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A tale of two Congressmen

Rep. Ted Poe has a status update.

Rep. Ted Poe

U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican from Humble, announced Sunday afternoon he is resigning from the hardline Republican group that helped sink GOP attempts to repeal former President Obama’s 2010 health care law.

“I have resigned from the House Freedom Caucus. In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward,” Poe said in a statement. “Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas.”

“It is time to lead,” he added.

[…]

The Freedom Caucus does not publicize members, but several Texans and their offices have confirmed their membership to the Tribune: U.S. Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis, Louie Gohmert of Tyler and Randy Weber of Friendswood.

One and a half cheers for this, I guess. I mean, any time you can disassociate yourself from the likes of Barton, Gohmert, and Weber, you should, but then one may wonder what you were doing hanging out with them in the first place. Also, too, while we agree that the Freedom Caucus is a stain on the country, if the problem you have with them is their resistance to voting for a bill that would have stripped health care for 24 million Americans in order to fund a massive and everlasting tax cut for the rich, well, I don’t think “kudos” is the right word for that. Rep. Poe has his good points, but anything good one can say here is damning with very faint praise.

And then there’s Rep. John Culberson.

Rep. John Cumberson

A day after House Republicans’ efforts to repeal Obamacare collapsed, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, did not back away from the GOP’s years-long push to scrap the law.

“The only way to fix it is to replace it,” Culberson said before a rowdy town hall audience of several hundred people, some of them chanting “Fix it!”

In an interview before the town hall, Culberson confirmed that he would have voted yes on the American Health Care Act, which House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled from the floor Friday when it became clear there was not enough support for it. Culberson said the legislation would have “repealed about 70 percent of Obamacare, and that’s good enough for me.”

“There’s always going to be another opportunity,” Culberson said. “We’re early in the congressional session, and there’s plenty of time. And we’re going to have an opportunity to do tax reform, and then I’m going to do everything in my power to get us back on track to get Obamacare repealed.”

[…]

After the town hall, attendees said they largely disagreed with Culberson on the issues, but some gave him plaudits for holding the event in the first place. Culberson ended up taking 20-some questions over an hour and a half, allowing audience members to read their questions to him and often wading into the audience to meet them.

“Begrudgingly I give him a B for sticking around and actually engaging with people,” said Frank Ortiz, a 43-year-old graphic designer from Houston. “As far as content, I’d probably give him a D+/C-. I felt he held to a lot of the conservative Republican line on a lot of issues.”

And a golf clap to Culberson for facing his none-too-happy constituents, unlike Ted Poe, among others. I lost count of the number of places I saw advertising this town hall and exhorting people to show up for it. The dynamic of these sessions was a fix of the Republicans’ own making, and they deserve no sympathy for it, but it still can’t have been a pleasant experience. Culberson got some cheers when he stated opposition to Trumpian things and boos when he didn’t – he was a Yes on ACA repeal – but I wouldn’t count on any of that to affect his behavior going forward. He is who and what he is, and he’ll be that for as long as he’s in office. The Chron and the HuffPo have more.

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12 Comments

  1. Flypusher says:

    Yeah, props to Culberson for showing up. Start waiting for Olson to do the same.

    Very ironic that the AHCA was killed by the Freedon Caucus for not being evil enough.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I commend the Freedom Caucus and others with backbone to sink something that isn’t good, vs. just passing a flawed bill just to celebrate like Dora and Diego….We did it! We did it! I already know what that looks like, no need to do it again.

    ObamaCare addressed the cost of medical care by having taxpayers dig deeper.

    The better solution is to tear down regulations that protect the health care and insurance industries and let real competition take place. Do that, and we lower the cost of health care. Even if that is done, however, and the cost of medical care goes down, that won’t make those getting it free from the taxpayers feel any less indignant about an ObamaCare repeal, because, after all, they are owed that medical treatment, and why should they be asked to pay for their own care? I’d be outraged, too. Hey, I’m ENTITLED to my free stuff!

  3. Flypusher says:

    This notion that healthcare can be solved by a 100% market approach is just naive and misguided. A person facing a health crisis isn’t in the same bargaining position as someone shopping for a house or a car or some other material thing.

    This whole “entitled to free stuff” mindset is also horribly misguided. You need to have a big enough risk pool to cover the not rich people unlucky enough to get cancer or be born with heart defects. If I pay into such a system, but never have to use it because I stay healthy, that’s the LAST thing that I’d be complaining about.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    Here’s a quote from a guy who lived hundreds of years ago that aptly describes what we are talking about today:

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    You’ll note that we’ve tried ObamaCare, and found that health costs continue skyrocketing. We’ve found that more taxpayer money is being thrown at the system and more money is being extracted from people who actually pay for insurance via premiums, all with no end in sight.

    What we have not tried, is pulling back regulation and allowing the free market to actually work. We haven’t even tried that. What’s the harm in at least trying? If health costs go down, then even though I am paying for myself AND 3 other people, I still win because I’m paying less. The people who are already getting a free ride from me are no worse off….they still get theirs free.

    What’s the harm in at least trying free market solutions?

  6. Flypusher says:

    Guess what happens to societies when there is no social safety net, and those who fall through the cracks can just “eat cake”?

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    We are discussing this exact, same topic over at a car forum I belong to.

    https://www.thevettebarn.com/forums/off-topic/107175-how-did-obama-care-survive-when-supposedly-everybody-hates.html

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly,

    The Forbes article makes good points, and I freely admit that free market solutions are not the 100% answer to this problem. That doesn’t mean that free market solutions shouldn’t be PART of the answer to the problem.

  9. Flypusher says:

    Complicated problems tend to need involvement from both the private and public sectors, and healthcare access/funding is one of the most complicated. But the huge cognitive disconnect that I keep seeing (and still astounds me) is that the aspect that everyone loves the most, no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, absolutely requires the aspect the detractors hate the most, the individual mandate, if you are going to have private insurers in the mix. It’s heartless to deny treatments to a sick child, but it’s also unrealistic to demand that businesses engage in practices that will bankrupt them. Compromises have to be made, and compromise means everyone will have something they don’t like, but hopefully still a net benefit.

    There are plenty of tweaks and patches and fixes Congress could do right now, if they were serious about helping people. The GOP had 7 years to draft a replacement, but we all know how they spent that time. The AHCA fiasco was political malpractice. Since it’s not getting repealed any time soon, anyone in gov’t with any deceny will go the repair route. Anyone deliberately trying to make the ACA explode, given the lack of a viable replacement, deserves to reap the political whirlwind.

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    Forcing insurers to accept preexisting conditions turns whatever it is we have into NOT an insurance system, it’s something else. Insurance is gambling, and forcing insurers to accept preexisting conditions is like forcing a casino to admit card counters. I know why it’s popular, and understand it pits people like me, against people like me who, through no fault of their own, have expensive, ongoing, medical problems. When it comes down to it, even libertarians want to live, even if it means sacrificing some of their sincerely held beliefs.

  11. Flypusher says:

    If the risk pool is large enough, I.e., enough healthy people pay in, then the sick can be insured without making anyone bankrupt.