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AEI hits David Frum where it hurts

Those Republican brutes! It’s bad enough not to tolerate David Frum’s dissent on health care -- especially since his judgments have been stunningly correct. But in ousting him after a mad overnight revolt among its donors, the American Enterprise Institute has put Frum’s family into precisely the health care hell that Obamacare seeks to remedy. What many people don’t realize about the think tank world is that the policy types who serve as modestly paid fellows do so in large part for the health coverage. In our antiquated employer-based system, middle-aged wonks simply have to be attached to a group to be insurable. If you and your spouse have reached your 40s and have had even modest health bumps along the way, you'll never be able to get coverage in the pre-Obamacare individual market (as my wife and I discovered and documented in this New York Times Magazine piece a few years ago).

Luckily for the Frums, big government is here to save them. (Frum and I are friendly, by the way – he served for several years as the “right” on “Left, Right & Center,” the public radio program on which I’m the “center”). One existing government program, COBRA, assures that the Frums can stay on AEI’s health plan for 18 months, though they’ll have to foot the bill now for the full family premium (without AEI picking up the typical employer’s 70 percent of the tab). But the better news is that once Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges are up and running in 2014, the Frums – and the other 300 million of us – will never have to worry about being shut out of insurance coverage because AEI doesn’t like what we say. Of course, if the Frums move to Massachusetts, they can get coverage from Mitt Romney’s health-care exchange right away – thanks to the pioneering 2005 reform that Romney, consumed by presidential ambition, keeps trying, inexplicably, to disavow.

Talk about a two-fer. In one stroke, David Frum has become not only the poster boy for the Republican party’s incoherent tantrums, but for the need for Obamacare itself! It doesn’t get more delicious than this.

By Matt Miller  | March 25, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
Categories:  Miller  | Tags:  Matt Miller  
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You might call it: "Frum Obama with love..."

Posted by: bertram2 | March 25, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

After 18 months of COBRA, under the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill, the insurance company is required to offer you an individual policy without regard for pre-existing conditions. I've been there (though after nine months, due to a state law). The rate and the coverage were slightly less than what I paid under COBRA (for one thing, the coverage had a lifetime cap that it didn't have before). Yes, it will be more interesting when health insurance offerings are required to ignore pre-existing conditions, but the end of COBRA at 18 months isn't necessarily the end of having insurance available.

Posted by: portlad | March 25, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

If David or someone in his family get really sick, they might just have to move back to Canada where he came from.

Posted by: kenspuss | March 25, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

On the COBRA business, while the insurance company may be required to offer you a policy regardless of whether or not you have a pre-existing condition, they can offer you any plan and put you in any risk pool they want to. So basically, they can make it unaffordable by charging you thousands of dollars a month. This is essentially a way of denying coverage.

Posted by: bsherman1 | March 25, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Matt with the Center for American Progress, the ultra liberal group that supports Obama and his policies? I read Matt's article about his supposed denial of health insurance coverage, and it is simply impossible to believe. There are plenty of people with prior health issues who are able to get private health insurance. Also, what in the world does it matter what Matt thinks about David Frum? He is so far from being objective, it's scary.

Posted by: CharlieManuel | March 25, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Matt - you were the CENTER in "Left, Right & Center???" Where, in Cuba?

Posted by: CharlieManuel | March 25, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

think about this for a sec. How does this affect the commentary from these paid fellows.

Write far right (or left) or you loose your job and benefits.

I begs the question, why would we listen to any of the these "voices." -- they are nothing but hired automatons.

Posted by: case3 | March 25, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, Dave, you've heard of the "Birthers"? Now, you can start a new movement. Let's call it the "Truthers".

What happened to you is typical of anyone who dares cross the Republican slime machine with the truth. Truth is their worst enemy, and since you are a "Truther", that makes you their worst enemy too.

Seeing the new health care reform bill signed into law was an incredible sight. And, watching the strange and bizarre antics of the Republican Party was also an incredible sight. Loyalty is commendable. But what the Republican Party has done over the last 14 months to President Obama and this country is not loyalty. It is lunacy, or worse.

Who do these Republicans represent? The Neocons/Neo-Nazis? I hope America wakes up to the fact that these people are NOT Americans. They are traitors to the American spirit that has made this country unique in the world. And, now, they have made THEMSELVES unique, in that, they are the first political party who have checked themselves into the insane asylum. They bet the "farm" and lost. Oh, and that "farm" I mentioned, it's the "Funny Farm".

Posted by: thinknblink | March 25, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

To the ultra conservative Republican right, can you say "denial"? Of course not.

