Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Decline your health care, say GOP voters

Most Americans think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they're in office. Only 33% think they should accept the health care they get for being a member of Congress while 53% think they should decline it and 15% have no opinion.

Democrats are actually the most supportive of anti-health care Congressmen taking their health care, with 40% saying they should accept it to 46% who think they should decline. But Republicans and independents- who put these folks in office in the first place- strongly think they should refuse their government provided health care. GOP voters hold that sentiment by a 58/28 margin and indys do 56/27.

This is an issue where Democrats really have the opportunity to create tension between the newly elected officials and the Tea Partiers who put them there by highlighting the disconnect between the freshmen Republicans' rhetoric and their actions. Their base clearly expects them to act in a way consistent with their stated opposition to government provided health care but given Andy Harris' recent outburst about his care not starting quickly enough it's not clear the new electeds are getting the message. If Tea Party activists continue to get let down by the Republicans they elect it increases the possibility for them to shift their energies toward third party conservative candidacies in 2012.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

I see that you're trying to confuse and get confused between congressmen getting health care like any employer gives for employees and government mandated health care. Stop with the ignorant spins.

wt said...

And if Democratic Congresspeople support single-payer, they should use their salary and savings to make sure their staff pay nothing out of pocket for medical care, right?

Of course not. This issue is absurd. Everyone understands that we live in the world as it is, not as we hope it would be in our ideal political vision.

Anonymous said...

Nope, not absurd. What's absurd is GOP lawmakers gnashing their teeth about "Obamacare" and "Socialism!"

What's absurd is Congressmen decrying "the Public Option" out loud then behind closed doors inquiring whether they'd be able to buy into some such public option type thing.

What's absurd is GOP having had the last 10 years pre-Obama in power and having done NOTHING to fix health care.

What's absurd is that people will make excuses for these transparent hypocrite over and over and over.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - Everyone knows that REAL Americans believe that elected public service should not be paid at all, let alone include perks like health insurance. Besides, the BIG DEAL that got these fools elected is to CUT SPENDING - that includes their health insurance. I see no spin, here. And wt, single payer doesn't mean $0 out of pocket. Wow, are you all this ignorant, that you only know your own party's schtick? I pray for our nation. And here I am, a LIBERTARIAN, having to school conservatives. Calling yourself conservative clearly doesn't make you any smarter than a liberal. Why not call yourself a fish and go jump into the ocean...

flux said...

Tom jensen...since when has confusion seemed to matter to the GOP? All they harped on about was "what the american people wanted" whether it was based on facts or on widely spread misinformation. This is what the american people want, confusion or not. Can't start picking and choosing which things americans want or not, not now.

Arioso said...

@Anonymous: you're actually a little confused. "Government-mandated" health care IS commercial health care. People who campaigned against the affordability act basically said that folks who can't get insurance through work or can't otherwise afford it should be left to their own devices. They should have the courage of their convictions and go it alone, too.

@wt: Your analogy is nonsensical. Congresspeople paying for their staff's insurance wouldn't be single-payor; it would be 535-payor. And single payor wouldn't use the "salary and savings" of the payor. It would use taxes of the staff. Pretty heavy taxes. Extraordinarily few Congress people support single-payor; even most who like the idea recognize that it wouldn't work in our country. In contrast, most of the GOP contingent don't appear to "understand...the world as it is." The health care system many of them campaigned on returning to (by way of a repeal) is unmaintainable. Incidentally, it still is. The Affordability Act doesn't try to legislate an ideal political vision. Single-payor is closer to what you describe as an ideal political vision. "The almighty Free Market makes everything peachy all by itself" is an ideal political vision, and yet that's what the most successful demagogues in this cycle ran on. As a matter of fact, it's what GOPers since Reagan have ascribed to. It's what many Tea Partiers apparently believe. Like socialism (the real thing--not the term applied by neocons to any philosophy to the left of Newt Gingrich), it can't work. It's never, ever worked in the history of the world. It's not a feasible system of governing; it's a politico-religious fusion.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how this is an ignorant spin. Yes, Congress receives employer sponsored health insurance, but they have a special employer - US taxpayers - who have to foot the bill for the employer portion of the premium, about $10,000 per year for a family plan as I understand it. If some of these Congressmen campaigned against federally funded health insurance I'm sure even they see the hypocrisy of now accepting that same federal funding.

