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Friday, October 21, 2016

An act of Twitter trolling by a Republican senator has just gone a long way to highlighting the GOP disingenuousness — and the internal divisions — when it comes to the latest key litigation against the Affordable Care Act.

Senator John Thune (R-SD) posted this Monday on Twitter:

However, Thune’s particular critique here really ought to be carefully examined.

Because, of course, the subsidies for people gaining their insurance through federal exchanges are only in danger in the first place thanks to the King v. Burwell case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been pursued by conservatives in an effort to wreck the health care law and cut off access to insurance for lower-income people. The King plaintiffs are seeking a ruling that subsidies can only be available in state-run exchanges, not the federal ones.

Furthermore, the federal exchanges now at risk only exist because GOP-led states have refused to set up the exchanges themselves, with the federally run exchanges created as a fallback option in the law.

Therefore, Thune seems to be declaring that Obamacare “is bad for the American people” because of the dangers now hanging over said people, caused by the right-wing litigation trying to shut down the law.

Later in the day, Tea Party-aligned congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) tweeted out a reply — castigating Thune for even bemoaning the possibility that people might lose subsidies.  

Photo: Senator John Thune (R-SD), official portrait.

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  • Lynda Groom

    Orwell must be spinning like a top this evening. Up is down, left is right and republicans attempts at taking away health care from millions is Obama’s fault. We are witness to some very strange times indeed.

    • TZToronto

      The GOP have finally figured out that maybe “the people” aren’t as dumb as the GOP think they are. Oh, some who may lose their subsidies will blame President Obama, but a lot more will know whom to point the finger at (and it won’t be the index finger). “Why doesn’t my (red) state have an exchange? I have to buy health insurance, but I can’t afford it, and now I’m going to be penalized because I don’t have it.” I can see a bunch of red states turning blue in the not-too-distant future, and once that happens the Congressional and health-care landscape will change drastically. Republicans know it, and they’re very afraid.

  • Insinnergy

    I thought their evangelical side just made them stupid, and prone to trusting random, often conflicting, pronouncements by men in positions of power…
    But apparently it also stops them from thinking logically in any way at all.

  • charleo1

    If Sen. Thune had posted 6 million children are in danger of losing their school lunch subsidies. And yet, @ POTUS continues to deny the free lunch program for poor and under privileged students is bad for the American people? Or, if 35 million Seniors were in danger of losing their Medicare? How would the American people, especially those who depend on the heavily subsidized program feel about that statement?

  • pm1

    He is appealing to ‘values voter’ republicans. If only they would value thinking.

    • stcroixcarp

      How about this tweet. 6 million unborn babies could lose their healthcare?

      • TZToronto

        Nice try, but it’s only in the womb that the GOP care about health care. Once the kid’s out, he’s on his own!

        • Independent1

          Problem is, they may pretend to care about babies in the womb, but 13 of the 15 states with the worst infant mortality rates – where babies die during birth or by their 1st birthday – are GOP governed states.

          • TZToronto

            You’re right, of course, but as I said, once the kid’s out of the womb (e.g. in the birth canal), he’s on his own.

          • Independent1

            I sure don’t disagree with that. My point was that Republican legislators really don’t a care about abortion. That’s even a lie. They’re just pandering to the fake Christians t hat support their party. If they really were ‘pro-life’ and cared about abortions.

            They wouldn’t constantly be cutting SNAP funding which many poor pregnant women need in order to eat right while pregnant.
            And they wouldn’t be refusing to extend Medicaid which women who are poor and pregnant need to monitor their pregnancies correctly. And they wouldn’t be passing right-to-work laws that allow employers to pay their people poverty-level wages…and on and on.

            The GOP claiming they care a bout fetuses is nothing but one more GOP Scam and Outright blatantly lying. The GOP isn’t ‘pro-life’ – is pro-the-rich and to hell whether or not the poor ever live.

