GOP Healthcare Plan: ban guns and build transit

I’ve almost grown numb to the rhetorical depths to which the Republicans have been willing to sink in the healthcare debate (“death panels” and all that), but this latest line of argument from philandering Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) is just plain bizarre.

“Are you aware that if you take out gun accidents and auto accidents, that the United States actually is better than those other countries?” Ensign said. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) had been citing the health care systems of France, Germany, Japan and Canada as more effective, but with lower costs.

Conrad responded that one can bend statistics in all sorts of ways.

“But that doesn’t have anything to do with health care. Auto accidents don’t have anything to do with h–,” Ensign said, cutting himself off. “I mean we’re just a much more mobile society. … We drive our cars a lot more, they do public transportation. So you have to compare health care system with health care system.”

Of course, the basic premise behind Ensign’s argument — that gun and automobile deaths account for the life expectancy gap between the U.S. and other countries — is total bullshit, but he does have a point, if entirely inadvertent. Leaving the thorny gun issue aside, there is no doubt that investing in public transit would reduce associated injuries and deaths from vehicular accidents while improving public health.

Take that, John Niles.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I keep wondering when all the pent up repressed self-inflicted irrational anger of the right will result in a spike in gun-related demand for health care and mortuary services.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    With all the rightwing talk of armed revolt and civil war going on this might be a good time to invest in the stocks of companies that manufacture ammunition and provide funeral services.

    In fact, I’ve done just that by buying shares of Olin Corp., which makes the Winchester brand of guns and ammo. After only a few weeks in that stock my shares are already up nicely.

    So, keep stocking up on guns and ammo, righties! You’re making Roger a rich fucking bunny! Sure beats working, and the taxes are lower, too.

  3. 4


    We have a new national hero: US Rep Alan Grayson (D-Orlando).

    Grayson explains that GOP policies are killing over 40k Americans every year, concluding that Republicans should apologize to the American people.

    The Republicans respond by calling for the wahmbulance.

    Grayson goes back to the House Floor and apologizes, on behalf of the Republicans who have no plan and blocked any and all healthcare reform, continuing the GOP policies of killing Americans though neglect and apathy.

    Still not done, Grayson goes into enemy territory, and schools wilting flowers Wolf Blitzer and Alex Castellanos.

  4. 7

    proud leftist spews:

    Grayson is a true hero. Finally, we see a Democratic Congressman with some spine. Congressional Republicans are hazardous to the public’s health and well-being. There should be a bounty on them, but the media treats them like they are deserving of respect and deference. Way to go, Rep. Grayson.

  5. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 If you want a comfortable retirement, selling oil and ammo to wingfucks is the way to go. Thanks for your patronage, suckers! I appreciate your business! Really, I do!

  6. 10

    John425 spews:

    With regards to one aspect of “health insurance”- abortion- take note of today’s NY Times article:

    “In 2008, a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that those in favor of keeping abortion legal outnumbered opponents by 54 to 40 percent. The new poll, also conducted by Pew researchers, and released on Thursday, showed that the gap had narrowed: 47 percent of those surveyed said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 45 percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases — a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error.

    The new survey did not find the reasons for the shift in opinion. But Pew researchers pointed out that it has occurred since the election of President Obama, a Democrat who supports abortion rights but has often spoken about the need to reduce the number of abortions.”

    I believe that is called the Law of Unintended Consequences. Funny how Susan Hutchison became suddenly in step with public opinion, eh, Lefties?

  7. 11

    Chris Stefan spews:

    That was a national poll not one in King County. If you were to conduct the same survey in King County I have no doubt the results would be somewhat different.

  8. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 Abortion has nothing to do with health care reform, and health care reform has nothing to do with abortion. The attempts by the right to conjoin the two are simply more proof that the right has no coherent argument about health care and no solution to the problems that health care reform seeks to address.

  9. 15


    John425 @ 14

    Are you the guy who misquoted Rep Jay Inslee about healthcare for undocumented workers, and then got angry about that fabricated position?

    I’m trying, futilely, to understand your point here.

    You’re against abortions?

    Ok, that’s your right, and I respect it. I recommend you not get one. Then we’ll all be happy.

  10. 16

    Zotz spews:

    I marvel at the utter political stupidity from the staff-screwin’ senator from Nevada.

    Awshucks fellas, we ain’t so bad iffin’ you takes out the gun killin’s.

    It’s as if they glory in it.

    I mean really, the video of him making the statements could be shown unedited as a segment on SNL.

  11. 17

    proud leftist spews:

    John425’s mother had an abortion, but he survived the procedure. Plainly, however, he did suffer a brain injury with lasting consequences.

  12. 20

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Interestingly on NPRs’ morning show the other morning the cat was unintentionally let out of the bag.

