST2012NET. This is a threat to the elites way of governing the country and the power players that do it. Healthcare is 1/6 of our GDP. They do not want to lose that much power. They know it is just the beginning of a cultural, social, and generational change in the country. It took them thirty years to make this the USCA and they will fight (I hope not to the death) to keep it growing stronger. They want a global business environment, not a global society.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

Every major change will be like this, tmc.

As Justice Alito wisely said: 2% of the U.S. population can block any amendment. Here he explained it clearly:

http://news.yahoo.com/scalia-says-aborti on-gay-rights-easy-cases-073501926.html

Thus, any change should be within the institutional framework. As there are no shortcuts in the U.S. system.

It is going to be a long long way.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

@OUTPOST2012.NET,

I agree with the author that Ted Cruz is not thinking “long term” in his actions. That said, none of us are.

No one knows what “universal health care” means. You and other Americans had better open their eyes, ears and brains pretty fast and learn the difference between illusion and reality. Today “the system” providing productive citizens “health care” is not perfect, but it offers Americans more timely and modern treratments than any alternative.

A friend who worked with the space program in Houston had an unhealthy wife…a smoker with heart and lung problems, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Their employer-provided health benefits had a million dollar TOTAL lifetime maximum payout (per individual), after which they were “on their own.

She “maxed out” their coverage and then depleted a chunk of their net worth before dying, a steady downward spiral with no long term hope. “Health care” was much simpler and less expensive considering the options available before heart (and other organ) transplants, knee and hip replacements, etc.

Everything today medically possible is increasingly assumed “on the table” for insurance to pay for. No, not really. Know why Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, eyeglasses or dental? Because EVERYBODY needs it and it’s EXPENSIVE! Making EVERYONE pay for their own is the one thing that keeps such expenses “in line” with reality.

At some point our so-called “leaders” are going to have to be honest with us. Obamacare is going to cause many companies that once paid rather generous health care benefits to their workers to quit doing it. Those people have been lied to by the President. They CAN’T “keep their present insurance coverage” they were “happy with” because maintaining it will not be an option when their employer “pulls the plug” (and they WILL).

Beyond that, where are the doctors to come from to prevent the additional 33% (plus or minus) increase in case load from making EVERY doctor’s office as jammed as “community clinics” are today? A a “day-care gone insane” setting with every germ on earth covering the magazines, chairs, and counters filled to overflowing with third world poor people coughing, hacking and touching everything is NOT the place for older, immune-compromised individuals requiring blood thinner monitoring, etc. that depend on Medicare (which won’t cover one of the “botique practices” that might offer relief.

America can’t afford to offer every homeless person a new liver when they ruin the one they were born with with drugs or booze. You don’t put a new engine in an ordinary, unexceptional old car with over 100,000 miles on the odometer, and yet medically America is supposed to provide subsidized dialysis and extensive coverage for the many medical ailments associated with people who overeat and are overweight much of their lives. Are we to provide new hips, knees, hearts, and organs for every person physically within our borders, no questions asked?

Where will that money come from? To date, the Fed has been just printing it; but no one has yet demonstrated a self-sustaining “Star Trek economy. Should our expectations be limited by our national “ability to pay” with due consideration given to what will be returned to our economy from those requiring “greater than normal restoration”?

Just because the medical community comes up with more and more “miracles” of great expense to “make life better” does NOT mean that America can offer them to one and all nor that it SHOULD. Sooner or later, when you can’t “pay the piper”, the music stops.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

You are not “OneOfTheSheep.” You are rather “GoodShepherd.”