          • TZToronto

            You’re right again! When you look at each of these points, the common denominator is money. In order to pay for the things you mention, taxes would have to be raised or employers would have to pay their employees more. Expanding Medicaid is the one that really boggles the mind. For the first couple of years, the federal government covers the expansion 100%. Even after that, the federal government covers almost the whole cost. So why wouldn’t states sign on to this and make their populations healthier? We know that there are at least three reasons. (1) Poor people won’t work if they get a “handout” (so they can be healthy enough to work). (2) Anything that makes President Obama look good must be opposed, no matter what. (3) This costs money, regardless of who’s paying, and the right wants to pay for nothing that helps anyone but themselves. (They don’t want health insurance for all because they don’t want their premiums to pay for anyone else’s care. Of course, what they won’t say is that in many cases their premiums already go to pay for other people’s care. They don’t want to be forced to buy health insurance for just this reason, but many already have health insurance through their employers, and their premiums pay for the health care others receive. I’m sure they’re opposed to care that the indigent receive at emergency rooms that is paid for from the public purse. They’d prefer to let these people die on the street and reduce the surplus population. When they watch A Christmas Carol, they cheer for Scrooge and Marley!)

      • Independent1

        Interesting you should mention babies – 13 of the 15 states with the highest infant mortality rates, are you guessed it – GOP governed states. Should the SCOTUS’ decision effectively sabotage Obamacare, even that already dismal showing by red states, could even get worse.

  • Jeff Bottaro

    SIX MILLON. Sounds like HTLER lamenting the treatment of Jews.

  • Elarenal

    This senator should be in line for the “FoxBot of the Year” award. He cannot even see his own contradictions or would even care about them if he could. A perfect specimen. Wonder what is keeping him from jumping on the clown bus and running for president? Maybe he just needs the Kochs to press his Run Dummy Run button??

    • TZToronto

      This reminds me of the child who murders his parents and then asks for mercy from the court because he’s an orphan.

      • Elarenal

        Very apt analogy. And acting to deprive people of needed medical care can be construed as be an accessory to injury and even murder.

  • Elarenal

    One question. Do you pronounce his name Tune like in Looney Thunes?

  • underledge

    Let these troll senators give up their special medical treatment and retirement benefits than only they receive.

  • Dominick Vila

    It takes nerve to blame the effectiveness of a Federal government program, after six years of relentless attacks and using every tactic available to destroy, when the impact of an adverse decision by the Supreme Court finally sinks in what passes for gray mass in the heads of so many Republicans.
    The blame game takes epic proportions when we consider the way the GOP supports subsidies to wealthy farmers and corporations, their determination to preserve tax loopholes for the wealthy, their indifference to the financial schism that exists between the top 1% and the rest of Americans, their refusal to declare the use of foreign tax havens to avoid paying Uncle Sam their fair share of taxes, and their obstructionism to anything that may result in more job creation, such as investment in infrastructure; free college or trade school education, and anything else that helps the middle class, the poor, and by default the United States.
    The future of Obamacare is not in question because the program is a failure, it is in question because of the refusal by the so called “conservatives” to support and help pay for anything that helps mainstream Americans instead of just the elite.

    • Independent1

      If you haven’t seen it as yet, you might find this article somewhat amusing from ThinkProgress.

      It’s titled:

      Senator Unveils New Obamacare Attack, Immediately Becomes A Laughingstock

      In addition to highlight a few twitter criticism of Thune, the last paragraph points out something that is characteristic of today’s Republican legislators; they seem to love to push for legislation that they know full well will end up killing people – For example: Bills that cut SNAP spending; Bills that cut funding for Medicare and Medicaid; Bills that attempt to voucher programs like Social Security and Medicaid; and constantly trying to defund Obamacare; and even this idiocy that the Supreme Court has misguidedly taken up.

      Here’s the closing paragraph in the ThinkProgress article:

      Should the King plaintiffs prevail, it should be noted, the consequences will go far beyond the mockery Thune experienced. An estimated 9,800 Americans will die every year who otherwise would have lived if the Republican-appointed justices do what so many of Thune’s fellow Republicans have asked them to do.

