I’ve Got a Secret and I Can’t Explain

Fear not, America. When the black-robed junta guts your insurance coverage at the behest of the right-wing rump of American politics, the Republicans have a plan:

Congressional Republican leaders say they have a fallback plan ready to go if the Supreme Court cripples a core component of Obamacare this month.

But the details of the plan are being kept secret.

“We’ll have a plan that makes sense for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday in a radio interview with The Joe Elliott Show.

“We’ll let you know depending on the outcome of the decision.”

But what’s in the plan?

“We’ll let you know depending on the outcome of the decision,” the Kentucky Republican said, referring to the case King v. Burwell, which is expected to be decided this month.

Bloomberg tried to get answers Tuesday from the senior Republicans who work on health policy. Their fallback plan might interest millions of Americans who stand to lose their insurance subsidies, as well as the insurance industry, which would likely lose many customers and be compelled raise premiums. Details to come, the planners say.

I imagine this is like the secret plan Donald Trump (aka Fuckface von Clownstick) has sequestered for future use. The Republicans are becoming increasingly shrill because they realize that they are going to get the blame for millions of people suddenly having no healthcare, and they are in a full-on panic:

The hearing got off to a fast start. The chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, skipped the usual pleasantries and jumped right into criticism of the health care law and the way it had been carried out by President Obama.

“Obamacare is just flat busted,” Mr. Ryan said. “It just doesn’t work, and no fix can change that fact. Its central principle is government control. That means higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality. The answer isn’t just to tighten a few screws. The answer is to repeal and replace this law with patient-centered reforms.”

After listening to Ms. Burwell for two hours on Wednesday, Mr. Ryan expressed frustration. Administration officials, he said, “refuse to entertain the notion that the health care law might be struck down,” and they have not developed a backup plan.

The senior Democrat on the committee, Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan, defended the law, telling Republicans: “What’s busted is not the Affordable Care Act, but your attacks on it, endless attacks. You never come up with single comprehensive alternative.”

Secretary of the HHS, Sylvia Burwell (a West Virginia native, btw), had the temerity to point out to the zombie-eyed granny starver that it isn’t up to the administration to craft a plan after Ryan and his cronies kill the current successful plan, and it will be on Congress to draft a fix and the red state governors to deal with the mess (since they haven’t set up exchanges). That’s what prompted this outburst from the so-called “policy wonk” of the right.

They are fucked, and they know it. It’s just a god damned shame they are going to hurt so many people in the process.






74 replies
  1. 1
    jl says:

    ” But the details of the plan are being kept secret. ”

    Sure sign they stole it from Trump, whatever it is.

  2. 2
    catclub says:

    so does anyone else wonder what Kevin Drum wondered? Which is: Is there a fix in and that is why no one bothers to say _If_ the ACA subsidies are struck down.

  3. 3

    It’s zombie-eyed granny starver. You need the soullessness.*

    *Assuming that’s a word.

  4. 4
    the Conster says:

    Ryan’s retort is like the kid who kills his parents, then wants sympathy for being an orphan. They are all fucking psychopaths.

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’m sure it’s bad for both my blood pressure and my immortal soul to hate these people as hard as I do.

  6. 6
    Cpl. Cam says:

    The republican plan, as always, is FYIGM. I don’t see why they’re trying to pretend it’s some big secret.

  7. 7
    Mike in NC says:

    Our reactionary Supreme Court should adopt as its new motto “Bend Over Here It Comes Again”. (BOHICA, a term I learned my first week in the Navy.)

  8. 8

    @catclub: I’m sure that for many people, the court taking the case in the first place didn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.

  9. 9
    fuckwit says:

    I really wish Richard Mayhew was around right about now. I’m sure he’d do a 2000-word thing that’d explain exactly what-all this means, what are the implications, what are the alternatives, what should be done, what can be done, and what can work around the clusterfuk when what does get done gets done…. and it’lll all make perfect sense.

