The Beginning of the End of the Republican Congress: Chaffetz vs. Allen

In Health Care Insurance Reform We See The History of the Republican Party

Very few American policy initiatives have been as popular as Obamacare. The fact that several years of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act did not result in any alternative policies or specific revisions to the law suggest that Republicans were aware of that. Touting opposition and threatening to repeal worked with their base, but actually doing something would lead to widespread outrage and loss of votes, possibly loss of actual elections.

The worst nightmare of Republican members of the House and Senate is that they get the bone they have been groveling for and have to explain to the American people exactly how they are going to dismantle and destroy this popular government program.

Do you remember ClintonCare? Back when Bill Clinton was President, his wife, Hillary was her name, headed a project to develop a major overhaul of the American health care insurance system. Unfortunately, the Gingrich Republicans took over the government at that time. The Republicans had no reason to be against a fair health care system, other than the requirement to implement the new Gingrich Doctrine: Destroy the democrats at all costs, make them the minority party, then start to govern.

In_Russia_Hillary_Clinton_Punching_Bag_Punches_You(By the way, one could argue that Republicans could be against reform because they are against big and complex governmetnal structures and such. But health care reform that leads in the direction of a single payer system is less complicated, less of a requirement for complex regulation, and generally, much simpler.)

Hillary Clinton’s health care reform plan was an early and major victim of this new anti-D/democratic plan (small and large “d”) initiated by the Republican Party. And, at that time, Hillary Clinton herself became the perennial punching bag of the Republican Party.

That punching bag effect, the decades of hate and rage against Hillary Clinton, certainly contributed to her loss in the last election. And, part of that hate came in the form of the Benghazi investigations.

Benghazi refers to a terrible event in which bad guys attacked the US embassy in Libya, with Ambassador J. Chrisopher Stevens, a friend and colleague of then Secretary of State Clinton, was killed, along with three other Americans.

Chaffetz TownHall in February
Chaffetz TownHall in February

Jason Chaffetz: Foot Meet Mouth

A congressman named Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah, was a vocal member of the committee that carried out a long investigation that tried very hard to lay blame for this attack on Clinton. It was a mean spirited and horrific misuse of governmental power that members of the committee, at various times and places, admitted openly to have been a political fraud. But, this effort was key, recent, and probably determinative of the degree of anti-Clinton feelings across the right wing and centrist parts of the political spectrum, and materially contributed to Donald Trump becoming president. The absurdity of this dirty and embarrassing chapter in American Political history is painfully underscored by the fact that Chaffetz himself voted to reduce the funding for security at embassies, which is the real reason this attack cost American lives.

Chaffetz is now intensely engaged, as are many other Republican members of Congress, in repealing and replacing Obamacare. And, his constituents are not having it. Chaffetz is one of those congresscritters who was screamed at by the outraged members of their districts. Outraged about his desire to nix Obamacare, outraged about his general support of Donald Trump, all that.

A chicken. Coming home to roost.
Buk buk buk buk! A chicken. Coming home to roost.
Then, Chaffetz made the fatal error, placed the nearly weightless but final straw upon the camel’s back, and he is the camel. He ended his political career by focusing too much on the smart phone and not enough on what people around him were saying. Sort of.

He did that thing Republicans do when they talk about poor people. It comes in a lot of forms, but it is, at the root of it, disdain cloaked in a deep layer of mushy ignorance. Chaffetz told poor people that they needed to make a basic choice in life. Get a phone, or get health insurance.

This is wrong on so many levels that I can’t even … But just so certain points are not lost, let’s covers some of them.

1) A cell phone and a cell phone plan cost a fraction of health care plans under the proposed Republican program.

2) Rich people, under TrumpCare, will get a tax break, in a single year, sufficient to cover their cell phone costs until they die, while lower income folks will get nothing more than a new Canadian Province. Nunavut.

3) I say poor people, and he meant poor people, but really, this problem applies to most people.

4) You need a phone TO MAKE A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT YOU IDIOT!!!

Sorry for shouting. But I think you get the point. Jason Chaffetz stuck his rhetorical foot fatally in his political mouth.