      The GOP has become nothing less than THE PARTY OF PREMATURE DEATH!!!

      • Dominick Vila

        Thank you for sharing. No wonder the first thing that came to Sarah’s little brain was death panels!

        • Independent1

          Most Republicans apparently don’t seem to know or care that people in GOP-governed states live 2-5 year shorter lives on average than people in Democrat run states. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is and have come up with some assumptions.

          Part of it has to do with the short life expectancies in several deep south states like Mississippi and Alabama where people are only projected to live to 74 plus years probably because they still insist on eating too many fried foods along with all the other things Republican legislators do to shorten their lives like: generally cutting budgets so tightly that they provide the worst police and fire protection in the nation.

          And in general, red states have the worst healthcare delivery services in the nation, with Texas having the worst. And then, of course because supposedly of budget concerns, at least 21 of them won’t extend Medicaid benefits to the poor; And they have lax gun control laws which means that all 10 of the states with the highest gun-related homicide/suicide rates are red states. And even during childbirth, red states on average have the highest death rates of women dying in child birth, and even in infants dying during birth or by their 1st birthday.

          And GOP legislators penchant for cutting regulations also results in red states leading the nation in industrial accidents like fertilizer plants blowing up, and somewhat surprisingly red states by far lead the nation in auto accident fatalities. My only sense here is, that lax driving regulations (letting people drive maybe who shouldn’t be), setting excessive speed limits on highways, and reduced surveillance due to less than adequate police forces, has allowed drivers in red state to drive more recklessly because these statistics on highway fatalities in red states is appalling:

          State/Fatalities per 100,000 population – 2013

          ——-NATIONAL AVERAGE 10.3

          And note that at least 24 of the states with highway accident fatalities above the national average had GOP governance for around 4 years prior to these statistics being compiled. And even Wisconsin is just below the “national average” only because the appalling results of a number of red states with double the average pulled the average higher than it otherwise should be.

    • Elarenal

      All in all, your comments are a very good definition of American Fascism at its worst. Essentially if you just oppose everything the Republicans stand for, you automatically are close to being a good Christian. Strange isn’t it?

  • winnona

    GOP shows once again that GOP = Gathering Of Psychos…IJS

  • highpckts

    Their “logic” never ceases to amaze me!!

  • CrankyToo

    Let me say, with as much sensitivity as I can muster, that Senator Thune is a low-life, dirtbag, scum-sucking POS. Which, of course, qualifies him to be a member of the much-despised Repugnican Congressional caucus.

  • jwtm

    Making exchanges mandatory was an incredibly stupid part of the ACA in the first place. Buying through an exchange is irrelevant and should be unnecessary. Buy a qualified plan, however you do it, and you are eligible for subsidy. Plan vendors file the subsidy application for you. States are involved only to the extent of regulating insurers, which they already do.

    • johninPCFL

      The whole idea for the exchange was to blunt the monopoly that single (and in some cases two) policy underwriters hold in the middle of the country. Why lower the price of the policy when there’s no competition? Why just give away money when you hold a monopoly on the service?

      • jwtm

        Increasing choice for buyers is an excellent motive. Enabling side-by-side comparisons ditto. Exchanges (when they work) are a reasonable vehicle for that. But exchanges should not be tied to eligibility for subsidy. Further, there is no reason why they have to be govt. run. I’m sure Consumer Reports or AARP or even Kelley Blue Book could create an excellent compare-and-buy site. Probably much more buyer-centric than the heavily top-down approach I’ve seen.

        • Eleanore Whitaker


      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Why then is McConnell, Ryan and Boehner fighting so hard for their HMO Big Insurance campaign donors to repeal the ACA? If they have NO competition, why do thousands of smaller competitors cause them terminal hemorrhoids?

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      It was so much better when the Big 5 HMOs had total market share and could price our healthcare premiums as high as they pleased?

      When HMOs first appeared on the scene, their Big BS line was how much money they were going to save. That was more BS double talk for how much money THEY were going to save in their bank accounts.

