Healthcare chutzpah

Just didn’t want Ezra’s excellent post yesterday to go by unremarked (or, extensively copied and pasted):

The classic definition of chutzpah is the child who kills his parents and then asks for leniency because he’s an orphan. But in recent weeks, we’ve begun to see the Washington definition: A party that does everything possible to sabotage a law and then professes fury when the law’s launch is rocky.

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan became the latest Republicans to call for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to step down because of the Affordable Care Act’s troubled launch. “I do believe people should be held accountable,” he said.

Okay then.

How about House Republicans who refused to appropriate the money the Department of Health and Human Services said it needed to properly implement Obamacare?

How about Senate Republicans who tried to intimidate Sebelius out of using existing HHS funds to implement Obamacare? “Would you describe the authority under which you believe you have the ability to conduct such transfers?” Sen. Orrin Hatch demanded at one hearing. It’s difficult to imagine the size of the disaster if Sebelius hadn’t moved those funds.

How about congressional Republicans who refuse to permit the packages of technical fixes and tweaks that laws of this size routinely require?

How about Republican governors who told the Obama administration they absolutely had to be left to build their own health-care exchanges — you’ll remember that the House Democrats’ health-care plan included a single, national exchange — and then refused to build, leaving the construction of 34 insurance marketplaces up to HHS?

How about the coordinated Republican effort to get the law declared unconstitutional — an effort that ultimately failed, but that stalled implementation as government and industry waited for the uncertainty to resolve?

How about the dozens of Republican governors who refused to take federal dollars to expand Medicaid, leaving about 5.5 million low-income people who’d be eligible for free, federally-funded government insurance to slip through the cracks?

The GOP’s strategy hasn’t just tried to win elections and repeal Obamacare. They’ve actively sought to sabotage the implementation of the law.

Of course, for reporters to actually say that would violate journalistic norms of “both sides…”  Fortunately, we’ve got Ezra.

Chart of the day

Gender inequality in very cool chart form in the G20 nations. Via the Economist.

Short version: health and education, looking great.  Economy: needs work.  Politics: F.

Photo of the day

From the National Geographic tumblr:

A hand-tinted photograph of Jerusalem, March 1914.Photograph by American Colony Photographers

A hand-tinted photograph of Jerusalem, March 1914.PHOTOGRAPH BY AMERICAN COLONY PHOTOGRAPHERS

Absentee voter fraud

Great, great talk on Voter ID, race, voter fraud, etc., by Rick Hasen last night.

(Got to put the Iphone’s new panorama photo feature to good use)

So, much good stuff, but I thought one particularly compelling point was just how much voter fraud is actually absentee fraud.  If Republicans truly cared about electoral integrity (and let’s be honest– they don’t care a whit), they would crack down on absentee fraud.  That’s where the action is.   He talked about this very interesting study on voter fraud:

The News21 analysis of its election fraud database shows:

  • In-person voter-impersonation fraud is rare. The database shows 207 cases of other types of fraud for every case of voter impersonation.

“The fraud that matters is the fraud that is organized. That’s why voter impersonation is practically non-existent because it is difficult to do and it is difficult to pull people into conspiracies to do it,” said Lorraine Minnite, professor of public policy and administration at Rutgers University.

  • There is more fraud in absentee ballots and voter registration than any other categories. The analysis shows 491 cases of absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases of registration fraud. A required photo ID at the polls would not have prevented these cases.

“The one issue I think is potentially important, though more or less ignored, is the overuse of absentee balloting, which provides far more opportunity for fraud and intimidation than on-site voter fraud,” said Daniel Lowenstein, a UCLA School of Law professor.

Almost a quarter of all fraud cases where absentee voter fraud (and, yes, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to vote absentee).  Cases of in-person voter fraud, .5% of all voter fraud cases.  When Republicans start cracking down on absentee voter fraud (I won’t say never, at some point Democrats may vote absentee more than Republicans) then I’ll believe they actually care about electoral integrity.  Until then?  It’s just vote-supressing lies.

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