    I’m starting to wonder if this gets struck down, it’ll force the holdout red states to finally set up their exchanges, since rates would go through the roof, and the govs of the few red states who did have their shit together AND let us not forget those insurance companies and their sweet, sweet, sweet rich Citizens United campaign donation budgets, will pressure them to do so, and they’ll give in at last.

    And that last thing, really, is the key. The business of America is business, money talks, bullshit walks, and Our Corporate Overlords call the shots, the politicians are merely entertainment. So if the insurance industry is in danger of taking a hit in the wallet, they’ll make damn sure they don’t.

    Indeed, a swipe against this by the SCOTUS could backfire against the wingnuts, big time. But in the short term at least a lot of vulnerable people would be hurt, and I’m hoping that does not happen.

  10. 10
    srv says:

    When you ram something down Congress’ throat, you shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t volunteer to swallow.

  11. 11
    Tommy says:

    Darn can’t find the story I read either today or yesterday. It was interviews with a few dozen people that live in a rural Alabama, hardcore Republican county (maybe Georgia — should have bookmarked it). They were all panicked that they might lose their subsidies depending on what the SCOTUS does, which they need to afford health insurance. And they are really, really happy with what they have now.

    It brought a tear to my eyes because this was just one county in hundreds if not thousands that must have residents that feel EXACTLY the same way.

  12. 12
    KG says:

    @jl: wasn’t Nixon the first one to campaign on a secret plan?

  13. 13
    madmommy says:

    What worries me is that if it is struck down, the GOP will implement the “get sick and die quickly” plan, blame Obama, the Wurlitzer will go into motion and the people who get screwed will buy it all, hook, line and sinker.

  14. 14
    PhoenixRising says:

    The 2015 map of each state’s biggest business, by revenue, is here:

    http://www.broadviewnet.com/bl.....-2015-map/

    UHC, Humana, Anthem, etc aren’t going to go down easy. The rubes in Congress will jump, and Blue Cross will tell them how high.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    @catclub: Yes. The fix is 5 republican jurors who dont give a shit about precedent, rule of law, or fucking millions of fellow Americans.

  16. 16
    PhoenixRising says:

    @KG: You’re thinking of our greatest President, Lincoln, who FIRST had a secret plan to end the war.

    Though of course ‘burn Richmond’ wasn’t as much of a secret as ‘bomb Cambodia’, so…

  17. 17
    Valdivia says:

    @efgoldman: It has in some states no? I thik Richard has reported on those who refused to at the beginning but have come around to it.

  18. 18
    fuckwit says:

    @Valdivia: My understanding is that it has worked, but slowly. Something like this would create a panicked sense of urgency. I expect it’ll happen quickly. Again,I really wish Richard Mayhew was around; he’d have a substantive analysis.

  19. 19
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole:

    It’s just a god damned shame they are going to hurt so many people in the process.

    I really don’t think anyone is going to get hurt from the decision, because I really don’t think SCOTUS will overturn the ACA. If that were going to happen, it would have happened last time around.

    We’ll probably see Roberts side with preserving the law, as he did last time, not because he cares about the people who will be hurt, but because he cares about the insurance company profits that will be hurt – the ACA has been quite profitable for many companies.

    We might also see Kennedy voting to preserve the ACA this time around, despite his previous vote against it, on the simple basis that the current suit is so laughably bogus that even he can’t justify defending it. I give him a 50/50 chance to go either way, which will leave us with either a 5-4 or 6-3 split in favor of the ACA.

    I’m not basing this on any naively optimistic view of the Supreme Court. I know the 5 GOP appointees are all utter partisan hacks. I just can’t see Roberts voting for a case that’s even more risible than the one he voted against last time the ACA was on the chopping block.

  20. 20
    Linnaeus says:

    One thing I’ve been wondering about is, if the Supreme Court does rule against the ACA, what does that mean for subsequent cases in which a petitioner will come to the Court with the same kind of literal statutory interpretation that the petitioners are doing here? Or will the Court pull a Bush v. Gore and say, “well, this only applies to this one case”?

