Antibiotic-Resistent Bacterium: Obamacare

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Overexposure to antibiotics and antibacterial soaps and lotions makes bacteria stronger. They adapt.

That same thing happened to Obamacare over the years. It’s now untouchable.

  • Obamacare survived the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. So it was born in a toxic environment.
  • Then, Obamacare survived two Supreme Court rulings, each time by a single vote from the chief justice.
  • Finally, Obamacare survived seven years of Republican promises to repeal it immediately upon winning the White House and Congress. That’s like bacteria surviving an antibiotic cocktail crafted specifically to attack that particular bacterium.

Obamacare now looks impervious to Republican chemotherapy.

Here’s what will happen now.

  • Premiums will continue rise by 20% or more every year. Deductibles will rise. Healthcare will become more expensive. Insurers will continue to pull out of markets. Many Americans will have no choice of carriers. Obamacare will explode.
  • Democrats will ask the White House and Congressional Republicans for help. The media will portray Republicans as heartless savages who eat the still-beating hearts of the fallen poor.
  • As the 2018 mid-terms approach, establishment Republicans will demand improvements to keep Obamacare alive. A few dozen Democrats in the House and Senate will work with Republican moderates to craft Obamacare fixes. The House Freedom Caucus will fight tooth and nail, but enough Democrats will cross the aisle to neutralize the Freedom Caucus’s strength.
  • The compromise legislation will include many of the deregulatory features promised in phases two and three of the Ryan plan. But the beating heart of Obamacare will beat on.

Republicans’ seven-year promise of repealing the bill that grew the Tea Party from an eruption to a movement will die a quiet death. When President Trump talks about Obamacare exploding and how he’ll fix it, he’s talking about a fix that will make the just-defeated bill look like something Murray Rothbard hatched.

If we’re lucky, a vibrant American economy with jobs galore and lower taxes will make this healthcare debacle a minor blip. In other words, expect exactly what Scott Adams predicted Tuesday:

Paul Ryan’s Battle of Kasserine Pass

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General George S. Patton arrived in North Africa with a single mission: lead the Allied forces to victory over the Hun.

But Patton’s assignment was also in response to a miserable and deadly failure of leadership. The failed leadership of General Lloyd Fredendall.

Fredendall was a Francophobe and an Anglophobe ill-suited to wage coalition warfare; a micromanager who bypassed the chain of command – giving orders as far down as company level; a coward, he allowed animus with subordinates to affect his judgment and undercut their authority; and finally, staring defeat in the face at Kasserine, he tried to pin the blame on others.

Abolishing Obamacare was to be the first battle of the new Republican government. For this battle, Republican forces had trained for nearly a decade. But, as we learn so often in history, peacetime generals and commanders mostly fail when the bullets start flying. For example, every US submarine commander in command on Pearl Harbor Day was relieved of command within a year. Mostly because they failed as wartime commanders.

When Trump won and the GOP retained the Senate, America transitioned to a political wartime footing. But Ryan’s boots aren’t up to that rugged turf.

Over on the news channels, the House of Representatives is about to kill Paul Ryan’s failed, horrible healthcare plan. I admit I was wrong yesterday. I expected the bill to pass. And I was okay with it passing. Yesterday.

Today, seeing Paul Ryan scramble, panic, and retreat, I’m glad the bill is failing. Like General Fredendall, Ryan arrived in his position with high expectations. Before his epic failure at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Eisenhower wrote of Fredenall: “I bless the day you urged Fredendall upon me and cheerfully acknowledge that my earlier doubts of him were completely unfounded.”

Borrowing the words of Dwight Von Zimmermann who chronicled Fredendall’s failure, consider this:

Paul Ryan is a Trumpophobe and a populophobe ill-suited to wage populist warfare; a backroom conspirator who bypassed the House order, crafting a failed bill with lobbyists and cronies; a coward, he allowed animus with the Republican President to affect his judgment and undercut Trump’s authority; and, finally, staring defeat in the face at AHCA, his establishment cronies will try to pin the blame on the tea party.

It’s time for House Republicans to show the humility, wisdom, and leadership shown by Dwight Eisenhower. After Fredendall’s epic failure, Eisenhower ordered him to return stateside and occupy a desk until the end of the war. Fredendall might destroy the desk, but at least he wouldn’t be in a position to get people killed.

I call on the House Republicans, beginning with Missouri’s delegation, to move immediately to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker. Replace him with a leader in the mold of George Patton. Replace Ryan with a Speaker of character and strength equal to this historical inflection point.

Now, on to tax reform.

Obamacare Repeal Vote Results (Prediction)

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Today, President Trump changed the game. He changed the Prisoner’s Dilemma (coordination) into a game of Chicken (competition).

Lifer Republicans have no experience with games of chicken. They were raised on coordination games.

By changing the game to Chicken, Donald Trump greatly increased the chances that phony Paul Ryan’s healthcare will PASS.

Here’s why briefly.

Psychologically, people always think they have more time. Republicans, in particular, believe time is limitless. Lifelong Republicans think they can delay any decision until the decision they want is a given.

But Trump said in effect, “vote tomorrow. I’m moving on.”

