Republican Plan B: Hold The Debt Ceiling Hostage?

Republicans reportedly have another plan to get what they want on Obamacare and other issues.

Capitol Building Dusk

By sometime later this week, the Senate will, by one method or another, defeat the Continuing Resolution that defunds the Affordable Care Act and send the matter back to the House. National Journal’s Tim Alberta takes a look at what just might happen next:

Sources familiar with the planning say House Speaker John Boehner is preparing a third option, one that keeps the government open at post-sequester spending levels while not conceding defeat on Obamacare. To accomplish this, the Republican leadership is planning to propose a debt-ceiling package—perhaps as early as next week—that has as its centerpiece a one-year delay of President Obama’s health care law.

Meanwhile, House leadership would supplement the revised CR with some assortment of conservative policy provisions (such as a “conscience clause” for health care coverage, or a verification system for insurance subsidies). Adding such items, the thinking goes, would secure sufficient support from skeptical House Republicans while not antagonizing enough Democrats to derail passage in the Senate.

Top Republicans say shifting their anti-Obamacare efforts from the CR to the debt ceiling is smart strategy and sound politics. For one thing, conservatives now realize that delaying Obamacare—as opposed to repealing or defunding it—represents their best shot at scoring a health care victory. Also, Boehner can honestly tell his members that he did everything he could to defund Obamacare in the CR. And, at the end of the day, Republicans still believe their leverage will be maximized when negotiating the nation’s borrowing limit.

But timing is everything. If Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan isn’t presented in close proximity to the Senate’s defeat of the House CR, Republican aides worry that conservatives could grow restless and orchestrate another CR battle over Obamacare. But if the debt-ceiling proposal is introduced just as the Senate is sending back its clean CR, Boehner can combine the separate skirmishes and sell his plan as a two-step solution to the challenge that has galvanized conservatives: how to defeat Obamacare without shutting down the government.

“It’s all one battle,” said Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a leading House conservative who is vice chairman of the Budget Committee.

Jonathan Weisman at The New York Times outlined a similar strategy:

Even as the House pushed through its spending bill, House Republican leaders met behind closed doors with their rank and file Friday to lay out the next step in the budget battle — a bill that would raise the government’s statutory borrowing limit for a year, delay implementation of the health care law over that year, and push a grab-bag of Republican initiatives, from binding instructions to overhaul the tax code to mandatory construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

All of the measures tied to the debt-ceiling increase have passed the Republican-controlled House before, only to be ignored by the Senate. But until now, said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana, “we haven’t applied it to a must-pass piece of legislation.”

So, instead of trying to hold Democrats feat to the fire over an end of the Fiscal Year government shutdown if a budget isn’t passed, the plan is to hold the feat of the entire country to the fire with the threat that Congress won’t pass an increase in the debt ceiling, thus threatening to send the entire Federal Government’s budget process into a form of chaos that would make a shutdown seem like child’s play. In such an event, the most obvious danger would be that the Federal Government would be unable to make interest payments on the National Debt as they become due, something that, but for a bookkeeping glitch back in the 1970s that was quickly fixed, has never happened once in American history. Even if there wasn’t a debt default, though, the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling would be far reaching, and could become severe if allowed to continue for an extended period of time.  Put simply, without an increase in the debt ceiling the Federal Government would only be able to pay out obligations — which includes everything from debt service to Social Security payments to salaries to payments to Federal contractors — in an amount equal to whatever revenue is coming into Federal coffers at a given time. This means that, somewhere along the way, choices would have to be made about what gets paid and what doesn’t. Presumably, items like debt service, Social Security, and military related payments would get top priority, but that leaves a whole lot that wouldn’t get paid, including those contractors I just mentioned. For however long the crisis lasts, a large amount of money would be sucked out of the economy and that would have rather a rather obvious effect on an economy that isn’t very strong to begin with. Added on to that is the potential impact such a crisis would have on financial markets and investors general confidence in the United States. In other words, it wouldn’t be pretty.