  21. 21
    SarcoplasmicReticulum says:

    Hey I watched this episode of the West Wing too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3sj-TSbWjs

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JGabriel: One of the other things that could well lead Roberts to choose the legally correct side is that a decision the other way would make a mess of the federal court system for years to come as people sued over typos.* I think Roberts does have an eye on his legacy and breaking the federal court system is not a way to burnish it.

    *A statement saying that the decision is a one time only thing would not fly in this case (for reasons that would take paragraph after paragraph to fully explain, but mainly because this kind of situation comes up again and again).

  23. 23
    Valdivia says:

    @JGabriel: I am one of those who agrees with you on this.

    @Omnes Omnibus: so I have a legal question: there was some speculation earlier that not only would the Court rule for the plaintiffs but go further and invalidate *all* the subsidies. Given the narrow nature of the suit would this even be possible?/ Asking because my intuition that this is a very long shot scenario is not the same as actual knowledge.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    They are fucked,

    You have more faith in the American electorate than I. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. But it seems to me McConnell (and Thune) is doing the same thing he did in ’09: Bet on the broad public’s reaction to dysfunctional politics to be “Oh, those clowns in Washington, they’re all the same”

    The answer is to repeal and replace this law with patient-centered reforms.”

    B-14 in Republican Buzzword Bingo. If Marsha Blackburn croaked out tort reform, somebody would’ve won a six pack of Kleenex. Chris Hayes had Tim Carney– from I think the Free Beacon or some other C-list outlet– on last night, and was much too polite to his Pez-dispenser buzzword/talking point spewing. The closest Carney came to a plan is tax credits

  25. 25
    JGabriel says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    One of the other things that could well lead Roberts to choose the legally correct side is that a decision the other way would make a mess of the federal court system for years to come as people sued over typos.* I think Roberts does have an eye on his legacy and breaking the federal court system is not a way to burnish it.

    That too, probably. I just rely more on Roberts’ pro-business cynicism than his motives to preserve his legacy and/or keep the fed courts manageable.

    But there’s no reason not to believe that all of those factors could be equally in play.

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That a decision the other way would make a mess of the federal court system for years to come as people sued over typos.

    See you hit on something I have thought about a lot. The “typo” is in a bill the right would like to kill by offering up their first born if they could. They will do anything to try to gut it.

    But I am willing to bet there are many similar typos in hundreds if not thousands of bills. They were never taken to court because somewhat “sane” people knew they were a typo in a 1,000 page bill and the intent was clear.

    Does Robert’s want to set the legal precedent (and isn’t that the core of our legal system, precedent of a higher court) a basically typo lets me or somebody else challenge a large number of bills?

    The intent was clear.

  27. 27
    Keith P. says:

    The plan is “The Usual GOP Reform Plan” but this time while having both houses of Congress and daring the president to “veto a health plan”.

    EDIT: More specifically, the plan will be no individual mandate in exchange for allowing purchase of insurance across state lines and HSA vouchers.

  28. 28
    JGabriel says:

    @Valdivia:

    @Omnes Omnibus: so I have a legal question: there was some speculation earlier that not only would the Court rule for the plaintiffs but go further and invalidate *all* the subsidies. Given the narrow nature of the suit would this even be possible?

    I’m neither Omnes nor a lawyer, but I can throw in this tidbit: John Roberts went way beyond the scope of the case before him when he wrote the Citizens United decision, so, yes, it’s possible (I think) – but very, very, unlikely.

    Hopefully, Omnes (or one of the other lawyers here) will weigh in with a more authoritative response.

  29. 29
    JGabriel says:

    @Keith P.:

    More specifically, the plan will be no individual mandate in exchange for allowing purchase of insurance across state lines and HSA vouchers.

    That reads suspiciously like: The plan will be for the GOP to demand something Republicans want, in exchange for getting two more things Republicans want.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Valdivia: There are two ways of looking at this. First, courts generally try to resolve cases on the most narrow grounds possible. They are not supposed to resolve a case or controversy that is not squarely before them. Therefore, your reasoning down in the earlier thread that I decided to stay out or was correct. They should only decided the issue of subsidies in states that did not set up exchanges. Second, they are the Supreme Court. If they say fuck it, there isn’t anything to stop them.

