GOP Comes Up With A Brilliant Outrage Generation Plan

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, December 9, 2013 11:46 EDT
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Why buy the shit when you can own the whole bull?

The Republican freakout over the Affordable Care Act has gotten so out of control and elaborate that the freakout is creating more “problems” now for Republicans to freak out over. It’s a dragon eating its own tail form of outrage creation. For instance, conservatives are up in arms because congressional staffers now can  have insurance plans that cover abortion, which is supposedly an outrage because it’s a given in American politics that just because you work for the government, you private finances belong to a bunch of religious fanatics. (If you’re female.) But the reason staffers have this access is because Republicans made it so. Molly Redden at Mother Jones reports:

The bizarre story of how a conservative, anti-abortion Republican ended up expanding abortion access for congressional staff dates back to the initial fight over the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Here’s how it happened: The Obamacare exchanges were expressly designed to provide insurance to the uninsured, so congressional staffers—who, like most Americans, already had insurance—were initially excluded. Republicans claimed that this amounted to Democrats “exempting” themselves and their staff from Obamacare, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment that would force members of Congress and their staff to use the exchanges. Grassley’s proposal was intended to embarrass Democrats. But Democrats called Grassley’s bluff, and the law passed with his amendment.

But Grassley’s measure forced congressional staff out of the Federal Health Benefits Program, which federal law prohibited from offering any abortion coverage. Under the the federal plan, any congressional employee who wanted an abortion had to pay for it out of pocket. Now that they’re on the Obamacare exchanges, though, congressional employees will only pay out of pocket for abortion insurance. They’ll be able to choose any of the 112 plans available via Washington, DC’s health care exchange, only 9 of which do not cover abortion.

Now the Republicans are up in arms because congressional staffers can choose to spend their money how they like, on insurance plans that cover abortion. As I argue in RH Reality Check this week, anti-choicers are definitely trying to warm up the public on the notion that anti-choicers have a unique right to control how you spend your money, and this is just another example.

Of course, the Hyde Amendment, which bans the government for providing insurance plans that cover abortion, is equally invalid to bans on letting people spend their own money on abortion coverage. Whether it’s your money or your insurance plan, you earned it and it belongs to you. Giving “religious” control over to someone else because they are especially whiny and entitled is bullshit.

But I digress, and you can read my RH Reality Check piece for a more elaborate argument on this front. What I want to point out is that not only do Republicans not care that they created the “problem” they are now mad about, but that this is actually a stroke of genius from Republicans. After all, they need to have non-problems to raise a fuss about, ideally involving the evils of female sexuality + the evils of people getting real health insurance. How better, then, but to find shit to complain about knowing full well that if it’s “fixed”, then the solution will be something else you can complain about? Why wait for the Democrats to do something you can feign outrage over, when you can do it yourself, blame the Democrats, and feign outrage over the thing that is, if you have any sense at all, not actually a problem? This is a dream come true for Republicans, a self-generating fountain of bullshit that is increasingly detached from obstacles like reality.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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