It’s worth noting that amid all of this, President Obama has said repeatedly in recent days that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling, something he repeated most recently in a late Friday afternoon phone call with Speaker Boehner. Of course, he said much the same thing the last time we went through this spectacle, and the parties ended up negotiating after all, although the deal they ended up with was far from satisfactory in any real respect. So, yes, there will be negotiations of some kind even if the parties involved don’t call them that. The question is whether the GOP is anymore likely to get what they want, or even part of it, out of a debt ceiling showdown than they are out of a government shutdown showdown. Regardless of what the scenario is, the numbers in Congress remain the same, of course, and that suggests that this purported “Plan B” isn’t going to be much more successfully than Ted Cruz and his already doomed plan will be.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, Politicians, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Maybe plan C is a military takeover of the Government?

  2. PJ says:

    You don’t negotiate with terrorists.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    “It’s all one battle,” said Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a leading House conservative who is vice chairman of the Budget Committee.

    Can it be stated more succinctly? For them, clearly it is.

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who was a sentient aware, and non brain-addled American citizen the last time we had a Debt Ceiling “crisis.” Republicans showed that they were quite willing to leverage that “crisis” into an intentional downgrade in the rating of American bonds. The bond rating agencies took a look at our political environment and correctly downgraded our rating based on the fact that one conservative party was willing to run our financial system into the ditch.

    I have no reason to doubt that Republican leadership (not Boehner and McConnell) will endeavor to cause another downgrade. In fact, what they’re probably doing right now is calculating just how they can make sure that the public will blame the president.

  4. Jc says:

    It’s amazing how fast they bailed out banks, yet are okay with playing chicken with the US financial standing. When you can’t pass any legislation the only way to get what you want is to take hostages, unfortunate for the rest of us. Do any other countries do this on a continual basis?

  5. @PJ:

    Actually, there is a long history stretching back to the Carter Presidency of debt ceiling extensions being the occasion for negotiation between the President and Congress.

  6. anjin-san says:

    Actually, there is a long history stretching back to the Carter Presidency of debt ceiling extensions being the occasion for negotiation between the President and Congress.

    And during those times, rational actors were driving the process in the house, which is not the case today.

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @PJ: You don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    Oh, for eff’s sake. Obama’s been negotiating with Iran, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood, even Al Qaeda. It’s only Republicans who are Untouchables.

    And Obama has a rather peculiar attitude for an alleged Constitutional scholar. The president can essentially rewrite laws by fiat, but Congress can’t.

    And one more blast from the past:

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. …Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here’. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

  8. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: That joke just went completely over your head, didn’t it?

  9. legion says:

    @Mark Ivey: Actually, it’s kind of the opposite. Noted Gutless Wonder Ted Cruz is now daring the House GOP caucus to defund the military…

    Every time he starts suggesting what _other people_ should do to fight for what he claims to believe in, I hear the sound of Sir Robin’s minstrels in the background… “he bravely ran away.”

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: The “don’t negotiate with terrorists” was a joke? If so, I apologize, but it’s been said far too seriously by far too many people for me to assume that it was being said in jest this time.

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    Doug:

    there is a long history stretching back to the Carter Presidency of debt ceiling extensions being the occasion for negotiation between the President and Congress.

    There is no history of the D party ever doing what the GOP is doing (and has done before): use their majority control of a House to threaten to block an increase in the debt ceiling. When the minority party votes No on something like this, the vote is merely symbolic.

  12. Jeremy R says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Actually, there is a long history stretching back to the Carter Presidency of debt ceiling extensions being the occasion for negotiation between the President and Congress.

    There was horse trading over which members would actually have to say aye to an extremely unpopular and widely misunderstood vote, and how much bipartisan cover there would be for the party in power, not over whether or not to raise the debt ceiling at all. There’s even a sizable faction of these folks arguing it shouldn’t be raised at all.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For one thing, conservatives now realize that delaying Obamacare—as opposed to repealing or defunding it—represents their best shot at scoring a health care victory.

    Folks? Your Republican Party in a nutshell: Denying healthcare to millions is a victory. We shall know you by your deeds.