  31. 31
    fuckwit says:

    @PhoenixRising: That map is awesome, and Humana being the biggest revenue corporation in Kynect Country is not surprising one little bit. Again, the business of America is business. No wonder the tehadists in KY couldn’t stop them from creating an exchange. That sweet, sweet campaign donation cash…. it must flow….

    One of the more interesting peices of chess-gaming that Obama has pulled in Obamacare is to put the Corporate Overlords on the same side as progressives. Here I am rooting for corporate corruption of the political process, because it’ll do good for the people.

    I wonder if Humana, Anthem, etc have filed any amicus’s on this? Or if they’ll just be quietly pulling strings behind the scenes?

  32. 32
    RepubAnon says:

    @efgoldman: Actually, it appeared on Wheel of Fortune recently:

    BL_M_ PR_S_D_NT _B_M_

    Care to buy a vowel?

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tommy: Tommy, there are typos in every statute, and stuff that contradicts other stuff. There are rules for how to resolve those issues. They point to a clear result in this case. If it goes the other way, it is pure spite.

  34. 34
    srv says:

    Women seeking abortions in Florida will be required to make two visits to a clinic, with a mandatory 24-hour waiting period in between, to end a pregnancy under a bill signed into law on Wednesday.

    Republican Governor Rick Scott signed the measure, passed this spring by the Republican-controlled state legislature, without comment.

    “This means women will be empowered to make fully informed decisions,” said Republican state Representative Jennifer Sullivan, who sponsored the legislation. “It’s just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision — especially for such an irreversible procedure as an abortion.”

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I hope that Yertle, the granny-starver, and the rest of these vindictive shitheads understand that there are still a lot of us who remember Tricky Dick’s “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam. A plan that took 4 years and the utterly needless deaths of another 50,000 American soldiers to finally, just in time for the ’72 election, be announced. Pretty much exactly what he could have had in ’69.

    Rethuglicans are scum. Period.

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Roberts wasn’t a part of Bush v. Gore.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman: In all fairness, Roberts was appointed by the guy who lost the election. The vile shit that was William Rhenquist is the guy who installed the deserting coward in the White House, along with four other “justices” who ignored their oaths of office and took a dump on the fucking Constitution.

  38. 38
    Punchy says:

    @Tommy: What makes all of you so confident that Roberts will offer a reasoned, cogent, and precedent-adhering vote to maintain the status quo? Legacy? Boulderdash. Yes, he saved ACA once, but he also gutted campaign limits and the VRA.

    My hunch it he’ll vote to bounce subs to non-compliant states with the “reasoning” that the legislative fix is “easy”. They’ll simply blame Congess when the fix doesnt materialize, claiming they had no idea Congress would vote down said patch.

  39. 39
    fuckwit says:

    @efgoldman: Hmm. Also, the same OCD Roberts who screwed up giving the Oath of Office to the President by attempting to correct a grammatical error in the fucking Constitution itself, on live television in front of tens of millions of people? Now I’m worried. Yes, this is the kind of asshole who would say typos matter and everyone who finds a typo in any law now has standing to sue to overturn it.

  40. 40

    @efgoldman: Roberts was appointed by the guy who lost the election. Consider your nit picked :)

    ETA: ninja’d

  41. 41
    Valdivia says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: So basically I am still clinging to the ‘not supposed to’, hoping they will do the right thing, but they could. And boy is that scary to me. It seems to be the kind of arbitrariness that rule of law is supposed to prevent/ haz a sad

    Thanks though for the answer. It was nagging me all day this question.

    @efgoldman: yes the Confederacy. Sigh.

    @JGabriel: I am hoping for the best (see above)

  42. 42
    JGabriel says:

    @efgoldman:

    One of the guys who agreed to review this bogus case before anyone asked them to, when it wasn’t necessary? That John Roberts?

