Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 10, 2009

GOP LEADER WOULD HAVE PREFERRED NO MEDICARE.... Most of the time, mainstream politicians from both parties are reluctant to publicly criticize programs like Medicare. It's a popular mainstay of American society, providing health care to retirees.

It was interesting, then, to hear Rep. Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri suggest yesterday that Medicare never should have been created in the first place.

"[Y]ou could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace.

"Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace."

Blunt went on to argue that he'd like to see "people have many more options," just so long as those options are limited to unregulated private insurance companies.

It's a reminder of how the status quo can trip up GOP leaders. The current system already has the government playing a role in making health care available to the elderly, military personnel and veterans, the poor, and low-income children. None of these developments have ushered in the collapse of capitalism or a dystopian bureaucratic nightmare for consumers. It puts Republicans in the position of having to explain why it's fine for the government to play a health care role in some contexts but not others.

Or, conversely, as Blunt demonstrates, it puts them in a position of having to argue that even Medicare was the wrong way to go.

And who's Roy Blunt? He's not only the leading Republican candidate for the Senate next year, he's also the man leading the Houses Republican caucus' "Health Care Task Force."

Steve Benen 11:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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I think the best thing to do with people like Blunt is to put THEM out there in the "competitive marketplace" and see how they do. With enough money, maybe you can do ok, but only with enough money to pay for all the stuff your gold-plated insurance policy will NOT pay for.

The hypocrisy of these guys is breathtaking. You think Blunt will use Medicare when he's eligible? Of course, he'll have a high-zoot government plan himself..just like he has now.

With every word they speak, they dig themselves in deeper. They don't seem to get it: we DON'T WANT a competitive market when it comes to our heath! The whole idea is insane. It's not like we're shopping for shoes.

What an ass.

Posted by: LL on July 10, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

he's also the man leading the Houses Republican caucus' "No Health Care Task Force."

Fixed.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on July 10, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

That's easy for someone who has a national health care plan paying for him and his family's health care to say. Blunt you can write your medicare checks to me every month if you want. I'll gladly take them. Or you can add me to your socialized plan that you and your family so graciously partake every month. Either way is fine with me.

Posted by: Chris on July 10, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

None of these developments have ushered in the collapse of capitalism or a dystopian bureaucratic nightmare for consumers.


Jeebus, Steve, you make it sound like a bad thing...

Posted by: neill on July 10, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Until the Senator is willing to give up his government-run health insurance, he should have a cup of STFU.

Posted by: Speed on July 10, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Wait, the government really "distorts the marketplace"? So is Blount really arguing that without Medicare and Medicaid, we'd have even higher healthcare costs??? He really needs to rethink that attack line.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on July 10, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Blunt is upset that Medicare will not pick up the tab for alcohol rehab problems.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 10, 2009 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

On behalf of the sane parts of Missouri: Sorry about Blunt. He and his son are an embarrassment to the Show Me State, and our species.

As others have pointed out, BLUNT HAS GOVERNMENT-RAN HEALTH CARE!! It it's such a horrific thing, than he should bow out of the plan and go get his own insurance on the open market.

Sadly, not sure any of them provide coverage for those suffering from a raging case of teh stoopids ...

Posted by: Mark D on July 10, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

I sometimes think of the current health care situation as a lot like the early days of fire-fighting. In early America, one bought insurance on his home, and, should a fire start, the fire companies would only fight the fire if you HAD THEIR INSURANCE. In other cases, fire companies would not only compete to put out your fire, but sabotage each other (or have pitched battles). In either case, the house suffers.

Finally, someone wise decided that it makes more sense to have one company to put out fires, and it wouldn't matter whose insurance plackard you had on your wall.

Doesn't that sound familiar? It's time for the wiser heads to knock heads and get this done.

Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on July 10, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone seen a poll of medicare patients? I venture to guess that they are happy with it, especially those seniors who couldn't afford insurance otherwise. For the rest, they're free to get as much private insurance as they can find.