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Your Republican Party in a nutshell: Denying healthcare to millions is a victory.

    You can say it all you like, but that doesn’t make it true.

    ObamaCare was never about providing health care, but health care insurance. And as we’ve seen already, the consequences so far are actually leading to more and more people losing their insurance.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    Doug – “Feat to the fire”. Twice. Like my tech writer says, “We’re Microsoft, we’re smarter than ewe are.”

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I’ve already mentioned one of my friends who has developed a rare immune disorder requiring much medical care. I’m sure he’s already hit the lifetime caps on insurance payouts. He also happens to be a brilliant scientist and is responsible for having trained over one thousand individuals on cutting edge equipment.

    So if you get rid of Obamacare, what do you suggest for him? Curl up and die the next time his body chemistry goes out of kilter? That’s pretty cold. Ask for charity? Pretty hard to raise $500,000 dollars or whatever level he’s going to need. What is the answer that the Free Market has come up with for people in his situation?

    May you never develop a chronic and expensive medical condition — but why not have empathy for people in that condition?

  17. Moosebreath says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Oh, for eff’s sake. Obama’s been negotiating with Iran, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood, even Al Qaeda. It’s only Republicans who are Untouchables.”

    Umm, no. Obama has negotiated with Boehner, with McConnell, etc. He held off pushing for a vote on Obamacare for months so Chuck Grssley could rider herd over Olympia Snowe and keep her from voting on the floor for what she voted for in committee.

    And in return, he gets to deal with a party which cannot say yes to anything. A party where giving $1 in taxes for $10 in spending cuts is a bridge too far.

  18. Barry says:

    BTW, Doug, it’s pretty obvious that Obama can’t do this; he’d be agreeing to a one-year delay in his signature achievement, both putting off until after the mid-term election, and setting himself up for a repeat next year (since this wouldn’t cost the GOP anything).

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: You have an assumption at the core of your argument that I don’t necessarily agree with — that ObamaCare will make your friend’s situation better.

    And even if it does, at what price? How many other people will have their own circumstances made much worse under Obamacare? We’re already seeing tens of thousands of people who are losing their insurance as more and more employers simply decide that it makes far more economic sense to stop offering insurance.

    How many people is your friend worth? How many will have to live with lesser (or no) coverage so your friend can get the coverage he needs?

    And finally…

    May you never develop a chronic and expensive medical condition — but why not have empathy for people in that condition?

    Not that it’s anyone’s business here, but I already do have one. Treatable, and theoretically controllable, but incurable. Already making my life difficult, and only gonna get worse. So there goes your moral club.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: it seems that empathy is not your strong suit.

  21. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: P.S. and your so-called “proof” that companies are throwing people off health insurance “due to Obamacare” is a load of dingo’s kidneys. You have to prove the contrapositive as well: that were it not for Obamacare they would not have been thrown off.

    Personally, I think a lot of these companies are looking to cut costs and are grabbing at any justification possible. These people might have been thrown off health insurance anyway (especially if the costs of health insurance kept rising as quickly as they had been.)

    So where’s your justification now?

  22. KM says:

    @Jenos:We’re already seeing tens of thousands of people who are losing their insurance as more and more employers simply decide that it makes far more economic sense to stop offering insurance.

    Except that’s been happening since before the ACA was a twinkle in anyone’s eye. Ask any part-timer about the struggle to get hours to make the healthcare requirement. I still work part-time at a job I’ve had since I was a teenager (a Fortune 500 company and Best Place to Work) and distinctly remember getting letters telling me if I didn’t have more hours in the next time period, I would be cut off. I remember the absolute pressure and stress to try and meet the guidelines, begging and pleading anyone to take a shift. I am fortunate to have a well paying full time job now (I only do the part-time for fun,believe it or not) but this whole bullcrap about hours being cut for the ACA is flat out lies. I have lost jobs and lost the healthcare that came with it at truly inauspicious times in my life – when I needed it most, I didn’t have it because the system we have now took it from me along with my then job.