    Some guy named Palmer from Canada (who supports his countries socialist system) inadvertently bolstered nearly every GOP argument against Obamacare.

    Who does Canadas’ version of Workmans Comp use for surgery or care? Private clinics, technically illegal in Canada, have been performing these services. The reason was that in a “rationed care system”, his words not mine, a surgery can take 6 to 12 months to get. During that time of waiting rehabilitation times for the injured worker go on average from 3 or 4 weeks to 3 to 6 months.

    Why is the private clinic technically illegal, again in Mr. Palmers’ words? Because it’s unfair to people patiently waiting in line for their care to have someone jump line and get an earlier surgery/care. After all, why should the guy who fell off his roof while hanging Christmas, oops I mean ‘seasonal’ decorations has to wait while the worker gets immediate care? Also, the best care providers go to the private clinics where conditions and pay are better, making it unfair for everyone else receiving care from mediocre professionals. All of this was casually admitted during a conversation about our healthcare debate, and how behind the rest of the world we are.

    Of course Steve Sher, probably mispelled but you get the idea, as a careful and ethical journalist asked no questions about these claims about the inferiority of the Canadian system. Kind of like when Cliff Mass, our resident atmospheric scientist supporting every liberal cause, casually stated that average global temperatures had remained stable or dropped the past decade. Deafening silence from Stevie there too.

    Odd, all this sounds exactly like what the Republicans have been saying all along….

  13. 21

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Before it gets mentioned, I know the current plans actually don’t even do a public option, yet. I know they mainly are gifts to the pharmaceutical, hospital and insurance industries in current form. Pharma has to give up a miniscule percentage of future price increases, hospitals are gauranteed current rates, and insurance gets 30 million mostly healthy suckers…I mean ‘clients’ to fleece.

    I mean really, making it illegal not to have health insurance? On the day that passes I’ll drop my insurance on general principles of personal liberty.

    But if the left got what it repeatedly asks for, single payer health care, this is what we would have.

  14. 23

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 13

    I’m trying to take a new and more patient tone with the bunny.

    Any answers from the resident attorney to my post?

    And the Republicans have put in excess of 10 plans out, some with Democrat Senator support. If a tree falls in a forest and no-one hears does it make a noise?

    You see Speaker Pelosi can prevaricate and put partisan gains ahead of the needs of the American people all she wants. Truth is an objective, not a subjective matter.

  15. 25


    lost @ 21

    I know the current plans … are gifts to the pharmaceutical, hospital and insurance industries in current form.

    Wow. Who would have thunk it? Common ground. We’re both against even more corporate welfare.

    But if the left got what it repeatedly asks for, single payer health care, this is what we would have.

    Two mistakes. You’re confusing universal health care and single payer coverage.

    Mandating insurance coverage is not universal health care. Mandates is a giveway to the insurers. Universal coverage means everyone already has coverage.

    “Your mileage may vary”, meaning you have to compare and contrast various systems.

    The existing system most resembling what’s (kind of) coming out of the US Congress is Switzerland’s. A tightly regulated healthcare system where everyone of means is required to have coverage.

    I have my doubts the Swiss system could be effective here. The capitalist friendly Swiss society has a fundamental belief that everyone should play by the rules, that the rules be fair, and the government enforces those rules.

    Today’s conservatives can’t abide by regulation, fair play, or a any role for government other than serve as a money conduit to their cronies. So they will continue thwart any and all attempts to keep the healthcare players from screwing the citizenry.

  16. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 “I mean really, making it illegal not to have health insurance?”

    Yes, for the same reason it’s illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet: Other people get stuck with their medical bills.

    You can’t be against this and against paying other people’s medical bills at the same time, because those positions are inconsistent. This provision protects you from freeloaders who are too cheap to buy their own health insurance and pass their medical bills to you through higher insurance premiums and billing rates. I surmise the reason you object to it is because you’re one of those freeloaders.

  17. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 Since you’ve never had anything but goats and pigs, I’m sure you’d settle for any woman you could get.

  18. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 ” … the American people” elected Democrats to enact the health reforms you Republicans didn’t.

  19. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why are Republicans so damn afraid of the public option unless private insurance is so damn lousy no one would want it?

  20. 30

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re 25

    I appreciate the comparison to Switzerland, though the last paragraph condemning all conservatives is a bit sweeping. I have on occasion my doubts of the wisdom of liberal policies. I don’t doubt the motives of anyone but professional politicians, lobbyists or other parasites. For the majority of liberal voters I assume they and I want the best for the country. As I’ve said before in other contexts, we just differ on definitions of ‘best.’