Posted by: Whys | March 25, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

David Frum and his family will not be bereft of health care, he can always return to his native Canada, where his late mother is held in great esteem. We have single-payer health care here, not without its faults, but functional. We also have banking regulation, all of the Canadian banks were solvent and made money in 2008 and 2009. We can only hope that he has learned something from his association with the selfish warmongering Republicans.

Posted by: murphyb1 | March 25, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I have NO sympathy for that NAZI.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | March 25, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"It doesn’t get more delicious than this"

A family man has lost his livelihood thanks to pure spite and you gloat? Where's the compassion?

And just for the record, I'm as liberal as they come.

Posted by: mscommerce | March 25, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

A brilliant joust, Miller!

Posted by: hotmojo1 | March 25, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I hate to see anyone lose their job. But maybe he should find a real "think" tank to work for -- not one that fires you because your "thinking" does not tow the line.

Posted by: johnnormansp | March 25, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I have NO sympathy for that Nazi. -thomasmc1957

I love the Republicans. if they can't say anything intelligent, they call you names. Oh the horrors of it all being called a Nazi, a Fascist, a.... Wait a minute. Weren't Nazi's and Fascists right-wing nut jobs of the 30' and 40's? So a right-wing nut job calls another "you, you, right-wing nut job."

Posted by: bcause | March 25, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

David Frum is Canadian. His family are probably Canadian too (not that it matters, immigrants are fully covered under Canada's system).

If he gets sick, he can move his entire family back over the border.

Posted by: jmarsano | March 25, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes -- even though many Canadians regard Frum as a horse's ass, even a horse's ass has equal entitlement to government-run health care. When Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann say government-run care is withheld from those who are out of favour, they are lying. There is no death panel denying Canadian health Care to horse's asses

Posted by: davidr2 | March 26, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Frum is just another political opportunist/gadfly. AEI clearly prefers the more devout type, so he just outlived his expiration date. As for healthcare, I figure as a former Bushie, he's got a lot of change in his pockets for out of pocket medical expenses, no?

Posted by: Puller58 | March 26, 2010 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the information. As a 43 yr old male with type-2 diabetes, although I have run 3 marathons and have never been even slightly overweight, and a strong family history of Alzheirmer's disease, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of the rejection letters and the uninsurability of my condition. Also, if Frum decides to return to Canada he would have to work for three months before being covered by the Canadian health system. Nevertheless he can purchase health insurance at $2.70/day in the meantime. I sure hope we can get to that point some day. Healthcare should not be profit-based.

Posted by: sdiaz4 | March 26, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I expect that Mr.Frum's former coleagues at AEI willnow waste no time in explaining the great benefits of the current system (pre-reform that is).

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 26, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Reality has a habit of clearing the way for unclouded thinking.

But I'd like to add that we would love to welcome the Frum family back in Canada.

Posted by: juneconwaybeeby | March 26, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

As a living breathing right wing Canadian conservative (yes we actually exist) I can assure you that should Mr. Frum decide to return to his native land he would be welcome by many like minded citizens. While the acorn did fall far from the mother's tree, Mr. Frum is recognized by many, to be a thoughtful intelligent soul, attributes of his mother's that remain, notwithstanding his abrupt political right turn. As for health care, have no doubt, he could return to Canada and receive any necessary treatment should he require it and I'm also sure that with his family connections and political contacts he should have no problem obtaining a family physician, the real gatekeepers of Candian health care, and thus could avoid the necessity of having to attend one of those dreaful walk-in clinics that have become common-place. But for the millions without his connections, having a family physician remains nothing more than a dream! Mind you, I do believe he was right in his assessment of the debate in your country, the Republican party truly missed an opportunity to prevent the true socialization of the health care system, something we unfortunately appear to be stuck with. As an aside, I recently attended the Cleveland Clinic, to see a specialist paid for out of my own pocket!Unfortunately for me, I have been unable to access such a specialist in Canada and had to travel there for a consultation! What a truly magnificent facility and well worth the few hundred dollars it cost. It sure would be nice if I had the option of going to such a facility in my own country, alas, another dream I'm afraid!

Posted by: Shure_locke | March 26, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

What you need to learn from this David is, the Republicans don't care about you any more than they care about the American people, which is pretty much not at all. Maybe now you understand a little better why Democrats want all of the Republicans out, they are self centered and destructive, in it only for themselves.

Posted by: Hillary08 | March 26, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Sure Frum can get health insurance after COBRA but covering preexisting conditions carry very high price or you accept the insurance without. If you have a recurring illness you better make sure you earn enough to pay the freight charges.