    That’s just it: Roberts didn’t necessarily vote to hear this case. It only takes four SCOTUS justices to force a hearing – if I understand the procedures correctly – and given that the previous four votes against the ACA were from Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy, it’s likely they were the ones to vote for hearing this case. And from all the accounts that I’ve read of this hearing, Roberts opted to forego most of his usual questioning in favor of wearing a pained expression on his face instead.

    I agree with you on all of the previous instances you mention as being typical of Roberts’ overreach. I just don’t think he engaged in that overreach this time around, if only on the Occam’s Razor basis that his vote probably wasn’t necessary.

  43. 43
    fuckwit says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I remember a Robert Anton Wilson novel in which the names of the prominent anti-sex crusaders of the 1970s were used as slang terms for sexual organs and various sex acts. Reinquist meant “schlong”. There was a hilarious fake-pr0n passage in which two lovers were breathlessly dirty talking about their Brownmillers, Reinquists, Bryants, et all

  44. 44

    @Villago Delenda Est: er, the total american deaths for the whole thing were just shy of 60,000.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Valdivia: They won’t go beyond the case that was argued. I am very confident of that.

  46. 46
    Mary G says:

    Every time one of these clowns talks about their “plan,” I see Dean Wormer from “Animal House” talking about double-secret probation.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    JGabriel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I hope that Yertle, the granny-starver, and the rest of these vindictive shitheads understand that there are still a lot of us who remember Tricky Dick’s “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam. A plan that took 4 years and the utterly needless deaths of another 50,000 American soldiers to finally, just in time for the ’72 election, be announced. Pretty much exactly what he could have had in ’69.

    Exactly. It infuriates me every time I think of it – all that needless death, and treasonous behind-the-scenes GOP bargaining with a wartime enemy, in exchange for the same result 4 years later. Just tragic and appalling.

  49. 49
    Aleta says:

    There is no plan “in case.” There is no real worry that Rebublicans will get blamed. Enough of the justices deliver their votes exactly as instructed. It’s relaxing that way. Repubs wouldn’t talk about having a plan all ready to go if there were any chance they would have to deliver. Not this time around. Though if there is a way to prepare for botching the future, the justices will sprinkle that in. The occasional liberal wins on the court are needed to keep conservatives from losing too many votes.

    Whatever balance of power there might have been is not coming back. Sorry to be so depressed. Everything dies, and a lot of things are dying right now.

  50. 50
    Valdivia says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Whew. At least there is that.

  51. 51
    KG says:

    @PhoenixRising: in fairness, by 1865, “burn their city to the ground” had been basic military strategy for about 4000 years at that point.

  52. 52
    CaseyL says:

    Do the Justices as a whole already know what the decision will be?

    I ask because RBG, though she would never come right out and say anything, would also be walking around with steam coming out of her ears if she knew SCOTUS was about to strike down the subsidies.

  53. 53
    Pappenheimer says:

    To be fair (and not discuss what happened to Atlanta) the fires in Richmond appear to have been started by Confederate troops destroying war materiel, IIRC. Union troops were dispatched pretty quickly to try to get them under control (if only because it is hard to march through or run supply trains through a burning/burnt-out city, and the Army of Northern VA had to be pursued and beaten for the war to be REALLY over.)

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @CaseyL: The justices know. A vote is taken, and someone is assigned to write the majority opinion. If RBG deeply disagrees with the outcome, she might read her dissent from the bench instead of just letting it be distributed with the other opinions.

  55. 55
    Jerry Bailey says:

    “We have to pass it to know what’s in it…”

    Nancy Pelosi

  56. 56
    Jerry Bailey says:

    @Keith P.:

    That’s a reasonable start.

    End “mandated” pediatric dental care and pregnancy coverage for 50 yr old single males with no kids, And kill the “mandatory” mental health coverage. And also the no-cost preventative medicine BS- that’s NOT “insurance”- it’s “pre-paid medical care”.

