DNC Slams AG Abbott for Playing Politics With Texans' Lives

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The DNC released a statement today excoriating Attorney General Greg Abbott for his attempt to block Texans from receiving the federal health insurance reforms passed into law today by President Obama.

Abbott seems determined to be the bureaucrat that comes between Texans and their doctors. Thankfully, his misguided, frivolous lawsuit seems to have little grounds to proceed. From DNC Regional Press Secretary Ricardo A. Ramírez:

“It's clear that Attorney General Abbott is playing politics with the lives and well-being of Texans. Health Insurance Reform has been passed by the House and Senate with an unprecedented degree of transparency and now that the President signed it, it is the law of the land. And to be clear, it's widely agreed upon that it is constitutional.  

“The Attorney General's threat of a lawsuit is a waste of state funds during the worst economic crisis in a generation. The American people don't want any more delay and obstruction on this – they want thoughtfully-implemented reform so that it works for all Americans.

“The fact is, the individual mandate is just one of the many Republican ideas that Democrats have included in this legislation.  If Republicans now want to deny middle class families in Texas and small businesses relief from soaring insurance premiums, seniors help in paying for their prescription drugs, or sick people a way to be insured once again, that's their choice to make-but they'll find they're on the wrong side of the American people.”

Legal scholars have concurred that the individual mandate is in fact Constitutionally sound. Several Republicans supported the individual mandate during the 1992 health reform efforts. Consumer groups and business groups support the mandate as well. Greg Abbott needs to stop playing politics with Texans' lives and get back to work doing his job.  

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

6 Comments

  1. Please Explain
    Could someone please explain the argument that because Republicans have previously supported the individual mandate, that it somehow makes it constitutional?  Further, this will be the first time that the federal government, not the state, is requiring individuals to purchase a private commodity, health insurance.  What's next?  Are we going to be required to purchase an American car?  Is that really that outlandish after what we've just witnessed?

    • Liberty?
      And just how much better off are we when the state requires us to purchase a private commodity? Take a look at auto insurance rates in Texas before you answer, please.

      And, by the way, when we are all required to purchase  American cars, you may keep your Yugo.

    • Two questions, two answers
      As George noted, constitutionality and Republican hypocrisy are two different things.

      For the constitutionality, look at the letter to Abbott written by Democratic legislative leaders, citing the relevant case law that clearly gives the federal government the authority to impose an individual mandate. You'll be hard pressed to find a reputable legal scholar (as opposed to a politician or their usual shills) who says otherwise. And ever since the Civil War, the supremacy of federal law over state law has been firmly established, so let's not have any talk of nullification (or worse, secession). Screaming about the individual mandate may be good politics for Republicans, but as a legal argument it's worthless.

      As for the politics, isn't it a little rich for Republicans to say in the 90s “The Clinton Health Care plan is socialist tyranny — our ideas, including an individual mandate, are much better”, and now to say “The Obama Health Care Plan is socialist tyranny because it contains an individual mandate”? If that isn't hypocrisy, what is?  

      • Health Insurance Reform
        There is a provision in the bill that provides states may opt out under certain criteria (setting up the state's own plan), which state plan would not have to contain the mandate.  There's a article in HuffPo, but I don't have the link. Sorry.

  2. I guess
    Rick Perry and Greg Abbott just want to participate in the Republican Waterloo, too! Jumping into the fray…going down with the ship. Perfect.

    No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents' insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

    We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

    There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

    I've been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush's listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

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