Saturday, June 20, 2009

The GOP Keeps Trash Talking Health Care

by Charley James

Like when it rolled out its laughable 18-page “budget” five months ago that forgot to include any numbers, yesterday John “Man Tan” Boehner, Eric “Ralph Wiggums” Cantor and a handful of other Congressional Republicans unveiled a four page health care “plan” Wednesday that not only had no numbers, it had no substance, no ideas – good or bad – and the closest it came to being a plan was calling it one on the cover.
As Paul Krugman points out Thursday morning, there are four insane components to the Republican’s latest piece of garbage:

  • Republicans who rail against wasteful government spending are taking action to prevent the government from … reining in wasteful spending.
  • Politicians who warn that the burden of entitlements is killing the federal budget are stepping in to block the single most painless route to reducing the growth of entitlements.
  • They’re doing it in the name of avoiding “rationing of health care” but they’re specifically addressing taxpayer-funded care. If you want to go out and buy a medically useless treatment, Medicare won’t stop you.
  • These same politicians are opposed to expanding coverage because it’s evil for government to “ration care” by only paying for things that work; it is, however, virtuous to ration care by refusing to pay for any care at all.

"You’re assuming people watching CNN are thinking,” a staff member to a Republican Senator tells me this morning. “We’re simply trying to make the point that government-sponsored health care is a terrible idea."
Wednesday’s GOP talking point was warning about “inserting bureaucrats between you and your doctor,” and it was repeated at least a half-dozen times by interchangeable Republican faces popping up on cable news and C-SPAN.

Uhm, shouldn’t Republicans watch something besides Fox News occasionally? It is insurance company “bureaucrats” who keep inserting themselves between patients and doctors, denying coverage or treatment for people who are ill. Earlier this week Keith Olbermann treated us to the latest outrage: AIG, US Airways liability insurer, is telling a survivor of the airline’s Hudson River crash that she and her three year old daughter would not be covered for psychological counselling to deal with the on-going trauma of watching themselves almost die.

Oh, and by the way, dear Republicans: Not even the strongest proponents of a universal, single payer health care reform package is suggesting that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals will work for the government. So why are you comparing them to postal workers and the Department of Motor Vehicles the way you did Thursday? Are you crazy, stupid or just plain liars trying to scare Harry and Louise into opposing health care reform one more time?

“OK, so likening a public plan to the DMV is an exaggeration. So what? The point is to stop this thing cold,” the Republican staffer admits reluctantly. “No one likes bureaucrats and everyone hates the Post Office and DMV. It’s a good ‘word picture’ that people who watch cable news can understand.”
Whatever talking point the GOP rolls out today in its fight to keep America sick, remember that Republican staff people on the Hill admit all the party is trying to do is create scary “word pictures” to frighten the average cable news viewer. Republicans have always been good at twisting emotions and playing on fear. It’s past time for progressives to borrow a page from the Republican playbook and talk emotions, not just facts and figures.

Read it all at The LA Progressive

More of the same...

Hannity, Limbaugh, and Boortz Engage in a Healthcare Scarefest
The right wing media fear machine was hard at work trying to derail healthcare reform this week. Last night on his Fox News program, Sean Hannity claimed that healthcare reform will deny treatment to women with breast cancer. Neal Boortz claimed that Obama’s healthcare reform will kill people, and Rush Limbaugh denied the very existence of a healthcare crisis.

Hannity said, “There is not one person who can walk into a medical facilty that can legally be denied because of their inability to pay, so we already have a system in place…and we’re going to have a government rationing body that tells women with breast cancer, you’re dead.” (Hannity is referring to Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which does not cover all medical treatment, only minimum emergency care. However part of the escalating cost of healthcare is that people without insurance head to the emergency for minimal care at maximum cost).

Boortz said, “Obama’s healthcare plan is going to end up killing people. You can call it his healthcare plan. Ted Kennedy’s healthcare plan, whatever, especially among the ranks of the elderly there’s going to be people who die, there’s going to be people who die…” (What Boortz neglects to mention is that most of the elderly are on Medicare, and that won’t be changing).

Limbaugh said, “The crisis in healthcare is like the crisis in everything else, manufactured…There is no crisis. The crisis in healthcare is in the U.K. The crisis in healthcare is in Canada. The crisis in healthcare is in Cuba…The crisis in healthcare is in a lot of other places. The crisis in healthcare here has been manufactured.” (Limbaugh went back to the tried and true Republican tactic of head in the sand denial).

As you can see and hear, the Republican strategy is first to deny that there is a healthcare crisis, then to move to scare tactics in order to distract people away from the problem. All three of these hosts claimed or inferred that Obama is promoting government run healthcare. This is a tactic that won’t work because Obama has been consistently telling people that if they have insurance, they can keep it.

Audio and video at

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