Henry unfurls Big Red, gets set to fire on Fort Sumter

What else am I to make of this news?

APNewsBreak: SC AG set to sue on health care deal

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Top prosecutors in South Carolina and Florida said Friday they are ready to sue if health care reform legislation passes this weekend as expected.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said he and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum will file a federal lawsuit challenging the bill’s constitutionality.

“We are ready to kill it,” McMaster said. “When the national government and Congress start going wild, it’s up the states to rein them in.”

The U.S. House plans to vote on the plan Sunday. McMaster and McCollum will argue that it violates state sovereignty because it requires that all Americans have some form of health insurance….

Henry’s just gone over the edge now. I mean, set aside the substance, if you can call his argument “substance” (and how, pray tell, are we EVER to solve our health care problems without everyone being in the system?). Personally, I doubt this is going to do me and my health care situation any good, but I’ve got to tell you that I personally resent that Henry — and Joe Wilson and Jim DeMint  and even the otherwise sensible Lindsey Graham — want to make sure nothing comes along that might help. But never mind me, and never mind the substance, because this actually isn’t about anything rational.

I see this as a steady downward movement on the part of a guy who I thought had turned out to be a pretty good AG.

First, he refused to say whether he was a Graham Republican or a DeMint Republican (I would have sworn, before that, that he was a Graham type). Then, he came out totally against any cigarette tax increase, which is totally indefensible.

Now this.

What really gets me about these last-minute theatrics by the HELL NO crowd is that what they are protesting, what they are ready to go to the ramparts over, is so pathetically watered down from what we SHOULD be doing to solve the health insurance crisis in this country. What would they do if we were about to get what we NEED, which is a no-compromise single-payer plan? Would their heads spontaneously explode? And what are they saving for something actually BAD if it should ever come down the pike?

I don’t know the answers to all of those questions, but I do know that Henry’s just gone another hundred miles down the road away from Sensible, a place where he hasn’t been seen lately.

19 thoughts on “Henry unfurls Big Red, gets set to fire on Fort Sumter

  1. Doug Ross

    So what parts of the bill do you see as most helpful to the situation? And what parts do you have a problem with? Do you have any concerns about how much this bill will cost?

    I am assuming you had an in-depth understanding of what is in the bill before you decided it should be passed. Which is interesting since the Democrats haven’t even got the thing done yet.

    From what I understand, most of the reforms you are looking for won’t even begin until 2014… that’s government at “work”.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Yeah, Henry has pretty much spent any capital he earned with me on his criminal domestic violence initiatives—

    He’s turning into Charlie Condon–filing lawsuits the rest of the country knows are ridiculous, to play to the know-nothing “base.”

  3. Brad Warthen

    Doug, as I think I made fairly clear above, and in earlier posts such as the one about Kucinich, I think this thing is a pale imitation of what we actually need.

    Of course, the more I hear Republicans rant about how it will lead inevitably to single-payer, the more I hope against hope that they’re right.

    By the way, the NYT has posted an interactive graphic comparing the Senate and House approaches, if you’d like to check it out.

    Ultimately, what really gets me is the GOP outrage over this bill being so radical, when it’s so pathetically tame by comparison with what we need…

  4. Claudia

    Wish you had a “share” Facebook button, Brad… would like to share this on my wall. Is that possible?

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis

    It’s possible that we will ultimately end up with single-payer, or it’s possible that its opponents will clean up their acts, so to speak, and we won’t need it. If wealthy insurers and providers moderate their greed and learn to be more comfortable with some risk to go with that high reward, perhaps we will lose the impetus for single payer. However, so many Medicare and VA recipients love single-payer that it seems likely that once the camel gets its nose under the tent, we could roll down that slippery slope with ease. [block that metaphor!]

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Claudia–there’s an app called “Share This” that you can download and use to share via Facebook or email–You can import your address book for ease. It becomes a button on your browser window.


  7. Brad Warthen

    And Kathryn: Oh, if only I could believe in the slippery slope! But I never can, alas. I have this stubborn mind. I don’t believe a thing is inevitable until it actually happens…

  8. Claudia

    I posted the url to my wall, but a Facebook button might drive some traffic to your blog… Twitter, too!

  9. Kathryn Fenner

    That’s the whole dialectic thing. It’s not a slippery slope. I do A. You push back with B. We get C…and on and on.

    People too often think something is done, [whew] or done [drats], when in history/politics, nothing is ever done-done, is it?

    I do believe the directional pull is toward universal coverage. Many countries have universal coverage without having single payer per se.

  10. Doug Ross

    > However, so many Medicare and VA
    >recipients love single-payer

    Who wouldn’t love a system where you don’t have to pay actual costs?

