Below Contemptible

In my following of Connecticut politics, I have always viewed Chris Healy as, at best, an oddity. He provided color to an otherwise barren and uninteresting Republican bench. He seemed to be a member of the Michael Steele school of politics–believing that saying something patently absurd is a perfectly acceptable thing to do so long as you get the press for it. However, his post on health care today coupled his penchant for drivel with a gross overstepping of the boundries of good taste. After rehashing the same conservative strawman arguments on health care and throwing in several ad homenims for good measure, Healy had this to say about Dodd’s recent diagnosis:

And then there will be rationing – lots of it. It is not cruel to say that if Sen. Chris Dodd were enrolled in a Canadian or English plan, he would probably not survive his diagnosis. Treatment would be delayed. Sen. Dodd certainly would not be able to schedule his surgery on his time table under the single-payer plan.

There is so much fundamentally wrong with this paragraph that it’s difficult to know where to start. Let’s look beyond the disgusting shot at Senator Dodd. First and most basically, there is not a debate on a single-payer plan. Perhaps Healy should address the bill that’s actually being debated. Second, Dodd is receiving health care through a public plan–that is, the plan that is offered to federal employees. Third, under the plan being debated particularly, the wait for emergency and medical treatment will be unchanged due to the same necessity-based triage system that already exists. Indeed, over time these wait times may in fact decrease due to widespread implementation of preventative care.

Healy’s words are more than tawdry, they’re absolutely wrong. And they reveal something fundamentally bankrupt about the Republican party on this issue. It’s about time for players in the Republican party to get serious on health care reform. It’s an issue that matters to an ever-growing number of American, including myself. As someone who will have to find a way to secure coverage when I go off my parent’s plan while paying off probably close to $80,000 in undergraduate debt, it really raises my bile to see Republicans continue to joke about this issue like it were some pipe dream rather than an easily attainable reality that has already been achieved unanimously by the rest of the industrialized world.

There is little else of substance in the article to rebut. I would be interested to see, though, if Chris Healy is at all keen to revise his comments on Senator Dodd.

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51 responses to “Below Contemptible

  1. As someone who will have to find a way to secure coverage when I go off my parent’s plan while paying off probably close to $80,000 in undergraduate debt, it really raises my bile to see Republicans continue to joke about this issue like

    Your perspective on life may change once you are on your own and get off your parents plan. For now, maybe you should just work on cleaning up all of your debt instead of attacking Healy or the Republican party.

    Many of us who are on our own don’t want government run healthcare and appreciate Healy fighting for us. Someday, you may feel the same way.

  2. I’d expect nothing less more.

    Also adding to the class of Healy’s post is his approving link at the end of the post to a YouTube featuring a teabagger protest with a man holding both his young kid and a sign with Nazi “SS” lettering on his shoulders:

  3. Enough of the BS! You have PRIVATE INSURANCE RUN HEALTHCARE. You don’t run it, neither does your doctor. A profit making entity runs your healthcare and makes those vital decisions. They make profit denying coverage. This isn’t rocket science.

  4. Enough of the BS! You have PRIVATE INSURANCE RUN HEALTHCARE. You don’t run it, neither does your doctor. A profit making entity runs your healthcare and makes those vital decisions.

    Great, as long as it’s not Chris Dodd and Barney Franks…I’m happy.

  5. Really, how about the people who run the post office, you know that group that makes it possible for you to place a 44cent stamp on an envelope and then magically it appears half way across the nation with no questions asked making sure your bill is paid on time. How much you wanna guess that stamp would cost under a profit motive? And PS, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd would not be making those decisions under a public option, it is a nice bumper sticker though.

  6. Great, as long as it’s not Chris Dodd and Barney Franks…I’m happy.

    Be snide, but get your facts right — it’s Barney FRANK.

    This post is right. Chris Healy is an offensive sideshow. He’s exhibit A in why most New Englanders find the Republican party offensive and alien.

    I’m tired of hearing how a public plan is socialist. Is the Post Office socialist? Are federal student loans socialist? Are public schools socialist? All compete with private options, and no one’s alleging they’re somehow a threat to capitalism.

  7. Below Contemptible

    Boy I’ll say!

    But it’s you, not Chairman Healy.

    Every word he wrote is true so if that’s a problem for you – get a grip.

    Get a mortgage, buy a lawn mower, fight crabgrass, pay an orthodontist (want to talk about greed?)

    Visit the UK, rent a car so you can get far enough out to meet brits (they’re just “OK”) or better yet, Scots in little pubs that don’t get tourists but instead are frequented by blue collar labor.
    Then ask them about their national health care.