The Universal Health Care is something to be in existence long before the Star Trek economy kicks in. According to Star Trek timeline, we still have to have WW3 somewhere between today and 2063 (the first Zephram Cochrane’s flight,) and then the Eugenics wars. It is a long way.
But there is no other way – but to make a first step.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

@OOTS, you’re showing your age again. You still believe that America’s heath care is number one? It’s just the “useless” welfare people that are clogging it up? You’re so ’70s. Yes, there are definitely better alternatives. Many countries have great healthcare and their people love it. And they are rated better than ours to boot. I just can’t imagine how so many Americans can so easily be fooled into believing that all socialized medicine is evil. Several times now I’ve watch American politicians try to tell British or Canadians that their healthcare systems are terrible, lines, taxes, etc.; and the Canadian or Brit vehemently denied it. Didn’t slow the politician one bit. I was married to a Canadian. When 20′ish years ago they had to choose citizenship as they were not allow dual anymore, her entire family chose Canadian specifically for health care. I’ve since worked for a high tech Canadian company and never once met a Canadian that didn’t like their healthcare. I’m sure there are some out there; it’s the law of average’s. And I’m sure fox news has found one or two. Indeed @OOTS, the world is laughing at us and our terrible healthcare system. They are laughing because the great, wise, “exceptional” Americans are being fooled like a twelve year old.
Talk to British, Canadian, and other Europeans about their healthcare @OOTS. It’s easy now with the internet. So easy in fact that it is the next big threat to our elite, political, and corporate establishments.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

@OUTPOST2012.NET & tmc,

But “show me the money! Real, valuable money necessary to “bring on board” these millions more with Obamacare! Show me the doctors to treat them! It’s a shell game, and Americans are the “rubes”.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@OOTS,

The sixth year of the Great Depression v.2 presented a completely New Economy.
This economic model doesn’t need consumption.
The corporations’ profits and dividends are delivered without economy (consumption) expansion.
It works with minimal or zero growth.
The investments (mistakenly understood as relief) are going to restructuring and further automatization.
The demand in the workforce doesn’t increase.

Societal relations will change. I am going to tell you how to finance NHS in America.
However, I will tell you: this is the issue already closed.
It’s just a matter of few years – and all discussions will be forgotten. None of the nations – ever – gave up NHS. Never happened.

Switch to another topic. A more intriguing one. Which is “The Unconditional Income.” It is interesting. It’s about the future.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

When the Idiocracy replaces our current system of government, something that is already occurring, then President Cruz will have a cabinet of erudite and committed folks like Sarah Plain, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Krauthammer and Alan West. Even Paul Ryan and Sanitorium would be considered way too intelligent for such roles even though they try so hard to fit in with the More-On Party (MOP). The Party Of Stupidity and Hypocrisy (POSH) will finally see its day in this new world where the Stupid Virus (SV) has decimated the GOP.

We could also expect that the degrees that Cruz claims from Princeton and Harvard will be rescinded by mutual agreement. We sure don’t need no college grads!

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive

@OneOfTheSheep:
No offense, but isn’t that a term used to imply gullible, stupid and easily led? I suppose you’re using it in the same fashion as “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, once a highly insulting term. Are you the fife, snare drum player or flag carrier? Whoo, Hoo! A REAL American!

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive

I am one of the 51% of Americans that don’t like the ACA, but I don’t advocate defunding it. It’s flawed. Calling it “universal health care” is ignorant. It provides health INSURANCE to a great number of uninsured Americans. It does NOT provide health care to all Americans who need it. One can have health insurance and still not be able to afford to go to a doctor because of deductibles, co-payments and coverage limitations.

But as much as I dislike it, the ACA is the best that some Americans are going to get without emigrating.

Posted by Darthen | Report as abusive

We call ACA Universal Health Care simply because it is a giant step forward.

Any NHC is flawed. Here in Russia, for example, employers cover all costs of the health insurance. It’s about 20+ per cent on each gross salary of each employee.

In addition, the funds are going through Federal and local budgets.

The business has been pushing hard. But it is not even a matter of discussion.

For information: the taxes paid by employers on employees’ gross salaries are 28.2% right now.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

@tmc,

Let me be clear. I’m, not ashamed that I’m 73. I’m quite happy, in fact, to have made it this far and to have made relatively few and minor missteps along the way. In short, I’m quite comfortable in “my own skin”.

