About That ‘Republican Conversion To ObamaCare’

August 19, 2013 9:00 am

by Mike Hassinger · 42 comments

Editor’s Note: Jim Galloway had an intriguing item in his “Political Insider” blog over the weekend, wherein he interviewed Clint Murphy, a “former Republican political operative” about the nature of the Republican refusal to offer an alternative to Obamacare. But Clint is also a former front-pager here at Peach Pundit, and I contacted him to see if he would be willing to revise and amend the remarks quoted in his interview with Jim. He was, and he did, and they are posted below. (I should also point out that while it’s safe to say that most of the public at large believe that Republicans only want to defund Obamacare, a positive alternative to the ACA has been proposed, but not yet voted on, by Rep. Tom Price, (R-Roswell.)

By Clint Murphy:

Recently, on August 6, I made the comment on my Facebook page that stated: “I want my friends who are running for office to understand something. When you use the term “Defund Obamacare” I have to wonder what your position is on people like me with pre-existing conditions, insurance plans that had lifetime caps, transparency in the health insurance purchase process, preventive medical care, etc… If you can’t articulate your position beyond buzz words, I’m not sure that you honestly want or deserve my vote. I am a cancer survivor. I can afford to purchase insurance. Because of the current ban on pre-existing conditions which expires very soon, I cannot obtain health insurance. Is your proposition for me to go bankrupt if I get sick? I agree, there are some very bad provisions included in the entire law, but come on, articulate a position beyond lowest common denominator political buzzwords…

That comment prompted some agreement from various friends and some level of disagreement from others.  What I wasn’t aware of is that it also triggered the curiosity of the Atlanta Journal and Constitutions’ Jim Galloway.  Jim and I talked last week and in his column that ran online this Saturday and in the print edition this Sunday, he very accurately summed up how I feel about this issue.

The column prompted friends to chime in with various comments, such as this one from Joe Steffen in Savannah, “Unfortunately for most of Congress, it’s about tearing down the other side to achieve power.  Governing doesn’t matter.  Sound bite 24 hour news cycle makes it worse.  We will never solve complicated issues this way… never.”

The column also caused me to think further about things on this issue.  My own reaction to reading my thoughts online in the AJC were, “So, I’ve had all day to think about the double down talk of efforts to defund “Obamacare” even at the cost of shutting down the government and the GA Insurance Commissioner’s goal to be an obstructionist to the effort.  You can’t govern or legislate from these zero sum positions and I don’t know how we are supposed to move forward as a country when everyone just continues to retreat to their base and won’t at least participate in the process to find common ground on healthcare reform as it relates to “Obamacare”.  Can we not demand more than this from our elected officials?”

Republicans in both houses of Congress did not participate in writing or passing the Affordable Care Act, which is now called “Obamacare”.  The bill was written and passed with nothing but Democrat support.  Much of the foundation of the bill can be linked back to the Dole 1996 insurance plan and even reform efforts championed by Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation.  Most Republicans sang the praises of Mitt Romney when he championed similar health care reforms in Massachusetts as Governor.  At the time, you even had a State Senator in Georgia want to introduce such legislation here in Georgia.

When Barack Obama and Democrats took up these reform efforts and began to work off of this model, Republicans refused to participate.  You even had that same State Senator in Georgia go so far as to try and ban such reforms here in GA.  The Republican position has been to do nothing.  They did nothing in 2009 as the bill was written and passed and they continue to do nothing in 2013 as the law is being further implemented to finally allow people like myself to obtain health insurance.

By refusing to work in a bipartisan manner to find common ground in healthcare insurance reform, Republicans took themselves out of the equation.  They became squawking spectators to the legislative process.

Instead of working in a bipartisan way to reform the areas they found most egregious since final passage, they have continued in vain instead to pass repeal efforts all with the reality that those efforts were going nowhere.

At some point, small business leaders, company executives, and even regular conservative voters should be demanding of their representatives in Congress some kind of engagement in the process to actually get something done on the most egregious part of the law, versus continuing to support efforts to demagogue the issue in vain for no other point than to further gin up the furthest extremes of their base.

The current threat by extremes of the Republican Party to shut down the government or default on our debt as it relates to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) are so ridiculous and beyond reasonable thought that it defies logic.