Introducing Kathryn Allen

Kathryn Allen is a Utah based physician, a Democrat, who is one of those constituents of the hapless Congressman Chaffetz who rose in outrage against him. But Dr. Allen is taking this one step farther. She made a proposal, on an internet crowdfunding site, that she could run against him in the upcoming midterm election, if people wanted her to. She described herself and her potential candidacy, and asked for financial support from those who might prefer her over that other guy, the Benghazi guy, the anti-Healthcare reform guy, the Pro-Trump guy.

Kathryn Allen, Candidate for Utah's 3rd Congressional District.
Kathryn Allen, Candidate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.
And they did. Especially after the Chaffetz iPhone remark. Right after he made that remark, her crowdfunding site went from near zero to over $80,000 in a Utah Minute. Today, as I write this, it is at $256.495, up from the $253,455 when I captured the image for the graphic at the top of this post, about three minutes ago. And continuing to rise (check here for the latest number).

I think Dr Allen’s candidacy is amazing, hopeful a sign of our times, and a harbinger for the future. If you are in her district, go work for her, if not, send her some buks!

Oh look, she’s up another thousand in another two minutes…..

Here is Rachel Maddow’s coverage of this amazing story:

UPDATE: Apple Responds with the Apple Health Care Plan:

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48 thoughts on “The Beginning of the End of the Republican Congress: Chaffetz vs. Allen

  1. There is also the point that the primary structure of the Affordable Care Act (not Obamacare, a term manufactured by the racists who hated a black man in the White House) was crafted by the Heritage Foundation as a counterpoint to what the Republicans feared Clinton’s health care would be.

    They were for it before they were against it.

    (I am skeptical of the stories about people who did not know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing, and so were shocked to find out that eliminating Obamacare, which they were told to hate by the right, would remove their ACA insurance, which they relied on. I cannot argue that the scum who started the Obamacare meme were brilliant in marketing their particular attach on basic decency and compassion.)

  2. There’s a video on YouTube of Mitt Romney, as governor of MA, crowing about the pre-ACA ACA, and how the Heritage Foundation had basically invented it. Romney implemented it. It was very popular and successful.

    They weren’t just “for it”; they created it. And once “a black man touched it” they disavowed it and threw it in the street.

  3. Political zombies are taught to obey; they are explicitly taught to not think.

    No surprises there about “being caught unawares” about voting away their own health care.

    Sacrificing the health and lives of themselves and their children on the altar of The Ideology is what they do, gladly and willingly.

  4. I wouldn’t be too optimistic about Dr. Allen’s chances. UT-03 is one of the reddest House districts in the country: it includes Provo (home of Brigham Young University) and much of southeastern Utah.

    But it is important to get Democrats running in as many districts as possible, even in districts like UT-03 where they can expect to be sacrificial lambs. Because somebody might put his foot well into his mouth, like Chaffetz has done, and give the Democratic opponent a chance to get lucky. That’s how the Democrats picked up a Senate seat in Indiana in 2012: Lugar, who would have easily won the general election, got primaried out by someone well to his right, who went on to demonstrate that he was too extreme even for Indiana.

    There’s another reason why Chaffetz is a key player: he is now chair of the House Oversight Committee, and has used that position to slow-walk Congressional investigation into the Trump campaign/administration’s Russia ties.

  5. Dean, as it happens, I thought up “obamacare” on my own before I had ever heard of it, and I even produced a line of hats and clothing that said “I love obamacare”

  6. Eric Lund is exactly right. Those who were shown screaming at Chaffetz at his town meeting were those who live in that small slice of his district which includes a bit of SLC, which is much bluer than Utah as a whole. The rest of the district is as deep red as one can imagine, conservative white rural mormons along with, as Eric said, Provo and Brigham Young University.

    Still, I’m glad she’s running, and I’m glad she’s raising money, and if the impossible dream comes true I’ll celebrate it, of course!

  7. Greg says “Very few American policy initiatives have been as popular as Obamacare. ”

    I find this an interesting statement.

    Obamacare has been around since 2009 and just this year cracked 50% approval in the polls. I think it is at around 54% now. But for 7 years, the ACA had less than 50% approval.

    It was passed with zero republican votes.

