Lots of conservative lawmakers hate Obamacare. Rep. Louie Gohmert is putting his money where his mouth is.
The Tyler Republican gave up his health insurance for 2014, asserting that the president’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, has made coverage too expensive.
“Other people are going to see what I did when I looked into health insurance for my wife and me: that the deductible rate, it doubled, about $3,000 to $6,000, and our policy was going to go from about $300 to about $1,500 a month,” he said during a recent radio interview with Trey Graham, a pastor at First Melissa Baptist Church in Collin County. “I actually don’t have insurance right now, so thank you very much, Obamacare.”
Gohmert’s salary as a member of Congress is $174,000 a year. And his calculations ignore the hefty employer subsidy for which he is eligible — almost $950 per month. He says he will pay the tax that takes effect this year for those without insurance — 1 percent of his annual income.
Health care experts say Gohmert is taking a big risk. He’s 60. His wife, Kathy Gohmert, is 59. At that stage of life, medical expenses are common and unpredictable.
But for months, he’s said he would rather give up his government-supplied insurance than accept any government subsidy. If he did take the subsidy available to federal lawmakers and their aides, he would probably pay a monthly premium of about $600 — far less than the figure he cited on Graham’s show, which aired Sunday.
Here’s some news that has to be causing serious cognitive dissonance among America’s normally very pro-Israel religious right, as the Israeli government decides to pay for all abortions for women aged 20 to 33, regardless of circumstance.
Until now, subsidized abortions for women of all ages were available in medical emergencies or in case of rape and sexual abuse. Women under the age of 20 or over 40 were also eligible for abortion funding even when the reason was personal.
Despite the new funding, which was recently approved as part of Israel’s state-subsidized “health basket” for 2014, women will still have to appear before a state committee before terminating a pregnancy.
Image via MHA Online.
The now totally deranged Republican Tea Party has passed yet another attempt (the 41st? 42nd? I’ve lost count) to destroy the Affordable Care Act, even though it has no chance of becoming law and they know it. Take a good look, America — this is the pathetic state of the GOP. Remember this when it’s time to vote.
The House passed a bill 230-189 Friday morning that would keep the government running for three months - and defund the health care overhaul that is President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
“Americans are tired of seeing the government spend more and more of their hard earned tax dollars,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “This resolution will also protect the working middle class from the devastating effects of Obamacare.”
New York Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, accused the GOP of “brinksmanship.”
“The Republican budget plan itself shortchanges American jobs in infrastructure, results in education and defense layoffs, closes Head Start and afterschool programs, and divests in health research,” she said.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Republicans had “a destructive obsession” with trying to derail Obamacare.
Leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate have already warned the spending bill is dead on arrival there with the Obamacare provision attached.
The federal government will shut down in 10 days if the House and Senate cannot find some middle ground. The Senate will begin procedural maneuvers to take the bill up Monday.
As the first openly gay person ever elected to public office in California, Harvey Milk helped change America with a simple message to his community: Come out.
“Every gay person must come out,” Milk said on Gay Freedom Day in 1978. “As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”
Thursday in Kentucky, the state’s Democratic governor Steve Beshear offered a different version of the same argument at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast in support of Obamacare, as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) sat in the audience.
“You’re friends with them,” he said, referring to the state’s 640,000 uninsured residents. “You’re probably related to them. Some may be your sons and daughters. You go to church with them. Shop with them. Help them harvest their fields. Sit in the stands with them as you watch your kids play football or basketball or ride a horse in competition. Heck, you may even be one of them.”
You can now add Obamacare to that list, along with health care in general — even though he is an ophthalmologist.
When the senator visited The Daily Show this week, host John Oliver asked Paul to do something he apparently has never had to do before: defend his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
After making one decent point —that the reason most people aren’t insured because of “the expense” — he offered terrible example after terrible example to justify his opposition to the law.
He blamed government for the high cost of care and then used an example of the two “products” he offered as an eye doctor that went down every year because they weren’t covered by insurance: LASIK and contact lenses. He credited market forces for the drop in costs without pointing out that neither of these things is often purchased in an emergency, the way heart surgery or an appendectomy is. You can shop for contacts but you can’t shop for a cast when you need a broken bone set.
That was pretty bad, but at least the power of market forces in health care is debatable.
