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Greg Abbott Fights Obamacare at Republican Mailhouse

by Published on
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
Patrick Michels

Today in your dog-bites-man news: Texas Attorney General and governor hair apparent Greg Abbott appeared at an Austin business today to complain about Obamacare. The event was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity-Texas, a corporate-funded conservative group that’s taking on Enroll America, a non-profit group that’s going door to door to coax uninsured people to sign up for insurance under Obamacare. In an email yesterday, Peggy Venable of AFP-Texas described Enroll America as “a new group that’s includes [sic] several health insurance industry executives on its board along with former Obama operatives.”

Like every other Texas GOP politician running for statewide office, Abbott has enlisted Obama as a campaign opponent in the absence of a Democratic opponent. On the “issues” page of his campaign site, he puts “end[ing] Obamacare” at the top of the list. Today, he said, “We need to do all we can to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a better law,” according to San Antonio Express-News reporter Peggy Fikac, but dodged a question about whether he approves of Ted Cruz’s plan to shut down the government to defund the health care law.

Abbott spoke at Texas Mailhouse, a bulk-mailing firm that, just coincidentally I’m sure, does a brisk business in sending out mailers for Republican politicians, including Abbott. Since 2000, Texas Mailhouse has been paid nearly $538,000 by politicians—almost exclusively Republican—and business PACs, according to Texans for Public Justice. Texas Mailhouse owner Bob Thomas also runs Thomas Graphics, a Republican direct-mail firm that has collected more than $458,000 from Abbott’s campaigns since 2000, according to the Texas Tribune.

Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was at Austin City Hall drumming up support for the Affordable Care Act. She hinted that the Obama administration is open to working out a compromise on Medicaid expansion, which Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and most GOP-ers in Texas have rejected, leaving an estimated 1.5 million Texans uninsured.

“We are eager to have discussions with Texas about a program that could look uniquely Texan,” the Texas Tribune quoted her as saying. “But as far as I know, those conversations, at least with the state officials, are not taking place right now.”

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • SoberMoney

    I saw a news crawler today (while being forced to watch Fox News at my haircutters) and it said “ObamaCare health exchange premiums expected to be higher than forecast.” Of course every state where it has been early tested the premiums have been lower than expected.

    Leave it up to the Republican Fox channel to distort and misrepresent as they spout the lies of people like Greg Abbott. Maybe Abbott – or one of the Rep lemmings working at the RNC – wrote the story for the news crawler.

    Better to make people suffer than admit the ObamaCare plan might work well.

    • Carol Eckelkamp

      Apparently you have not filled out an application for health insurance lately with a Texas agent. They have the details of policies NOW, and policies that comply with The Affordable Care Act. Let me draw an analogy, you can purchase minimum car insurance that doesn’t force comprehensive liability, but if mandates for that were in place, costs would go up. You can buy a health insurance policy now w/o pregnancy coverage in TX but in 2014 ALL policies must have this coverage. How much does having a baby cost? Been to that neonatal center lately? Clueless, huh?

      I use one example because most people tune out if I want to discuss the 3500 1/2 other pages of this law. Don’t get me started on all the un-informed, low info, blind sheep voters or the blind supporting non-voters. Converse, learn, act!

      • SoberMoney

        Were you so angry and indignant when Mr. White bread Romney implemented the same plan in MA?

        And I never believe what you right wing Fox News spewing anti-everything Obama supplicants say anymore. How about you put up a link to the ACA application you refer to so we can judge for ourselves.

        Maybe then you may have some credibility. We have read and heard your type of mindless anti-Obama lies for too many years now to just assume what you are saying is true.

        You cry wolf too many times and you are irrelevant.

        • Carol Eckelkamp

          My first response is that I seldom watch cable news as the bias to the far left and far right is ridiculous. My second is to ask you to figure out your health insurance benefits by reading the Schedule of Benefits and understand what will/will not have to change in the upcoming years as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is implemented. Another question for you: Is the IRS penalty enforceable by tax lien or garnishment or only by withholding your refund? Big IRS hammer or little soft weenee hammer?

          Here is a link to a PPACA summary pages from the Kaiser Family Foundation
          http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/8061-021.pdf

          Want a link to the application? Find an agent or go to YOUR website: https://www.healthcare.gov/ This site is yours and mine, as is every commercial and piece of million dollar marketing. All funded by tax dollars. I speak out as a 10-year licensed agent in TX and AZ. I don’t believe people realize how far-reaching the law is, from the verification of income and citizenship status to the funding for abortions and beyond to the new “fees” to corporations.

          Check my credibility now and show me yours by responding to me. Just a note, some companies are grandfathering in the benefits in 2014, but 2015 is a brand new ballgame-they all must change. If you buy a new health insurance policy after 1/1/2014 you WILL have all the mandates.

          We are conversing, learning and acting, just don’t let petty politics get in the way of your brain power!

          • ZH38

            Of course Obamacare has nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with unconstitutionally forcing people to purchase something. The car insurance analogy does not fly since driving is a privilege and it is regulated by the individual states.

    • ZH38

      Please tell me about a government monopoly that works better than the private sector? As far as the military, police and fire departments, they are basic functions of government that we pay taxes for.

      The fact is that the US has, until Obamacare, the greatest healthcare system in the world. That’s why members of the Saudi Royal family fly to the US (not the UK, France, or other nations with lousy socialized, government-run systems) for routine exams.