    You’ll be shocked!
    Shocked
    I say!

    Well – you’ll be surprised at least.

    My travel companion, formerly a health-care reform proponent, did a 180 after meeting the victims of a bankrupt dysfunctional health-care system.

  8. Oh please kiddo, Healy just put out there what EVERYONE has been thinking. The irony of this unfortunate situation for Mr. Dodd is simply incredible.

    Plus, this is what party chairmen are for, be they on the state or local level. They dish the dirt so the candidates can stay above the fray, yet the message still gets out.

    You have MUCH to learn.

  9. Yeah,…Chairman Healy managed not to lay anyone off! Even though that crew managed to lose tons of elections, he kept them on in this economy not taking into consideration quality performance (socialist much Healy!)…..and ACR’s anecdotal evidence is way,..way stronger than any other evidence you might find written by actual professionals in the field.
    http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

  10. OK, everybody, let’s calm down. The fact is, in Britain and Canada, at least, there IS rationing. I believe that was Mr. Healy’s point ( and he is not an acquaintance of mine — I do not know him). So in late-in-life situations, sometimes patients die before they are able to access the type of care they require. Enough said about that.

    But the idea that Republicans are holding back a public-single-payer plan is absurd. It is Blue Dog Dems in the House and Independents across the nation that have rebelled against the various House and Senate plans, and these plans now have less than 50% approval across the board. So Heath, I luv ya, but don’t blame the Republicans. If the Dems in DC want it, they can have single-payer tomorrow. The problem is, many of them and the indys they need DON’T! So stop blaming the minority and get on the phone and get Himes et al to vote single payer. And as in 1994, watch the minority drift away.

  11. Vincent, agreed on the blue dogs. Personally, w/o public option I hope the whole thing goes down in flames. Public option is the only way to provide some sort of cost control. Health reform without it will be ridiculously expensive.

    That said, rationing (semantics) happens here at home all the time….more so than under plans used by industrialized western civilizations. Private Insurance makes money is when they deny coverage. That is market driven rationing and it happens and has been happening a lot and is already responsible for many deaths in our country.

    Look, fine if what people don’t like is the Dems proposal then throw something else on the table. Anything that will make a substantial difference. So far it’s been nothing, status quo.

  12. Really, how about the people who run the post office, you know that group that makes it possible for you to place a 44cent stamp on an envelope and then magically it appears half way across the nation with no questions asked making sure your bill is paid on time. How much you wanna guess that stamp would cost under a profit motive? And PS, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd would not be making those decisions under a public option, it is a nice bumper sticker though.

    If you look at services which the post office does compete against, like FedEx, private enterprise did in fact compete. If the post office would allow competition, you might find that private enterprise could do it cheaper.

    However, there is one significant advantage that the USPS has over potential private companies: property tax. The post office doesn’t pay property taxes on the thousands of locations it owns. A private company would have to.

    However, Post Offices are actually one of the things that is explicity allowed to be government run in the constitution…

  13. Enough of the BS! You have PRIVATE INSURANCE RUN HEALTHCARE. You don’t run it, neither does your doctor. A profit making entity runs your healthcare and makes those vital decisions. They make profit denying coverage. This isn’t rocket science.

    With a government run healthcare system, you don’t have the ability to choose another provider. With a private company, you can choose another company.

    The fact is that government run healthcare systems to employ rationing.

  14. Pufnstuf: You are correct that some don’t want government-run health care. That’s why all bills discussed simply involve a public option and maintain all private options. You suffer from the same problem that Healy does in that you are arguing against a bill that doesn’t exist.

    ACR: If your comment was a beat poem, then it was sublime. If it was meant to be a substantial counterpoint, forgive me if I find it a bit lacking.

    Hank Morgan: Thanks for your condescension and lack of substance.

    Vincent: You’re correct to an extent that there are some delays in countries like Britain and Canada, but it is entirely for elective surgery. Nobody who a doctor decides needs life-saving treatment is denied it in a country with universal healthcare. This is quite the opposite in our country, where if you can’t afford coverage you’re completely out of luck. These people end up in the emergency room, driving up premiums and lengthening lines for the rest of us.

    You’re also right on the legislative side. Blue Dogs are completely holding the process up nationally. You’re mistaken to think that I believe that an immediate switch to a single payer system is the best idea. I’m simply constantly frustrated that a large element of the political spectrum refuses to treat this as a solvable policy issue and instead treats it as some trumped up clash of the ideological titans.