    Companies have been cutting hours over healthcare for decades and dropping it whenever it suits their financial needs. They just now have a convenient bogey man to blame it on. If nothing else, the separation of insurance and job is a goodthing. Something as important as your life should never be beholden to someone else’s bottom line.

  23. rudderpedals says:

    There’s at least one commenter here who loses health insurance if Obamacare stalls. He’s married to a lady who is uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions and chomping at the bit for a chance at healthcare come Jan 1.

    /yo

  24. Rick Almeida says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    From where does your health care coverage come?

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    @legion: The “don’t negotiate with terrorists” was a joke?

    Good humor works because it contains an element of truth.

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, for eff’s sake. Obama’s been negotiating with Iran, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood, even Al Qaeda. It’s only Republicans who are Untouchables.

    And what does that tell you? The Republicans are even less rational and less willing to deal than Iran, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda…

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: First up, it’s “fetid dingo’s kidneys.” I know my British humor.

    As far as “it was going to happen anyway,” during the alleged debate over ObamaCare, a lot of us predicted that a lot of people would end up losing their insurance in the process, despite Obama’s promise that “if you like your insurance, you can keep it.” And now that it’s happening, you argue that it was probably going to happen anyway?

    There’s a theory that ObamaCare was never intended to work. Its purpose was to tear down the old system and then fail itself, leaving Single Payer as the only possible option. I didn’t buy into that at the time, because I granted the majority of ObamaCare supporters the courtesy of sincerity — they actually thought it would make things better. But now I’m seriously reconsidering that skepticism.

  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @rudderpedals: There’s at least one commenter here who loses health insurance if Obamacare stalls. He’s married to a lady who is uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions and chomping at the bit for a chance at healthcare come Jan 1.

    So, in order for this person to be covered, how many will end up with lesser or no coverage? And is that a fair tradeof? I asked that of Grumpy, and didn’t get an answer.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And you still haven’t put forth an alternative to the system that existed. I guess you like to see Americans getting denied health insurance due to having taken asthma medication, or whatever other rationalization health care insurance companies came up with for denying payouts and treatments. Plus the rapid increase in costs. Plus the use of “prior conditions” to deny people insurance altogether.

    People didn’t pass Obamacare in a vacuum, y’know. There were very bad problems which the legislation was designed to address.

    And I’ve never heard ANYTHING from the present-day peanut gallery suggested that would rationally fix any of the problems. Tort reform? Pfft. Texas tried it, hasn’t helped matters. HSAs? Really helps when you get hit with a $360,000 operations bill.

    So what do you offer? The only thing I’ve seen is “close your eyes tightly and pretend the problem isn’t there.”

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You’ll have to show that providing her with health care will in fact cause the lack of coverage of other people. You haven’t done that. Which is how I answered your question, which was not asked in good faith. The equivalent of “when did you stop beating your wife” question.

  31. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I don’t think anyone loses health insurance as a result of Obamacare. Why should they?

  32. rudderpedals says:

    OK I don’t want to just blow past the other half of the question. The high end subsidies go away so those folks will pay more or do with lesser coverage.

    ISTM that’s a small price to pay for banishing pre-existing condition riders forever but I’m biased by pre-existing conditions.

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    To repeat: when ObamaCare was being “debated” (there wasn’t a hell of a lot of debate in Congress), a lot of people looked at the details and said that in response, a lot of companies would cut hours of employees and scrap plans entirely to avoid the costs it mandates. Insurance companies would curtail or end their offerings because of the new rules. All perfectly legal under the letter of the law.

    Now it’s the law of the land, and employers are cutting back employee hours, scrapping insurance plans, retarding their growth, and in general doing all they can to keep their costs down. Insurance companies are curtailing or openly ending offerings because they don’t believe they can do so under ObamaCare and still make a profit.

    The argument being put forth here? Just a wild coincidence, and was going to happen anyway — PROVE IT WASN’T!!!!

