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Amazing Grace – KUT’s audio version of the tribute to Grace Garcia

KUT Radio, NPR’s Austin affiliate, was kind enough to ask me in to come in and record a two-minute audio version of my longer tribute to Grace Garcia, as part of their upcoming Texas Standard show, which will air on NPR affiliate stations across Texas. I was honored to do so, and offer it here:

I very much hope to work with host David Brown as a regular contributor to Texas Standard when the show debuts later this summer. check out the beginnings of the show’s website.

And while we’re on the topic of Grace Garcia, here was the discussion on TWCNews’ Capitol Tonight Show last night, as Paul Brown and I discussed both the legacy Grace leaves, and also about Attorney General Greg Abbott’s latest move on public school finance litigation:

You can watch Capitol Tonight weeknights at 7 pm and 11 pm in Austin and on Time Warner News’ brand new channel in San Antonio.

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Republican health care fight a spectacular failure [updated]

After today’s Supreme Court decision affirming the Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act, Republicans are the proud owners of every inch of obstructing affordable health care, from opposing the original legislation, to fighting it all the way to the Supreme Court. Every step of the way, they lost, and every American who could not previously afford quality health care should take note.

Here’s the extent to which they opposed your affordable health care:

The so-called “individual mandate” most in legal question was originally a Republican plan in the first place. In fact, the concept was so Republican that it was the mechanism then-Governor Mitt Romney utilized in Massachusetts. He called it the “personal responsibility mandate” in 2006, which is mighty good spin. Here’s a newly-uncovered video that proves it, despite his assurances to Republican primary voters all year that his plan is somehow magically different:

Perhaps over-simplified a bit, the individual mandate is essentially the funding mechanism for the benefits of the health care plan. Without the funding mechanism, health plan premiums would have gone up for everybody else, and fewer people would have health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office quantified it: they estimate that without the individual mandate, 16 million fewer Americans will have insurance, and the insurance premiums for the rest will quickly rise 15 percent.

That, my friends, is the net effect of what Republican partisans were trying to accomplish with their Supreme Court case: 16 million fewer Americans would have have health care insurance, and costs for everybody else would have been 15 percent higher. 

The lawsuit’s result this morning started in the first place when the Republican Attorneys General from 14 states (including Texas A.G. Greg Abbott), sued immediately after President Obama signed the act into law, in an attempt to overturn the law.

So to review: the Supreme Court concluded that health care reform is constitutional, including the individual mandate (although SCOTUS apparently characterized it as a tax). The Republicans will try to spin the hell out of the “tax” part, even though it’s only a tax for those Americans who fail to do what is required under Mitt Romney’s health care plan.

The individual mandate only exists because it was the mechanism Republicans said they liked, and the mechanism their own Presidential nominee said is essential. Then the Republicans immediately decided that their own plan was terrible, evil, and unconstitutional, because it happens to be signature legislation of a President they hate, and Republicans sued to have it overturned.

So remind me again – what aspect of affordable health care to Americans can Republicans take credit for? Zero. Less than zero. They even fought like hell against their own funding mechanism to ensure its failure. Fortunately, they have apparently failed.

Those 14 original Republican Attorneys General who sued to overturn the plan? They’ll spend the rest of the day complaining, and rename “Obamacare” to “the Obamacare Tax,” all without presenting a new idea of how they would have made health care affordable.

Because we know how they would have done it, because it was their idea in the first place – they would have created the same individual mandate that Obama signed into law, and which the Supreme Court ruled constitutional today.

Even to the extent that they would fight against their own ideas, they gambled away your health care for the sake of politics, and they lost.

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