I have never stated or suggested that “America’s health care” is number one”. I do believe it has served me and my wife far, far better than any possible alternative; and even there, how “well” or “poorly” it “meets the needs” of each person, couple or family does is largely dependent on their own personal financial foresight, perception and preparation.

It really doesn’t matter how much those who are not Americans prefer their own system, or not. There are advantages and disadvantages to all economically feasible options, and most of the countries that offer “single payer” coverage for one and all are already more “on the ropes, financially” in terms of supporting it in the long term than the United States at this point in time.

Predictable sustainability is the fundamental difference between illusion and security in old age. As time goes by you, too, will “understand” what’s important and what isn’t. You have a good mind and you can use it.

At some point you will give up your vendetta against the corporate form of commerce and as you yourself age you will (hopefully) become more concerned with long term survival with dignity than with how more and more young people can “make their way” in the world. There remain subjects on which you and I must “agree to disagree” so long as we deem honest respect important.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@OUTPOST2012.NET,

Always encouraging to know others in “the debate” have contemplated “challenges of importance unavoidable in the future” by writing or reading science fiction. It is from such perspective that I not only weigh each “new idea” (very few are truly new) as to whether or not it is (1) “good” for me as an individual, (2) good for the society (not all are both), and (3) sustainable considering what seems reasonably likely ahead cloaked in the fog of unfolding future.

The “1984″ timeline was always incidental to it’s concepts and logic, as is that of Star Trek, etc. Our reach should always exceed our grasp. The black and white perspectives which give false confidence to youth’s inexperience weather with age into the rich, infinite grays that increasingly mature minds behold and consider with appreciation and modify only with appropriate caution.

Your “new economy” and “unconditional income” each boldly broach topics that cannot be ignored or avoided. They share much with concepts implicit in any “Star Trek economy. But there is yet no clear path from “here” to “there”. You have yet to “show me the money” ;

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@OOTS,in the other opinion piece you posted “How consistently immature to consider it important HOW TO PAY for Obamacare and to question what is actually new in it (which NO ONE seems to KNOW) that is better for the productive in America (who pay for EVERYTHING).

You don’t “try a new car” unless you can AFFORD TO BUY ONE!”

First; we were already paying for the car, as you put it. We knew that the payments were going to bankrupt us in the near future. We also couldn’t take the kids for a ride in that car, nor the large dog we already had. So a dealer offered us another car that could do those things for the same price. Now, yes, he’s a slimey car dealer and is probably lying to us, just like the one that sold us the first car (republican congress and Hilary care). I’m thinking it’s a good idea to take the new car that more meets our needs and worry about the financing as the second part of the battle.
How can you not see this? You will stubbornly hold onto that old car until it bankrupts you, your kids leave you cause you can’t take care of then, and your dog starves. But you didn’t fall for it again did you! Or did you? Be smarter than the salesman, take the deal and change the financing.
Second; ObamaCare is somewhat paid for, as much as the last system anyway. We all know it needs fixing. We have proof it can be paid for by reducing cost and going to a single payer system like Canada, Britain, Australia, etc..
Yu are a respected commenter on this site and generally have very well thought out opinions. I can’t for the life of me see why you are so stubborn on this one.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

I suspect that the real driver behind the Republican’s over zealous efforts to stop the ACA is the health care lobby. Particularly health care insurance providers. If you believe that everyone is entitled to health care, then the “for profit” heath insurers are the anti-thesis to that concept. They famously deny care, deny insurance to those with pre-existing conditions or drop individuals who cause them to spend too much for their care. The ACA puts at least a partial stop to some of those actions. The dollar is more important than patient care in their world. They are driven by profit. Secondly, some of the largest plans have declined to get into some state exchanges. Why? Competition? Same problem. Money. So my question is…are the insurers of universal health care coverage in other countries for profit? Is it ethical for corporations holding Hospitals and Health Insurers to hold a “for profit” status? To profit from individual misery if you will. And aren’t those two entities significant in the continuing rising cost of healthcare in our country? I can tell you this. My wife is in a Supervisory role in a local major hospital that holds a “Not For Profit” status. Her base salary is very competitive. Our health care benefits through her work are unbelievable. No monthly out of pocket cost. Our healthcare insurance is 100% paid for (there are some small co-pays). When our child was born we paid less than $100 out of pocket. She annually gets a bonus. This year it was 10% of her current annual salary. She also gets an annual review with raise. This she she is expecting a 5% raise. Any of you work for a “For Profit” entity that can afford to pay their employees this way? ACA has virtually zero impact on her employer. They already do most of the things that ACA mandates. If the “for profit” health insurer her company uses were “non-profit”…it would probably impact their current pricing structure for services.. Since by law they can’t make a profit..it would lower their prices for the services they provide. So..is capitalism really a good thing as far as healthcare systems go? What do these providers (Hospitals and Healthcare insurers) look like in other countries that have universal coverage?