    I personally have a hard time believing putting health care in the hands of the people who’ve helped screw it up is a cure. I don’t so much resist government regulation, as disbelieve it. That is to say pharma and the insurance companies with lobbyists and the politicians they’ve bought will do what they want, voters or not. I know that’s not what conservatives want. I have a hard time believing it’s what liberals and progressives want, but can’t speak to that.

  21. 31

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Re Rabbit posts

    Why is it inconsistent to neither want to pay someone else medical bills directly, through taxation or through higher insurance rates made necessary by the current bill?

    If the concern really was insurance coverage for financial reasons the provision would require mandatory catastrophic care coverage. Most people can afford the dentist and an occasional physical out of pocket. Those that can’t had better work harder or have fewer children they can’t afford. The provision has much more to do with making the infeasible sort of work. ‘Widening the pool,’ just means making healthy people who make good choices pay for overweight smokers.

    The reason Republicans like me (I don’t and can’t speak for all Republicans of course) don’t like public option is the thin end of the wedge argument. First you make an agency that offers not for profit insurance. 5% of the people pay for this but a much larger voting block benefits from those contributions. Give stuff away that you don’t own and get votes. This is the democrat playbook at present.

  22. 32

    WenG spews:

    I don’t expect Ensign to do more math, but doesn’t Europe have more smokers than the U.S.?

    American deaths from tobacco are far higher than deaths from “gun accidents.”

    In general, Europeans smoke more, live longer, pay less for health care, and have more sex.

    The U.S. is the only healthcare system in the world where insurance companies are allowed to profit from pain and suffering.

    Palin/Ensign in 2012.

  23. 33


    lost @ 30

    …though the last paragraph condemning all conservatives is a bit sweeping.

    I accept that criticism.

    For the life of me, I can’t think of a better label. What should we call the opponents of giving every citizen equal opportunity to good health?

    Reading your posts, you oppose reform on ideological grounds: entitlements, politicians buying vote, etc.

    Pragmatism trumps ideology. Our society is being actively harmed by the current winners of the gamed system. It’s bad for business, it’s bad for people, it’s bad for families, it’s just plain bad for everyone. Everyone but the insurers and big pharma.

    No one has devised a system that is more fair, efficient, and effective, overall, than the universal healthcare and single payer combo.

    If anyone had a better idea, proven to work, then I’d be totally game to give it a whirl. Until then, we go with the best plan available. That’s what the majority voted for.

    When your side had the majority, my side suffered through unnecessary wars, paramilitary death squads, stacking the courts with corporatists, huge giveaways to big oil, etc, etc.

    No it’s our turn.

  24. 34


    notice how its “our side” and “your side”…neither side gives a fuck about this country – they only care about “their side”.

    fuck all you partisans…both sides have fucked this country to the ground..good job you bunch of douchebags.

  25. 35


    racist @ 34

    fuck all you partisans

    Blame math. You’ll have more luck arguing against the weather. If you don’t like the two party system, work for proportional representation.

    Meanwhile, you should work for more partisanship. When the two sides try to screw each other, they have less time to screw with you.

    I used to consider myself nonpartisan, independent, and so forth. I was naive.

    Nonpartisanship empowers the corporations. Love them or hate them, strong Republican and Democratic parties decentralized power. If the parties go away, we’re all truly and deeply screwed.

    PS- My side is The People, the maximum good for the maximum number, because we all do better when we all do better. Whose side are you on?

  26. 37


    #35 – what flavor is that kool-aid?

    loyalty to party over loyalty to country is the mantra for today………who cares if a plan is good for the country or not – as long as it keeps “our side” in power…….

    makes about as much sense as spending our way out of debt? WTF, are we Bizarro Land?

    Doesnt matter much anyway – between the kool-aid partisans and dumbed down population(the two seem to go hand in hand), this nation seems to be about done.

  27. 38


    racist @ 37

    Doesnt matter much anyway – between the kool-aid partisans and dumbed down population…, this nation seems to be about done.

    That’s all you’ve got? Things aren’t going your way, so you’re taking your ball and pouting home?

    If you believe this, and refuse to fight for your beliefs, why do you even bother at all? Why are you on HA day after day mixing it up?

    Let’s assume for a minute that you’re really passionate about deficit spending. What are you doing about it? Did you oppose the bailout of Wall Street, GM, etc? Are you exposing the massive fraud occurring by those privatizing our military?

    You think people are getting more ignorant? Fine. What are you doing about it?

    And, for the record, universal healthcare and single payer saves money, improves public health, and creates jobs. The “side” smart enough to hit that trifecta deserves to stay in power.

  28. 39

    GEM_in_Orange spews:

    Osgood @ 36:

    Actually, the VA is a government-run health system — the hospitals are owned by the VA, the doctors are employed by the VA, etc.

    Closer to the British Health System than a single-payer (Medicare-like) system.