Scott Brown takes advantage of key provision of Obamacare

Amazing – just when you were getting worried that Elizabeth Warren might finally have done something stupid, here comes Scott Brown to outdo her.  And he didn’t just edge her at the finish line – he outstupided her by a big, big margin.

Senator Scott Brown, who won office vowing to be the 41st vote to block President Obama’s health care law and who has since voted three times to repeal it, acknowledged Monday that he takes advantage of it to keep his elder daughter on his congressional health insurance plan.

“Of course I do,” the Massachusetts Republican told the Globe.

Brown is insuring his daughter Ayla, a professional singer who is 23 years old, under a widely popular provision of the law requiring that family plans cover children up to age 26.

Uh … wow.  ”Of course” Brown chose to personally benefit from the law that he became a Senator by swearing to oppose.  ”Of course” Brown says he still wants to repeal that law, all the while providing his daughter health insurance under that very law.  Hypocrisy, thy color is Brown.

Here’s another “of course” about this: “of course,” if the law were to be repealed, Scott Brown, whose annual income we know to be in the mid- to high six figures, could simply pay for his daughter’s health insurance out of his own deep pocket.  But most families in this country can’t do that.  That’s why this law is important.  That’s one of the reasons it shouldn’t be repealed.

This one matters.  And it matters a lot more than the kerfuffle over Warren’s Native American heritage, because this is about an actual issue that affects the lives of people in the state that Brown and Warren want to represent.

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Discuss

41 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. question

    David,

    Help me out here. I’m trying to understand distinctions. If I vote against A, but then A passes, am I a hypocrite for using A?

    Let’s say I vote against a local bond measure to build fancy gym at the high school. Cuz I think the old one is okay. But it passes.

    Then I avail myself of that new gym — rent it with my buddies on weekends, have my kids play on the local team, etc. Is that hypocritical?

    If a pol votes against Pell grant subsidy to 3.5%, but then the low rate passes…again, is the politician really expected to pay the 7% rate of his own accord?

    • According to RedMassGroup, yes

      It is hypocritical to pay the lower tax rate when there is a optional higher rate for people who think taxes should be higher. Good to know that BMG and RMG agree on some things.

    • No politician will ever qualify for a Pell grant

      You do understand that a Pell grant is a need-based grant, right? Not a loan, but a grant?

      Your first example simply doesn’t correspond to the situation. A better example is if you, as a selectmen, are working hard to stop the gym from being built. You claim the town doesn’t need a gym, the private (and expensive) health-clubs in town are just fine. You attempt to attach amendments blocking the gym to unrelated actions that the town desperately needs. You identify yourself with a cabal of selectmen explicitly dedicated to bringing down the Mayor, who they oppose. You join this cabal in casting your vote as they request whenever that vote matters (especially when it comes to stopping the gym).

      What shall we say when we then learn that, all the while, you and your family have been taking advantage of an all-expenses paid membership in the gym and healthclub of the neighboring town, provided as a benefit to you as a selectman?

      • yep, let's roll with your example

        But you’re attaching a lot of other notions.

        Let’s decouple from Brown for a moment. I’m asking for a clarification of values.

        Let’s say I run on the platform of

        “The old gym is good enough. No new gym.” Or something like that. As a selectman. Simple stuff. No cabal and all-expenses stuff. Thought experiment.

        But then it passes. New gym built.

        I’m asking David – and anyone else – do you believe that pol should never use the new gym?

        • No

          But the pol should expect to be questioned about such use, and to be embarrassed by it, generally.

          An unforced error.

          • And let's press the point further.

            Once the town voted to build the gym, did you accept the vote and move on? Or did you make the gym the centerpiece of your opposition to the guy who spearheaded the gym, to the point that it represents not just a gym but all of what is wrong with America? And yet, you still show up and shoot hoops in what is, as it turns out, a pretty nice gym. At that point, I’d say yes, there’s something wrong with that.

            • Why make his daughters buy crappy insurance?

              So he should make his kids spend $300 a month each to buy crappy insurance because he wanted a Conscience Exception, when he has a great insurance plan that now covers them for a few more years for free? You are asking them to pay something like $10,000 for something that is being offered to them for free? He didn’t even oppose that part of the plan, he would have supported it if there had been a conscience exemption.

            • It's even worse ...

              MA allows dependents to stay on their parent’s coverage until age 26.

              So lets say Brown’s opposition to the gym centered around the use of regional gyms. Then the first thing he does is dump his regional gym and join the one he opposed.

            • Can we expect everyone who is against the extension of the "Bush tax cuts"...

              to be paying higher taxes if they get extended? Really? David, if you favor a 6% sales tax in MA, will you continue to pay it if we drop it to 5%?

