iPhone remark suggests Chaffetz has no idea what insurance costs

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) addresses the Whos of Whoville.

Congressional Republicans have released their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and it is less than comprehensive. Andy Slavitt, former Acting Adminstrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services under President Obama, described the plan as “basically a $600 billion tax cut funded by gutting Medicaid.” Although its architects claim it will preserve access for the millions of previously uninsured Americans who found coverage under Obamacare, it does away with the subsidies that let them buy it. When it was pointed out to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) during an appearance on CNN’s New Day that “access doesn’t equal coverage,” the congressman implied that people who couldn’t afford insurance were spending irresponsibly. Quote:

You know what? Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare.

Chaffetz’s father once owned part of a professional soccer team, so the representative may have a shaky notion of how much individual health insurance costs. Either that, or he’s playing an old card: poor people aren’t poor because of iniquity or an economy that doesn’t serve them, but rather because they spend unwisely. The poor have just as much money as everybody else! Assessment after the jump.

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MT rejects federally-funded Medicaid expansion, possibly by accident

The Montana State House

The Montana State House

The 2013 session of the Montana state legislature ended last week, and now the state House and Senate will slumber until 2015. Legislators in Montana meet for 87 days every two years, which means that A) there’s a lot of pressure to get everything done and B) not everybody has had a ton of practice. The second phenomenon became evident earlier this month, when Rep. Tom Jacobson (D–Great Falls) accidentally voted the wrong way on a parliamentary objection, causing a tie in the House that allowed Speaker Mark Blasdel to reject federal funding for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

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Friday links! Willing to do what others will not edition

Julius Caesar wrote that out of any 100 soldiers, ten will be utterly fearless, ten will panic and become useless at the first clash of swords, and 80 could go either way. Success in battle, says Caesar, depends on those 80 percent. At the risk of both paraphrasing one of history’s greatest generals and underestimating the value of numbers, victory belongs to those willing to do what others will not. This week’s link roundup is chock full of people who have not necessarily succeeded because of the merit of what they are doing. In many cases, they’re getting what they want in spite of that. But they’re doing things that their competitors won’t try, or that our various forebears and lawgivers just sort of assumed nobody would do. They’re the bold pioneers in the field of human decency, striking out into frontier lands of douche, and they are handsomely rewarded. The rest of us can chastise them for it, sure, but our disapproval will be ever undermined by our jealousy. Sort of.

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“It’s armageddon,” Boehner says; health care bill passes and “will ruin our country.”

House Minority Leader John "The" Boehner, who believes that words mean something.

I don’t know if you guys heard this, but the House of Representatives passed some sort of doctor bill last night. Assuming the President signs it—and does not just scrawl “Surprise, fuckers!” across the bottom before tearing his shirt off and tongue-kissing Michael Steele—the new law will remove lifetime caps on medical insurance payments, prohibit denials based on pre-existing conditions, expand Medicare to those 50 and older and, eventually, establish insurance exchanges that provide subsidized policies. I’m no lawyer, doctor, economist or constitutional scholar, but I think the implications are pretty obvious:


And thus continue the circumspect deliberations of America’s legislative branch.

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Steve King is a stupid man

Hi, I'm Steve King, and I'm an American just like you. My bathtub is ringed with toasters, and I once spent 13 hours lost in a revolving door. Who else wants pancakes?

Those of us from Iowa used to lament that our Republican senator, Charles Grassley, had become the face of opposition to health care reform. Why did the most recognizable Iowan in national politics have to be a wizened elf who accused every bill of providing free abortions to immigrants and kept assuring us that the Death Panels were in there somewhere? I, for one, wished that someone else—anyone else—could serve as Iowa’s delegate to the national imagination. That, boys and girls, is why you must never wish. Representative Steve King (R–IA) has fulfilled our longings in the most ironically disappointing way possible. Sure, Chuck Grassley is an asshole, a stubborn hick whose Twitter feed read “Barb made oatmeal,” on the day his committee abandoned the attempt to reach bipartisan consensus on health care reform. But yesterday Steve King called for the overthrow of the United States government. Apparently Congressman King has forgotten where he works, along with a bunch of other important information that might otherwise have allowed him to make a useful contribution to the operation of America. In speaking to the Huffington Post, he called for a peaceful takeover of Congress similar to Prague’s Velvet Revolution, and likened the state of our country to that of Czechoslovakia under Soviet communism. “It is very, very close,” he said. “It is the nationalization of our liberty and the federal government taking our liberty over.” Which raises a lot questions, not the least of which is whether Representative King knows what that word means.

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