Bachmann’s ‘House Call’ obstructionist health reform policy as pathology

Controversial Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is hosting a “House Call” urging Tea Party activists to storm the Capitol today to oppose health care reform. The underlying politics of this is simply pathology, says longtime journalist Marc Cooper.


We live in a country where 50 million people are one broken leg away from bankruptcy, where an annual health care policy costs $12,000 a year, where a cartel of insurance companies have entire departments dedicated to finding loopholes to deny what coverage they do extend, and what, exactly, is the Republican-Bachmann proposal?

“I think if we stop it, it could be dead for 10 years,” she gleefully told her supporters tonight. Why stop there? if you can stop it for another ten years you can also have 500,000 or so additional Americans dead.

Look, I have my own problems with Obamacare. And I certainly grant the right to those to my right to have their own set of objections. The pre-condition for my tolerance, however, is that you have some rational counter-proposal to the unacceptable status quo.

I heard the always comical RNC Chair Michael Steele on the tube today crowing over this week’s elections. He claimed that “left-wing nuts” in Congress were responsible for blocking national health care that Obama has promised and that his granny was in peril because of it. That’s pretty damn funny coming from the leader of the party that is unanimously united against all heath care reform. He’s right, of course, that it will be a bunch of nuts obstructing reform tomorrow.

They will, however, be right-wing nuts. And out in front of the mob, Rep. Bachmann.

Here’s Cooper in August conducting a public radio interview with California Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They talked then about how the final House health reform bill might look like.

Waxman at the time was confident that universal health insurance would pass.

“It should happen,” said Waxman. “That’s a moral statement.’Should happen’ is the expectation of what I’d like to see… There are a lot of things that can happen but when there’s so much at stake… we’ll get it done one way or another.”

At about 8:20 Cooper asks Waxman this rare simple question:

“Too many reports leave out for what the average family is a simple detail. The detail is: ‘How much does this thing cost?’ I know from my own research that the average family policy costs about $12,000 per years. Is there going to be a way in 2013 that a single mother with three kids who makes $45,000 a year, who does not qualify for Medicaid or anything, and takes home $30,000 and can not afford to spend $12,000 on health care, is a person like that going to be able to get coverage buy something for $3,000 or $4,000 and get real coverage?”

Listen to the answer. Waxman ends up discussing the bill to ban smoking on airlines, which passed by three votes and was limited to flights more than two hours or less. It was a hard fight. Nutritional information on food labels is also the product of another hard fought battle. Waxman at the time said they might get three GOP votes. Waxman is shocked then, during the town hall crazy recess, that Republicans were determined to almost unanimously obstruct health reform for strict political reasons.

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