You’re working two jobs and have no health insurance, or are underinsured, or you worry about friends and family without coverage. Here’s some news for you: Republicans in charge of the House have an aggressive, multipart health care plan.
Trouble is, their plan won’t help you. It uses you. Heavy on politics and extra-light on policy, The New York Times reports on GOP efforts today:
“WASHINGTON — The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”
“The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.”
“The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law — through social media, letters from constituents, or meetings during visits back home — and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic.”
The story by Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg contains no mention of a unified GOP plan to help Americans secure affordable health insurance, because there is no such plan. After opposing President Obama’s legislation that borrowed free-market ideas from Republicans (he turned away liberals’ calls for a single-payer system), the GOP’s only serious solution to the nation’s health care crisis is defeating the Affordable Care Act. If you ask Republicans about their plan, they’ll point to a website of warmed-over ideas and refuse to acknowledge that Obamacare is, in fact, a GOP idea.
What party leaders failed to realize is that Obama might kill the ACA on his own with inept management and deceptive communications, a possibility raised by many observers before the Oct. 1 launch (including me here). Rather than get out of Obama’s path of self-destruction and focus energy on creating and promoting a positive, forward-looking health care agenda, the GOP has chosen to cement its reputation as the obstructionist party.
The New York Times story reveals the coming lines of attack: anecdotal illustrations of rate shock and people losing access to doctors. These are serious issues, and I could think of others. For one, how do you convince young Americans to buy health insurance when they’re already adrift economically? But because of the GOP’s narrow-minded focus on zero-sum-gain politics, only one party seems to be trying to help you. In a broader context, I wrote this week that Republicans are becoming “The Party of Zilch.” True or not, that’s the message their leaders are sending.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”