Shannyn Moore: Alaska's GOP leaders follow the fringe on health care

September 28, 2013 

We're just a few days from launch for critical portions of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Republicans in Washington, D.C., are so freaked out they've taken the economy hostage and threatened to shoot it. Conservatives with "support the troops" on their car bumpers have no problem cutting off paychecks to soldiers in a doomed bid to "protect" Americans from affordable health care. I'll bet the list of things they want before they'll agree to pay the nation's debts was made by cutting words out of magazines and pasting them on a piece of paper.

In case I'm being too subtle, this is not negotiation. It's extortion.

Canadian-born Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pulled his own Chatty Cathy doll string for 21 hours in what can only be described as political theater. On the Senate floor, his railing against the ACA included a reading of Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham."

Apparently he either had never read the book, or didn't understand it when he did. "Sam, I am" protests against something for the whole book until he tries it and finds he likes it.

Mr. Cruz doesn't have health insurance through his job as a senator. His wife, an executive at the investment bank Goldman Sachs, covers him. (You remember Goldman Sachs, so memorably described as the "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.")

After his exhausting speech, he jumped into his new BMW and drove away. Photo op time: He knelt in prayer outside the White House. Ted's excellent adventure. What a man of the people.

On the homefront, Joe Miller and Mead Treadwell jockeyed to see who could show the most love for Cruz. The tea party is losing ground, but the two of them are ramping up a courtship of the crazies.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski called the health care act an "unworkable law." Is she opposed to the Indian Health Service or V.A. hospitals? Does she reject the government coverage that comes with her job? She voted just like Miller would have. (And she voted the opposite of the late-Sen. Ted Stevens, a co-sponsor of the 1993 HEART Act, which had individual mandates for citizens.)

The Republicans aren't concerned about the burden of mandates. It's their idea. They came up with it in 1992. They're concerned the American people will actually like having insurance companies held accountable for their rates, and the fact that the companies will be required to spend 80 percent of the premiums they collect on actual health care.

Being eligible for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition will bring a big sigh of relief for millions of Americans. Same for the folks who have ignored lumps and other symptoms for years out of fear that a diagnosis would bankrupt their families.

Millions of young adults now have coverage through their parents. Women will no longer be penalized because . . . well. . . they are women. (I realize the whole baby-making thing can get spendy, but it's not like they got that way by themselves.)

Medicaid was expanded to make sure states could cover the poorest among us. It's this weird concept that poor people get sick and can't just be left to die.

We live in a "post-fact" political world. When asked in a recent poll, 46 percent of respondents said they oppose Obamacare, but only 37 percent said they oppose the Affordable Care Act. Wonder what's going on there.

Or take Gov. Sean Parnell. Parnell is deciding whether to extend Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of working-poor Alaskans. He paid nearly $80,000 of our money for a report detailing the pros and cons of expanding Medicaid. Other reports have suggested expanding Medicaid in Alaska will provide health insurance for 40,000 Alaskans, create 4,000 Alaska jobs, bring $1.1 billion into Alaska and cost the state nothing for two years. Yet the governor has for months refused to release the findings of his new report.

Now he's refused a Freedom of Information Act request for it -- even though legislative attorneys say he is legally required to release it. Alaskans are entitled to know that his Medicaid decision is based on facts, not politics. Or politics, not facts.

Watching this week in Washington, I thought, "This is what it would look like if Aaron Sorkin wrote Die Hard" -- a government based on hostages and ransom notes.

Hey, Republicans. Stop being babies. Stop pulling for the failure of one man at the expense of millions of Americans.

As for the president and his party?

They should remember that we have a national policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Why? Because giving in only encourages them to do it again.


Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio.

 

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