Posted by: CDW on July 10, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of when I was back in junior high school. Our ninth grade civics class was discussing medicare. A girl in our class, who was the daughter of a very wealthy doctor, said "The government shouldn't pay doctor's bills for old people. If they aren't smart enough to have enough money to pay their bills, it's their own fault."

Seems like that some still hold to that logic.

Posted by: Eeyore on July 10, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I often wonder what our country would look like if people like Blunt and the rest of the GnoP had their way.

Any ideas?

Posted by: citizen_pain on July 10, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

How many terms does a member of congress have to serve before they receive lifetime insurance from the government? They have no clue what goes on in the real world - their only guidelines for health reform is what the lobyists tell/pay them.

Posted by: Dorothy on July 10, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

LL is right. I think we should start a movement -- seriously -- to dare Republican Senators and Congresspeople to decline the costly, uncompetitive, bureaucrat-standing-in-for-doctor government health benefits they all get as government employees and go try to get coverage for themselves and their families out in the fantastic free marketplace of insurance they're always claiming is so great. C'mon you whimps! Dump that horrible, socialist health coverage you have now and show us how private is better! If you're declined due to preexisting conditions or age, just think of it as extra motivation not to get sick. Works for millions of us!

Posted by: jonas on July 10, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK


There was just out a Quinipinac (or however it's spelled) poll asking about customer satisfaction with private insurance and Medicare and Medicaid. The results as I remember them were that the privates came in in the low 40's and the government something a little over 50%.

Maybe if Blunt took the idea of canceling Medicare around to the gatherings of the elderly and the equally logical idea of canceling the VA to vets groups, he could experience life in the wonderful world of free markets after the next election.

Posted by: john sherman on July 10, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Or, conversely, as Blunt demonstrates, it puts them in a position of having to argue that even Medicare was the wrong way to go.

Medicare was the wrong way to go. Because, you see, Medicare works. And government programs never work - everyone knows that. So there must be something inherently wrong with Medicare, because otherwise there must be something inherently wrong with the doctrine that government programs never work. And that simply cannot be - because everyone knows that it is so.

I hope this has been helpful.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on July 10, 2009 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

"...government distorts the marketplace." Should people exist for the marketplace or the marketplace for people? All Hail the god Marketplace.

Posted by: impartial on July 10, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Blunt went on to argue that he'd like to see "people have many more options," just so long as those options are limited to unregulated private insurance companies.

Some option - I'm already limited by what my highly-regulated insurance provider will cover. Without those rules, they'd be no different from the car thief that steals my ride and leaves me stranded. The hue and cry of 'rationing' and 'long waits' would be old news.

citizen_pain on July 10, 2009 at 12:02 PM:
I often wonder what our country would look like if people like Blunt and the rest of the GnoP had their way.

An ignorant aristocratic minority ruling all, and a poor class of subsistance farmers, serfs and labrorers to serve them. Envision 13th century England, but with southern accents.

Posted by: GuyFromOhio on July 10, 2009 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Americans just need the kind of free socialist medical coverage Rep. Blunt enjoys, or are average Americans not as worthy as he is?

Posted by: Ron on July 10, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

shorter...Roy Blunt wants to put your grandma on an icefloe...

Posted by: locagirl on July 10, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Blunt, like many of today's conservatives, cheers and advocates for sick and dead Americans as long as he himself is well coddled, taken care of and favored like a little prince.

I am curious as to whether Blunt told his parents and older relatives to screw off and die instead of using medicare. It seems like it would be right up is alley.

Posted by: Silver Owl on July 10, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Blunt went on to argue that he'd like to see "people have many more options," just so long as those options are limited to unregulated private insurance companies.

Well, there is also the option of having no insurance at all, an option now being "chosen" by more and more Americans!

Posted by: thalarctos on July 10, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Something that needs to be front and center in this debate is that competition among health insurance companies is not to cover the most people or provide the best cars. It's competition for profits for shareholders and one of the key ways they do that is finding creative ways to deny care and dump people who actually need to use their insurance. WHy is this not pointed out so that the anti-public plan people have to defend it?