      It doesn’t take too much more than 2 million Americans medically bankrupted by HMOs in only a decade to prove that HMO lie.

      • jwtm

        “HMO” and “Insurance” are not necessarily the same.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          Wrong…Every HMO has a name like Aetna, Prudential, Americare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and this is what THEY call themselves: Health maintenance organizations. Not a single one of the Big 5 HMOs are NOT insurance companies…but nice try a correcting someone with 3+ decades of experience dealing with HMOs who are insurance companies and Nothing Else.

          • jwtm

            So a number of insurers call themselves HMOs. However, not all insurance plans are HMO plans. See PPO, EPO, POS, Indemnity, Network. I don’t know if catastrophic insurance plans qualify under the ACA, so I’ll leave those off.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            I understand what you are trying to imply. However, in my dealings every day with HMO hawkers, I asked them why if they are all insurers, they call themselves Health Maintenance Organizations….Oddly, it is for the very reason, according to them, you stated.

            It appears that the label HMO covers a multitude of insurance plans all under the same banner which qualifies them to sell a huge variety of plans.

            Catastrophic plans may already be covered under SSDI or was when my Mom was on dialysis and my friend’s mom had Parkinsons and had to be cared for in a hospice.

            As you can see, a simple change in a business ID label can open a huge number of doors, some that would make your hair stand on end.

            For example, We all recognize Prudential as an insurance company that began to sell only life insurance. Now, they are in the healthcare business as HMOs, the real estate business as property insurers and pushing it even further, flood insurance and a host of others. That’s how Prudential got its butt in a sling in 2007 when it was invested its customers property insurance premiums in offshore FOREX trades and investments and these went south,

  • Bob Eddy

    I guess I need to read the fine print. Does Obamacare cover you if you continually shoot yourself in the foot. Just a word to the wise…when one of your own tea baggers says you arent making sense, you are in some deep, deep do do!

  • Elarenal

    Every time my paranoid self takes over I see conspiracies everywhere. Why is it today I think that the Tea Party and the Koch brothers who bankroll senator numbskull Thune and his ilk, are a front for China and/or Saudi Arabia and/or the Fourth Reich all trying to put the last nails in the coffin of American Democracy. Maybe that medical weed was just too strong or ??