These same people should make better use of their time, talent, and energy by working with members of the other party and the President to find workable solutions to the most objectionable parts of the law.  They have to engage and actually participate in the legislative process to make that happen and if that is a bridge to far for them to travel, then they do not deserve to be a part of a governing body and should find work elsewhere.

I work as a Realtor.  I work day in and day out to bring together buyers and sellers in the purchase and sale of homes.  If I cannot find that level of agreement, where both parties are satisfied, then I don’t get paid.  Neither party wins when the other won’t negotiate or participate in negotiations.  Our Congress would be wise to find this same common ground.

 

 

 

peachpundit (@peachpundit) August 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

New post: About That ‘Republican Conversion To ObamaCare’ http://t.co/Vb23sHCTwI #gapol

Chris Huttman August 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

And I would just like to add that Price’s proposal is very radical and not very reasonable. Republicans could offer some very thoughtful modifications to the ACA that bring it closer to their original proposals that it was modeled on, and everyone would be happier. But they’d have to admit that the ACA is more or less similar to what they proposed for 20 years, as this thoughtful column does. One notable difference between Republican proposals (including Ryan’s pre-ACA plan) and the ACA: most of the Republican proposals cost more! They didn’t seem to mind the increased costs when it was their idea, and with their support, some of the more unpopular parts of the existing law (employer mandate) that are there to restrain costs and make the ACA “revenue neutral/deficit reducing” could be done away with and really everyone would be happier.

But my above paragraph does nothing to feed the frenzy that leads to a Rand Paul/Ted Cruz 2016 ticket or a Paul Broun Senate nomination, so we can all forget about it.

Three Jack August 19, 2013 at 11:31 am

Obama declared healthcare to be a right during his Saturday radio/YouTube address. I wonder if the ‘converts’ now agree since some have something to gain from being covered.

Chris Huttman August 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – sorry not if you have a pre-existing condition – even if you want to pay for it.

Joshua Morris August 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm

This bill is not about covering pre-existing conditions. We’re chasing a rabbit here based on a comment from one former Republican.

Is it worth abandoning proven principle to find ‘common ground’ to address the rarest cases? This seems to be the expectation from Democrats on every issue, and American society is getting smashed while being shamed into servitude by hypocritical do-gooders.

“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” – Margaret Thatcher

Harry August 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm
Chris Huttman August 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Among other things, this bill is about covering pre-existing conditions (among other things). Maybe not in the way you’d like, but don’t pretend otherwise.

John Konop August 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm

……This bill is not about covering pre-existing conditions. We’re chasing a rabbit here based on a comment from one former Republican……..

Once again obviously you are not pro-life, only pro birth……Your right, let us all keep it real!

Joshua Morris August 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm

You’re a funny guy, John. So you say I’m not pro-life because I oppose a government program which will destroy people’s access to healthcare and some lives. You say this because you’re so concerned about pre-existing conditions that you think government should force a tragically detrimental program down our throats. So then, are you pro-some-lives-but-not-others?

Instead of going back and fixing what went wrong with health coverage in America, some of you are dead set on charging headlong into this buzzsaw. Makes no sense.

John Konop August 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Is not eliminating or more restrictions on abortion a government program?

Three Jack August 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

John’s still using that totally mindless rhetoric ‘if you oppose healthcare, then you want people to die’ {{laughing, again}}!

To cover so-called pre-existing conditions, those without these conditions will pay for those with the conditions…same as every other govt enforced redistribution program. So please define ‘pre-existing’ conditions as recognized in Obamacare.

John Konop August 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Bart,

The issue is clear as a bell for anyone dealing with the problem. I have gotten many off line calls from people believe or not about the issue I brought up many times on the PP. If you get the big ‘c” or any other major problem….. they end putting you on a list that makes it very difficult to get insurance at any rational rate…..So you are left with choice of going broke to get healthcare….and then the public pays or you die…… The concept behind exchanges was to save enough money to avoid this issue, and put people in control over the government or insurance companies…..The idea was birthed from the HF conservative think tank with Newt……Look it up…..

Three Jack August 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

John, I don’t care what Newt or HF ‘birthed’…the ‘parents’ of this unsustainable concept do not make it any easier to accept.