Posted by xyz2055 | Report as abusive

It’s not about the age; not about the financing.
I believe we are facing alternative ideological and societal approaches to ACA.

OOTS is talking about funding. I, however, think that his position would be the same to this one clearly stated in one of the discussions at WaPo. Let me give the citation:
________________________________________ _________________
Healthcare IS NOT a right. A right by nature cannot cost someone else. If healthcare were a right than essentially any one (regardless of income or ability to pay) could claim access to healthcare. If the recipient cannot pay, either the doctor is required to work for free or the cost is forcible passed on to others through a tax or higher costs to those that do pay. Either way it works out to the equivalent of slavery= forcing someone to work for nothing. Last time I checked slavery WAS indeed banned in this country and just about every other country in the world. – See more at: http://outpost2012.net/discussion/99/on- constitutional-obsolescence#Item_44
________________________________________ _________________
So are we talking about the money? Or we are talking about the core values/views?

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

Very good point @OUTPOST2012. I personally don’t believe it is a right. I do believe it is a moral obligation. I know several doctors, and my mother was a retired nurse, and I don’t think they felt like slaves in the least. I would dare say that they too felt it a moral obligation. Then there are doctors without borders…
I think if someone truly believed in the extrapolation you post above, then the person may need a bit of psychiatric help as they are showing signs of psychopathy – Meanness. Lacking empathy and close attachments with others, disdain of close attachments, use of cruelty to gain empowerment, exploitative tendencies, defiance of authority, and destructive excitement seeking.
Just tendencies, I’m not calling anyone a psycho,… really I’m not.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

just to be fair, if someone believes health care is truly a right, then they too have some issues, but more likely are just a bit ignorant. Much easier to forgive.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

@tmc At what point does the “moral obligation” end and personal responsibility begin? Remember, 90% of all health insurance dollars are consumed by less than 10% of the participants in a plan. Do I give a heart transplant to an 80 year old? Do I perform hip replacement surgery on a 90 year old person? Do I treat diabetes with drugs since I cannot financially penalize them by increasing their insurance premium due to poor lifestyle choices?

These are the decisions the “advisor panels” (the so-called death panels) are going to make for you. Are you prepared to put that in the hands of a government bureaucrat? Personally, I would prefer that I make (and pay) for those decisions myself. What you are going to see is the terminally ill demanding services (and the fact that the costs of the last year of life are astronomical). How do you do fund this for 300 million persons without penalties for their lifestyle? ACA does not penalize any person for their lifestyle (33% of the population is overweight or obese, childhood diabetes is almost epidemic, etc.) but their is not any financial penalty for those issues the individual can control.

In the future, you will see is the “disadvantaged” demanding the same health “services” as those that pay their full share (lasik surgery, cosmetic surgery, etc.) I can here it now, “glasses (or small breasts) impact my mental health and self-esteem”. It happens every time, that a privilege for one becomes a “right” for the person that cannot pay. It’s not any different than using food stamps to purchase convenience food (the disadvantaged are entitled to the same food choices as the “advantaged”.)

That’s the future–no risk, no financial penalty, no responsibility.