    And yet Greg is of the opinion this is one of the most popular policy initiatives.

    It is truly interesting how different people look at the same thing and can come to totally legitimate but vastly differing conclusions.

    Which is why I always say – each person is entitled to their own opinion.

  8. Noting Hillary on the bop bag in the picture above, there’s a lesson in there for Allen: Don’t drop your left, and don’t leave yourself open on the right.

    And definitely don’t be fooled by his chipmunk mug, Chaffetz is a straight-up goon.

  9. Well, the thinking has always been that approval for the ACA would go up as people experienced its benefits.

    BTW, any real lawyer should know that equality under the law does not mean equality of opinion. (And hyperbole is not the same as dispassionate opinion.)

  10. RickA: First, 50% is damn high for approval of a government program. Second, if asked if people want the elements of Obamacare, without mentioning the black president associated with those things, approval is way way higher, so here, I’m removing the racist part of the number.

    And, at present, and this blog post was written … TODAY! … the numbers of people who dont’ want Obamacare messed with are in the 70s in various polls.

  11. OA: LOL. I’ll have to remember to apply that boxing advice at the next meeting of commie pinkie leftos I attend!

  12. RickA is hilarious!

    He talks like he actually believes that Republican Congress-beings actually represent the interests of the public that are affected by things like the ACA.

    Ha ha ha ha ha…. No.

    G-zero-P Congress-things failed to cast any votes for something their constituents do want and vote for.

  13. Dean, as it happens, I thought up “obamacare” on my own before I had ever heard of it, and I even produced a line of hats and clothing that said “I love obamacare”

    Interesting. I will still point out that your use of the term is far different than the use (with implication) racists and the fundamentally dishonest (like rickA) attach to it.

  14. RickA is honestly motivated.. solely by the rates of return of his petroleum industry investments.

    Darn those pesky needs of those pesky human beings!

  15. RickA is honestly motivated.. solely by the rates of return of his petroleum industry investments.

    He is honestly motivated to be dishonest about the science.

  16. Bravo for the continued fund-raising.

    While I don’t think Chaffetz is at risk, Daryl Issa in Oregon County definitely is a possible win in 2018. And his long-term battles against the ESA, NFMA, NEPA, Clean Air and Water Acts, and conservation of natural resources in general have been a plague on the planet. Of all the people in the House I’d love to see go down in 2018, he’s close to the top.

  17. 65% of the people are against the individual mandate.

    That is the poll number which really matters (in my opinion).

    The individual mandate was also found to violate the commerce clause – which is a pretty important fact also (since it was the entire support the legislature used for the ACA).

    And if you get rid of that, what do you have left?

    You have to use incentives if you cannot force people to buy it – which is what the republicans are going to try to do.

    We will see how that goes.

    I am philosophically opposed to the power of the government to force me to buy anything.

    And I am well aware of the argument that you have to buy car insurance – but ONLY if you have a car!

    If you live in New York and don’t have a car – you do not have to buy car insurance!

    If you don’t own a motorcycle, you do not need motorcycle insurance (and so on for every type of vehicle).

    What if the government passed an individual mandate to buy a car every year – that might help the auto industry.

    What about an individual mandate to buy a house? That might help the economy.

    No – better that the government doesn’t have the power to force people to buy stuff (in my opinion).

    But that is just my opinion.

  18. RickA: The individual mandate is what makes Obama care, or ANY non-comprehensive socialistic plan, work. If you ask people, do you want cheap, affordable, fair, coverage for X, Y and Z, they will say yes to all of it. The individual mandate makes that possible.

    By the way, an unspoken part of this, something that the press may well have covered if they had time: We’ve seen recent premium increases that would ideally be fixed by a Democratic Congress (if we had one). But, had ACA not been in place for several years, what would the situation be? I’m sure, much worse than anything we have now.

  19. It is all in how you ask the question (for polling).

    If you ask do you want expensive, unaffordable, unfair coverage for X, Y and Z – they will say no to all of it.

    If you ask – do you want something for free – they will say yes to all of it.

    If you ask – do you want something which someone else will pay for – they will say yes to that also.

    I don’t agree that the ACA kept costs down.