Actual costs aren’t.
“You have a young audience and you tell them ‘Oh you must buy insurance,’” he said. “But they say ‘but I only make $30,000 a year and your insurance now costs $15,000. So how is that mandate going to work?’ I have employees for a small business and there is no insurance. How can they buy insurance if they make $30,000 and insurance costs $15,000?”
Well, good thing insurance won’t cost $15,000 or even near half that. How do we know this 100 percent for sure?
By law — yes, the Affordable Care Act — it can’t.
At $30,000 a year, buying insurance on your own through an exchange, you can’t pay more than 8.37 percent of your income, or $2,512, for health insurance. And in the worst-case scenario where you become sick and need to see a doctor often, you won’t spend more than $6,350 a year out of your own pocket.
This is why Occupy Democrats’ Courtney Lynn wrote that Rand Paul accidentally made the case for Obamacare while trying to bash it.
Rand Paul could have used the real numbers if he’d visited the Kaiser Foundation’s Subsidy Calculator.
But making up his own Randian reality is the senator’s specialty.
(Cross-posted at The National Memo.)
So this happened today: GOP Leaders Warn Pro Sports Leagues Not to Promote Obamacare.
Senate Republican leaders have sent letters warning six professional sports leagues not to provide the Obama administration any assistance in promoting Obamacare.
The letters, dated June 27, warn the chiefs of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and NASCAR that partnering with the administration to publicize the benefits of the health care law would damage their reputations.
“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of this bill, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).
The letters come days after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she’s spoken with the NFL about potentially partnering to let people know the benefits of the Affordable Care Act ahead of the implementation of its major components. (She said there was no deal yet.)
An update from TPM:
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told TPM the league has “no plans” to engage on Obamacare.
“We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about PPACA’s implementation,” McCarthy said in an email.
Asked about the suggestion that the administration may have been threatening or pressuring the NFL, McCarthy responded, “Not correct. [Q]uite simply, the NFL , NBA and others were contacted by the administration. We made no commitments nor discussed any substantive details with the administration.”
McConnell’s spokesman Michael Brumas told TPM that the senator “is not alleging the administration has threatened or pressured the sports leagues. See the next to the last graf of the letter which says ‘Should the administration,’ etc.”
You know that Republican “rebranding” that’s supposed to change their image to make it seem like they truly care about people? (Operative word: “seem.”)
Well, here’s the reality: GOP Senator: Take Away Health Coverage for 30 Million to Avoid Military Cuts.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Graham suggested that the sequester’s across-the-board cuts to federal spending, including about a roughly 7.5 percent reduction in military spending, would be “destroying the military.” But rather than agree to President Obama’s proposed alternatives to the sequester, the South Carolina Republican said we should save money by eliminating health care for the 30 million people covered by the Affordable Care Act:
CHRIS WALLACE: Let me just ask you one more question about the sequestration before we let you go, Senator. You know if we go into the sequester, the president is going to hammer Republicans, the White House already put out a list of all the things, terrible things that will happen if a sequester kicks in, 70,000 children losing Head Start. 2100 fewer food inspectors and small business will lose $900 million in loan guarantees and you know, Senator, the president will say your party is forcing this to protect tax cuts for the wealthy.
GRAHAM: Well, all i can say is the commander-in-chief thought — came up with the idea of sequestration, destroying the military and putting a lot of good programs at risk. It is my belief — take Obamacare and put it on the table. You can make $86,000 a year in income and still get a government subsidy under Obamacare. Obamacare is destroying health care in this country and people are leaving the private sector, because their companies cannot afford to offer Obamacare and if you want to look at ways to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, look at Obamacare, don’t destroy the military and cut blindly across the board. There are many ways to do it but the president is the commander-in-chief and on his watch we’ll begin to unravel the finest military in the history of the world, at a time when we need it most. The Iranians are watching us, we are allowing people to be destroyed in Syria, and i’m disappointed in our commander-in-chief.
That’s right — to avoid a 7.5% cut in the astronomical US military budget, Lindsey Graham and the Republican Party want to strip away the Affordable Care Act that Americans just voted for.
And if you’re tempted to believe Lindsey Graham’s risible statement that a 7.5% cut would “destroy the military,” just take a quick look at this simple chart showing the world’s top 5 military spenders in 2012.