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.