    The percent increase in premiums was far higher after ACA than before ACA (at least for our group plan under Blue Cross/Blue Shield).

    But perhaps your experience was different than mine.

  20. By the way, I don’t assume that Allen is going to unseat Chaffetz. This may be impossible. But look at the response on her fund raiser. This is a candidate out of nowhere who will do damage to the sitting member, cause the Republicans to expend resources, and most importantly, she, and the opposition to the sitting Republican, are not at all unique to that district. This is a US-wide phenomenon. Chaffetz himself may or may not be safe. He will have a fight, all of the Republican Congressmembers are under threat. Many will lose.

    That is what I mean by the beginning of the end.

  21. RickA “But perhaps your experience was different than mine.”

    It doesn’t matter if your anecdotal experience is different or the same as my anecdotal experience and you should know better. Let’s not forget that double-digit increases were the norm just a few years ago – and we have NOT seen a return of those. Perhaps your anecdotal memory has had a lapse.

    Of course the real answer lies not in anecdotal experience, but nationwide numbers. You might want to start with something like Effects of the ACA on Health Care Cost Containment

  22. Greg – it’s a long time until the mid terms the danger is the resistance losing its momentum in the interim. If the GOP simply stop doing town halls, or have them only for registered Republicans that the local organization has vetted then there will be fewer opportunities for opposition networking and organizing.

    To that end it could be a, and I hesitate to use the term, ‘good’ thing that the ACA is being destroyed. Many registered Republicans are going to be hurt by that destruction, (medical bankruptcies, pre-existing conditions preventing insurance, costs for insurance skyrocketing for families leaving them to make choices no one should have to make etc.) and as that happens hopefully the reality that they voted against their own self-interest will finally sink in. If that happens the GOP is finished, at least in its present incarnation. For once they have seriously misconstrued their base. They tagged the ACA as Obamacare to tap into a deep well of fear and racism, and unfortunately the Democratic Party let them get away with it instead of forcing the conversation back to the ACA. Still that is going to be the GOP’s undoing as the realization of how badly they have been effed over by the Republicans sets in to their base of poor and middle class voters. At least I hope so.

    Those of us living to the north of you need America to get back to sanity – your current insanity is filtering into our politics now too, particularly in the race for the leader of the Conservative party. Make your skin crawl..

  23. The midterms are not really in two years. The elections are 24 months apart. Four months have passed since the beginning of the term. We are now 20 months apart.

    The process of picking candidates for 2018 will start in 11 months or so, depending on the state.

    The game is afoot!

  24. True the game certainly is afoot 🙂 Let’s hope sanity rules.

    Canadians are concerned.

    There are ever more persistent attempts by a very small minority of physicians (see Cambie Clinic court case), right wing think tanks (Fraser Institute et. al.) and a not so small amount of insurance companies trying to get Canada’s single payer health care system dismantled piece by piece. They have been abetted in this by conservative governments and sadly even Justin Trudeau.

    The opposition parties here proposed Bill S-201. Bill S-201 will add genetic characteristics as a protected ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act, introduce penalties for discrimination, and forbid employers from subjecting job applicants to a genetic test. The insurance industry lobbied hard against the bill and Trudeau graciously accepted contributions to his political fund from them and opposed the bill. That’s the bad news the good news is that when it came to a vote in the House of Commons – Trudeau was basically on his own “All cabinet ministers — and most parliamentary secretaries — in attendance voted against the bill. Only four Liberal backbenchers sided with the government” So kit will go through and now only needs royal assent – which is as automatic as you can get.

    We need progressivism in the US almost as much as you do, else the insanity will cross the border. You only need to look at what happened to science here under Harper to see that.

  25. Kevin #24:

    In Minnesota (where Greg and I live), the premium increases on the exchange were between 50 and 66%.

    So definitely double digits and far worse than the largest yearly increase in the 30 years preceding the ACA.

  26. Meanwhile, in Minnesota:

    ““Main drivers of the increases continue to be higher than expected medical costs and increased usage of covered medical services,” the insurer said in a statement.“

    “Despite the huge increases, though, Minnesota still won’t have the highest insurance premiums in the country. In fact, it will likely be somewhere around the middle, said Cynthia Cox, an associate director at the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s because four years ago Minnesota had among the nation’s lowest premiums. Even three years of double-digit increases have only brought Minnesota to the middle of the pack nationally.”