  • Sterling Harris

    Most of the people I encounter are Republicans. And believe me when I say
    that telling a conservative that I’m a progressive is probably less popular than
    if I had just told them I was a drug kingpin who primarily focuses on selling
    crystal meth. So, needless to say, I try to avoid discussing politics much of
    the time. However, there are times where I get baited into doing it, which is
    what happened last night. A buddy of mine had invited me and a couple of other
    friends into a group chat to discuss a few things. Well, after a little back and
    forth among the group one of his friends started chatting with me directly,
    eventually asking me the dreaded question, “What do you do?” Well, I proceeded
    to give my usual answers, prompting her to simply ask, “So, are you for or
    against Obama?” At that time I informed her that I try to avoid political
    discussions because often people are filled with misinformation and if I try to
    correct anything that they want to believe, they usually just get very upset.
    But I did ask her if she was for or against the president. She saw my question
    as a bit hypocritical since I didn’t answer hers, to which I responded by
    telling her that it’s just my morbid curiosity to know what “side” some people
    are on and what information they’ve used to come to that conclusion. “I hate
    President Obama. Completely against him,” she said. This prompted me to simply
    ask, “Why?” Upon reading her answer, I instantly regretted my decision to
    venture into this discussion. Here was her answer: I think Obama is a lazy
    horrible excuse for a president. He’s playing golf while our citizens are being
    killed..he holds a press conference for some thug who got shot Bc he assaulted a
    police officer, yet I don’t see any press conference about Christians being
    slaughtered, or Jews being killed for anti-Semitic reasons. He’s a schmuck and
    the ONLY reason that he was elected the first time was bc he’s black, and either
    black people voted for him or white people didn’t wanna seem racist. And the
    reason he’s still president is bc of voter fraud. I’d LOVE to see them require
    id’s for votes, bc I guarantee he wouldn’t still be around. Sadly, this is what
    I deal with practically on a daily basis. It’s no wonder these people hate
    President Obama; look at the utter and total bullsh*t (excuse my language) that
    they believe. Here this person was, basing her entire opinion on the president
    completely off of nothing but pure right-wing propaganda. And the thing is,
    outside of him being a golfer and making comments about the Mike Brown shooting
    (mostly in response to the protests that had broken out following the incident),
    nothing she said was true. Did she just make all of this up? No. This is the
    kind of crap that the right-wing media pushes every single day. “Information”
    that’s literally just pulled out of thin air. Take her comments about voter
    fraud, which are completely baseless. Between 2000 and 2010, out of 649 million
    votes, there were thirteen cases of legitimate voter fraud found. That’s barely
    one per year. Yet this individual would swear right to your face that the only
    reason President Obama was re-elected was because of rampant voter fraud. Then
    there’s the issue with him not holding a press conference about the killing of
    Christians and Jews by ISIS. Then, tell me, what are all these press conferences
    he’s held concerning ISIS for the past year? And she’s clearly not aware that
    ISIS isn’t just targeting non-Muslims, they’re slaughtering other Muslims every
    single day as well. Then again, you rarely see Fox News talk about that so it’s
    not surprising that she knows nothing about it. Needless to say, I proceeded to
    embarrass her by pointing out several facts that debunked her nonsense – which
    prompted her to tell me I was an idiot and instantly block me. I really
    shouldn’t have even bothered. With someone who is that far gone, I would
    probably have had more luck trying to reason with a brick wall. But it does go
    to show you just how blatantly inaccurate the information is that the right-wing
    media pushes all the time. Because while her answer was slightly more ridiculous
    than most of the ones I get, it still wasn’t that far off from the average
    response I get from the typical conservative when the president’s name is
    brought up. And the truth is, I’m fine with people not agreeing with President
    Obama. All I ask is that their opposition to him be based on facts rather than
    fiction – which, sadly, is usually not the case. That fact was perfectly
    demonstrated by this woman’s absolutely ridiculous reasoning why she dislikes
    our president.

    • Independent1

      Yeah! It truly is unfortunate that so many right-wing leaning people allow themselves to become Fox News and other right-wing propaganda website sheeple. Unlike most other folks that get their news from random news outlets, right-wingers are wedded to getting their news from Faux News, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and other far right-wing propaganda news broadcasters/websites.

      And like you pointed out, not only are they wedded to right-wing biased news, they will adamantly refuse to believe even the truth when they’ve been told it. Like so many right-wing trolls on the NM, they actually call the truth, left-wing propaganda.

    • Karen Bille-Golden

      I can totally empathize with you. We winter in a golf community in AZ where little old Christian ladies mimic tea party ideas that make my head spin. There is nowhere to begin a reasonable discussion with them and it is sometimes difficult to get beyond seeing them as anything more than the puppets they’ve become. Three prime examples…The government is coming to take our guns. Do you have a gun…no. Do you want a gun…no, could you buy a gun if you wanted one?…yes. Then what are you worried about? Another time I asked, why do you think AZ ranks low in quality and success of it’s educational system?…’s because they have so many unteachable Mexican children in the system. And finally I asked who they thought their best candidate to win the election would be. Ben Carson of course because he can bring in the black vote. Blacks will vote based on color. I responded, even after he’s pretty much thrown his race under the bus by painting a good portion of them as lazy, unwilling to work and wanting forever to remain on the government payroll.?…..And so my point is, there are a lot of us who feel your frustration.

  • midway54

    Well, after all he is just another obedient servant of the plutocrats as a member of the majority Plutocratic Party in the Senate. He and his brothers and sisters in the Party know that what they say will be immediately accepted and parroted by the dupes and ignoramuses across the Red(neck) States who are sending him and those like him to the Congress.