Obama/RobertsCare is the best thing that ever happened to the insurance industry. Now government forces us to purchase health insurance that must cover the cost of so-called ‘pre-existing conditions’ thus significantly increasing costs to those without pre-existing conditions. Personally I just saw mine go up 40% as I am now a co-employee of a payroll service because the relatively small company that employs me chose this avenue to avoid even more administration hassles put on it by Obama/RobertsCare. Now we’re part of a multi-million person network which one would think means lower cost, better care…the opposite is in fact true as I’m sure many other people are discovering or will do so soon.

The purported goal of healthcare reform was – lower cost with easier access. Neither of these simple, very attainable goals was achieved. Instead we are once again working to accomodate a very small percentage of the population at the expense of the vast majority of us. Food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and so many other do-gooder programs have failed attempting the same thing. Why in the world does anybody think the government can get even more involved in the healthcare system without failing as it has so many times before?

John Konop August 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm

If the exchanges were executed right it would hurt the insurance industry, not help. This would put them in the reinsurance industry only…that is about 20 percent of the savings…..Some large corporations do this today ie self insure and use a reinsurance company for catrastphic…..

As far as the people side….I feel for Clint…..thought I might be in his shoes…..I have made this point about people like Clint for years on the pp. Clint now put a face to the issue for some of you…….

Three Jack August 22, 2013 at 10:39 am

“If the exchanges were executed right…” you are a comedian John! Government execute something right? The very aholes who wrote, debated and passed the bill just excluded themselves and all their colleagues from this abomination. That should tell you and everybody else all you need to know about government mandated healthcare and the so-called exchanges it was built on.

Chris Huttman August 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Congratulations on being the first person in America to buy health care on the non-existant exchange. But don’t let the truth stand in your way!

griftdrift August 20, 2013 at 8:57 am

“those without these conditions will pay for those with the conditions”

Exactly how do you think insurance works?

bgsmallz August 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

+ A Gazillion

Three Jack August 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

Nice GD, that’s getting into the details. Only problem with your smartass reply is we are talking about being forced to purchase something at a higher rate than currently available because the government decided healthcare must be provided to all at the expense of a few. That is not how private insurance works…try again!

seenbetrdayz August 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

It is utterly mindless. Some things I hear on a daily basis, but not necessarily all from John.

“You oppose the mortgage bailout? So, you want people to lose their homes!”

“You oppose the PATRIOT Act? So, you want us all to be killed by terrorists!”

“You oppose more government intervention in healthcare? So, you want to let people die!”

“You oppose the government’s actions? You must support anarchy!”

John Konop August 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm

In all due respect we all saw the punt…….you really have no response…..

seenbetrdayz August 21, 2013 at 8:21 am

What punt?

John, whenever you say, “So, you just wanna let people die.” You’re trying to vilify their position in order to avoid addressing their points. Yes, I know you think you have it all worked out and you think it is manageable, but, John, you are not the one who is implementing these changes. I mean, hell, maybe you have some great ideas about how Social Security could be managed effectively, but that hasn’t stopped it from being the worst-managed program in U.S. history.

So, to use the imagery another commenter mentioned, run headlong into the buzzsaw. It’ll give you a great opportunity to try out your new health insurance.

John Konop August 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

I am not vilifying anything……My language is way less offensive, just gets to the point, comparing it to the pro-life movement……You did not see me use words like Holocaust, murder…… like the pro-life movement…..if anything I was just being direct…..

bgsmallz August 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

Just a quick reality check…health insurance law isn’t about letting people die or not die. Every state already has laws on the books basically saying that people are entitled emergency care without regards to payment…gasp…even Georgia!

Here’s the problem…if the author of this article gets a nasty sinus infection…can’t go to the doctor bc no insurance…tries to treat with OTC’s…infection spreads to lungs and ends up with pneumonia…now that he’s really sick, he goes to the ER. ER has to take him BY LAW, diagnose the problem, and hospital might have to admit him.

So, patient gets charged the non-insurance negotiated rate, can’t pay, gets hounded by collection calls, and then the hospital eventually has to write off most of the charge and pay for the services through incremental increases to those who can afford to pay and/or have insurance.