Pray your, no longer covered, heart valve replacement never ever needs replacing or you have a heart attack.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 26, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What a crock of crap your article is. There are no caps on what insurance companies can charge right now. Obama and the Democrats took the bribes last summer when they dropped the public option - and have all been in bed together, frolicking around...and the bill is a complete sham - where's the reform, stupid? Pre-existing doesn't come in to play until 2014 - even for children. "Exchanges" - nothing more than a website with links. So? That Kool Aid you drink must be mixed with crack.

Health Care for Americans = You are Screwed - Drop Dead

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | March 26, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

David is a Canuck. He can come back to Toronto and use this universal heathcare system. His mother was a wonderful person and a great Canadian journalist.

Posted by: dangreen3 | March 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Okay... I looked and no one else has said it, so I will...

"Hoisted on his own petard!"

I'm here all week.

Posted by: CardFan | March 26, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"Ryan: I read Matt's article about his supposed denial of health insurance coverage, and it is simply impossible to believe. There are plenty of people with prior health issues who are able to get private health insurance."

This mom of a cancer patient calls people like you "The Marie Antionettes." The people who are CERTAIN that everything would just be fine if people would stop whining about their bread and eat their cake.

If you're so certain that it's impossible to believe that people can't get coverage under the current system, I'd recommend you go try it in my family's situation and report back to us.

Posted by: Seattlite1 | March 26, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I think of it as "AEI hits AEI and all repubs. where it hurts". Aei just pulled a Palin/scottbrowner/johnboehner/mccainer.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 26, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Shall we start a pool on how long it will take for the Heritage Foundation (the proud makers of health care mandates) to cannibalize their ranks?

Posted by: hoser3 | March 26, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Such breathtaking displays of ignorance about COBRA around here. First, the Frum's will not have to pay the full premium. The feds have been subsidizing COBRA premiums to the tune of 65% for months now. The Frum's are entitled to PRECISELY the same coverage at PRECISELY the same total premium (less 65%) that AEI was paying. "Pre-existing" conditions remain covered. I don't expect a WaPo writer (or his fellow travelers) to be a COBRA expert, but he probably should ask someone before spewing falsehoods about it.

Posted by: NNevada | March 26, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Liberals just love to tell conservatives who their spokesmen and intellectual leaders should be .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | March 26, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, no sympathy here.

Frum as an eager careerist riding the Bush boom back when it was a moneymaker to talk about political absolutes. He leaped from minor speechwriter to self-appointed pundit and got rich. But the GOP is like the Mafia, all business. Loyalty is yesterday. Frum got eaten by the beast he helped create.

Posted by: Attucks | March 26, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I love it that the people who shout "Communist!" the loudest are the ones engaging in purges to insure ideological purity.

Posted by: newsraptor | March 26, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Frum is the neocon/zionist
who wrote the Bush speech calling out the

AXIS of EVIL, and did his strong part in helping Wolfowtiz and Perle et. al. get war in Iraq...

and screamed for bombing in Iran (by the US)

That he now comes acropper by the AEI, a detestable next of zionists now, right right wing zionists, is good enough for most of us.

FUnny how nobody posting for this poor little boy managed to tell the truth about his history. AND don't worry, there'll be a job for him in the next of the 30 or so "middle east security" think tanks who AIPAC manages.

Posted by: whistling | March 26, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Frum will not be wanting for anything. A liberal group will welcome him to the big tent to provide balance and he has his own blog to raise $. He has 2 fallback options for health care - the US and our Canadian brothers. Oh, I have not seen any liberal group or paper force out anybody.

Posted by: bgreston | March 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

David Frum and his family will not be bereft of health care, he can always return to his native Canada, where his late mother is held in great esteem. We have single-payer health care here, not without its faults, but functional. We also have banking regulation, all of the Canadian banks were solvent and made money in 2008 and 2009. We can only hope that he has learned something from his association with the selfish warmongering Republican

hey if there are no brick totin', gun packin' tea-baggers in Cananda I may apply for citizenship.

Posted by: sux123 | March 26, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

This is the third of the zionist neocons
trying to use a "crisis" as a way to
redo their 'credentials'...

first we heard such lovely stories abou Wolfowitz, made him IMF head until he messed that up...

then they started on how poor Scooter Libby was
treated. (yea, right)

Richard Perle made a speech saying he never heard of 'neocons' what are they? And when people laughed he's settled back down.

And now we hear several posts about how Frum is a Canadian, a dear boy with a nice mother, and they'd love to have him back.

They are what they are. And redoing their histories, the zionists neocons of the Bush war machine, is gonna take more than cute
little games like these.

Posted by: whistling | March 26, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

David Frum is just one of many Republicans who will benefit from "Obamacare", even as they rail against it.