  57. 57
    Xenos says:

    @Major Major Major Major: But how many deaths(American, at least) can be accurately and fairly (if not precisely) attributed to Nixon treasonously scuttling the peace talks and then expanding the war after being elected on the basis of wrapping it up quickly?

  58. 58
    jeannedalbret says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well, he did his best to help out:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07.....html?_r=0t:

  59. 59

    @Xenos: probably 500k to a million. But there’s just no way the last 5/6 of the american deaths (not casualties) happened after nixon was elected.

  60. 60
    Zinsky says:

    I’m guessing their solution has to do with bubbling vats of oil, eye of newt and ritualistic incantations.

  61. 61
    Zinsky says:

    @srv: that statement is so condescending, patriarchal and gratuitously shaming to women, it makes want to vomit!

  62. 62
    Sherparick says:

    The .01% elite is somewhat divided on question it appears. On one hand are the insurance, Pharma, and Hospital industries CEO’s and other C-suite executives who see blowing up the Affordable Care Act in half the country as seriously disrupting their respective gravy trains. On the other hand are the Hedge Fund billionaires, Carbon-spewing billionaires, and CEOs companies who love having the club of employer based health insurance over their employees who hate the Affordable Care Act with a passion, almost as much as the Tea Party Faux news watchers who think it all a big subsidy for “those people.”

    I also note that Ryan’s string of outright lies about the law are just amazing and just shows that with our current media there no amount of Derp that a Republican can spew that the MSM will call him on it.

  63. 63
    brantl says:

    Donald Trump (aka Fuckface von Clownstick)

    This needs to be a tagline. No doubt.

  64. 64
    Fred says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Roberts wasn’t part of Bush v Gore, he was it’s bastard love child.

  65. 65
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I hope Ms. Burwell pointed out to the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver that A) Obamacare is not busted, B) premiums are not increasing (i.e. prices are not “higher”) and C) that means he’s either a liar or too stupid to learn the facts.

  66. 66
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I guess I’ve got a secret plan is the new Republican magic asterisk for policy talking points. Yes, I have a solution to this problem but it’s a secret. You’ll find out all about it after I’m elected. Just trust me.

  67. 67
    Gavin says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    Paul Ryan’s never said anything that wasn’t As True As Wilford Brimley’s Diabetes, so why bother myself with the tedious process of verifying that words of whimsy square with, you know, actual fact?

  68. 68
    Bill says:

    When the black-robed junta guts your insurance coverage…

    Not going to happen. There’s a certain industry that’s not all that interested in the death spiral which would follow. Enough of the conservatives on the court will to bow to the corporate overlords to save the ACA.

    In this case the people’s interests are – luckily – aligned with the corporations.

  69. 69

    Nice OMD reference, Cole-train.

  70. 70
    Timmy says:

    Bullshit they are going to be blamed for this, when have the American people ever fucking blamed the Republican party for anything?

    They know if the court fucks over the American people they won’t be blamed, the President will, because the American people have extremely short attention spans, and are exceptionally stupid for the populace of a western industrialized nation.

  71. 71
    EthylEster says:

    They are fucked, and they know it. It’s just a god damned shame they are going to hurt so many people in the process.

    I’m not so certain the GOP is fucked by the Supremes being douchebags. I know there are lots of people around here that want that to be the case but unfortunately those people are completely irrelevant to the decision process.

    But it is unquestionable that the folks who lose insurance because of this are well and truly fucked.

  72. 72
    A guy says:

    Maybe reading the law before passing it would have provided an opportunity to limit its exposure. Only the dems to blame if the supremes rule agin them. But then again, it’s really only afforded coverage to less than 3 percent of the population. Subsidized by the rest of us. All this fuss for 3 percent?

  73. 73
    EthylEster says:

    @A guy: if you are one of the 3%, the fuss is tolerable.

  74. 74
    TriassicSands says:

    “We’ll have a plan that makes sense for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday…

    Let me guess…the plan is “hurry up and die” (if, by “the American people” McConnell means the non-one percenters).

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