Saturday, March 25, 2017

Prove it to me, Problem Solvers!

Authentic criticism via deathandtaxes.

Then there was Congressman Tom Reed, Republican from Western New York, known from Horseheads to Ithaca as Problem-Solvin' Tom (see below), and one of those guys who was talked into backing the awful Ryan bill by the special upstate New York provision or Is There Any Way We Can Get Upstate New York Reps to Vote for This Turkey Amendment in which they proposed to put Medicaid, which is funded in New York by county property taxes, on the state government instead, except for New York City, whose residents would thus continue to pay the highest property taxes (by far) in the state while financing Medicaid for the rural areas (where they'd be getting enormous property tax cuts) through income tax, of which city residents also pay far more, to the tune of some $2.3 billion (even as the state government would keep refusing to pay the city the $4.3 billion it has owed us for more than a decade since the Campaign for Fiscal Equity judgment holding that Albany was violating city residents' constitutional rights by their unequal funding of education).

So old Reed, representing the very best of the existing Republican party, brave men and women who would never vote for the worst bill in health care history, or at least not unless it got their constituents a special deal granted to no one else on their property taxes, was on NPR this morning talking about what he might do next, and mentioned how he is the leader, alongside Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of somewhere close to 40 legislators who are in no way a bunch of centrist hacks making excuses for avoiding the issues, according to them, but rather a serious and pragmatic group of people who just want to solve problems in a nonpartisan, pragmatic, problem-solving kind of way.

Which, if they want me to take them seriously, they could start demonstrating in the next few weeks by working up some solutions to the problems with the Affordable Care Act that need to be solved, by bipartisan agreement—the lack of competition among insurance companies to offer policies which leads to excessively high premiums and deductibles (renew and fund risk corridors! boost co-ops! allow Multistate program to offer county policies!), the failure to put a lid on drug price increases (let Medicaid negotiate! encourage generics! lower those special patent protection periods!), the need to raise the income level to which expanded Medicaid applies and the income level where tax subsidies cut off (that'll cost money). These are technical issues, mostly, with technical fixes, if you're above all that nasty partisanship and ideology, as I'm sure you are.

We're not getting rid of the ACA—we'll be "living with it for the foreseeable future," says old Ryan, so why not make that sucker work properly?

I'm sure it couldn't be because you don't want folks to have affordable health care, which would be so partisan and ideological and un–problem solving and so forth, or because you want the profits of insurance and pharmaceutical companies to go completely unchecked. Prove it to me, Problem Solvers! Solve that Problem! Or delete your account, as they say.

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