That’s a very strong move. And it scared the shit out of Republicans. Even Freedom Caucus snowflakes who accused the President of ignoring them. (Not all Freedom Caucusers are snowflakes. But the pansies who complained about their lack of access to the President should be driven out of the caucus and out of the Congress. They’re weak.) Enough Republicans believe that it’s this or nothing. It’s this or Obamacare forever. It’s this or total failure of the last 8 years of Republican politics.

So my prediction is that this pathetic bill will pass.

I hope, but don’t predict, that House Republicans will remove Paul Ryan from the Speakership. Paul Ryan is a weak and failed Speaker. This bill should have been ready on January 20. Ryan’s selfishness caused this crisis. 

For the record, I also hope the bill passes. Not that I like the bill. But I think it can be improved with future legislation. If it fails, we will live with Obamacare for the next 100 years. Too many people worked too hard for too many years to let that happen.

Strategy, not hyperventilation.

P.S. Nothing in this post should be construed as an endorsement of Paul Ryan. I think Paul Ryan is a disgusting, weak person. But I believe Trump. He walks away from negotiations that are going nowhere. When he says “take it or leave it,” he means. He has a history.

Ashcroft Passes on Opportunity to Deny Medicaid Expansion Fix

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Last week, I wrote about the Missouri Republican Establishment’s plan to win a windfall for lobbyist Kit Bond via Senate candidate Jay Ashcroft. Not that the Establishment cares about Bond, but they want Medicaid expansion passed before they beg for money for 2016 from the Missouri Hospital Association and Chamber of Commerce.

Well, the St. Louis Post Dispatch asked Ashcroft about the deal, and he couldn’t quite bring himself to deny that he would pass Medicaid expansion if elected.

Noting Bond’s lobbying role, Tea Party leader Bill Hennessy alleged in a recent column that Ashcroft has already committed “to help push Obamacare in the Missouri Senate.”

Ashcroft laughed at that accusation.

“I haven’t agreed to anything with regard to Medicaid expansion,” he said.

If helping people get quality medical care is the goal, “Medicaid expansion is one way to do that, and I’m open to talking about that. But I’m afraid we’re focusing on one of the potential solutions instead of saying, ‘Here’s the problem, what are the whole myriad of solutions we could use?’”

So a Medicaid deal is still in play, Jay?

For the record, none of the Missouri US Congress Republicans who attended a fundraiser for Ashcroft have denied Kit Bond’s influence in the event. Or on Ashcroft’s last-minute decision to run.

I understand it will be difficult to fill John Lamping’s shoes, but evading questions about backroom deals on Obamacare is a step in the wrong direction for Ashcroft.

I was talking about defunding Obamacare before it was cool

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Okay, I’m fired up. I’m fired up about Obamacare.

I don’t know what got me onto this, exactly. I talked to Jim Durbin tonight, so maybe that was it.

I’ve been looking for video of a speech I gave at the Million Med March in Clayton, MO, in 2009.  Two-friggin-thousand-and-nine. (I’m a quarter German, so I hold a grudge.)

I found it. Here’s the clip I’ve wanted to show Congress since last August. Again, this is November 21, 2009–four months before the House finally passed Obamacare.

Man, I wish I’d found this last August. I knew in 2009–before the damn thing became law–that we’d eventually be fighting over funding.

And I know now that promoting defund was the right thing to do. Here’s why.

Obamacare is a nightmare. Very few previously uninsured people have obtained insurance under Obamacare. Most of the enrollees who’ve actually paid a premium were already insured. They lost their insurance because of Obamacare.

The uninsured ante Obamacare are uninsured post Obamacare. The big change is that those who lost their pre-Obamacare insurance face much higher premiums and deductibles now than before.

Plus, the CBO says Obamacare will reduce the workforce by 2.5 million. And it will cost trillions more than Obama told you when he was lying about “you can keep your plan.”

At some point, young people are going to ask Congress, “Did you do everything in your power to stop this travesty?”

Rand Paul, Mike Lee,  Ted Cruz, and a few others can say, “Yes! I used every weapon at my disposal to spare you the horror story you’ve experienced.”

But 90% of Republicans can’t say that. Senator Roy Blunt has to admit, “I folded up like a cheap suit.”

Leadership often requires standing for something uncool and sticking with it until it becomes cool. Like birth-control glasses and stubble. Now that people see the horrors of Obamacare, Republicans who wanted to be cool in the moment look like parents who teach their kids the dangers of heroin by giving them clean needles and an ounce of Mexican Brown.

Guest Post: An Open Letter to Millennials from Bob the Retiree

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Submitted by Bob, the retiree:

To the Millennials of America,

All you sniveling, whining, crybaby Millennials need to quit your complaining and get signed up with Obamacare as soon as possible.

We really don’t care what it costs you. I am retired now and drawing my Social Security and will sign up for Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and any other Social program available, as soon as I can qualify. I’m entitled, you know!

We need you bunch of sniveling crybabies to get on board so you can pay for these programs. How else am I going to be able to siphon off your wealth? You do believe in wealth redistribution don’t you? You don’t deserve all that wealth you have now or will earn in the future. It’s your obligation to share it with us. We’re entitled to some of it.

Quit griping, quit sniveling, quit complaining and get signed up now, you hear! That’s an order.

Bob, The Retiree