    And crooks love a single payer system as well because the government doesn’t really have any incentive to police fraud.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  11. Kathryn Fenner

    Medicare delivers quality care at controlled prices. Sure there’s fraud–like there isn’t any in fee-for-service, insurance driven care? Why do I have to show a photo ID at my doc’s every time? Apparently people are “stealing” insured’s identities (maybe with permission, so that’s “borrowing”) to receive health care.

    You don’t get all the health care you can consume with Medicare, only that which is covered…perhaps that which is covered is more than we really ought to be paying for, but…

    You wouldn’t love a system that provided lousy care–sort of like a buffet restaurant with terrible food–the old “lousy food, but such big portions!” [See, also, Seawell’s]

  12. Bart

    Well, it looks as if Henry is not alone in “going off the edge”. Looks like he is just one of many.

    “(AP) – 2 days ago

    BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on Wednesday became the first state chief executive to sign a measure requiring his attorney general to sue Congress if it passes health reforms that force residents to buy insurance. Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states nationwide.

    Constitutional law experts say the move is mostly symbolic because federal laws supersede those of the states. But the movement reflects a growing national frustration with President President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul…….”

    Is Idaho more backward and ignorant than South Carolina? Must be too much starch in the blood from eating all those potatos or is it potatoes. Where is Dan Quayle when you need him?

    Damn, another list where we come in dead last.

  13. Doug Ross


    The bill for the final two weeks of my father’s life in an ICU was over $100K. The vast majority of healthcare costs occur during the time when a person is on Medicare but your “controlled prices” argument doesn’t hold water because the government has a monopoly and no competition in that market. What happens is that those of us with private insurance pay more to cover the underpayments made by Medicare. It also results in some doctors refusing to accept Medicare patients because the reimbursement rates would mean operating at a loss.

    As for fraud, it is the magnitude of the fraud in Medicare that is the problem. One county in Florida had over a billion dollars of Medicare fraud in the past few years. There is no comparable fraud in the private sector — why? because the private sector (like it or not) is motivated to make sure people aren’t stealing money. The government is not. Too much fraud in Medicare? Just raise the tax rate.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    Government has capped the prices for some cardio test. Since most cardiologists treat mostly Medicare recipients, that works–not perfectly, but pretty well. If government caps payments on everything, or otherwise limits what it will pay, and it pays for everything, there’s no pass-along to others.
    I’m sorry about your dad. You highlight the biggest issue: the huge amounts of money that are spent keeping the very sick elderly alive. Unfortunately, we are unwilling (“Death Panels” anyone?) as a society to pull the plug, so to speak, on these expenses, because it would mean pulling the plug on Grandma or Dad. Realistically, it makes more sense to be pickier about spending for old people than what we now do, which is stint on early childhood and young adult care–which can result in expensive conditions later on.

    My dad is fond of pointing out that you got to die of something. I am so grateful he did not die December 2008 when he contracted a serious infection and then broke his hip in the hospital. He had a reasonable prognosis for full or near full recovery, so perhaps the money spent on him was well-spent (Of course I think so, but…) If he had terminal cancer, though, how much should we spend to keep a 78 year old man alive? An 85 year old?

    We will need to actually confront these decisions sooner or later. Medicine keeps coming up with expensive ways to keep us alive. How much of our GDP do we want to spend doing so? Maybe we can do without some luxuries and pitch in financially so more people can live better lives–or we can just grab on to what is ours and hope we or our loved ones don’t get sick…or old–except what is the alternative to getting old? Be careful what you wish for…

    Define fraud. Is it maybe also ordering tests just because insurance will pay for them?

  15. Ralph Hightower

    Sometime ago, Henry McMaster was going to sue Congress over the “Kornhusker Kickback” provisions exempting Nebraska from the law for the Nebraska representative or senator approval.

    McMaster hasn’t sued Congress in Washington. I don’t know how he can.

    It, Health Care Reform, ain’t even law yet. Not today, not in the last month or so.

    I don’t know how McMaster can sue Pelosi, Reid, or that guy from Nebraska for legislation that ain’t even been signed into law by President Obama.

    Once the legislation is signed into law by President Obama, then SC Attorney General, Henry McMaster, can sue the Federal government.

    Until then, McMaster is just appealing to the Tea Partiers in South Carolina.

    I should preface this with, I am not a lawyer. But I don’t think Henry McMaster has legal grounds until HCR becomes law. He is just grandstanding in his run for governor and using his office as Attorney General as a fulcrum.

  16. Kathryn Fenner

    I am a lawyer, and I believe that the legislation can easily be justified under the interstate commerce clause…but when has a lousy legal argument stopped a SC Attorney General?

    As the “hospitals chief” said on Monday at Rotary, “Maybe you don’t want to be required to purchase health insurance, but then it’s not fair to require hospitals to treat you, either.”

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