Friday, April 1, 2011

Dirty secrets

I got a confession, y'all.

I listen to conservative talk radio. Every day.

When people get in my car and turn on the radio, they give me this wall-eyed look of disbelief, like, what, in your spare time do you launch kittens out of potato guns?

Why, yes. Yes I do. Except I make sure that they're wearing little helmets and tiny capes, so it's all good. I don't really know why I listen to WMAL, but I think it has something to do with the fact that the other alternative is the dreck on the FM dial and listening to that is roughly equivalent to using a rusty nail like a Q-tip. I can just tune it out much better, and besides, it has the added advantage of keeping me apprised to The Stupid that is out there. And let me tell you, The Stupid. It burns.

Today's stupid comes from the stupid factory known as Bob McDonnell, erstwhile governor of Virginia. From today's Washington Post: McDonnell Adds Abortion Restriction to Insurance-Exchange Legislation.

So, the Virginia legislature is working on a bill for health-care exchanges. The much-derided federal healthcare overhaul package created the framework for a system of exchanges, in which states could opt to manage healthcare exchanges for people who otherwise couldn't afford healthcare as an alternative to the federal system. The exchange, as envisioned, would allows individuals and small businesses to club together and buy healthcare, and people who were eligible could receive federal subsidies towards the purchase of their insurance.

Now, since McDonnell thinks the federal healthcare mandate is such a bad, bad, bad idea, he's created a duplicative bill that will - wait for it - allow Virginia to do exactly the same thing that Virginia will be able to do under the existing healthcare legislation.

Way to stick it to them!

However, when the bill reached the Governor for signature after it had been approved by the General Assembly, he added the amendment prohibiting 1) insurance offered through the exchange to cover abortion procedures and 2) prohibit insurance companies in the exchange from offering riders that cover abortion procedures.

And this is interesting, because yesterday I was listening to Mark Levin while I drove home, and he was fulminating about how the government mandates what kind of soda you can buy, and what you can feed your kids, and what kind of lightbulb you can buy, and what kind of health insurance you can buy. And that's awful! And terrible! Tyranny! Other words! Very loudly!

Which makes my tiny lady brain wonder how it can be so awful when the government does that, and so wonderful when the Virginia government does.exactly.that.

Not to mention that McDonnell's amendment is totally unnecessary. The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal money from being used to pay for abortion procedures, so the Virginia health insurance exchanges would already be covered by that law.

The article includes this hilarious quote from Virginia Cobb, the spokeswoman for the Family Foundation of Virginia: "Taxpayers don't want to see the government entangled in the abortion issue in any way."

Wow, thank you. I too pay taxes, Virginia, and I didn't realize that you were the anointed Mouthpiece of Virginia Taxpayers. I am so glad that one person can speak for the seven million plus taxpayers of the state of Virginia.

But the funny thing is, if you take Cobb's statement and interpret it literally, I actually agree with her. Except her version of the government being unentangled in the abortion issues is for it to become entangled in the abortion issue. After all, if this amendment is approved (and sadly, looking at the current makeup of the Virginia legislature, it's likely) then the government will have to figure out how to go about enforcing it. Pore over the zillions of pages of insurance information produced by every participant? (And if someone would come and go through the nonsensical packets BlueCross sends to me, that would be great, because I have a master's degree in literature and I still can't interpret half the language in their policies!) Bust down the doors of insurance providers and demand to see their records?

Yes, the government does tell you what to do. It even tells you things like you can't murder that guy and do not drive this vehicle whilst drunk because it could end badly for you and others and you actually have to feed that child and other very onerous, totally unreasonable things. It even dictates what you can and can't buy! No, I cannot take my hard-earned after-tax dollars and noodle down to the corner and buy a bunch of cocaine, because that's illegal, even though it's my money.

Except abortion isn't illegal in America. And McDonnell wants to tell you - nay, force you - not to buy it. Which somehow, by twisted Republilogic, makes total sense.

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