The Spokesman-Review


Dumping reform ill-advised

What happens when you play a country song backwards? You get your job, dog and girl back. What happens when you repeal the Affordable Care Act? You get your uninsured people and old costs back.

A while back, Rob Shapiro, a policy adviser in the Clinton administration, toted up the costs of doing nothing, based on the work of Urban Institute economist Eugene Steuerle:

“According to the CBO, the average family will earn $54,000 a year in 2016, when a moderate-priced family (health insurance) policy will cost $14,700. Employers will pay much of that insurance bill for most middle-class families; but that’s just a mask, since those employer payments come out of people’s wages, not a company’s profits. In reality, a middle-class family’s earnings in 2016 will come to $68,700 ($54,000 + $14,700), of which $14,700 or 21.4 percent will go for health insurance. And that won’t be their only health-related costs. Their co-payments and other uninsured expenses, on average, will come to another $5,100. They’ll also be paying taxes to help cover other people’s health care – 2.9 percent of their cash wages for Medicare ($1,566), plus perhaps $750 more in federal and state income taxes for Medicaid and for Medicare costs not covered by the 2.9 percent payroll tax. Add up all of that, and it comes to $22,116, or 32.2 percent of the middle-class family’s adjusted income of $68,700.”

Makes me want to warble that old country tune, “I Keep Forgettin’ That I Forgot About You.”

Stop the madness. To track the sudden onslaught of social issues, I devised an NCAA Tournament-style bracket. I have Rescinding Gay Marriage getting thumped in the first round, and Conscience Clauses and Forced Ultrasounds advancing to appellate courts. Tourney tidbit: All three have the same players.

Must-see TV? I tweeted this program idea: “Sitcom: Forced to sell emergency contraceptives, a Yakima pharmacist moves to Idaho, becomes a legislator, sponsors mandatory ultrasound bill.” Internet satirist soccermomsusie suggested this title: “Plan B From Outta State.”

I think this idea has potential.

Episode One: Drawing on his popularity with the forced ultrasound bill, our hero runs for Congress on a platform of repealing Obamacare, especially that mandate to do something a person might not want to do. In a stirring speech that invokes “death panels,” our hero thunders, “Government should not get between doctors and their patients.”

The screen fades to black, and “Isn’t It Ironic?” plays over the credits.

Episode Two: Drawing on his success in repealing Obamacare, our hero runs for president. However, an evil opposition researcher divulges the fact that the candidate’s daughter once used an emergency contraceptive after being raped. A flashback shows the daughter being turned down by a disapproving pharmacist and then fumbling through a phone book to find another.

OK, so this isn’t so funny after all.

just the guys. I first bumped into soccermomsusie while reading the comments on articles posted at The Spokesman-Review’s website. If you read the remarks of these readers long enough, you begin to realize there’s a cast of regulars.

In their honor, I’ve came up with: “The Ten Most Amusing People You Meet in Comments.”

Conspiracy Guy: “What’s the real reason you wrote this?”


Hater Guy: “What trash! Stop the bias! Get some real writers!”

Hater of Hater Guy: “Stop hating. You don’t like anything.”

Fact Guy: “Your opinion is biased. Whatever happened to journalists sticking to the true facts?”

Investigative Guy: “If you want to know the back story on this, take this link. I also commented here, here and here.”

Detour Guy: “I don’t know why you people waste your time here. If you want the real story, go to my blog at …”

Real Name Guy: “Yes, that’s my real name. What’s your real name? Why are you afraid to use it?”

Rules Guy: “Two years, five months and six days ago, you said that tea party supporters couldn’t be called that. Now I see it everywhere! What gives?”

New Guy: “What does any of this have to do with the article?”

Associate Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter: @GaryCrooks.

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