As for the comment on single-payer, I believe that meets the definition of a spin. Single-payer is not mentioned in the above article nor the poll and is completely beside the point.

BBH said...

Look, many of these congress-critters campaigned as being against government health care. It seems pretty simple. If they truly believe that we should all get private health insurance, then they can do the same. (Yes, the world we live in is complicated so why do we let these politicians make the issues of health care seem simple? When congressmen want health care for everyone it is declared "communist" but when they want it for themselves it's just one of their perks.)

wt said...

Whoa guys. Slow down. The analogy is only inexact because everyone is trying to apply ideal political visions to individual choices.

There are two separate, easily conflated arguments here.

1. the newly elected GOP Congressmen campaigned against government-run Obamacare, so they should opt out of healthcare that is "government run" now that they hold office.
2. the newly elected GOP Congressmen campaigned against government spending, so they can reduce it -- DIY style -- by opting out of the congressional healthcare plan and going into the private market.

Neither is a good argument, much less a compelling one.

As to (1), the arguments about Obamacare center on the individual mandate, the expense of providing healthcare to the vast numbers of uninsured, and new bureaucracy that is required to enact and enforce the bill, not to mention the horsetrading surrounding the votes on the bill. None of these arguments are relevant to congressional health plans. They don't involve new costs, new bureaucracies, a mandate, or horsetrading of any kind. Just because it's provided by the government doesn't mean it's analytically the same as Obamacare. And it's intellectually lazy to say that it is.

As to (2), there are plenty of things individual congresspeople can do to reduce government spending. Taken to the logical extreme, they could decline a salary, pay for their own plane tickets to and from their home districts, decline an office, decline an apartment, decline a staff, and on and on. Some members do some of these things. But not only would insisting on every GOP member doing such things have minimal impact on the enormous federal deficit, it would make being a new congressperson very, very difficult. In the end, the good that a new member can do by having a staff, having an office, and having a healthcare option, is more important than the amount of money potentially saved by foregoing these things.

As to Democratic congresspeople using their salaries and savings to provide healthcare to their staff, I think it's close enough for political purposes. There's never going to be a perfect analogy in this context, but a congressperson who believes that Americans should have free healthcare should pony up and make sure their staff is at least covered.

Also, it's not clear to me why some people think single-payer doesn't mean that there are no out-of-pocket expenses. The most recent bill in the House, sponsored by Kucinich and Conyers, contained the following summary:

"United States National Health Care Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act - Establishes the United States National Health Care (USNHC) Program to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with **free** health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care." (emphasis added)


Anonymous said...

Somebody wrote:

"I see that you're trying to confuse and get confused between congressmen getting health care like any employer gives for employees"

No, you're the confused one if you think "any employer" offers health coverage. 10s of millions of working Americans don't get health coverage at work, and don't make enough to buy it on the individual market. Then we get clowns like Andy Harris, running on a platform to prevent any hope of these people getting access to care, then whining that his taxpayer-funded Cadillac health plan isn't a Rolls Royce plan.

NRH said...

Hypocritical much? Republicans who made taxpayer-funded health care don't need to forgo taxpayer-funded health care in favor of buying their own on the free market because that would be too much of an imposition on them no matter their ideological basis. But it's perfectly fair to demand that Democrats provide totally free health care to their staff because that's 'close enough for political purposes.'

Normally you're a rational commenter, wt, but this one was frankly stupid. Either argue that neither side is morally obliged to put their policy preferences into action within the scope of individual congressional offices or both are, but it's terrible and obvious partisan hackery to say that one side is justified in taking taxpayer-funded health care that they actively campaigned against but the other side is not justified in not providing full-ride health care from their private resources.

Teahadists did not campaign on subtleties about horsetrading and bureaucracy. They campaigned on wholesale opposition to taxpayer-funded health care in its entirety. You may have personally argued with more precision about it, but that was not the argument the Teahadists were making for the last two years. They opposed taxpayer-funded health care outright. They are now receiving taxpayer-funded health care. It is that simple. If they wanted to make subtle arguments about horsetrading, they just finished a whole campaign when they had the chance. They opted for the broader message, and it's entirely their problem that their stated positions are coming back to bite them in the ass now.

wt said...