    These predictions weren’t culled from crystal balls or goat entrails. People looked at the provisions of ObamaCare and saw what companies could legally do to avoid the financial burden it was going to inflict on them. These were just some of the examples cited, and they are what is happening.

    And let’s not forget all the ObamaCare supporters who are now fighting like hell to not be covered by it. Obama supporters have been granted waivers after waivers to postpone the day that they have to lay in the bed they made.

    And let’s also not forget that Obama has taken upon himself the power to rewrite the law unilaterally, postponing provisions until after the next midterm elections. Why, it’s almost like they know it’s going to be a disaster, and don’t want to face the political bloodbath it will likely trigger.

    But at that time the old system (which worked for most people) will be forever destroyed, and the new system will be seen to benefit only a few while making things worse for most. At that point, what choice will we have?

    SINGLE PAYER TO THE RESCUE!

  34. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: What’s wrong with single payer?

    Have you ever lived under a National Health Care system? I have. Ten years in Japan. And I have to say that I’d prefer it to the rotten, haphazard mess we have here in the US. We pay twice as much as people under NHS systems do and don’t even provide the same coverage. Something is wrong here.

  35. KM says:

    @Jenos: and still make a profit. “

    And there you go. Ultimately, its about money. Not setting up proper healthcare, not about making our country better by improving the health of our population (and thus workforce), not even some fluff about freedom of choice or whatever.

    PROFIT.

    Profit they way they define it, mind you. Profit means any money you make after all expenses and sundries are dealt with – a penny is profit. No, when they use that word, they mean millions upon millions made from offering cut-rate products, low-end offers and cheating people but not paying/reimbursing for what was promised on some technicality. I have no problem with people making money but the current system is designed to put profit over customer and that’s a truly faulty capitalist model and inhumane to boot.

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: You’re goddamned right PROFIT. Companies have three options: profit, break even, or loss.

    Loss means you don’t get to stay in business very long.

    Break even means you never get anywhere, you can’t expand, and you have no buffer if things go bad.

    Profit means you can keep doing what you’re doing.

    “PROFIT” is not a four-letter word. (Unless you ask Joe Biden, of course.) Doctors make a lot of money, and I think they deserve it. They have invested a hell of a lot of time and money to get to where they are, and they are entitled to charge what they want. If not, then we might as well formalize it and indenture them.

    Insurance companies are in the business of allotting resources and managing risks in a way to honor their commitments AND make a profit. If they can’t make a profit, then they go away.

    You think PROFIT is a bad word? Fine. Put your money where your mouth is. Calculate the minimum you need to earn to survive, the sum total of your necessary expenses, and tell your employer that you won’t take a single penny over that. Because if you take more than you absolutely need, you’re making a PROFIT.

  37. KM says:

    @Jenos: With regards to your claim about the hours dropping, something like that should be eminently provable then, shouldn’t it? Compare previous levels of hours part-times worked in the last decade or so (since the beginning of the recession) and chart them out. Surely if your claim was true, part-time hours in 2008-2009 would be significantly higher then 2012-2013, yes? Somebody somewhere has those stats, rather than anecdotal evidence or suppositions. That would seem to be a great tool in the anti-ACA kit – where would that be?

    I don’t trust a company that says, “Oh we did X because of Y”; PR comes into play far too often to take that kind of thing at face value. Hard data, please, if you have it. If you’re right and you know it, why can’t you show it?

  38. Rob in CT says:

    IIRC, there is a long-term trend toward part-time work that predates the ACA by a decade or so. I’ll see if I can google up the source. I can’t remember where I saw it…

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: There may be a trend, but ObamaCare set a hard ceiling for denying benefits: 30 hours. Just watch the news, a lot of companies are cutting their people down to under 30 hours a week.

  40. KM says:

    @Jenos: ““PROFIT” is not a four-letter word.”

    You are correct, sir. It is not a dirty word and I would love to have more if I could. No shame or harm in that. It’s the natural way.