Whereas, if the patient has insurance, he can go to the doctor before the symptoms get terrible, get a script for some antibiotics, and be well in a week.

Which do you think costs the non-patient more? Spreading the costs of the ER visit and hospital stay or spreading the costs of the doctor visit?

Anyway…anyone that says they want to ‘defund’ Obamacare without another alternative is not saying they don’t want government provided insurance for the very sick…because those laws are already on the books…all they are saying is that they prefer the most inefficient and burdensome method for doing so because it is the most favorable for them to get re-elected.

John Konop August 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

Bgsmallz,

Seriously? What you are saying is, it is better to have socialized medicine paid by tax payers or people who buy health insurance forced on them? Who do you think pays for the care of people without health insurance and not enough money? BTW it is not unlimited money people are dying…….This does not include people put into BK via the current system……..

………Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday………

http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-usa-healthcare-deaths-idUSTRE58G6W520090917

John Konop August 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

BTW you do know the old system you support was burning tax payer money faster?

seenbetrdayz August 21, 2013 at 11:43 am

Does it really matter if its the insurance company or the government burning money faster?

I don’t know how you think you’re gonna get around having to pay for other people’s care, John. Costs are gonna be spread around regardless. Everyone’s premiums will need to increase to cover those costs for the really sick. The only way around that is to try to charge more on people who have more involved conditions. —Which means insurance is still not going to be affordable for them, if anything it will increase costs.

Of course under this Act, those who cannot afford it can get gov’t subsidized insurance coverage which means . . . *drum roll please* you guess it! Costs are still spread around. Oh and they can’t just drop the soon-to-be-mandatory insurance either or the IRS will pay them a visit.

The government has been involved in healthcare for far too long, shielding insurance companies from competitors and limiting the construction of healthcare facilities based on what some bureaucrat in some cubicle thinks a community needs. . . So we need more government controls? Here we go again.

seenbetrdayz August 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm

An example of how costs will be spread even if everyone has insurance:

Young adult policies increasing costs to cover the elderly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u9Hp2Ta_fE

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisconover/2012/11/27/young-people-under-obamacare-cash-cow-for-older-workers/

John Konop August 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

You are confusing 2 different issues in all due respect….. I agree we need to execute the exchanges better……but it is fact that Obamacare is better than the current system fiscally …….and it is fact unless we reform more the system it will collapse…..

bgsmallz August 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm

John-

First, where in the world do you get that I am for the ‘old’ system?

Second, with all due respect, if the outcome isn’t ‘those who can pay get care and those who can’t do not’ then it is a form of ‘socialized’ medicine, right? The old system and the new system are both socialized medicine.

That’s what we have to get past as a society… this idea that we have a choice between ultimate individual liberty (Old way) and socialized medicine(Obamacare)…that’s a fake argument.

Seenbetterdayz…what’s your answer to emergency care if we don’t provide government controls? My guess is that you don’t have one. And having opened the door to the idea that ‘some’ laws that regulate the health industry are ok even in a free society, we can drop the ideological rhetoric and work on the line drawing problem…unless you believe ambulance drivers should ask ‘cash or credit’ before they pick up a patient.

seenbetrdayz August 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I think Obamacare was designed to fail from the start, it is at the very least temporary and not viable long-term. The laws and regulations already exist, as you state, for emergency treatment. If you held a gun to my head, and told me I’d have to support Obamacare corporatism, or blatant socialized medicine, I’d say bring on the socialism. At least maybe then we can’t keep pointing to the “free market” (which we don’t have) and blaming the free market for all our woes, as we ironically attempt move towards the very same social policies that bankrupted the USSR. But what we have in Obamacare is just more of a merger between insurance companies and the government which is just more of the same deals which led us to this point to begin with. So yeah, I’d take full blown socialism, over corporatism disguised as capitalism, any day of the week. But in no way would I expect that to last without an eventual collapse.

You guys are looking at the symptoms. Why is insurance so high? Could it be that the cost of what we’re trying to insure is high? Healthcare is expensive. Address the causes of what makes healthcare so expensive and you’ll address the cost of insurance for it.

