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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) grabbed headlines in the run-up to the recent government shutdown by trying to deny his own staff health insurance coverage as a scalp Republicans could claim in exchange for keeping the government open.

Simply put: The so-called “Vitter Amendment” would take away health-care subsidies for congressional staffers who were forced into the Affordable Care Act exchanges by Republicans eager to oblige Congress to “go on Obamacare.” The effect would either be a huge pay cut or a lot of uninsured staffers, all so the senator from Louisiana could make a point.

Vitter is famous for admitting to visiting prostitutes, then being re-elected. So you could say that he doesn’t have a big problem screwing people who work for him.

On CNN’s Crossfire this week, the senator was called out by host Van Jones for a disconcerting lack of concern for the uninsured, except when he can opportunely use cancellation notices to attack the president’s health care law.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) then followed up with a tour de force of righteous anger over Vitter’s opposition to Obamacare and his state’s unwillingness to expand Medicaid to the 200,000 estimated Louisanians who are eligible:

“…20 percent of your people are living in poverty, about 20 percent of the people in Louisiana have no health insurance at all, and when you vote against the Affordable Care Act, what you’re telling those people is that they are not going to get health insurance. As you well know, your state — I gather you — has rejected that Medicaid should be expanded, and other Republican governors have done the same. So, it seems to me, that when you have people who are working really hard and trying to make a living, who desperately need health insurance, and when the Affordable Care Act said that we are going to expand Medicaid, you and others are saying ‘No, no, no, it’s okay for over 200,000 people in Louisiana not to take it,’ and I think that’s wrong!

David Vitter and Bernie Sanders

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • CrankyToo

    An open message to Senator David Vitter:

    Dear Dave,

    Here’s a fact which is apparent to most Americans but which obviously eludes you: you’re a first-class POS (and no, that’s not an acronym for “preeminent orator and statesman”).

    Your pal,

  • bobzmcishl

    Bernie Sanders is a real liberal in all the right ways. Wish we had more U.S. Senators like him and Elizabeth Warren. The red states that refused to accept funds to increase medicaid in their states should just keep their mouths shut about the ACA. They are a bunch of hypocrites who have done nothing to help the resident’s of their respective states.

    • yeehaw

      @bobzmcishl:disqus…My amazement is how these same people who Hate Government and all the so called benefits are the very one’s who benefit the most from Government! The same benefits that Senator Vitter will receive once he leaves office are the one’s he’s advocating others who rightfully deserve them should give up. Hypocrisy is too weak of a term to describe this mentality!!

    • mikem42

      Don’t they realize how much more productive their workforce would be, and how that can move their state forward? They could even take credit for it, which is what they do anyway. We don’t really care who gets “credit”, but do care that folks get good health care through their insurance coverage. The federal dollars which pay for the Medicaid expansion is their own taxpayers money, brought back home. What is wrong with these nitwits?!

  • Lynda Groom

    Vitter should stick to what he understands…which is clearly not health care insurance.

    • Sand_Cat

      Other than how to pick up a prostitute, just what does Vitter understand? I mean, being a whore himself, he can’t really claim that understanding is much of an accomplishment.

    • hollyhock

      Vitter understands well enough. He understands that his party considers poor people as less than human and thus it is all right if they get sick or injured and die an early death. Just another version of a Nazi concentration camp.

  • JustTheFactsMa’am

    God love Bernie Sanders! That man suffers no fools.

    • docb

      The palin prediction of DEATH PANELS has become truth created by those of vitters ilk by republican ideological fiat! Refusing care in the way of Medicaid expansion is jeopardizing Hospitals, threatening closures of clinics and creating HEALTHCARE DESERTS in most of the States. They, repub baggers, have already created Women’s Health DESERTS across the Nation which will result in deaths!
      Shameless little ideological rats.

      • latebloomingrandma

        We watched a movie last night–“Damaged Care”–a true story about the managed care industry. It was made in 2002, and told the story of a female MD who worked for and HMO, until she couldn’t live with herself anymore. The late 80s and early 90’s were the time of the true death panels. Insurance companies. NOT the evil gov’t.

        • docb

          Yes, I remember those times…Many physicians take a job with the Kaisers, UnitedHC, and Anthems as a last resort.

        • bckrd1

          I saw that too. Every American opposed to this law should see it. That is what the Republicans want us to go back to.

      • Independent1

        Doc, the GOP has come up with something that trumps Death Panels – they just govern in a way that ends up shortening the lives of virtually every resident in the states they govern.

        Why mess around with Death Panels which only impact people who are probably already close to dying, when you can cut budgets and services in a way that shortchanges the services government should provide to keep people safe (e.g., provide reduce police protection which heightens general violence and homicides and even results in greater fatal auto accidents); then cut subsidies to the less fortunate so they don’t get enough food to keep them healthy and while you’re at it, throw thousands more off of Medicaid so they can’t get the healthcare they need to detect illnesses before it’s too late (like in Maine here where our governor cut taxes for the wealthy then reduced the Medicaid budget dropping 70,000 Mainers from the Medicaid rolls).

        All this does far more than Death Panels would ever do; it reduces the life expectancies of everyone living in the states the GOP governs such that thousands more residents of GOP-run states (as a percentage) are dying each year than in Democrat-run states.

        Pure evidence that the GOP’s governance plan for reducing low end voters is working. (Residents of GOP run states live on average 2 years less than residents of Blue States and at the extreme – 5 to 6 years less.)