NRH--I did argue for a standard across party lines. See my comment at 3:01. What you say is "frankly stupid" seems to be an indictment of an argument you misinterpreted me making. I won't call you frankly stupid in return, but it's at least frankly something.

The point is that you'll always be able to make vague charges of hypocrisy if your standards are so low, and it's silly for both sides. Democrats with big energy-guzzling houses, Unions asking for health-care waivers, Obama smoking, etc. I don't expect to make political issues out of these issues, both because the individual examples are minor and because I think it's foolish to do so, not least because it's easy.

wt said...

NRH--Also, as a purely factual matter, I believe you're incorrect that GOP members didn't campaign on the horsetrading aspects of the Affordable Care Act. That's why there were clever shorthand names like the Louisiana Purchase, Gator Aid, and the Cornhusker Kickback.

Anonymous said...

you people are morons-do some work for a change and quit wining.

Anonymous said...

The entire Congress has elected NOT to subject themselves to Obamacare. They remain with free market, capitalistic healthcare payed for by the American taxpayer. With on the premises clinics, pharmacies and doctors. That AIN'T Obamacare!! However it would be proper for all liberals to pay extra taxes to the USTreasury and also to will their personal estates to the treasury and to forego any inheritance when their parents die.

Anonymous said...

"10s of millions of working Americans don't get health coverage at work, and don't make enough to buy it on the individual market."---10s of millions can't afford individual health insurance? I doubt it. Where I live, a single healthy 25 year old can get a high-deductible plan for around $60 a month. A similar family plan runs around $300. Most people with jobs can afford that. And if they can't afford it, or are unemployed then they will be eligible for Medicaid orSCCHIP. Now, of course those plans will go away under Obamacare making the situation worse. But, hey, this is what you people voted for. Elections have consequences.

Jerome said...

It's not clear why this percentage of Republicans support the premise, but I suspect that the phrasing of the question confused nearly all of them. In fact, accepting the private insurance offered by their employer, the Federal Government, is the most logical form of opposition to socialized healthcare as put forth in the O'BozoCare bill.

Get it, Dunces? Private health insurance offered by their employer...just like you all have. That is the program that O'BozoCare is designed to destroy in favor of a single-payer, Eurotrash, socialism program.

NRH said...

@WT - I can say with quite a lot of confidence that the hyperbolic 'repeal Obamacare' and 'end government healthcare' were far, far, far more prominent campaign themes than 'Cornhusker Kickback,' which very few non political junkies actually recall in its specifics. Those accusations were used during the bill's passage into law itself, and probably had some shelf life in Nebraska, Florida, and Arkansas, but in the vast majority of the country the 'inside baseball' complaints about how the bill was passed were not a meaningful part of anybody's campaign. If they wanted to campaign on the horsetrading, they had their chance. They chose to campaign on the broader theme of 'end government healthcare' instead, and after-the-fact declarations of "I meant something much more specific so it won't affect ME!" from those representatives is not going to insulate them from being attacked for the hypocrisy. They get to spend the next two years having their overly-broad campaign statements thrown back at them.

And I have no problems with your 3:01 comment. It is the 6:48 one that looks explicitly hypocritical to me, wherein you specifically defended newly-elected Republicans not taking personal action to put their beliefs into effect, but then said it would be fair to accuse Democrats of the same thing because "a congressperson who believes that Americans should have free healthcare should pony up and make sure their staff is at least covered." If you meant to reiterate that Democrats favoring single-payer should not have to provide a private personal single-payer system, then that post had the opposite grammatical meaning.

Arioso said...

@wt: Actually, your analogy is "inexact" not because of 2 easliy-conflatable ideas. Go back and reread it. It's nonsensical because it was designed to further an ideological argument, not hold up to logical scrutiny. It just doesn't work. Then you continue to avoid logic and consistency by using language that either 1) contributes nothing but a partisan visceral effect (e.g. "Obamacare"), 2) reflects either ignorance or a willful intent to distort the facts.