I don’t always agree with OOTS, but at 73 he has seven decades of observing how government continually promotes “rights” without any obligation–while at the same time making someone else responsible for the costs.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

@OOTS

“America can’t afford to offer every homeless person a new liver when they ruin the one they were born with with drugs or booze”

So, using hyperbolic metaphor, you lay out your support FOR “death panels.” Classic rationalizations by the “I got mine now you get yours crowd.”

Posted by truly | Report as abusive

“At some point, high-tech medicine for aging bodies is going to interfere with what our kids are going to need for a decent society,” said Lamm, whose own body has aged to 76. “If (you) want to push me, I think age should be a consideration in health care.” — Richard Lamm (former governor of Colorado)

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

Follow the money! While Americans suffer and die, the Tea Party true believers get their daily dose of indoctrination, from the Sean Hain’tys, Druggie Lush Limpballs, and the Koch Brothers. One only needs to look at the donors list of any Republican, to find where the republicans stand on no health insurance for the majority of Americans.

One also needs to look at ACA and see that this whole Law was first launched in 1990 by none other than The Heritage Foundation in 1990. The daily misinformation by the Ted Cruz’s Sarah Palins, and the rest of the Stop[ Obama at any cost is as plain as sunrise.

The Republican Health Care Act 1990

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports  /1990/07/using-tax-credits-to-create-an -affordable-health-system

Posted by Headsup | Report as abusive

Aha. So it’s about ethics; about societal relations; mutual obligations.

It would be much easier if we agree on that. Then we could sort out the real financial issues – and core value related issues.

COindependent, you can always buy another/additional private plan. Though my belief is that the age, bad habits, unhealthy food cannot be a substantial ground for preferring one individual instead of another.

It reminded me of two episodes of Star Trek: “Half A Life”(ST New Generation) where people at the age of 60 should have “departed” not be a burden for the family. And another episode from ST Voyager “Critical Care” where the level of health care was determined by the social/professional status.

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

@COindependent, thanks for chiming in.
I would think “At what point does the “moral obligation” end and personal responsibility begin?” At the point that you MUST have health care. The industry insists upon it, and we should to so at least you are paying something as you will need the service sooner or later. So you are responsible to get it thru an insurance company, or the exchange if you can’t afford better.
“Remember, 90% of all health insurance dollars are consumed by less than 10% of the participants in a plan. Do I give a heart transplant to an 80 year old?” I agree! It’s a terrible waste. I would rather the doctors make the decisions than government for sure. We should propose changes to ACA if it does so.
“Do I treat diabetes with drugs since I cannot financially penalize them by increasing their insurance premium due to poor lifestyle choices?”, No but I would think we should make that specific drug a bit more expensive, not their whole plan. Obesity is also a terrible problem and the government could and should do more about it, but not thru ACA, but thru other agencies. Same as smoking.
So no, I would not want these or hardly any decisions made by bureaucracy. It is now though, just the corporate bureaucracy of the health care insurance companies who have a tendency to just drop your coverage when you most need it. So I’ll take this trade as the government doesn’t have profit in mind, and then again work to change it.
“How do you do fund this for 300 million persons without penalties for their lifestyle?” Again we do it now by spreading the cost across those that do pay, and Medicaid, etc.. People may not have health insurance, but no one is denied treatment, so again, we are doi And many other countries have show that it is quite possible to provide health care to your citizens. Reducing costs would be a good place to start. And moving to a simple single payer system too.
“That’s the future–no risk, no financial penalty, no responsibility.” Well that’s a pretty defeatist attitude. They don’t seem to have a problem with small breast in Canada. I’m sure we could ensure that the breast implant lobbyist doesn’t get their way, if you really insist. Thought that could be a tough one.

I generally do agree with OOTS. I think I even coined his acronym. And I think our government is totally useless in the vast majority of things. I think it is a bunch of self serving politicians residing over an incompetent outdated civil service structure that is desperate need of significant reduction and restructuring. I hope that we have another serious crash soon so we can get on with it. It won’t happen until Joe and Jose six-pack can no longer get their six-pack. Then we’ll see some action!