              This is a non-issue.

              • Brown didn't have to switch ...

                he could have used the MA plan that he has touted. He chose to take “government run” health care and used provisions under “Obamacare” to cover his daughter. How is that similar to a tax rate? John, you can do better than that.

        • Goldstein, you've got the

          frame all wrong. Here are some better ones:

          1.Politician opposes ACA because he says it raises taxes and promises to work to repeal it.
          2. Politician then takes advantage of the program on the taxpayer’s dime.

          Or

          1. Politician opposes ACA because it costs insurance companies money.
          2. Politician and wife make more than enough money to buy a cadillac plan for $12,000 or $14,000, but decide to insure her on their insurance companies dime.

          Or

          1. Politician opposes legislation on principle and vows to work to repeal it.
          2. But until then will use it.

  2. Kinda depends goldsteingonewild

    Are you lobbying to demolish that gym while you are using it?

    If you are, then I think that makes you an elitist hypocrite.

    But I could be wrong.

  3. Ahem

    I take issue with the wording of “Warren might finally have done something stupid” – even if you were just trying to illustrate the quick turnaround of kurfuffling from one to the other “issue”…it really pushes the wrong meme.

    Warren might have dome something that was no where near wrong, had nothing to do with The Affirmative Action Boogyman, and seems to be a nonscandal. I know you don’t mean to imply that that silliness has any truthiness to it, but I wanted to point it out.

    Chris (er, the Mr.) quoted Dan Kennedy today which I felt was super apt: “For those of you on Twitter unfortunate enough to check in on #mapoli on occasion, we have learned that Elizabeth Warren is, in fact, part Native American; that there isn’t a shred of evidence she’s ever tried to use that to her advantage; and that this is still somehow a scandal.”

    Pretty much.

  4. The funny part is how

    stupid can Brown and the campaign be? Is his daughter on his insurance or his wife’s? This gets even better if she’s profiting from the Senate health insurance that is better than most people’s insurance.

    This kerfuffle reinforces Brown’s dimness. Fits right in with filibustering his own jobs bill. The Native American thing reinforces nothing about Warren. Time was everyone in New England claimed to be part Indian.

    • Wow

      “Profiting?” Q: when is electing employer-offered spousal (or family) coverage considered “profiting?”

      A: When he’s a Republican!

      Perhaps we should check ALL the US Senate’s health coverage elections. Was Vicki profiting off Ted’s Senate plan?

  5. I think politically...

    It might have been smarter of Scott to use the Mass. Health Connector to find an affordable policy that he could use to buy a policy for Ayla.

    • I don't think Ayla is a Mass resident....

      I think politically…

      It might have been smarter of Scott to use the Mass. Health Connector to find an affordable policy that he could use to buy a policy for Ayla.

      … which might have some bearing on this particular facet of this particular issue.

  6. Brown would have supported it with the Blunt Amendment

    And the Supreme Court seemed to have the same concerns. It will be quite magical if the ACA gets overturned, and with it the requirement that family plans cover children to age 26, because you guys rejected Brown’s attempt at a solution. I wonder if the court would discuss whether the Blunt Amendment would have made it constitutional, and if it would be too late to add it in if the court overturns it.

    • Won't Come Up

      The Court will not and generally does not discuss possibilities about specific legislation that would correct a constitutional infirmity, although it would outlines the solution in broad terms.

      The Blunt Amendment would do nothing to correct the alleged Constitutional infirmity because that relates to the individual mandate. The mandate on health insurance plans is on rock solid grounds as is requirements on all employers regardless of their religious persuasion. Excusing an employer from providing coverage for something to his employee would not remove the allegedly unconstitutional claim that the employee (or anybody else) can be compelled to carry health insurance.

    • What are you talking about?

      The ACA passed the Senate on Dec. 24, 2009. The Blunt Amendment, which was voted on on March 1, 2012, was a reaction to Kathleen Sebelius’ announcement of January 20, 2012. Scott Brown would need access to a time machine to have what you’re suggesting make any sense. And even then, I’m not sure that it would.

      • sorry it gets to be a blur

        OK, so the Blunt Amendment was an amendment to a law that was already on the books? I see sorry.

        And I think mski011 is also right that the objections raised by the justices were for the most part about the mandate to purchase insurance by young people who didn’t want any insurance at all, not about having to purchase insurance that included objectionable things, though Scalia started to touch on the issue when he brought up broccoli.

        So OK, point withdrawn, for now, though I do think that the Blunt Amendment makes the ACA constitutional, and that without it, it violates freedom of conscience.

