OR-SEN: Huffman's View on Health Care

Jeff Alworth

David Frum, the rebel conservative who put the phrase "axis of evil" in George W. Bush's mouth, has a blog. For that blog, he recently interviewed Republican Senatorial candidate Jim Huffman, who hopes to knock off Ron Wyden this fall. Most BlueOregon readers are pretty familiar with Huffman's general stance on governance, but even I was taken aback by this section:

In terms of Obamacare, Huffman said that defunding the program “would be one positive step in the sense that it would make it impossible for some of this stuff to be put into place.” Huffman told Frum that the health care problem that most urgently requires attention is the high cost of care, rather than universal coverage.

The idea of defunding the recently-passed health care reform law puts Huffman squarely with the tea party fire-breathers--no surprise there.

But I was especially fascinated to see that Huffman's focus is on the high cost of care. This was, of course, the central focus of the legislation (not, to progressives' chagrin, universal care), and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it will reign in costs and actually reduce the deficit.

Which makes me wonder: is Huffman unaware of this fact, or is he one of the fringiest of the fringe who is so ideologically driven that he rejects CBO numbers? Either way, not comforting.

Comments

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    For what it's worth, no one from the Huffman campaign has contacted me to see if I support the HC Reform. If elected, isn't he supposed to represent his constituents in Congress.

    Has anyone else been contacted on this matter?

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      I haven't been contacted. But the GOP plan to control health care costs is through price rationing. Shift to major medical plans only and routine health care services are out of pocket, so that will discourage people from having routine health care and they will only go in for medical help when they're half dead.

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    The Rs are going to imitate Newt Gingrich, shut down the government in order to defund health care. That worked really well back in the 90s.

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      Ah yes, starve the beast! That's a clever little scheme.

      I say, take 'em on and take 'em down. Really focus on the facts of just how bogus these guys really are.

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    Your point about the fact that the ACA will reduce cost and the deficit, while accurate, unintentionally side-steps the much larger cost reduction driver which could have been in the law if it had passed, that being a public option.

    I do find it funny though that Frum and the wingers try desperately to re-label Mitt Romney's healthcare system he pushed through in MA (which is the basic foundation of the healthcare law that the Feds passed) as "Obamacare".

    It amusing if nothing else in seeing them try and demonize anything that President Obama or the Democratic members of Congress pass.

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      Yes it's going to reduce the deficit ...??? lol You probably believe in the easter bunny and santa claus too Mitchell. The only thing that wasn't in the health care tax bill was reform! What you will see as a result of this new law is an increase in premiums for most americans and a squeezing out of private health insurers. Obama was at least smart enough to know he couldn't break it off in the American people all at once. I think it would be great if no one ever had to pick up the tab for the costs of their healthcare but the real world doesn't to the tune of someone's socialist fantasy it dances to only what is real. What's real says we can't afford this law ... reality says that a very solid majority of americans opposed it then and oppose it now. Reality says that the left's end run on the will of the people on this topic along with trying to sell it to us with the lie that it will reduce the deficit is the reason the conservatives will control both the house and the senate in a few short weeks and reality says it's a terrible law that no one (no majority or anything close) wanted which reminds me of this CS Lewis Quote I just read on a friends wall on FB.. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." — C.S. Lewis

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        Cough, cough...moral busybodies?

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        "What you will see as a result of this new law is an increase in premiums for most americans and a squeezing out of private health insurers."

        How would that work, exactly? Premiums go up AND insurers go out of business?

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          Trying to find a rational argument in most of Robert's postings is like pluming C.S Lewis' better known works (full of talking lions, elves and witches) for "realism".

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        So you are saying the nonpartisan CBO is lying (PDF)...? The source of your data is what? Mine's the CBO, what's yours?

        BTW, given your moral busybodiness in the threads about Dudley not being really pro-choice, you have proven that not only unintentional irony or lack of self-awareness is alive and well, but hypocrisy is is a the true mark of a modern "conservative".

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    There's a peculiar phenomenon in the present cycle of Repug talking points, which are freely repeated in the media without any fact checking. The narrative goes that everything and anything negative presently in the health care scene is a result of Obamacare, even though very little of it has actually been implemented. Every increase in premiums, those already in the works, is the result of Obamacare. If somehow I have a problem with my primary care provider from a stubbed toe, it will be 100% because of Obamacare according to this school of GOP propaganda. My daughter heard the assertion from someone in a corporate health care plan that their group premiums went up, and it was because of Obamacare. The strategy is to keep repeating things until they get believed, even thought there's no factual basis. It's the WMD strategy in everything political.

