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Bitchy’s Strategy For The GOP

Not surprisingly, my advice centers around health reform. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this strategy of promising to repeal is going to be a disaster for republicans.

Let me first qualify what I mean by “disaster”. Historically speaking, the party that wins the white house loses 27.8 seats in congress in the following midterm election. Republicans could pick up as many as 50 seats this time around. I believe that they’re going to pick up around 20 seats. While that’s enough seats to declare “victory” and claim a “mandate”, it would in actuality be a disaster because it keeps them well in the minority.

Republicans are fighting a losing battle if their strategy is to run on repealing health reform during this election cycle. During the course of the next seven months, everything that is good about this bill will have kicked in. Closing the medicare prescription donut hole ensures that republicans will have lost the senior vote, which is their largest voting block. Allowing parents to keep their college students on their insurance plans wipes out that voting block. Losing those two demographics leaves the republican party crippled.

There’s not much they can do about the 2010 elections, but they can salvage 2012. By 2012, some of the ugly realities of this “reform” will have surfaced.  Republicans should instead change their tone to promise to fix the problems with the bill, while predicting massive premium increases. We are definitely going to see massive premium increases over the next four years. In the past week, both the CEOs of Aetna and Cigna have already promised that they’re coming. This bill does absolutely nothing to keep premiums down. My guess, based on my experience with corporate premium increases, is that 2012 premiums are going to be 40% – 60% higher than they are today. I’m not trying to be doom and gloom Bitchy, but that’s what I believe is going to happen. If republicans focus in on the problems with the bill, they can clean up in the elections after those problems materialize.

I want to say up front that I don’t believe there’s a snow balls chance in hell that republicans are actually going to fix the cost control problems with this bill. The only means of controlling cost is to force the insurance companies to compete with medicare. Nothing short of that will do anything to chip away at exorbitant premiums. If democrats ran away from a public option with 68% of democrats and 54% of republicans supporting it, there’s zero chance that republicans will make it happen. There is absolutely NO way to bring down costs while still maintaining a for-profit health insurance system. Trust me I’ve looked closely at health insurance systems all around the world. It can’t be done.

I have no idea what republicans can do, within the constraints of what they have become, to fix the problem. But actual solutions are meaningless in terms of winning elections. Republicans haven’t actually solved any problems for our country in decades. This is a fact that inexplicably hasn’t stopped republicans from controlling our government for the majority of the past 100 years.

Getting elected in this country isn’t about what you’ve done. It’s about what you say you’re going to do.  If republicans say they’re going to repeal health reform, they’re done. If they point out real problems with this health reform bill, they have a good shot at gaining power again.

On the other side, democrats have until 2012 to get a public option through. They definitely won’t touch the issue before November. I’m not very optimistic that they’re going to move in the direction of a public option at all, but if they do, it won’t be before the midterm election. They backed themselves into a corner with this bill. While they significantly strengthened their position for the midterm election, they insured that 2012 is going to be an unmitigated disaster unless they can fix this bill.

In the meantime, we need to keep the pressure up to get a public option through. Not because I give a damned if democrats keep control of congress, but because we desperately need meaningful health insurance reform. We haven’t gotten it yet. We need to keep the pressure on democrats because we have no chance of getting it under republican control. Trust me, if I though there was a chance of getting something that would help the average American out of the republican party, I’d be out there campaigning for them day and night. Our only hope is to come out en masse to let the democrats know that they’re in big trouble unless they fix the bill. And because democrats are historically obtuse, we need to spell out what those fixes need to be for them.

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Tilting At Windmills

I don’t know why I’m shocked by this, but the GOP is inexplicably trying to double down on health insurance reform by promising to repeal it. They have become Don Quixote.

There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that they’re going to be able to touch this bill for a myriad of different reasons.

First off, they’re going to get hammered if they try to run against this in November. By then, all of those elderly, overweight protesters that demanded that the government “keeps their hands off my medicare” will have evaporated. Why? Because all of those people will have avoided the medicare prescription donut hole that they’ve been grappling with for several years now. Every senior in America will be opposed to any candidate that runs on repealing this bill. Parents of college students are also off the table since their kids will have been on their insurance plan for several months by the time November comes around. If losing all of those votes isn’t bad enough, republicans are going to have some issues with their pharmaceutical and insurance company contributors. Those industries will never allow the huge gift that is this bill to disappear. If you think that United Health Care is going to walk away from 32 million new customers, you’re out of your fucking mind. They’re really going to have to make some appalling deals with these companies that will undoubtedly screw Americans more than the current bill does.

Republicans will be getting it from all sides if they keep going down this road. They lost and they have nothing to gain by revisiting this loss in perpetuity over the next seven months.

And then there’s the ridiculous state attorneys general that are trying to sue, claiming this bill is unconstitutional. They may not be aware of this, but our current president is a former constitutional law professor. I can understand how they may have gotten used to having a dumb president that doesn’t know anything, but that’s not what they’re dealing with anymore. Thirteen states have already filed suits claiming this bill is unconstitutional. See the story here. Let’s examine this list closely.

Florida   $1.02
South Carolina   $1.38
Nebraska   $1.07
Utah   $1.14
Louisiana   $1.45
Alabama   $1.71
Pennsylvania   $1.06
Idaho   $1.28
South Dakota   $1.49
Colorado   $0.79
Michigan   $0.85
Texas   $0.94
Washington   $0.88

Those numbers I have next to each state represents how much money those states get back from the federal government for every dollar they contribute. Only four out of the thirteen are known as “donor states”, meaning that they pay more in federal taxes than they receive. The other nine states receive more federal funding than they contribute. Not coincidentally, the states that receive more federal dollars than they contribute are very poor states that will benefit most from the medicaid expansion in this bill. These attorneys general are willing to screw their own constituents for what they perceive to be political gain. These guys are going to get SLAUGHTERED in the next election if their democratic opponent spells out what they’re doing.

This strategy is a total disaster for the GOP. More importantly, it’s a disaster for the American people since republicans are obviously going to continue to play politics rather than to govern.

PLEASE, GOP stop tilting at windmills and start getting involved in the legislative process! America can’t be ruled by one party!

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