But doing that involves (gasp, get ready for it), free market alternatives to what healthcare is today. One of the biggest obstacles to that is medicare. No one can compete with it, because who is going to risk a free market venture with their own upstart healthcare facility, which might fail, when they can just get in line and let medicare pay for their patients? So anyone who tries to open a private hospital is going to go out of business when expected to compete with the medicare hospital on the other side of town.

When someone’s health insurance bill increases 30%, that’s not “ideological rhetoric.” It’s an increase of hundreds of dollars.

We all agree that the current system is pretty f’d up. My problem is with people who like to point out that you have to have an alternative. No, not necessarily. You just have to not make things worse. I’d take that over anything at this point.

John Konop August 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

You both bring up many valid points……I do think that the exchanges could work better, if executed correctly……Obviously no easy answers, I am glad we are getting down to details, not just talking points……

bgsmallz August 22, 2013 at 11:14 am

Is there anyone that actually believes the best system is for employers to continue to provide health insurance as a benefit? Isn’t that something that we can all agree on? Whether you are single payer, free market, or in-between, there is no way that anyone can actually look at Obamacare or the ‘old system’ and say, “It is efficient to provide insurance through employers”, can they?

John Konop August 22, 2013 at 11:51 am

bgs,

I agree……this is a massive headache for companies…..If we change it overnight it could be an issue for workers with companies just pocketing the savings and not factoring into overall compensation like we do today….that would leave workers with even less money for healthcare….But on the other end the current system is doomed to fail, unless we make changes asap…..Also companies are paying less and less of a percentage of healthcare, but more in real dollars…..which means workers are paying more in real dollars as well….The biggest issue is healthcare cost is rising way faster than GDP for years….. That is why I have been so focused on the cost side…..If we do not get cost under control relative to GDP you cannot fix the problem……

benevolus August 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Several problems here with seenbetterdayz comment:

Obamacare was surely not designed to fail, however, it has been severely compromised in order to get something passed (and to satisfy the Supremes), but hey, that’s democracy.

“more of the same deals which led us to this point”- I don’t think so. The problem is that insurance companies selectively pick their customers, leaving huge swaths of the population out. But since we decided long ago that everyone gets the health CARE, now we are just getting around to making sure everyone gets the insurance to pay for it.

And it’s not like the government is creating a monopoly- we (it is OUR government after all) are trying to add MORE competitive pressure through the exchanges.

“the cost of what we’re trying to insure is high”- Shouldn’t be any higher than the rest of the industrialized world, who pay 30%-50% less than we do.

Medicare- so you are saying there isn’t a big enough market for patients if you exclude the elderly? I mean really, the health care field is probably among the strongest market sectors in the economy right now! There is nothing wrong with the health care provider industry, therefore Medicare is not being an impediment to it.

John Konop August 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Mike,

This took guts……..I thank you for being honest :)……we need more people like you!

Mike Hassinger August 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

John, I merely posted what Clint Murphy, a former front-pager here at PeachPundit, wrote about his experience. I do not have guts. (Although I do have a gut.)

Scott65 August 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

The republicans cant engage at this point. They have so demonized and lied about the law that there is no way back…in other words, they made their bed and now must lay in it.
As for you Joshua Morris…hope you dont ever get sick…cause Karmas a bytch

Harry August 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

There’s a lot of “can’t engage” going around
http://eaglerising.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bowers8-17.png

Dave Bearse August 20, 2013 at 1:21 am

“The current threat by extremes of the Republican Party to shut down the government or default on our debt as it relates to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) are so ridiculous and beyond reasonable thought that it defies logic.”

Ridiculousness and lack of reason is mainstream, not extreme, Georgia Republicanism.

The US, which has the only privatized health care system among first world countries, spends 1.5 to twice as much as others on health care, with less than average results. The US deficit would be of little concern if US per capita health care spending were comparable to other’s health care spending and the difference was applied to the deficit.

What GaGOP extremists, Republicans that don’t want to shutdown or default on debt, have to ask themselves is whether they adhere to the party’s pre-eminent principle of obstruction.

saltycracker August 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

Here’s another plug for a personal mandate, govt guidelines on coverage and public premium support, private insurers, private charity for the noncompliant and no public support for elective surgery – as in many abortions.

saltycracker August 21, 2013 at 8:14 am

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