The Republican gene has been irrefutably linked to hypocrisy and irony, in addition to ignorance, it turns out.

Posted by: B2O2 | March 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Who care that Frum lost his job; join the crowd.

Posted by: edfo | March 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I guess now the "think-tank world" is going to go through a McCarthyesque blood-letting just like the entertainment industry did back in the 50s at the hands of the "No-shame" witch-hunting cabal of that era.
Note that both movements are generated by the far-right Republican party.
Because that is the case, it makes a statement about the character of this party.
What I've decided is that Republicans and Libertarians live in a fantasy world of labels, hate and fear.
David Frum is such a bright, interesting young analyist, I have no doubt more sane moderate communications companies will snap him up quickly.
David Brock and "Media Matters" come to mind.
Brock can identify with Frum.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | March 26, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

For portlad.

You were lucky. After my 18 months of COBRA (at $600 month), my insurance company first said it had never heard of the requirement about offering an individual policy, then it offered one with a monthly premium of $4000. The other insurors (5) I contacted refused to offer a policy because my spouse has asthma.

I am not kidding.

Don't try to tell me that after COBRA it doesn't mean the end of insurance. It did for me, until I finally found a job paying 1/3 of what I had earned before.

Posted by: FleaBailey | March 26, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry about David losing his health benefits. He is a Canadian citizen and come come home anytime for his health care.

Posted by: draphael | March 26, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

AEI's decision to distance itself from David Frum is no different than NOW's decison to distance itself from Tammy Bruce after she began dissenting from feminist ideology.

Tammy Bruce landed on her feet; so will David Frum. However, Bruce can no longer be considered a feminist just as Frum can no longer be considered a conservative.

Posted by: austinrl | March 26, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Or shall we say beltway politics is exposing think-tanks to the uninitiated public for what they really are - ie. tribal kingdom!

Posted by: hariknaidu | March 26, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

It is rather delicious to watch the incoherent hissy fits go on and on and on. There is no one leader strong enough to pull them back from destructive path they have chosen. I am afraid it is time for a new second party.

Posted by: tarryh | March 26, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Poor Frum,but what did he expect? Probably nothing different than he got, unless he spoke out in a fit of absent-mindedness. In any case, he should count himself lucky: his flirtation with the truth liberated him from the need to consort with unedifying colleagues on the Republican Desk of the Ministry of Truth. It's too bad, however, about his insurance, and he deserves some sympathy for that.

Posted by: morphex | March 26, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"AEI hits David Frum where it hurts"


yea the only thing that hurts a conservative

The Wallet

Don't cry for him. He's of the old guard and actually thinks about his positions rather than blindly follow the stench of the GOP Masters. He'll do very well for himself now that he's been kicked out of AEI.

Posted by: theobserver4 | March 26, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually, no evidence that Frum was let go due to objections by donors. All we have to support that is Frum's self-serving speculation. Also, reports are that Frum was earning $100,000 a year from AEI, hardly a low-wage job he was taking just for health benefits. But he was apparently doing little for AEI for that salary, was asked to work more or take a pay cut, and then quit. Finally, as Miller admits, Obamacare won't help Frum until 2014, if it isn't repealed before then.

Posted by: woocane | March 26, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

LOL @ woocane's naivete. Yeah, AEI happened to give Frum an ultimatum about productivity the day after the controversial piece was published. Is there any right-wing spin that you won't swallow hook, line, and sinker? LOL!!!

Posted by: uh_huhh | March 27, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

David Frum's story is evidence of the GOP's selling itself to its extreme right-wing base. Wow. Frum was, of course, correct in his assessment, and he will continue to be proved wise in the long view of historians. That he has been martyred by a GOP that now exiles its best and brightest -- because they dare to speak their independent minds -- indicates the hypocrisy of a group screaming about "freedom".

Freedom? Independence? Not if you're in the GOP gulag. You give up your own ideas when you call yourself Republican these days.

Posted by: cturtle1 | March 27, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Woocane has swallowed the GOP talking point of "repealing health reform". I'm sure they will do this like they repealed Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Civil Rights Act, Roe v Wade, etc. I pray for the day you and your fellow repubs will realize that you are being used by the GOP establishment just for votes.

Posted by: hadelaide | March 27, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The thin skinned GOP members are really quite a pathetic lot of losers. No good plans for America, only trying to sink anything Obama wants to implement to move America forward. Criticize any of these misfits and they completely fold up their tent and cry like little babies. Sadly, these losers "can and do slow down any real forward progress" for the average citizen who struggles daily to pay their bills. Thank Goodness I'm not a member of these thin skinned whiners.

Posted by: billdollar | March 28, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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