Friday, August 17, 2012

The Truth About the GOP Mediscare

"This came up at Tuesday’s Western Republican Leadership Conference Debate, where Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich tussled on the question:
ROMNEY: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.
GINGRICH: That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.
ROMNEY: Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.
GINGRICH: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.
ROMNEY: And you never supported them?
GINGRICH: I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.
ROMNEY: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?
GINGRICH: I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.
ROMNEY: You did support an individual mandate?
ROMNEY: Oh, OK. That’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.
GINGRICH: OK. A little broader.
ROMNEY: OK. (Goodman, Forbes, October 20, 2011)"

(Goodman 2011)  "Heritage did put forward the idea of an individual mandate, though it predated HillaryCare by several years. We know this because we were there: In 1988-90, we were employed at Heritage as a public relations associate (a junior writer and editor), and we wrote at least one press release for a publication touting Heritage’s plan for comprehensive legislation to provide universal “quality, affordable health care {Taranto 2011}.”

(Goodman 2011) : "John Goodman says: “Did the ideas behind ObamaCare originate at the Heritage Foundation? I would say ‘no.’  They originated with [Stanford economist] Alain Enthoven.  But Heritage played a role.”

Good. Now that's settled, and we can move on. You've heard many attacks from all sides, especially from those on the far right. "For example, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, in a February interview with the Associated Press, said Romney should essentially apologize for the law and acknowledge that it 'cost more, waiting times were higher, quality of care went down, people were greatly dissatisfied and it ended up having almost the polar opposite effect of what was intended.' We found that there’s not much truth in any of that (Robinson,, March 25, 2011)." Maybe Huckster should stick to his day job at Fox.

MSNBC's Ed Show lays it out by two of the architects of both plans, Johnathon Gruber who is Professor of Economics at M.I.T., and John McDonough, from the Havard School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Public Health Leadership. They verify that much of the source material of the Affordable Care Plan does in fact derive from the "Romneycare" plan, and that it has become extremely successful, and enjoys a favorable 2/3 of public opinion in Massachusetts.

To help understand even better the "mechanics" of health care reform, here's another video from the Kaiser Family Foundatin entitled "Health Reform Hits Main Street":

"The Romney campaign has gone on the offense on Medicare, charging that the Affordable Care Act “cuts $716 billion” from the entitlement program.That $716 billion figure is one you’ll probably be hearing a lot about during this election cycle. It’s worth understanding where it comes from and what the spending reductions mean for the Medicare program.First, where it comes from. On July 24, the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, detailing the budget impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act. If Congress overturned the law, 'spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period.' As to how the Affordable Care Act actually gets to $716 billion in Medicare savings, that’s a bit more complicated. John McDonough did the best job explaining it in his 2011 book, 'Inside National Health Reform.' There, he looked at all the various Medicare cuts Democrats made to pay for the Affordable Care Act (Kliff 2012)."

(Kliff 2012) "The majority of the cuts (...), come from reductions in how much Medicare reimburses hospitals and private health insurance companies. (...) Medicare Advantage plans. That program allows seniors to join a private health insurance, with the federal government footing the bill. The whole idea of Medicare Advantage was to drive down the cost of health insurance for the elderly as private insurance companies competing for seniors’ business."

(Kliff 2012) "That’s not what happened. By 2010, the average Medicare Advantage per-patient cost was 117 percent of regular fee-for-service. The Affordable Care Act gives those private plans a haircut and tethers reimbursement levels to the quality of care administered, and patient satisfaction. "

(Kliff 2012) "The Medicare Advantage cut gets the most attention, but it only accounts for about a third of the Affordable Care Act’s spending reduction. Another big chunk comes from the hospitals. The health law changed how Medicare calculates what they get reimbursed for various services, slightly lowering their rates over time. Hospitals agreed to these cuts because they knew, at the same time, they would likely see an influx of paying patients with the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion. The rest of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts are a lot smaller. Reductions to Medicare’s Disproportionate Share Payments — extra funds doled out the hospitals that see more uninsured patients — account for 5 percent in savings. Lower payments to home health providers make up another 8.8 percent. About a dozen cuts of this magnitude make up the green section above."

(Kliff 2012) "It’s worth noting that there’s one area these cuts don’t touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to. And, as Ezra pointed out earlier today, the Ryan budget would keep these cuts in place."

Lies, and especially R-money's Mediscare lies about the ACA, are useful tools commonly found in most of the Teapublican toolboxes these days (besides being tools of the power elites themselves). Repetition is what give them a life of their own, and the more the SS R-money dreadnought lies, the more simple minds with our world famous North American short term memory attribute begin to believe them as gospel.

During the rule of the early Roman Empire, the Emperor Augustus ensured that all of his propaganda was incorporated into preexisting ideas, with constantly repeating themes. Repetition is what made Augustus's program of propaganda strong.

As I have previously written about the Teapublican disinformation program, their propaganda is primarily meant to draw an emotive response, often using fallacies and Ad hominem attacks as they now do to discredit the president’s very origin, religious upbringing, beliefs, and even rebuttable edited snippets of his statements.

 Labeling has had a huge effect on public opinion to poll as showing that a considerable amount of the voting public now believes the name calling of “the president is a muslim” despite any amount of coverage showing him with his family attending church and statements to the contrary. This is why logic, facts, and exposition of erroneous claims and information strike more bluntly on the opinions of the now “true believers”. "It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success" (Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, 1983 p 90). Also, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it" (Attributed to Joseph Goebbels, Crowley 2010).

I hope this helps your understanding and enjoyed my presentation, all the while trying to moisten a rather dry subject.

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