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Two ways to deal with a problem you don’t want to solve

First, deny there is a problem.

It's constitutional - deal with it

It’s constitutional – deal with it

Attorney General Greg Abbott said Thursday he would never give up the fight against Obamacare, but the front-running candidate for Texas governor declined to embrace a temporary shut-down of the federal government — one of the key strategies promoted by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and other Tea Party-backed Republicans in Washington.

Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, was the topic of conversation at a campaign event Abbott staged at a business in north Austin. (As it turns out, the company is one of Abbott’s campaign contractors).

Employing the town hall format, with questions from an audience packed in advance with supporters, Abbott highlighted his efforts to fight the federal law in court and said its financial burdens on employers would kill jobs in Texas.

“The flaws and false promises of Obamacare are now being exposed,” Abbott said. “Obamacare is the wrong prescription for American health care and I will never stop fighting against it.”


Though Abbott warned of massive financial and regulatory burdens of the federal health care reforms, he said he supported two of its major provisions — one that bans insurance companies from putting lifetime caps on insurance policies and another that bars them from refusing coverage due to pre-existing conditions. The attorney general said those two provisions should be adopted in the law as stand-alone measures.

One reporter noted that Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the nation and asked Abbott what he planned to do about it. Abbott expressed support for permitting insurance companies to sell policies across state lines but also suggested the problem isn’t as bad as some suggest.

“Just because someone may be uninsured does not mean they don’t have access to health care,” Abbott said. “The percentage of people in the state of Texas with access to healthcare is in the mid- to high-90 percent range. People still have access to quality health care in the state of Texas.”

Tell you what, Greg. How about you and everyone on your staff give up that nice health insurance package that you have that we taxpayers provide for you, and spend the next four or so years paying for your own health care, and going to the local emergency room as an indigent patient when the cost gets to be too much for you? Then you can talk about having “access to health care” in a more authoritative way. What say you, is it a deal?

The other way to deal with a problem you don’t want to solve is to lie about it.

One reason that Abbott gave for fighting the law came in response to a doctor who asked him from the audience about what Texas could do to keep the federal law from interfering with doctors’ judgment about the best way to treat their patients.

“You’re raising one of the more challenging components of Obamacare, and a hidden component in a way, and that is government is stepping in between the doctor-patient relationship and trying to tell you what you can and cannot do, interfering with both your conscience and your medical oath to take care of your patient,” said Abbott, who is campaigning to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.

That is similar to arguments raised against tighter abortion restrictions approved in special session, including a ban on the procedure at 20 weeks, along with stricter regulations on clinics and abortion-inducing drugs.

Asked the difference afterward, Abbott said, “The difference is that in the law that was passed in the state of Texas … what they’re trying to do is to give a woman five months to make a very tough decision, while at the same time get involved in trying to protect the unborn.”

That doesn’t even make sense. I guess I didn’t expect internal consistency, but you’d think by now he’d at least have a better rationalization prepared. This is little more than “Because I said so”.

Anyway. All of this was in part because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in the state trying once again to tempt Texas with a deal to expand Medicaid. Which our Republican leaders won’t do because they don’t care about solving the problem of people not having insurance. They care about the potential for increased paperwork under the Affordable Care Act, and they care that some business owners might have thinner profit margins, but they don’t care that the fatter profit margins those business owners now claim to enjoy come at the expense of their employees. Because why should they care? They have insurance. It’s not their problem, and they’re not interested in solutions.

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