      As far as the ever-so ‘enlightened’ Europeans that the leftist want us to emulate, check out what their own media say about their version of Obamacare:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2418250/NHS-death-rate-worst-West-Patients-50-likely-die-neglect-US-says-study.html

      NHS death rate is one of worst in the West: Patients 50% more likely to die of neglect than in US, says study

      Clinical care trails the rest of the Western World, it has emerged

      Britons have five times the chance of dying from pneumonia than U.S.

      NHS death rates are much higher than many western European countries

      *****************************************
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2136999/No-treatment-smokers-obese-Doctors-measures-deny-procedures-unhealthier-lifestyles.html

      Doctors back demands to deny NHS treatment for smokers and the obese

      **********************************
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2126379/Sentenced-death-old-The-NHS-denies-life-saving-treatment-elderly-mans-chilling-story-reveals.html
      Sentenced to death for being old: The NHS denies life-saving treatment to the elderly, as one man’s chilling story reveals

      • Mr. Fusion

        First, America does not have the “best” health care in the world. For a few that can afford it, yes, there is very good care. For the other 99%, there isn’t.

        America is around the 40th in life expectancy. Even Cubans can expect a longer life than an American.

        Americans spend much more per capita with poorer results.

        From your link:

        He said one of the reasons that American hospitals do much better is because staff are actively encouraged to report mistakes – and whistleblowers are not persecuted as they sometimes are in the NHS.

        He said: ‘If you go to the States doctors can talk about problems, nurses can raise problems and listen to patient complaints.

        Riiight. My wife is a hospital supervisor. Everyone is afraid of losing their job if they complain. So they don’t. They don’t complain about doctors wearing the same suit jacket from patient to patient, doctors not washing their hands, of obviously wrong prescriptions, of unwarranted and intrusive tests, etc.

        The Royal College also wants a chief of medicine to be appointed in every hospital to oversee the care of the elderly.

        Like that would EVER happen in America. The elderly are cash cows to be milked for every nickel Medicare will spend.

        NHS rates are comparable to other nations in Europe as well as the “Western Nations”.

        BTW, the Daily Mail is a right wing nut newspaper. They have about as much credibility as the New York Post.

        • ZH38

          How dare any health care provider report a mistake! That might lead to improvements, and we can’t have that in a government-run system. Thanks for proving my point.

          • Mr. Fusion

            We aren’t talking about a mistake. I’m talking about why you would invent your facts?

            And you really should take a pill.

          • ZH38

            You really should get a clue. I don’t have to invent facts; the facts are there regardless of what you think of them.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Then why can you not provide any evidence for them?

            Because they are all lies, mostly invented by the RWNJs and Tea Baggers.

        • ZH38

          As far as a chief of eldercare, I guess you’ve never heard of geriatric departments. It sounds like your idea for improving care for the elderly is to do what the NICE does in the UK and deny them treatment. Of course, one of the architects of Obamacare is an NHS disciple named Donald Berwick.

          He, like you, believes in 1930s Germany-style rationing and eugenics.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Of course, one of the architects of Obamacare is an NHS disciple named Donald Berwick.

            He, like you, believes in 1930s Germany-style rationing and eugenics.

            I keep hearing that but don’t see any sustenance in it. Why is it the RWNJs and those with OOS (Obama Obsession Syndrome) and ODS (Obama Disinformation Syndrome) always have to invent their “facts” out of thin air?

            Take one of the pills the clinic gave you when they let you out.

          • ZH38

            I guess that you really are that uninformed, or just pretending to be so. Google the name Donald Berwick and you’ll find quite a bit about his love for the lousy NHS and their rationing ways.

          • Mr. Fusion

            So you don’t have any evidence that Berwick even worked on the PPACA or is in favor of 1930s style German eugenics and rationing. In short, you want me to prove a negative. Like I said, you invented your facts.

        • ZH38

          You wrote: America is around the 40th in life expectancy. Even Cubans can expect a longer life than an American.

          So you’ll be moving to Havana in the near future? Dear Leader Fidel’s hospitals make truck stop restrooms like sterile. You really should investigate these talking points before you copy an paste them into a discussion forum.

          The World Health Organization list that you are referring to also has Saudi Arabia’s health care system above ours. I lived there for a few years and that is one of the last places that any sane person would want to have a medical procedure.

          However, it sure is interesting how so many Cubans and folks from all over the world come to the US to escape the allegedly superior health care systems that they have in their own countries.

          • Mr. Fusion

            So no facts, only your bloviating and ad hominems.

          • ZH38

            I notice that you can’t refute what I’ve posted. So Mother Jones, the Daily Kos and the Texas Observer don’t tell you about these things, eh?

            Try The Blaze.com, The Drudge Report, CNS News.com and Brietbart for some facts. It won’t match the Obama-approved propaganda that MSDNC puts out, but at least you’ll have the truth.

          • Clayton

            Guess you don’t have access to Google. http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

        • ZH38

          You wrote: First, America does not have the “best” health care in the world. For a
          few that can afford it, yes, there is very good care. For the other 99%,
          there isn’t

          I’d love to hear what nation has better health care than the US and what standard you are using to establish that. Of course, I’m sure you’ll duck the issue with another lame talking point.

          I say that the US has the best health care system in the world because we do. Most of the innovations in medical technology and pharmaceuticals are happening in the US, because of the profit motive that you and your ilk obviously hate.