Phil Gramm on Health Care: “It's Not Going to Affect Me, Because I'm Older and I'm Rich. “

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Republican Phil Gramm — the mastermind behind our recent economic collapse — was on Dallas radio station KRLD Wednesday afternoon to discuss his opposition to Texas Democrat Chet Edwards and discuss President Obama's health care plan. During his interview, he explained why he opposes the bill.

Listen to KRLD and the Phil Gramm interview, or read the key part of the transcript below

Braddock: …You have people saying repeal and replace, and a lot of people using terms like socialism, communism, fascism, all these things – it leads to, or can lead to, some things that are even illegal. You’ve got a man charged for threatening a Senator’s life, for example. You have people leaving messages for Democratic Congressman that say, “I hope you bleed out your ass, get cancer and die.” Why is the level of vitriol where it is and do Republicans who call this socialism and communism and all that – do they bear any responsibility for it?    

Gramm: Well, first of all, if a government takeover of health care isn’t socialism, I don’t know what is…    

Braddock: Define government takeover, though…    

Gramm: I define government takeover as when government becomes the dominant decision maker in health care, and that’s clearly where this bill is taking us. And I think people are rightly concerned about it, and quite frankly if people knew how this bill is ultimately going to work, where government is going to decide who gets what health care, there would be riots in the street. I think it’s a very serious issue, and it scares me. It’s not going to affect me, because I’m older and I’m rich. But it’s going to affect a lot of people and it’s going to be excruciatingly painful.

Gramm ignores the basic facts of health care, including the following — which Katherine has well detailed:

  • Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents' policy until their 27th birthday.
  • Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions.
  • No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage.
  • Free preventative care for all.
  • Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they're still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
  • Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees' health insurance.
  • The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
  • Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  • Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders' amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  • No more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can't lose your insurance because you get sick.

Gramm's proclamation — that he's old and rich — should be shocking, except this is the same man that still believes the massive financial deregulation he pushed through from 1999-2001 — policies that almost universally have been recognized for causing the financial collapse the nation is still recovering — were the right thing to do. (Source: New York Times, “The Reckoning: Deregulator Looks Back, Unswayed”). Phil Gramm is a shameless Republican, and someone with no credibility to speak about the actual needs of Texans.


About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.


  1. TexianPolitico on

    Lloyd Doggett
    And Lloyd Doggett lost to him in 1984 by about a 59-41 tally. That must befuddle a lot of people.

  2. Phil Gramm
    The old, rich guy caused a lot of us to lose our livelihoods, a lot of us to lose our health insurance and a lot of us to get sick and die and now wants to warn all of us about the “excruciating pain” that the new health care bill will cause?

    Oh, Good Lord. He needs a lot of therapy. And somebody needs to turn off his microphone.

  3. Gramm/GOP voodoo trickle down economics
    caused the 2008 melt down that is the worst we've seen since the Great Depression of the 1930's.  GOP economic ideology in a nutshell:  let the fat cats empty the U.S. Treasury into their pockets while sticking the losses they incur on U.S. taxpayers.

    Gramm led the charge in dismantling all of the regulatory agencies and laws that were to have prevented another Great Depression in the U.S.  

    Meanwhile his wife Wendy while an executive for Enron, dumped her stock before the company imploded.  Wendy and other fat cats came out smelling like roses while everyday employees lost both their jobs and live long savings.

    The Center examined contributions from 29 top Enron executives and directors named in a shareholders' lawsuit filed against the company last month. Only five of those named in the suit did not make a contribution. The suit alleges that the 29 executives and directors sold $1.1 billion worth of stock while knowing the company was in danger of collapse.

    The 29 comprise virtually every board member and senior executive that worked at the company during the past three years, according to the company's annual reports.

    An analysis of the trades prepared by the law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP reveals the insider sell-off represented 44.3 percent of the total stock holdings and options held by the executives during a three-year period before Enron's meltdown. Fifteen of the 29 executives unloaded more than half their stock before Enron drastically revised its revenue estimates downward, pushing the stock price into a death spiral.

    Enron, at one time the seventh-largest company in America and its largest energy trader, filed for bankruptcy on December 2.

    Enron's stock collapsed when the company announced on Nov. 8 that it had overstated its earnings by $600 million from 1997 through 2000. The company had kept financial losses off its balance sheet. Many of those losses were incurred through dealings with private partnerships that were run by Enron executives.

    The collapse has angered rank and file employees who were blocked from selling company shares in their own retirement portfolios, even as the price nose-dived from a one-time high of $90 to its current value of less than a dollar.

    Can someone please remind me why folks continue to vote for people like Phil Gramm and others like him that are on obvious crusades to undermine the financial and healthy well being of everyday Americans?  Is the GOP merely the party for fat cat, by fat cat and of fat cat?

    You betcha it is.  

  4. leehenderson on

    Worst Kind of Aggie Joke
    Aggies learned some of their economics education from this man.

    Phil Gramm was an economics professor at Texas A&M for years before foisting that financial deregulation on us.

  5. rickthefireguy on

    Old & Rich…
    That's the problem with Phil and his republican brethren – their old, rich and couldn't care less about the regular folks!

    My grandfather once told me:

    “If you successful in life its because sociality allowed for your success! And that's a debt one can't full pay back! But you can pay your fair share of taxes and lend a hand-up to those below you!”

    The average republican is both bigoted and wants to retain his life style and all that is around him or her without paying for the cost of it, i.e., roads, police and yes social services!

    There is no moral right in today's republican party or it's christians fundamentalist enablers!

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