  7. Brown was elected for two reasons...

    To defeat the ACA and to play a game of one-on-one with the President. He failed miserably at both.
    There is nothing shocking about him taking advantage of the very thing he wants to destroy. Scott is the ultimate opportunist. Always has been. So the question is are there more people in the Commonwealth who think opportunism is a virtue or a vice?
    What is a little shocking is his utter lack of respect for the process. The ACA was passed by a majority of congress. For him to continue to vow to destroy the ACA shows his disdain for the process. Just like that mythical town that passes an overide to build a new gym, the minority may not like it, but, by and large, they respect it and move on (or move out.)

  8. I, personally, am glad for Scott and Ayla wrt insurance.

    If being a Democrat, and a liberal, means anything, it means wanting, and even fighting for, what is good policy even if that policy benefits our political opponents. For his daughters sake, I’m glad he’s not being obtuse and making some symbolic refusal to comply, complicating the issue for her. It’s the first thing he’s done, that I’ve seen, that doesn’t feel manipulative and/or posturing.

    Having said that, however, I’m also glad that this gives him less and less wiggle room on his opposition to the ACA: it’s a clear admission that it’s good, beneficial, policy and cuts his legs out from underneath him. I think, going forward, it’ll probably be more productive to focus on that fact of his admitting to benefice rather than stupidity on his part…

  9. And here's Fehrnie, who

    should be considered Scott Brown (since Brown isn’t allowed to say anything in public without him), on ACA:

    I asked Brown aide Eric Fehrnstrom about that this morning, and he replied:”In Massachusetts, 98 percent of residents are covered by insurance through our own state reforms. The plan is not perfect, and we need to get costs down, but we have already achieved near-universal coverage. There is nothing for us in a national plan except higher taxes and more spending to finance coverage expansions in other states. It’s a raw deal for Massachusetts,” he said.

    Nothing else except insurance for Brown’s daughter until she’s 26.

    • I think thats in RomneyCare

      though the Senate plan isn’t a RomneyCare plan. If he was still a state senator, she’d have be covered without the national plan.

    • Not True

      Nothing else except insurance for Brown’s daughter until she’s 26

      First, Ayla likely have stayed on her parents insurance under pre-ACA Massachusetts law. BUT, there many provisions in the ACA that supersede, exceed and add to Massachusetts health reform law. The closing of the Medicare drug “doughnut hole” and the ban on lifetime benefit caps top a long list.

      Here, John McDonough (a leading expert in both Chapter 58 and the ACA) came up with a quick list of three dozen ACA provisions that benefit Massachusetts residents and would be lost under repeal!:
      http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/health_stew/2012/01/aca_repeal_for_massachusetts_s.html

  10. I can't believe anyone thinks this is an issue.

    Since when is covering your child with your health insurance policy something that anyone (normal) would think is wrong?

    No way anybody votes against him on this.

    • Of course it's not a real issue

      American politics is averse to real issues. That’s why the GOP can lie all the time and get it reported as not untrue. The Native American thing is colossal bullshit, even if it’s just because it’s hard to connect the dots. But this is an American campaign, bullshit is de rigeur.

      There are very few things like this that make anyone vote against a candidate. It’s the cumulative damage that does him or her in. Enough of these bullshit memes and people develop a vague, negative view of a candidate and that does him or her in. Brown’s weakness is his lack of intellectual depth and strong conviction. They’ve been trying to pass this off as being moderate, but if enough things like this pop up, it that negative view gets harder to shake. Whatever supports that view damages him. This ACA thing will damage him.

      • You should get out more

        The national press has picked up the Native American story if only on Page B11 I’ve only seen the Brown-ACA meme here.

        I think both are but tiny blips on the MA political radar screen. The Native American self-identification issue or the health insurance thing will not switch many, if any, votes, one way or another.

        • I think the ACA thing is

          lagging. Here’s the kind of bullshit that happens when one of these stories hits:

          Elizabeth Warren has a Native American problem.
          The Harvard Law professor challenging Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown is facing increasing scrutiny over use of Native American heritage in her legal career.
          But it’s not Warren’s family tree that’s really at issue — it’s her ability to fight back. 

          It’s not the legitimacy of the issue, it’s the response that matters. Utter bullshit.

    • It's not the action

      it’s the hypocrisy.

      But then again, there’s no lengths you will not go to justify Brown’s bullshit, so it’s to be expected.

  11. I know all this

    My point (and has been for a while) is that the voters have an image of Scott Brown.

    For almost all posters to BMG no one is going to vote for Brown for any reason. If Brown cured breast cancer between now and November, BMG posters would construe it as threatening the Susan Komen Foundation, so therefore anti-women.

