The only good thing about the GOP healthcare bill is the number of good cartoons it has inspired. Here's a selection of what is a really good outpouring:
I've been sympathetic to thoughtful conservatives lately, because they are in the uncomfortable position of, after eight years of scattergun attacks on a progressive administration, having to recalibrate and focus on a conservative one that is, to any fair-minded observer, a potential disaster.
If they don't recognize it in other areas, they're certainly seeing it in this steaming mess, even if only in very general terms.
Glenn McCoy, for instance, is a knee-jerk conservative who will dearly miss Obama and Hillary, and even he offers this non-endorsement of the dismantling of Obama's legacy piece, though I suspect he is more against doing anything than he is against the GOP plan.
That kick in the groin to government in general is less an attack on the plan than a reminder that libertarians won't be happy with any plan, which adds to the difficulty the GOP may experience in the coming weeks.
Bob Gorrell, who falls in the category of "reliably conservative" rather than "knee-jerk," makes a more constructive critique, which is that the GOP plan preserves too much of the ACA to satisfy many on the right.
This reminds us, however, of the progressive's criticism that the GOP had seven years -- much of it with a majority -- to amend and correct the flaws in the ACA, and, as a fallback, to devise a workable replacement.
Instead, they wasted those years with repeal votes that had no alternative behind them because they weren't expected to succeed anyway.
Now, having been handed the keys to the car, we discover that they don't know how to get from Point A to Point B except on major portions of same road the previous driver had driven.
A few shortcuts won't appease those who believed them when they said they knew a better route, especially when those shortcuts turn out to take longer, or even to be dead ends.
The result? RINOcare.
Steve Kelley makes an important point, which is that the ACA only made expensive coverage affordable, and that the "reform" simply cuts off a lot of people from a system that doesn't serve anyone well to begin with.
Those who say we should just go to a single-payer system like other countries rarely look at the base cost of healthcare in those other countries, where doctors make a good living but hardly like here.
We recognize this disparity in prescription drug prices, but it's not just them, nor is it just doctors' incomes.
It's embedded in costs throughout the system, including the profits that the insurance industry relies on, bearing in mind that, like most businesses in this day of megacorps, the insurance industry does not serve its customers so much as its investors.
Free-market dogmatists say removing state barriers and allowing free access to insurance nationwide would bring down prices, and there is some validity in that.
For instance, there is a freelance writers' organization in New York State that gives members access to group rates, and, if freelancers around the country could join that pool, it would be much larger and could offer much better rates.
And perhaps similar groups would emerge, but it still carries a significant element of shifting deck chairs on the Titanic, so long as the insurance companies themselves remain Wall Street giants.
When Ma Bell's monopoly was broken up, there was a spate of competition from smaller telephone companies that either sprang up or were cut loose as separate entities. But, while they cut prices, they didn't cut them much until MCI weaponized the fact that the newer technology made long-distance rates irrelevant.
That was when the free market kicked in and phone bills went down.
I don't see that sort of emerging technology in medicine, so, while health care costs are not fixed, they're certainly not as flexible as communication costs suddenly became.
And I also don't see the Mrs. Grace L. Ferguson Health Insurance and Storm Door Company emerging as viable competition to the existing megacorps.
But speaking of telephones, here's the more immediate barrier, as penned by Darrin Bell: The way the servants of the One Percent persistently, willfully ignore How the Other Half Lives.
Granted, Chaffetz is a noted meathead, and his suggestion that cutting luxuries like buying a new phone would offset the cost of unsupported health care payments was moronic.
But there are times when such jackassery is an indicator of what more discreet people are thinking, and there should be some common cause between Glenn McCoy's insistence that Congress live with what they have wrought and Bell's mocking of Chaffetz's absurd microeconomics.
Not saying stupid, insensitive things can mean that you know how dishonest your approach is and so cloak it in sophistry.
Mike Smith cuts to the chase.
The GOP plan, as currently outlined, does not correct the flaws of Obamacare but, rather, exempts the upperclass from them, still leaving the middleclass dangling.
Example: The notion of "Health Savings Accounts" is an insult to those of us who live from paycheck to paycheck.
The logical, fair equivalent across all income levels would be to abolish the 7% rule and make medical expenses, including insurance premiums, 100% deductible, retaining the EITC for those on the lower end.
That wouldn't solve all the problems, but it won't happen anyway, as long as the Congressional majority declines to understand the lives of the 98%.
So, in lieu of a Moment of Zen today, I'll close with a Moment of WTF, and urge you to then follow up with this additional, excellent analysis of Ryan's presentation which does more than simply mock his foolishness and explains just how much he gets so very, very wrong.
(Yo, Paul: Don't use cancer as an example of a pre-existing condition. It very rarely is.)