  15. I agree gmr, that private could and can compete…..that’s the crux here, they can compete.

    However, if you dismantled the post office and made all delivery private there would be no chance in hell of a stamp in 2009 costing 44 cents.

  16. Really, how about the people who run the post office….

    Yeah, how about those folks?

    The Postal Service has been struggling with a sharp decline in mail volume as people and businesses switch to e-mail both for personal contact and bill paying. The agency is facing a nearly $7 billion potential loss this fiscal year despite a 2-cent increase in the price of stamps in May, cuts in staff and removal of collection boxes.

  17. The Postal Service has been struggling with a sharp decline in mail volume as people and businesses switch to e-mail both for personal contact and bill paying. The agency is facing a nearly $7 billion potential loss this fiscal year despite a 2-cent increase in the price of stamps in May, cuts in staff and removal of collection boxes.

    Right so all we need is health care to be provided electronically completely free of charge and we’ll be all set.

  18. With a government run healthcare system, you don’t have the ability to choose another provider. With a private company, you can choose another company.

    The fact is that government run healthcare systems to employ rationing.

    Under the system being discussed plus in all other industrialized nations you can still put a little private icing on top of your public coverage if you so choose. Trust me…if a public option was implemented private carriers would sprout up like crabgrass to play on the fear being disseminated to the public to say …”Hey, you don’t want to die b/c Dodd and Barney Frank(s) say so right? So pay us an extra x$ a month for added private coverage.” That will happen.

  19. ACR: If your comment was a beat poem, then it was sublime. If it was meant to be a substantial counterpoint, forgive me if I find it a bit lacking.

    Send your shirt back to the cleaners and have it unstuffed; you’re coming across like a too-typical collegiate pseudo intellectual.
    The campus’ were crawling with them during the VietNam era.

  20. OK, everybody, let’s calm down. The fact is, in Britain and Canada, at least, there IS rationing. I believe that was Mr. Healy’s point ( and he is not an acquaintance of mine — I do not know him).

    Whether that was his point or not (and since he is not an acquaintance of yours, I doubt you have the ability to read his mind), and whether that is true or not (and the implication that there isn’t “rationing” in the US right now is laughable), that is certainly not what he said.

    What he said was:

    “And then there will be rationing – lots of it. It is not cruel to say that if Sen. Chris Dodd were enrolled in a Canadian or English plan, he would probably not survive his diagnosis.

    And what he said was not just cruel and offensive and cause for an apology and retraction, but also really, really false.

  21. Send your shirt back to the cleaners and have it unstuffed; you’re coming across like a too-typical collegiate pseudo intellectual.
    The campus’ were crawling with them during the VietNam era.

    I’d be the first to admit that my intellect tends towards the “pseudo” end of the spectrum. The fact remains though that you dismissed my whole post by saying that what Chris Healy said was, in fact, true without anything further more than anecdote.

  22. Send your shirt back to the cleaners and have it unstuffed; you’re coming across like a too-typical collegiate pseudo intellectual.
    The campus’ were crawling with them during the VietNam era.

    seriously, this guys anecdotal evidence is more powerful than anything your librul democrap professor might tell you. Listen up, learn something. Preach on king of “this guy I know says”

  23. However, if you dismantled the post office and made all delivery private there would be no chance in hell of a stamp in 2009 costing 44 cents.

    How do you know this? Government is almost never as efficient as the private sector. There are only a couple of circumstances when the government is more efficient.

    1) When the government run entity gets either a direct or implied subsidy. In the post office case, this issue is property taxes. But this just means that there’s someone else subsidizing the post office: the other businesses and residents in each town that own property who have to pay more property taxes.

    2) When there’s really a need for a “natural” monopoly, but this could also be achieved with a regulated industry. Delivery of electricity, phone line service, etc. qualify. Many other countries have privatized their post offices, including Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.

    If the government could normally run things more efficiently than the private sector, they’d own a lot more businesses. The fact is, government does a lousy job running businesses.

  24. If the government could normally run things more efficiently than the private sector, they’d own a lot more businesses. The fact is, government does a lousy job running businesses.

    You’ve failed to explain Medicare. If it were in fact a simple issue of competitive advantage, then there would be absolutely no harm, other than the initial public investment, in allowing a public option to compete with private options.

  25. How do you know this? Government is almost never as efficient as the private sector. There are only a couple of circumstances when the government is more efficient.

    How do explain the fact that costs of medicare and medicaid are rising slightly below private coverage? Private coverage (majority of it) is for young healthy people with no pre-existing conditions who just pony up $ once a month just in case. Medicare and Medicaid treat the elderly with prexisting conditions who use the shit out of the system and are in and out of doctors offices constantly, yet both have had their costs rise at similar rates? How does that make any sense?