    RickA painting an incomplete story to fit his bigoted and dishonest agenda? Say it ain’t so.

  27. There’s another reason why Chaffetz is a key player: he is now chair of the House Oversight Committee, and has used that position to slow-walk Congressional investigation into the Trump campaign/administration’s Russia ties.
    Of course he did. How depressing this BS is numbing to the brain. But they continue and some people will continue to vote against their own interests due to foaming at the mouth caused by mis-information.

  28. nice echo chamber you have here. I enjoy a head tax (you must have insurance if you exist – the ACA basis) and absolutely loved it when my personal coverage went from moderate premiums for decent coverage to 10X higher for lower coverage (and lost my doctor of 15 yrs) – that in two years. you hate anecdotal evidence, but all of my educated friends hate it – they all suffered huge increases in cost and lowered care, all of my uneducated friends love it – they all got subsidies. the redpilled quit voting democrat .. so, either go to government health care (I don’t mean single payer, I mean all doctors and nurses MUST work for the government as employees) or government GTFO of healthcare.

  29. Hey, Dick! I wonder what you think about Melania suing the Daily Mail for defamation with their unsupported allegations of being an escort?

    Care to show where you’ve been complaining about that abuse of the law of defamation by a political figure against a reporter of a national newspaper? Not asking you do it here, but where have you posted that this was on topic and complained.

    I need to know if this, like the other times rightwinger politicians sued or threatened to sue got a free pass from you, and it’s only those whose opinions you do not like that should not get the protections against defamation.

  30. Wow #32:

    I haven’t read anything about the Melania escort case.

    But my comment would be that truth is still a defense to defamation.

    So if Melania was actually an escort than no defamation.

    If not, than she may have a good case.

    I would also point out that calling someone an escort is much more of a factual assertion than saying someones graph is fraudulent – so less opiniony.

    Like Mann, Melania is a public figure so you need malice.

    So to summarize, her case will turn on the same three issues as the Mann case.

    1. Is the statement about her an opinion? Probably not. For Mann, probably yes.

    2. Is the statement true? I don’t know for Melania – for Mann probably yes.

    3. Is there malice? In other words knowingly false? For Melania – I don’t know. For Mann – no – Steyn believed everything he wrote to be 100% true.

    So it is still my opinion that Mann loses.

    Is that what you were looking for?

    Glad to help out.

  31. So, like I suspected, this one too is a free pass for your rightwing partisans, Dick.

    You’re not going to claim that Melania has to prove that the Daily Mail knew it was wrong, are you. Because your whine wasn’t against the idea of free speech, it was to silence your opposition and remove the voices you do not want to hear.

    So, absolutely no surprise here, since you rightwingnutjobs are nothing if not predictably hypocritical and alarmist.

  32. “1. Is the statement about her an opinion? Probably not. For Mann, probably yes.”

    Lie. For Mann it was not an opinion. Neither was it opinion for the Daily Mail. They said she was one.

    “2. Is the statement true? I don’t know for Melania – for Mann probably yes.”

    Lie. You know it’s false, but you WANT it to be true, because you’re a fuckwitted moron who is terrified of the gravy train stopping because you’re greedy and still pigging out.

    “3. Is there malice? In other words knowingly false? For Melania – I don’t know. For Mann – no – Steyn believed everything he wrote to be 100% true.”

    The Daily Mail believed everything they said. That’s why they printed the fucking thing.

    So a third fucking lie from you, you trollish moron.

    “Is that what you were looking for?

    Glad to help out.”

    Yeah, I pretty much knew you would be a two-faced lying arsehole whose hypocrisy was rampant and complaints spurious, and you helped out immensely proving that to be the case.

    Cheers!

  33. Yeah, rickA, dishonest and scientifically ignorant as any person can be, knows Mann’s work has been supported and verified multiple times, so he can’t say it’s wrong: he’s asserting that the blanket assertion that it is wrong, “fraudulent”, is merely an opinion.

    What a scumbag of a person.