My point being our current system really sucks. It will bankrupt the nation soon, costs are still rising, and corporate America is being downright nasty to many of the people. We can’t wait for the perfect system to come along. It won’t. ACA is a step in the right direction, albeit a small one. Suggest changes to make it better. In fact demand them. But don’t just sit back and say no, your all screwed because I’m just fine with mine.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

@tmc,

My choice to continue driving an older car (which I do, and really like) is, in reality, a choice of “the devil I know” over one I don’t. My old car is long paid for.
America today “pays” for those who can not or will not pay for themselves (insurance or otherwise) by counterfeiting…which I would define as printing bills with NO “full faith of the worth and word of the government behind them”. Our government has long ago squandered whatever “faith and worth” was there by merely shoveling much of this money out such that NOTHING of value is pufrchased or returns (even in the long term).

“We have proof it can be paid for by reducing cost and going to a single payer system like Canada, Britain, Australia, etc.” I respectfully disagree. If you have aggressive cancer you can die. Such patients routinely find treatment elusive. Administrators deny and delay necessary approvals such that the progression of the disease is faster than receipt of effective treatment.

And don’t think the ordinary person on such “single payer systems” is going to get the “latest and greatest” available non-generic treatment or medicine. Only “tried and true” treatments and medicines that have been around long enough to have gone generic (and be relatively cheap) are approved. How many offer digital mammograms?

The point brought up by OUTPOST is NOT about “core values/views. It is about whether “you have the “right” to rob me” (take from me money I have earned by the sweat of my brow) to salve YOUR conscience to save the life of a drunk in the gutter to drink another day, or another person illegally in this country so they can create more little duplicates of themselves for Americans to subsidize to a “better life”.

My point is that you are free to be “Mother Theresa” as much as you want with YOUR money. Just keep your hand out of MY pocket and off MY wallet. I prefer to make my own decisions on how to spend what I make, thank you very much.

My wife’s doctor has left clinical and private practice because the increasingly bureaucratic procedures necessary to get payment from government sources and the sheer volume of patients was limiting personal contact to ten minutes or less per visit. That wasn’t “what he signed up for” when he became a family practitioner, and he was feeling more and more like a well paid slave. He had done it long enough that he could (and did) retire, knowing that his patient load would likely increase another 33% very soon. He lost his desire to get up each morning to do what he did.

@COindependent, thanks for your excellent contributions here!

@truly…what’s your point?

OUTPOST, I have long said that “We, the people” must, at some point, come to consensus as to what “needs” available revenue can sustainably support. So long as we do not do this, there is NO limit to the size of our government and it’s hoards of bureacrats and no limit to the percentage of “our” income it will demand to feed itself.

With such consensus, all our “representatives” then need do is prioritize said available revenue and disburse it…that’s the “budget” and the bureaucrat’s responsibility. This process will never be “easy”, but our ancestors managed to do it with MUCH less money, education and gross national product.

How? They kept their expectations in line with reality. NO ONE DOES THAT ANYMORE!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

So the American Dream.
And religious beliefs.
And wonderful words of the Declaration.
Is it ALL about “no cash from my pocket?”

I respectfully disagree. I think the coming generation of people (who are younger than you and me) will decide it in a completely different way.

I have just derailed a long long – going around and round discussion at WaPo by a simple post.
________________________________________ ________________
That’s all simple. Don’t overcomplicate.

The U.S. GINI index is 48%.
The Germany’s GINI index is 28%.
The Brazil’s GINI index is 60%.

The society must decide where is it headed?
In what direction?
The variations are very limited.
________________________________________ _________________
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/r obert-j-samuelson-here-comes-the-spoils- society/2013/09/29/7d751680-2783-11e3-ad 0d-b7c8d2a594b9_allComments.html?ctab=al l_&

Posted by OUTPOST2012.NET | Report as abusive

Why was this article even written or published? If the intent was to generate a lot of controversial heat, it succeeded. If it was meant to serve as a journalistic tool of enlightenment, it failed miserably. If I were the author, I’d be embarrassed to include my name in the byline.