Posted by: Brian Oregon on July 10, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK
I often wonder what our country would look like if people like Blunt and the rest of the GnoP had their way.

Any ideas?

posted by: citizen pain

Well ... given the past 20 years of the GOP:

Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain.

[...]

There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent there will be no need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed.

But always -- do not forget this Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever.

But maybe I just need some decaf ...

:-)

Posted by: Mark D on July 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

It's simple really - Medicare doesn't donate millions of dollars a year to politicians for lobbying, does it?

Posted by: andy on July 10, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Great response Mark D... although I am not sure the current crop of republicans would have the levels of competence required to fulfill that sort of destiny.

I'm thinking it would be more like Somalia....

Posted by: citizen_pain on July 10, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

citizen_pain--
If Somolia was filled with white Christian men whose women were little baby makers who knew their place, then yes, the GOP would find it a paradise.

:-)

Posted by: Mark D on July 10, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with many of the commenters above; it really is time to start a movement demanding the repeal of free health care for members of the House and Senate. Let these hypocrites get it on their beloved "free market," as they demand everyone else should do. They can keep all their other lavish benefits, but health care should be out. (This should also include a law prohibiting health insurance companies from offering coverage in exchange for votes.) I know this will never happen, but if it did, the entire nation would probably have universal health care for everyone overnight.

Posted by: electrolite on July 10, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Roy Blunt is a sniveling weasel who has been lining his and his family's pockets since the moment he got to DC. He learned alot from the Bug Man. Fortunately, he also lacks a conscience.

Posted by: FitterDon on July 10, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"I often wonder what our country would look like if people like Blunt and the rest of the GnoP had their way."

It would look like India, except with white people. Poor public education would result in a 60% literacy rate. Restricted access to birth control and abortion would result in massive overpopulation. Regressive tax policies and no minimum wage requirements would mean that half the country makes a dollar a day while a tiny elite are fabulously wealthy. Lack of environmental regulation would mean sewage in the streets, choking air pollution, and water that isn't even close to being safe to consume. People would be arrested for criticizing religious belief. Television would be heavily censored, as would rock concerts. Streets would be choked with homeless beggars and orphans. Need I go on?

Whenever I go to India, I always think "wow, this place is a conservative's wet dream." The only real difference is that India runs fair elections and they count the ballots quickly. Conservatives don't even like elections, much less fair ones.

Posted by: fostert on July 10, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's a family thing with the Blunts. Gov. Blunt resigned to spend more time with his family under legal difficulties with his performance in office. He ran on the promise that he would not go after the social programs in Mo. Then immediately upon taking office began to dismantle Medicaid completely putting the poor on what's called "spin down". Any income over $600/mo should go for health care. So if you made $720/mo then your spin down would be $120. After you actually, physically pay out $120 on health care then Medicaid kicks in. Few people could meet their spin down monthly and still pay theri living expenses so essentially they went without Medical coverage..

Blunt went out of his way to cut all social programs in MO and thankfully is now out of office.

His dad, Roy Blunt is only walking around free because Cybil was gagged and could not reveal Blunts role in selling state's secrets to Pakistan and money laundering but his picture appears on her site. Another Mo politician, Ashcroft, was the attorney general who prevented her from exposing Mr. Blunt.

He is now giving up his congressional seat to get in the senate and replace Kit Bond...a big mistake for Mo and for the nation. CREW puts him on the top ten list of the most corrupt members of congress and where ever there is a fix you'll see Blunt and Bond in the picture.

We will do all that is possible to prevent Blunt from becoming Senator of Mo but all of us must never take our eyes off this character...here's hoping the FBI doesn't either.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 10, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

What's stopping the private health care providers and insurers from innovating the way Blunt wants?

The only significant thing I've seen is that they are state-regulated and that hinders their ability to sell insurance nationwide. Maybe in time that can be changed.

Posted by: MarkH on July 10, 2009 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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