I know, I know, quelle surprise.
The uncertainty over the Congressional healthcare bill has incited fear among some small business associations in Texas. They gathered with U.S. Chamber of Commerce representatives on Tuesday to say they’re worried about ripple effects from the national healthcare reform — and unintended consequences for small businesses.
Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, called on Congress to either repeal or reform the national healthcare legislation. “For 14 months, small business owners and employees have worried and been concerned over the uncertainty of ‘Obamacare.’ The reality is like a scud missile landing on every business in Texas,” Hammond said. “It’s bad for Texas, it’s bad for Texas employers and it’s especially bad for Texas employees.”
Of course, all during this time, people like Bill Hammond have been spreading misinformation and inciting fear about what the health care reform bill would be, so we shouldn’t be surprised that their efforts have borne some fruit. It’ll be awhile before they give up and find some new bogeyman to scare people with. And, not to put too fine a point on it, they’re still full of malarkey. Ed Sills had some good information about what these guys said in his email blast from Tuesday:
Today, the Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Independent Business and U.S. Chamber of Commerce held a news conference at the Texas Capitol to denounce health care reform and call for repeal.
Virtually all of this fountain of misinformation was an amalgamation of old attacks and plaintive declarations that real “reform” would be national “tort reform” and giving the ability of Texans to buy insurance from presumably cheaper out-of-state providers.
Of course, as one reporter noted, Texas has been as close to a “free market” as it gets, and we are in a ditch when it comes to covering residents for injury or illness.
Some things that were not said: the cost that will come with reform is less than what it would have cost to have no reform at all; reform buys coverage for 30 million more Americans; and the vast majority of small businesses are exempt from any taxes based on whether their employees get subsidized coverage elsewhere.
Moreover, the message was wildly inconsistent. For example, the NFIB spokeswoman said that one of group’s main goals is to require insurance companies in Texas to provide associations with coverage. NFIB would like to provide health insurance to the small business owners that join the organization, but no company is willing to do so under current law. So NFIB is fine with a governmental mandate to provide such coverage though it professes to be against mandates that provide coverage to others.
Since there wasn’t much news at the news conference, it seems that the attack on the bill was more about political positioning. Bill Hammond, who heads the Texas Association of Business, indeed allowed that one way to achieve repeal would be through the electoral process this year and in 2012.
Of course, “repeal” means things like the ban on disqualifying people for having pre-existing conditions would be removed as well. That would really suck if you’re unlucky enough to be born with such a condition. Even the likes of John Cornyn knows that’s a non-starter.
Back to the Trib:
Hammond said he believes something close to a free market economy would be best for Texas, and said he is optimistic about reforming the bill over time. “Small businesses’ decisions shouldn’t be dictated to them by the bureaucrats in Washinton D.C.,” Hammond said. “This is a corrupt product of a corrupt process.”
In other words, standard shibboleths and boilerplates. What, you expected original thinking? But let’s pause for a minute and reflect on the fact that Bill Hammond is admitting that what we have now isn’t really working all that well and that there does exist some better solution, even if all he can come up with is a magical pony plan. Remember, Bill Hammond and the Texas Association of Business are the guys who are more responsible than just about anyone for the government we have today, thanks to their blowing the doors off the 2002 campaign with rivers of illegal corporate campaign contributions. One might wonder, then, since Hammond et al have had the government they bought and paid for since 2002 why we haven’t achieved that free market insurance utopia he desires after all these years. Why is it just now that the federal government has finally done something to fix things that he says he’d have done it differently? Why haven’t they done anything before now?