  • toptwome

    Sadly Vitter comes from Louisiana where I was born and live. We do have some of the most right wing vile ignorant and hateful racists in Louisiana. But we do have some very nice people who almost make up for our rotten governor Jindal and our stooge republican representative John Fleming who is a real tea partiers likeable idiot of a representative.

    • nirodha

      Hopefully, the very nice people that you mention will wake up, register to vote, and turn these self-serving nincompoops out in the next election. Surely there must be some compassion somewhere in Louisiana.

      • CPAinNewYork

        There doesn’t seem to be.

  • Susan Dean

    Bernie for President! I’ve admired him for decades. He is one of the few truly honest and compassionate people in politics.

  • nana4gj

    It’s always been a “No Go” for me to give any credibility on healthcare reform that addresses funded access to care to a political Party or any individual or group that so proudly disdains people who are in need of assistance for anything else, who suffer the ever-present human conditions that any one may experience at any given time on a crisis or temporary basis, but that some live with all the time because of generational issues that result from diminished opportunity to interrupt those cycles.

    I have reviewed some Republican proposals for healthcare reform that are “alternatives” to ACA, most recently one published in an editorial in our local newspaper by the San Antonio Director of the Tea Party. I wrote a letter to the editor in rebuttal but it has not been accepted for publication yet, so I sent him the letter directly to The Heartland Org of which he is a board member and to the local office of the TP.

    It did not require a genius to figure out that the proposals did absolutely nothing to address one of the three components of a a healthcare system, ACCESS, the other two being Delivery and Research, all of which should contain the issue of COSTS.

    Tort reform, tax deductions for the insured’s expensses and the provider’s charity, health care spending accounts, guaranteed renewability, and portability were his solutions, which indicated to me he knew nothing about the goal, content, strategy of the ACA or about the healthcare system.because he claimed they all would provide better care.

    Tort reform, he says, attracts more providers, which is true. But all of the great physicians who influx a community and all of the great hospitals mean nothing if millions of people cannot avail themselves of funded access to them.

    Tax deductions, when we had them before that were not calculated on %s, did nothing to improve access to care for those without.

    Guaranteed renewability is the same as Pre Existing Conditions exclusion abolishment in the ACA, except that guaranteed renewability has been in place for selected individuals and circumstances and the pre existing exclusion that is no longer allowed is for everyone in every circumstance.

    Portability from job to job is in the ACA if the employer has no health insurance benefit. Portability from state to state is something states can accomplish if all states, including TP states would participate in this national effort instead of obstruct it.

    The problems with the ACA site have just given an opportunity for some to carpe diem and try to throw the baby out with the bath water or slap together some inane alternative that does nothing to address the real issue, or, not even bother to replace it and return us to an untenable system that decreases access to care instead of increases it.

    We need to be patient and keep our wits about us. The potential good of the ACA is worth the wait and the fixing. The only alternative today is Universal Single Payor, which would be fine with me but we would have to be prepared for more hysteria over that than we have experienced with ACA health insurance model.

    • ProudACLU

      I think the biggest issue is while the right came up with the foundation of the ACA, they did it only in response to the left’s efforts in the past (like Hillarycare) and never intended to push for their plan to be a reality. When the Democrats started taking the right’s plan and then went to implement it, the right fell apart because they never wanted that plan in the first place.

      • Independent1

        I’m not sure I fully agree that Republicans only developed the foundation for ACA in response to the left’s efforts. I think their current opposition to the personal mandate is based on the pure desire of Republicans to do whatever the party can to make WHATEVER OBAMA MAY PUSH FOR FAIL.

        Read through this from wikipedia on how ACA came about. Note the bipartisan effort to craft a bill back in 2007, the apparent buy-in by a number of GOP legislators, and then the decision by McConnell to oppose ACA because it wasn’t in the GOP’s best interests to support it – to make it look like the GOP was working for something Obama championed to succeed:

        In 2007, a year after the Massachusetts reform, Republican Senator Bob Bennett and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act, which also featured an individual mandate and state-based regulated insurance markets called “State Health Help Agencies”.[52][62] The bill attracted bipartisan support but died in committee; however, many of the sponsors and co-sponsors remained in Congress during the 2008 healthcare debate.[63]

        By 2008 many Democrats were considering using this approach as the basis for comprehensive, national healthcare reform. Experts have pointed out that the legislation that eventually emerged from Congress in 2009 and 2010 bears many similarities to the 2007 bill[55] and that it was deliberately patterned after Romney’s state healthcare plan.[64] Jonathan Gruber, a key architect of the Massachusetts reform who advised the Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns on their healthcare proposals, served as a technical consultant to the Obama administration and helped Congress draft the ACA.[65].

        However, following the adoption of an individual mandate as a central component of the proposed reforms by Democrats, Republicans began to oppose the mandate and threaten to filibuster any bills that contained it.[49] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to keep party discipline and prevent defections:[79]

        It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[80]

  • bckrd1

    Those are the good death panels from the good ole days. The ones the Republicans think we should go back to.

  • bckrd1

    Go change your diaper Vitter.

  • CPAinNewYork

    It’s time for the Republican Party to split in two. One group should consist of the extreme right wing pricks who would deny the very substance of life to the poor and give everything to the rich. The other should consist of the moderate conservatives who practice compassion and good fiscal policies, but don’t want to give the country over to the idiots who would bankrupt us in the name of liberalism.