You respond to a poll about stance that is widely-held by rank-and-file GOP members ("This bill should not have passed; it must be repealed") with "...if Democratic Congresspeople support single-payer...." Most don't. You're erecting a straw man to argue against. It's easy to say that the stance you favor is better than a hand-picked kooky position that most people don't buy.

And every time you use "government run healthcare," you suggest something other than what it is... It's not even government-run *insurance*, much less government-run *care*. Health insurance in my state of Iowa was regulated before. It has been regulated to varying degrees in all states. Was it "state-run healthcare" before? The centerpiece of the new act is to establish baseline *federal* regulations for health insurance. They are more strict than state standards, but it’s essentially the same thing.

The act gives states more power to push back on premium hikes from insurance companies. ...notice that we're still talking about *private insurance companies*. The act also sets up insurance exchanges... an easier (well, we'll see), centralized way to comparison shop while looking for *private insurance*. There are also "affordability credits" for people at some income levels to offset what they spend on their *private insurance*. In short, act also requires people to buy *private insurance*. Still missing the government-run part? Because there isn't any. The act also requires large employers to provide *private insurance* coverage for employees or deal with sanctions.

There is no "public option" in this act. It was dead long before the bill came out. You know what *is* government-run health care? The VA. That's it. That's the only example that is ever likely to exist in our country. Medicare also isn't "government-run," though it is single-payor.

Feel free to argue however you like about whether you think the VA/medicare are good ideas or not... or any of the relative benefits or disadvantages of the act that we have. There are plenty of arguments to be made. But let's talk about what this really is--and what we'd rather it be--and leave out the simplistic partisan labels. And let me loop back all the way to the beginning of this blog post. It's not spin... it's Americans--mostly Republicans, if you look at how the numbers break down--saying essentially "Hey... you campaigned on a platform of 'The less government, the better.' You already get a salary. Have the courage of your convictions and turn down this perk. Save the taxpayers some money, if you really mean it."

It's not a rational argument. But the "wave" election this year was not based on logical arguments. It was based on frustration and anger and fear and an "ideal political vision" that loves to quote Reagan: "Government isn't the solution; government is the problem." It's not a rational argument, either. It's a bumper sticker. So don't expect a logical response from the public. I encourage you in your quest to elevate the discussion, but to do that, you'll need to root out the illogical bombast that doesn't help. Otherwise, it's still mere partisan rhetoric--you just sound smarter than the average partisan demagogue.


wt said...

NRH -- Look, again, I'm not going to call you frankly stupid. But my comments throughout this thread (all 5 of them) are that it's absurd to insist that individuals act in accordance with the closest approximations of their grand political visions in their everyday actions. What you read as hypocrisy is me bolstering my analogy. (i.e. Democrats are open to attack on single-payer issues if they go after Republicans on congressional health plans).

"Teahadists did not campaign on subtleties about horsetrading and bureaucracy."

The word "subtelties" is doing a lot of work for you here, because you weren't discussing what percentage of campaigns talked about horsetrading, or where the emphasis was. You said candidates "did not" campaign on these issues. I guess if "subtleties" excludes broad references to the Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, and the Lousiana Purchase, it's just a disagreement on definitions. I made an argument that part of the opposition to Obamacare was based on horsetrading. You said none of the campaigns made it an issue. That was factually incorrect. Your clarification that it wasn't the emphasis of the campaigns is neither here nor there. No one claimed it was.

Arioso -- I don't know where to start. I linked to a bill sponsored by two Democratic congressmen in support of single-payer free healthcare. At one point it had 88 cosponsors. Now probably less. But there's no strawman. Where X is the number of congresspeople supporting single-payer, X is the number of congresspeople who should ensure their staff have free healthcare. (Again, for NRH's benefit, I'm saying this for analytical purposes, not because I plan to attack Democrats for not following through).

wt said...

In any event, people know where I stand, so I'm going to call it an argument and move on with my Thanksgiving holiday. Best wishes to everyone.

private schools in atlanta said...

They're all hypocrites. However, about Obama putting his kids in D.C. Private Schools. You wouldn't want our president having his kids educated in the same public school system where Hank Johnson, Rep. Georgia, was educated...you know, the one who thinks that Guam might capsize.

Anonymous said...

loving this blog more and more every day

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