The media in general seems to have gone nuts reporting the same lame sound bites, over and over and over and over and over and over and … It’s like a sane person being forced to live in a mental institution, betting on how long that person will remain sane.

Who controls most of this media? Is it the Plutocrats who have a vested interest in promulgating confusion and treating the Pee-Ons as all idiots?

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive

THis talk of responsibility and throwing out the bums and drunks form the system misses the reality. Those drunken bums that OneOfTheSheep complains about still get medical care and on the taxpayer dime: from emergency rooms. IF you want to save money on this, we could solve our problem of poverty and homelessness (mental health primarily), or we could adopt a policy of rifling through a persons pockets for cash before treatment. There is no way to deny care to those who cannot afford it, except by a barbaric eugenics program based on the ability to pay.

I think the more conservative, more responsible idea, is to have a single payer system, as in Canada where I am from, where EVERYBODY pays into the system. Although not everyone pays income taxes in Canada, everyone pays sales and provincial taxes, excise taxes and levies import duties, etc. Everyone contributes.

What is NOT responsible or Grown-up, is to pretend that we can deny certain people care by not accepting their share of the payment for the system, however small a contribution, and trying to prevent them from getting care altogether by financial exclusion.

Aside from that classical conservative notion that everyman should pay his own way, the system in the USA is unworkable for the simple reason that there are no limits to what can be charged. It is not a market based system at all, for those of you who fancy yourself interested in free markets, because you cannot shop around when you need an ambulance, etc. The health care problem in the United States is not a health problem at all, it is a failure of the people of the country to force accountability on the companies that prey upon them with exorbitant rates. The government bureaucracy in Canada is actually tiny compared to the mountains of paperwork you have to do in the States to claim from private providers and insurers.

The problem of people leeching off of the system, as some of you may put it, is likewise not a problem of healthcare at all, but a problem of poverty and mental health. It is an effect of the law of unintended consequences that when you claim no responsibility for these problems, and pretend that you don’t need to do anything -collectively- in fact you make the problem become worse by letting it fester. In my home province, run by a conservative government for over forty years in a row, we pay for housing directly for the homeless. This is because we have realized (finally) that it is cheaper to pay 35000$ a year for an apartment and full time social worker that it is to have them come in and out of the emergency room or prison because they live on the street. Sometimes one emergency room stay can cost us over 100,000$.

So what is more responsible? To help these people stand on their own (most do fine on their own after a transition period of close support and monitoring), or throw them out on the street and see what happens? How many more are hurt by the cavalier notion that it isn’t up to us to help out, even those who can be helped?

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

“We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten… ” Abraham Lincoln, 1861

Posted by Panhandleguy | Report as abusive

Thank you @Benny27, very well said. Unfortunately in this debate I don’t think anyone is going to change their opinions. They are deeply rooted and are still being reinforced. Luckily the generational change in the USCA is starting to take hold. With the help of social media and a “plugged-in” generation, and the retiring of the “unplugged”, things are beginning to change. Hey, ACA is the law now. Finally a step forward.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

On Budget Priorities: these balancing-act decisions are what inspired me to write (again) about health care costs. Many in the USA say we cannot afford to pay for the care of others, and so we must cut them from coverage, now or in the future. I simply say that we can’t afford the current system, meaning the system should change. There are so many models around the world to choose from, all of which (among rich societies) are better for the average health care recipient. I don’t even have a problem with a two tier system in America, as there is clearly a group of people that want to pay very high prices for access to the latest and greatest technologies. The point is that many solutions could work, and since the USA is making this up now, they can choose the best policies…and not choose the worst.