  26. Under the system being discussed plus in all other industrialized nations you can still put a little private icing on top of your public coverage if you so choose.

    In teh UK, this is largely true: you can go to the public system, or you can choose a private clinic. In Canada, private clinics cannot go outside the government system:

    http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=16141a15-58d5-4e05-a1d2-78eaaeae207a&k=29315

  27. In teh UK, this is largely true: you can go to the public system, or you can choose a private clinic. In Canada, private clinics cannot go outside the government system:

    We aren’t Canada, and like I said, as long as Glenn Beck has a TV show to scare the crap out of everyone, private insurance will be all over that fear and no way is gov’t going to stop it.

  28. You’ve failed to explain Medicare. If it were in fact a simple issue of competitive advantage, then there would be absolutely no harm, other than the initial public investment, in allowing a public option to compete with private options.

    So the puiblic system is never going to need an annual subsidy?

  29. So the puiblic system is never going to need an annual subsidy?

    Yes…and that public subsidy keeps costs down….like your gasoline which should cost about 7$ a gallon, but because of our socialist govt, costs just under 3 bucks.

  30. .. without anything further more than anecdote.

    Ever hear of an American going through this?

    See this kind of story regarding US Hospitals?

  31. How do explain the fact that costs of medicare and medicaid are rising slightly below private coverage? Private coverage (majority of it) is for young healthy people with no pre-existing conditions who just pony up $ once a month just in case. Medicare and Medicaid treat the elderly with prexisting conditions who use the shit out of the system and are in and out of doctors offices constantly, yet both have had their costs rise at similar rates? How does that make any sense?

    Why are you comparing the growth rates in costs of two different markets (as you admit)?

  32. Why are you comparing the growth rates in costs of two different markets (as you admit)?

    Both provide the same service – healthcare. Why does insuring healthy young adults cost as much (if not more according to some studies) as insuring eledrly with pre-existing conditions?

  33. Yeah,…Chairman Healy managed not to lay anyone off! Even though that crew managed to lose tons of elections,

    Quite the ignorant remark.

    Exactly how badly do you wish to expose yourself as a complete political neophyte?

    Just WHAT do you think political state central committees do?
    Field 187 candidates plus the constitutional officers and federal candidates as well?

  34. Rationing

    Given the rationing that I’ve seen private insurance institute in denied service, I am more than willing to take a gamble that I would experience less rationing with a public option than I would with a private option.

    Choice

    With a government run healthcare system, you don’t have the ability to choose another provider. With a private company, you can choose another company.

    In countries that do provide citizens a public option, citizens can still choose private insurance. The fact is that providing by providing a public option, Americans are given more choices than they would get if they are prohibited from choosing a public option.

    Personally, I find it offensive that insurance companies are using the money we pay in premiums to lobby against giving Americans choice.

  35. Just WHAT do you think political state central committees do?

    create a framework to win elections with (voter files, fundraise, scout for candidates, interview and scout direct mail vendors, create the party message in Healy’s case, etc..) But you are correct, they are not responsible for ultimate wins or losses. That is the candidates job. I stand corrected. He has though presided over more concession speeches than victory speeches.

  36. He has though presided over more concession speeches than victory speeches.

    And Republicans will probably always lose in CT because Republicans
    won’ t promise to give non working people and baby machines all the money they need to suck off the system. Congratulations, you party wins but your state is going to hell!

  37. Last election that was one of the better slogans our party had “We’ll give homeless people and ‘baby machines (classy) all the money they need”

    Here’s the thing you guys need to realize. Ditch the clowns clamoring on about whose imaginary friend who lives in the clouds is better and you guys might start winning elections. Tell the Family Institute to go screw and you might find some votes with people who support small business, low taxes and love gay weddings, guns and porn.

  38. Compare Connecticut in 2008 to 1984 and see which party took the bigger hit; then compare Connecticut to other New England states in 2008 where we enjoyed some outright wins *not* in open seats either.

    Considering that the Democrats built a bigger and in many instances *unlikely* coalition. (UAW & moveon.org ??)
    Somehow managed to keep them knit together all the way to election day; to their credit.
    *AND* mopped the floor with the GOP from coast to coast; do you honestly labor under the delusion that anything Healy or any other CT Republican could have done would have made any difference?

  39. Hank Morgan: Thanks for your condescension and lack of substance.

    If you can’t take the heat for posting your opinion on this site kid, do us all a favor and resign now.