    I also have a thing called a conscious. It bothers me, you see. Damn thing won’t let me sleep at night if I do things. Things like deny coverage to someone sick BECAUSE they were sick previously. Use piddly-ass excuses like acne to deny coverage for cancer treatments. Charge $20,000+ for a single dose of something that costs $2.38 to make.

    I work in pharmaceuticals, dear. Doctors and chemists to my left and right. I grew up in a hospital with the medical profession in my family and my blood. Doctors have earned their right to be paid well. Hospitals have a right to pay their staff well-deserved rewards. But there’s is a profession built around helping others – they are paid to save lives.

    But there are limits. Insurance isn’t’ interested in whether or not you live. They have no incentive to do anything to help you that doesn’t help the bottom line. They are paid to tell you no. I have a problem with someone DYING so a 4th quarter profit is posted.

    You can very profitable and not be soulless. It’s not even that hard if one isn’t greedy. Is it too much to ask at this point? Really? This is what the greatest nation on earth comes to?

  41. Rob in CT says:

    Here’s something from the BLS in 2008 (obviously, pre-dating passage of the ACA):

    http://www.bls.gov/opub/ils/pdf/opbils71.pdf

    There’s a cycle following the boom/bust cycle. Looks like we’re back to levels seen in the 1980s (the 1990s were, as you might expect, good times).

  42. Rob in CT says:

    SINGLE PAYER TO THE RESCUE!

    In which Jenos inadvertantly gets something right.

  43. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: It’s a mixed bag for part-timers working at places gaming the system. They’re possibly losing a few hours a week but making it up at the other end as they get low/no cost subsidized health coverage through the exchanges.

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Health care is more of a service that we all have to have. It isn’t a nice-to-have.

    And if the bloody health care insurance companies can’t come up with a private system that satisfies the needs of the people, then damn good reason for the government to step in and do it instead. You still haven’t said a WORD about prior conditions, “murder by spreadsheet”, outrageous overheads, or any of the problems the US was afflicted with. I guess in your own little world they don’t exist.

  45. Stan says:

    Have any of the dire things Jenos Idanian predicted occurred in Massachusetts? Have McDonalds and KFC cut back their full time employees the way he says they will when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect? Have any of the dire things he predicted occurred in Hawaii? Hawaii requires businesses to provide health insurance for all employees working 20 or more hours per week. Does the state have an unusually large percentage of people working 19 or fewer hours per week?

    I haven’t done enough research to know the answers to any of my questions, but I suspect that JI #13 is dead wrong. If he were right — if employers in the two US states that already have an employer mandate were reducing the hours of their employees — I suspect we’d hear no end of it from the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, et al. And if the bad stuff the Affordable Care Act is supposed to inflict on us really happened in Massachusetts, why doesn’t the Massachusetts public vote it out?

    I live in a college town without many Republican voters, but I know a few. I’ve used the above arguments with them when talking about health insurance. They don’t try to refute me. The just stare at me with uncomprehending eyes and then repeat their talking points. I don’t understand it. I used to think intelligent people responded to rational arguments. They don’t, and I don’t know why.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Stan: because they’re not intelligent. Too many people on the right only accept information from their little cocoon of Fox News/Limbaugh/talk radio and any data provided them which does not correspond to the fantasy they have created in their heads is ignored.

    Typical fundamentalist thinking.

  47. Todd says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There’s a theory that ObamaCare was never intended to work. Its purpose was to tear down the old system and then fail itself, leaving Single Payer as the only possible option

    Yes, that’s probably what’s going to happen in the end … it’s really just a question of how long it takes us to finally catch up with the rest of world’s industrialized countries.

    The real irony is that it may actually end up being Conservatives that speed up the process … by trying so hard to make ‘Obamacare’ fail. The truth is, Republicans really won this fight … they’re just too mad to realize it.

    Medicare for all (or something along those lines) has been the goal all along, and even when they controlled both houses and the Presidency, the Democrats were not able to pass it … yet.

    You are totally correct that ‘Obamacare’ is not the ideal vision that most sensible people had/have when they talk about reforming the healthcare system.

    … but it is a small step in the right direction.