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    All together now....

    single. payer.

    rinse, lather, repeat

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      I believe we're headed inevitably toward single payer, a Medicare for all but the rich, simply because the corporate insurance industry is going to demonstrate it is not sustainable or affordable. It will collapse. And employers will decide they can't do business competitively and provide outlandishly expensive junk insurance from the corporate insurance for their employees. It is notable that Dr. Tim Johnson, the long time medical editor for ABC news predicted that we were also headed for Medicare for all. The news anchor cleared his throat and quickly moved on. Medicare is the only sustainable and operational model we have for universal and affordable coverage today. Politically it is not sustainable to ask middle class Americans to pay for medical coverage for seniors and disabled which they themselves do not receive.

      As for Huffman, what do you expect from someone who also wants to give Soc. Sec. to Wall St. and thereby end it.

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        Repeat Robert's sentiments, without the blather. Why can Democrats not see that Obama doesn't want it? If it weren't for the teabaggers, there's no way you could get away with this, "Well, he really wanted it, but he's actually quite feckless". From Afghanistan to HCR...

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          Nonsense. Nelson and Lieberman were NEVER going to allow the PO to move forward in the Senate bill. But I see the paranoid and mythical "Obama stabbed us in the back" meme is going strong still with many on "the left".

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    "But I was especially fascinated to see that Huffman's focus is on the high cost of care."

    In this respect, isn't Huffman in agreement with Wyden's most recent position? Wyden stated in his letter to the Oregon Health Authority office that "the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates".

    He also stated that a "one size fits all approach from Washington is not the best approach for the Northwest", and that he favors an Oregon waiver from the federal mandate earlier than the current law states.

    In a letter to the Huffington Post he also stated that he "learned that giving consumers more choices is one of the most powerful ways to reduce health insurance costs and hold insurance companies accountable".

    I think Wyden is trying to have it both ways; support the bill but complain about the most unpopular elements of it. He appears to support federal mandates and consumer choice at the same time; he isn't making any sense and I think most people will see through it.

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      What you fail to note is that Wyden seeking a waiver for Oregon is so that the state can implement a public option, and any state level exchange would still have to meet all ACA requirements. This not only reduces cost by bringing downward pressure on private insurance, but would also expand access wider than the ACA mandates.

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      Ed, a few points. Wyden had a competing plan, and it's hard to fault him for preferring his own. The bill we now call "Obamacare" (a name Republicans are ultimately going to regret) is far from ideal in my mind, too. Like others commenting here, I was a strong advocate for single-payer. But my preference for a competing plan doesn't mean I don't think this was a historic piece of legislation--and one I would take to the streets to preserve.

      As for nitpicking--that's also not unusual. Big bills have lots of parts, and it's fine to wish to fine-tune them. For example, I hope we add in a public option!

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        One hears this from Democrats constantly today. What I can't understand is how is that not moral relativism? How can you say that you're putting reform ahead of party? Thinking for yourself? That's how it comes across to people like me. That's the charitable interpretation. The cynical one is that it's a standard device. Start by saying that you support the position, then hem and haw and conclude that the party is worth of continued support.

        Maybe we just disagree on degree. Maybe it would help calibrate the radar if you could state the conditions under which you would drop the Democratic Party. If there are no conditions, then it's faith. Most Americans, including the cognitively challenged, don't accept that any politician should be the object of faith.

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          What I can't understand is how is that not moral relativism?

          As the line from the movie The Princess Bride goes, "I do not think it means what you think it means."

          Moral relativism does not mean that voting yes on a bill that does 7 out of the 10 things you think need to be done vs. voting no on the bill and getting 0 of the 10 things you think needs to be done, translates into being morally relativistic.

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        Vincente, I can't control how you take things, but there's a very big difference between criticizing elements of a very big plan and supporting "the position." Would you please find me evidence that Wyden doesn't support the law? He did vote for it, after all.

        Republicans have a pretty common view that if you oppose any action taken by the majority of the caucus, your are a traitor and a moral coward. That's an interesting view, but one that has few precedents in American history. And one with which few Americans--me included--agree.

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