  40. I have not yet heard, and would still be interested in hearing, an argument against the proposal the President has supported, which is to say a bill inclusive of a public option that maintains private options. I am not arguing for a single payer system, I am not arguing for Canada or for Britain.

    Let’s make this a real debate. Address the following resolution please:

    Resolved, opposing a health care bill that includes a public option and maintains private options is anti-competitive.

  41. If you can’t take the heat for posting your opinion on this site kid, do us all a favor and resign now.

    Umm, I don’t think he was thanking you in advance.

  42. If you can’t take the heat for posting your opinion on this site kid, do us all a favor and resign now.

    He can’t be much younger than Heath and Heath’s taken all sorts of guff from the left…….maybe they can dish it out but……

  43. Here’s the thing you guys need to realize. Ditch the clowns clamoring on about whose imaginary friend who lives in the clouds

    Attacking religion is not only pathetic, but an affront to the nations Founders *all* of whom gave others a wide berth as it applied to the closely held beliefs of others.
    Were that not true, Maryland wouldn’t have been among the original 13 states.

    I’ll be attending an atheist Gay wedding this month, (long story and it’s not going to be in here, ever) and have even had a part in writing part of the ceremony.
    Neither of the two participants wished to offend others and to their credit they both went out of their way to frame their ceremony ambiguously enough not to.

  44. ACR, that’s great, but it, like most of your stories are anecdotal. If in the larger scheme of things, you support the Family Institute and their platform that affects people you don’t know then…….well I don’t want to get into at a personal level, but let’s just say it’s not anecdotal, is real life and lots of lives of people you don’t know are affected. Sorry to detour off of healthcare. Reform with public option (cost control) = yes. Reform w/o it = No.

  45. … support the Family Institute and their platform that affects people you don’t know then……

    Do think the average union guy agrees with moveon.org???
    Supports gun control?

    Not a chance, yet the Democrats wove together a coalition that included both.

    Yet if I agree with Peter Wolfgang about anything, I’m suspect?

    Nonsense.

  46. Resolved, opposing a health care bill that includes a public option and maintains private options is anti-competitive.

    Your “resolution” is fatally flawed on his face. The problem is that Obama’s plan doesn’t maintain private options. In fact, it both expressly and implicitly will take them away. First, Obama himself has said that he will consider taxing employer-provided health benefits in order to improve health care! (He couldn’t have come up with a stupider plan if he put Robert Gibbs in charge of the project.) Do you really think employers will simply take this tax on the chin, and not cut jobs and/or reduce coverage to their employees? (Please say no.)

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/06/02/obama_health_overhaul_necessar.html

    (Not to mention that his plan will kill charitable giving in this country — and that’s only slightly off-topic.)

    Next, the availability of the public “option” will cause millions of people to dump their perfectly good health care in favor of the public “option,” which will be utterly overwhelmed by the influx of new “clients.” This is precisely what happened in Hawaii:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/17/health/main4527996.shtml

    By the way, according to a Time magazine poll, 86% of Americans are either “very” or “somewhat” pleased with their health care plan. There is, literally, no need to throw out the baby with the bath water when figuring out how to provide coverage to people who can’t afford it — but that’s precisely what Obama wants to do.

    Remember when everyone thought this guy was smart?

  47. Umm, I don’t think he was thanking you in advance.

    Thanks for another useless post pparty.

  48. So Heath, I luv ya, but don’t blame the Republicans. If the Dems in DC want it, they can have single-payer tomorrow.

    Who are you talking to Vincent? Heath didn’t write the original post and did not comment before you.

  49. Dear Hank:

    Sorry, my bad, I thought the author was Heath, not ATalbot. My comment sticks, no matter who wrote the piece. Healy’s comment was in poor taste, no question, but I have heard enough anecdotal evidence of rationing to put me off the single-payer concept forever, and many Americans share this and other reservations about a public plan. So whether Healy makes nice or not, I still think the polls will continue to show an evaporation of Dodd’s public-payer option.

  50. Dodd is receiving health care through a public plan–that is, the plan that is offered to federal employees.

    The program is outlined here: http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/

    But I’m not sure this really fits the characterization of a ‘public plan’ it’s a collection of private health insurance options available to employees from their employer. The employer may be the US Government in this case, but they don’t appear to be acting much differently than a private employer would.

  51. I understand and appreciate the nuance of the healthcare debate and the various angles people employ to offer solutions.

    But can we all just agree that currently, a.) private health insurance companies run your healthcare, not you or your doctor and b.) they make profits by denying coverage. The more coverage they deny, the more profit they make.

    This is the sad reality of the current system.

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