    Elizabeth Warren is less well known to the voters and of course many people also are not voting for her no matter what.

    Both camps are playing for that middle vote. We (interested, read-a-lot, folks) know that number is <10% probably. Maybe 5%. The sport is determining how well each camp plays the game to end up in November at least 51:49. We imagine ourselves mini-pundits.

    I think the Native American thing is bigger than the ACA thing. How do I know? Most people don't even know "Obamacare" is actually called the PPACA.

    • Meh...

      For almost all posters to BMG no one is going to vote for Brown for any reason. If Brown cured breast cancer between now and November, BMG posters would construe it as threatening the Susan Komen Foundation, so therefore anti-women.

      First, the Susan G. Komen Foundation would gladly immolate itself upon a pyre if it meant a cancer cure. The notion of a self-defeating foundation, one that seeks a cure but really doesn’t, and which is cynically intent only in it’s own perpetuation, is an entirely conservative construct. Democrats simply don’t think like that. Republicans not only think this way, they can’t imagine that everybody else doesn’t.

      Secondly, if Scott Brown were to suddenly possess the skill and knowledge to cure cancer, he would be, just as suddenly, other than Scott Brown. Likewise, if Elizabeth Warren were to suddenly start pushing senior citizens under the 4:20 bus, she would be, just as suddenly, other than Elizabeth Warren. All the recent speculation of claims to Native American heritage, or health insurance for the under-26, might or might not be particularly germane to the policy votes of the politicians in question, but they are relevant to flesh out expectation of who they are: if a sudden revelation emerged that Scott Brown was secretly enrolled in Harvard Medical school and that he was working assiduously towards a cancer cure, then I would, straight up, re-evaluate my view of him.

      But the world we inhabit right now is ia world in which I fully expect Scott Brown to vote for tax cuts that might directly de-fund the search for, if not an actual cure for cancer, the next Judah Folkman, that is to say, a person far more likely to present the world with the actual cancer cure. Is this a simple ‘image’ of him? No. It is based upon what, where and how he’s used his skills, votes and efforts to date.

      Similarly, I fully expect that Elizabeth Warren would make the entirely opposite decision: she would vote to raise taxes, sending more money flowing into the search for a cancer cure. This too is based on her strenuous efforts to date and not on a simple ‘image’.

      • What would you say

        if Elizabeth Warren used her “minority” status as an affirmative action hiring advantage? Would that change your opinion of her?

        She was listed as Native American in various ABA and legal academe directories. Did she count as a Native American faculty at HLS?

        This is more likely than Scott Brown finding a cure for cancer.

        • Quite possibly.

          It wouldn’t necessarily change my vote, but it would probably change my opinion.

        • [new] What would you say

          if Elizabeth Warren used her “minority” status as an affirmative action hiring advantage?

          I would say “Good for her” and “Good for Harvard”. A post racist society is one in which all heritages are celebrated as equally and with as much full-throated as whites once were exclusively celebrated.

          Would that change your opinion of her?

          Not in the least. I don’t think affirmative action is anything at all to be ashamed of. I don’t think celebrating Cherokee heritage, however minimal you might choose to see it, should ever be in ‘quotes’ as though it’s, somehow, less important.

          I just think you are a racist. I think you don’t like ‘minorities’. I think you think you are better than ‘minorities’ and her ‘minority’ status gives you an excuse to dislike her even more. If she was given a scholarship as a DAR or hired for a job because of networking connections from the Mayflower Society, you’d say “good for her” because you’re a racist.

          • Are you really calling bostonshepherd a racist?

            So asking if EW was being disingenuous about her minority status because her great-great grandmother was a Native American catapults a person to be a racist? Is that a pretty serious charge to drop?

        • I would say that you are a racist

          <blockquote<

          [new] What would you say

          if Elizabeth Warren used her “minority” status as an affirmative action hiring advantage?

          I would say “Good for her” and “Good for Harvard”. A post racist society is one in which all heritages are celebrated as equally and with as much full-throated vigor and diligence as whites once were exclusively celebrated.

          Would that change your opinion of her?

          Not in the least. I don’t think affirmative action is anything at all to be ashamed of. I don’t think celebrating Cherokee heritage, however minimal you might choose to see it, should ever be in ‘quotes’ as though it’s, somehow, less important.

          I just think you are a racist. I think you don’t like ‘minorities’. I think you think you are better than ‘minorities’ and her ‘minority’ status gives you an excuse to dislike her even more. If she was given a scholarship as a DAR or hired for a job because of networking connections from the Mayflower Society, you’d say “good for her” because you’re a racist.

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