  34. dean #37:

    Yes – I do believe Steyn’s opinion was an opinion.

    But I also do believe Mann’s hockey stick graph(s) are wrong.

    I won’t go into all the reasons, because we have done that exhaustively on other threads – but I truly believe a credible defense can be mounted against Mann’s defamation claim – based on truth.

    You are entitled to your opinion of me.

    But surprisingly – I don’t feel I am a scumbag (what a shock).

    I guess we will have to just agree to disagree.

  35. “I won’t go into all the reasons, because we have done that exhaustively on other threads – but I truly believe a credible defense can be mounted against Mann’s defamation claim – based on truth.”

    You haven’t presented anything resembling evidence (no surprise since, as has been pointed out, his work has been supported repeatedly by the research of others). So no, there are no “reason” to say Mann’s work is wrong, other than

    * a person doesn’t like what the results say
    * a person is incapable of understanding the science, or unwilling to try
    * a person decides to repeatedly lie about the issue

    Those all apply to you.

  36. dean #39:

    I highly recommend you review this series of posts, to learn about all the reasons Mann 1998 and 1999 work is “wrong”:

    https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/a-list-of-manns-screw-ups

    There are 18 posts linked at the bottom for your reading pleasure.

    Of course, I would also highly recommend reading all of Steve’s posts at climateaudit.org – as they are wonderful as well.

    Michael Mann himself said (from an inline response at Real Climate):

    “In some earlier work though (Mann et al, 1999), the boundary condition for the smoothed curve (at 1980) was determined by padding with the mean of the subsequent data (taken from the instrumental record).”

    Right there you have data manipulation.

    Doing what Mann did in his 1998 and 1999 papers was just plain wrong.

    And that is just one of many many problems.

    The proof is that Dr. Mann doesn’t do it this way anymore.

    He also doesn’t use decentered PCA anymore (another wrong thing).

    Steyn is going to win (in my opinion).

    But we won’t know the outcome of the case until it happens – so we continue to wait.

  37. Nobody ever argued that MBH98/99 were methodologically perfect. So *of course* there have been methodological refinements since.

    Unfortunately for the liars’ corner, this is not in any way evidence of fraud in the original papers.

    And if you actually *understood* any of this instead of merely parroting misinformers like McI and that other clown, you would see – instantly – that the cry of ‘fraud’ is both defamatory and impossible to demonstrate from the methodology, however hard you try.

    And as we know, some people have tried very hard indeed. It got them – and it will get you (and probably Steyn) – nowhere.

  38. Of course, I would also highly recommend reading all of Steve’s posts at climateaudit.org – as they are wonderful as well.

    Given that readers here know for a fact that you are clueless, you should avoid making statements like this.

    Since everyone knows you don’t understand the sciency stuff at all, the blatantly partisan nature of your comment is painfully clear.

  39. More misrepresentations rickA. The fact that refinements are pointed out based on new information does not, and did not, render Mann’s work wrong.

    “He also doesn’t use decentered PCA anymore (another wrong thing)”

    No, not wrong at all. I know you think using big words makes it sound like you know what you’re saying, but you’re wrong there too.

  40. Yes, you’ve been clear you think it is fraudulent. It is also clear that there is no scientific basis for that – it’s been supported many times over.

    Continuing to say it is in the face of evidence to the contrary is simply repeating what is (to you) a comforting lie.

  41. I think Mann’s graph is fraudulent, you don’t.

    You – and the rest of the climate liars – have never produced one shred of evidence to support this libelous claim.

    On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence right here in comment on this blog that you are a dishonest little shit.

    So it’s pretty easy to work out who and what to back.

  42. “Nobody ever argued that MBH98/99 were methodologically perfect.”

    And if dick wants to demand perfection then he can fuck off, because perfection isn’t necessary.

  43. “You – and the rest of the climate liars – have never produced one shred of evidence to support this libelous claim”

    Not to mention that the word “think” does not apply to what they’re doing. But, the point was that dick was complaining about it because he’s a big free speech advocate, according to one self-serving lie. And now that lie has been bared for all to see. He doesn’t give a flying fuck for the free speech, he only wants those he hates to be attacked with impunity.

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