One more quick point. In Canada, everybody, especially the media love to complain about wait times for elective surgeries. The fact is that these wait times are not cruel, but rather serve to prevent a lot of unnecessary surgeries also, another factor that drives up costs for users. My grandfather was on a long list for cataract surgery. He could still see, but could have had an improvement if he had had the surgery. He died months before this non-essential service, therefore saving money. A doctor in Canada once wrote an op-ed about this, pointing out that people complained that a potentially life-saving (and dangerous) treatment was available with a wait list. people died on the wait list, and so the media started up with screaming and fussing about it. The doctor pointed out that the mortality rate on the surgery was so high that if everyone had been given the treatment, more would have already died than in reality. The fact is, invasive techniques shouldn’t necessarily be available “on-demand” simply because someone sees a commercial advertisement on television which terrifies you into asking your doctor about it…

just my 2 cents

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

@Benny27 and tmc,

Those who think with their heart and not their head may eventually be a majority. Over time, their elected government will take so much of their “earnings” in income, sales, VAT, etc. that the average person will no longer have the option to own a car.

They won’t mind because government will provide transportation. In time they won’t even remember that in 2013 the “poor” DROVE!

It won’t be “rapid” transit, because it doesn’t HAVE to be. No competition. Doesn’t have to be clean or run on time or be free of crime either (crime will be the last bastion of “private enterprise”.

The back of a bus isn’t quite the same for lovers, but you don’t miss what you never had. Lots of little pink babies assure future necessary consumption. Everyone gets “offed” at 65, so no “golden years” to work or save up for.

Soylent Green is YOUR future. Enjoy!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Some or most of the Tea Party are near to or are anarchists. Their aim is to shut government. They did so in some states by the same tactic of blocking budgets etc. Cruz may be an opportunist but one cannot say if the leaders of the Tea Party wants to shut government as an aim or just kill ACA.

If their aim is shutting government or stopping taxes, they are not trying to blackmail. Blackmail is their cover and government shutdown is the aim.

Posted by Samrch | Report as abusive

@Des3Maisons

The US economy is the world’s largest. Does that make it the world’s richest country ? If one goes just by the size of an economy, then India is a richer country that Germany and Switzerland which I think most people would dispute. The more telling measure of a country’s wealth is its GDP per capita which takes the population into account. By this method, the US is not even in the top 5 richest countries in the world. http://www.aneki.com/countries_gdp_per_c apita.html

Posted by Tomshirley | Report as abusive

All of this talk about personal responsibility, and the terrors of system leeches, only serves to prove that conservatives and the .1% have once again succeeded in turning the 99% against themselves. By pointing fingers at your neighbor, you take your eye of the ball and the real villains in the winner take all society.

Posted by brianpforbes | Report as abusive

I don’t think that public medical care for my Dad, who got prostate cancer at 70, leukaemia in his 80′s and had a heart attack just before turning 90, is a waste. He fought in WW II on Omaha Beach and in the Battle of the Bulge, and has two Purple Hearts. He put his life on the line for his country and fellow Americans. He suffered greatly because of it. But he NEVER complained. He is an important part of our family at 90 years old. He still gives a lot. If there was ever anyone who deserved good medical care and insurance it is him. And the many like him. But his insurance has messed him around and has not covered his care (yet) and they continue to stall him, despite him paying for this insurance for decades. He’s done everything he could to take care of his care privately. Meanwhile, the rest of our family does everything they can to look after him and provide care while working on minimum wage jobs in a small town. There are no great corporate jobs there. So excuse me if I disagree, and believe that Medicare (which he has paid for in his taxes all these years) should do more to help out. Obama care in it’s original form, before it got compromised by negotiations with the Republicans, was meant to be there for people in need. By the way my father also has diabetes, but he was never ever overweight, always worked hard physically all his life, and never ate a lot of junk food. Not everything is under the control of the individual. There are some pretty offensive statements being made here, you better hope your luck hold’s out.

Posted by BuffaloGirl | Report as abusive

Who cares one whit about Ted Cruz?! The concern is how the GOP has turned into the Party Of Stupidity & Hypocrisy (POSH) – aka the More-On Party (MOP) – and their task masters, the One Percenters among the Plutocracy have taken over this country. The 99%, the Pee-Ons have been subjucated years ago, many of them blindly supporting the policies of the very rich against their own self-interest. The Idiocracy isn’t just coming, it’s here!
THE PLUTOCRACY RULES ! ! !

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive