More Discussion of the Obamacare Replacement, and iPhones

There are few things we can always count on as Americans, chief among them death, taxes, and Nancy Pelosi being a complete and total embarrassment to electoral democracy. Yesterday the one-time Speaker of the House tweeted out this gem: “The truth? ACA resulted from one of the most transparent drafting processes in recent memory.” This is laughably false on its face coming from the woman who literally said “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy,” which at best represents a spectacular ignorance of how the legislative process is supposed to work and at worst represents a deliberate attempt to subvert that process to achieve political victory. That stupefying statement is now trumped (pardon the pun) by her apparent decision to become a revisionist historian on the matter. She is an unprincipled hypocrite for this and many other reasons, and the sooner she rides off into the sunset never to return to our halls of government, the better.

Meanwhile in the Senate and on the opposite side of the aisle, the gutless wonder-turtle Mitch McConnell said he intends to bring the bill to the floor almost immediately should it pass the House, never mind that this more or less constitutes an attempt at ramming the bill through in much the same manner that Republicans once criticized Democrats for during the passage of Obamacare. This is also his plan in spite of the fact that 4 GOP senators from states where Medicaid was expanded have opposed the bill on the grounds that it will leave those people who are currently insured through that expansion up the proverbial creek without a paddle. And all of this might not matter because there’s a chance this won’t get through the House at all given the stringent Conservative objection to the bill as written. Markups are scheduled to begin today and we’ll know more about how this will all look (Worth Reading: Seven Groups That Could Complicate GOP Plans To Repeal Obamacare).

But of course in the interim, Jason Chaffetz had to go and say something stupid, namely that poor folks should choose between buying iPhones and spending money on healthcare. The point is well taken (that adults need to prioritize their spending habits like, well, adults), but it’s unrealistic when you consider how much the majority of healthcare costs and how little even the most expensive iPhone costs in comparison (as compiled by this publication for Veterans, Task and Purpose). This is the latest chapter in a long running and stupid GOP trope of poor people owning “luxury items” like refrigerators, microwaves, and coffeemakers all while having the gall to suck on the federal teat. Making this point is often self-defeating for a number of reasons, least among them the fact that demonizing people for owning microwaves and refrigerators makes it seem like totally lack empathy. There are legitimate things you can go after welfare recipients for pissing away large sums of money on (tobacco, drugs, lottery tickets) but just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you’re evil for spending your limited funds on a refrigerator, a microwave, or a smart phone. And at this point, you almost have to count a smart phone as an essential item for people to own, given that it’s a key avenue of internet access for those in lower income brackets, which can allow them to search for work, among other important functions (plus, they really aren’t very expensive at all anymore). Chaffetz bringing it up only distracts from the real principles that need to be debated on this bill.

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