If The Government Helps the People They Lose

Kuff tells it like it is on Perry and the GOP when it comes to health care in Texas, Rick Perry doesn’t want people to get health insurance.

It takes a certain level of sociopathy to say something like that when you are the Governor of the state with by far the highest number of uninsured people, and you’ve been Governor for thirteen years without doing a single thing about it. Except for all the things you’ve done to deny health insurance to people, such as the CHIP cuts and our famously stingy Medicaid eligibility requirements and onerous enrollment processes. Hey, remember when we spent a couple hundred million dollars outsourcing our Health and Human Services Commission and gave the money to a private firm that didn’t know its ass from a pencil eraser? Those were the days, my friend.

The antipathy towards health insurance comes through in everything Rick Perry – and David Dewhurst and Greg Abbott and the rest of the sorry lot – does, from imposing needless burdens on navigators to refusing to expand Medicaid to refusing to implement an exchange, and on and on. If there were some honest ongoing effort over the past decade-plus to do something about the millions of uninsured in Texas, that would be one thing. But the record, and the inactivity, speak for themselves. There’s really no other way to characterize it. Millions ofpeople have become insured around the country, but all we get here is rage and denial.

Oh, and bad journalism, no doubt influenced by the lying and obfuscation. Do make sure you click those two links and read the stories, which have now coaxed an apology for the half-assed job they did from the Star-Telegram. Senators Sylvia Garcia and Rodney Ellis have more.

I would add that it’s not just that Perry doesn’t want people to have health insurance, but that he doesn’t want them to have government insurance or insurance that is subsidized by the government. They want to make sure that the American people don’t get the idea in their head that the government can actually do things to help them.  As long as someone is paying for it themselves and it’s coming from an insurance corporation he would have absolutely no problem with it.  It’s just that people getting health care from their government is abhorrent to him, and always has been to the wing-nuts.

This is the same fight we’ve been having since the inception of the New Deal under FDR.  Author Lane Kenworthy has an excerpt of his new book, Social Democratic America, here America’s Social Democratic Future.  He does a great job of explaining what’s got conservatives in an tizzy.

Obamacare, as the law is commonly known, is the most significant reform of the U.S. health-care system in half a century. It aims to increase the share of Americans who have health insurance, improve the quality of health insurance plans, and slow the growth of health-care spending. But the fight over the law is about more than just health-care policy, and the bitterness of the conflict is driven by more than just partisan polarization. Obamacare has become the central battleground in an ongoing war between liberals and conservatives over the size and scope of the U.S. government, a fight whose origins stretch back to the Great Depression and the New Deal.

The passage of Obamacare has caused such controversy in part because it seems to signal a new stage of government activism, leading some conservatives to oppose it as a decisive and possibly inexorable turn to the left. “Precisely because the Affordable Care Act is the realization of a half-century long liberal dream,” the conservative commentator Peter Wehner wrote recently in The Weekly Standard, “if it fails, it will be a crushing blow not just to Barack Obama but to American liberalism itself. Why? Because Obamacare is in many ways the avatar, the archetype, of modern liberalism. That’s true in terms of its coercive elements, its soaring confidence in technocratic solutions, its ambition to centralize decisionmaking, and its belief that government knows best.”

Such apocalyptic arguments vastly overstate Obamacare’s practical significance. But they also obscure the more interesting reality, which is that the ACA represents another step on a long, slow, but steady journey away from the classical liberal capitalist state and toward a peculiarly American version of social democracy. Unlike in, say, northern Europe, where social democracy has been enacted deliberately and comprehensively over the years by ideologically self-aware political movements, in the United States, a more modest and patchy social safety net has been pieced together by pragmatic politicians and technocrats tackling individual problems. Powerful forces will continue to fight those efforts, and the resulting social insurance policies will emerge more gradually and be less universal, less efficient, and less effective than they would otherwise have been. But the opponents are fighting a losing battle and can only slow down and distort the final outcome rather than stop it. Thanks to a combination of popular demand, technocratic supply, and gradually increasing national wealth, social democracy is the future of the United States.

Health care should be a right in our country.  To them Obamacare, which is not government run health care,  is a total repudiation of what they stand for, no matter how many people it helps. What they are for is privatization, which always costs more.

Privatization takes inherently governmental functions — everything from national defense to mass transit and roads — and turns them over to the control of private actors, whose goal is to extract maximum revenue while costing as little as possible.

Republicans have long advocated this in the name of free markets — saying that privatizing government services reduces the size of government. Democrats express more mixed support, but they sometimes go along for the privatizing ride.

Yet it isn’t true, as a general rule, that privatization shrinks the public sector. When investor demand for high returns is combined with the natural monopolies of public assets, what often results instead is citizens finding themselves saddled with high fees and poor service.

Even more perniciously, selling infrastructure such as toll roads puts the coercive power of the state in the hands of private actors. We have great public assets built by prior generations. We should and could be building a better country for our children, rather than liquidating what we have.

Some might call that looting, not liquidating.  It’s about ideology for them, and not about finding solutions.  There’s no tax cut that can be passed to give people health care, so there out of ideas.  They have no policy proposal to insure the uninsured.  All they have is bad things to say about those without insurance, and to keep trying to destroy Obamacare.

This is why in Texas we must have new leadership.  It’s the only way the uninsured will get insurance in Texas.

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4 Responses

  1. […] Eye On Williamson on the Texas GOP. They want to make sure that the American people don’t get the idea that the government can actually do things to help them, If The Government Helps the People They Lose. […]

  2. […] Eye On Williamson on the Texas GOP. They want to make sure that the American people don’t get the idea that the government can actually do things to help them, If The Government Helps the People They Lose. […]

  3. […] not concerned about working to solve problems.  They’re only concerned about keeping things the same as they are now.  We cannot move past these two issues, and many more, if we keep electing the same people to […]

  4. […] Eye On Williamson on the Texas GOP. They want to make sure that the American people don’t get the idea that the government can actually do things to help them, If The Government Helps the People They Lose. […]

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