Interesting points in the following opinion piece. I agree with him. I believe the comments and lies the writer pointed out were deliberate. The republicans have conducted successful (but inaccurate or outright false) smear campaigns for years and they worked. They have become arrogant in their comments-i.e."death panels." And if anyone were to worry about "death panels" it should be those with private insurance and pre-exisitng conditions. But like sheep, so many people I know believe whatever they hear. I recently got that tired old email about Mohammed Atta being let go just in time to mastermind the WTC attacks and Al Gore laughing at Ollie North for fearing bin Laden (for those who still believe these things please do your research, both are false). The woman who sent this is master's educated, a responsible businesswoman and yet has no problem with circulating completely false and made up "history." Now I am not saying that the republican party was behind this lying email-although I doubt it was originally conceived by a democrat-but I am using it as an example that if even educated people believe whatever they read w/o bothering to fact check, just how prevalent do you think it is in America to believe it because you read it? So the republicans have hit on a tactic to spread false info and fear among Americans and as a result, much needed healthcare for so many is floundering. How many people will die due to lack of basic care while the republicans play their games? Where are their "better" ideas and experts that say they can work? Why are they are dismissing things in this bill that they promoted not too long ago? That makes them the worst kind of hypocrites-they are playing with people's lives, and human life needs to take precedence over perpetual political campaigning and conniving. Of course the longer they drag this out, the more the big insurance companies rake in. Is that their objective? Help the rich get richer?
Like this guy said-all the Dems need to do is to DO it-finish the job and enact healthcare reform. Will they? Or are they guilty of perpetual campaignig and conniving as well?
February 26, 2010
Afflicting the Afflicted
By PAUL KRUGMAN
If we’re lucky, Thursday’s summit will turn out to have been the last act in the great health reform debate, the prologue to passage of an imperfect but nonetheless history-making bill. If so, the debate will have ended as it began: with Democrats offering moderate plans that draw heavily on past Republican ideas, and Republicans responding with slander and misdirection.
Nobody really expected anything different. But what was nonetheless revealing about the meeting was the fact that Republicans — who had weeks to prepare for this particular event, and have been campaigning against reform for a year — didn’t bother making a case that could withstand even minimal fact-checking.
It was obvious how things would go as soon as the first Republican speaker, Senator Lamar Alexander, delivered his remarks. He was presumably chosen because he’s folksy and likable and could make his party’s position sound reasonable. But right off the bat he delivered a whopper, asserting that under the Democratic plan, “for millions of Americans, premiums will go up.”
Wow. I guess you could say that he wasn’t technically lying, since the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate Democrats’ plan does say that average payments for insurance would go up. But it also makes it clear that this would happen only because people would buy more and better coverage. The “price of a given amount of insurance coverage” would fall, not rise — and the actual cost to many Americans would fall sharply thanks to federal aid.
His fib on premiums was quickly followed by a fib on process. Democrats, having already passed a health bill with 60 votes in the Senate, now plan to use a simple majority vote to modify some of the numbers, a process known as reconciliation. Mr. Alexander declared that reconciliation has “never been used for something like this.” Well, I don’t know what “like this” means, but reconciliation has, in fact, been used for previous health reforms — and was used to push through both of the Bush tax cuts at a budget cost of $1.8 trillion, twice the bill for health reform.
What really struck me about the meeting, however, was the inability of Republicans to explain how they propose dealing with the issue that, rightly, is at the emotional center of much health care debate: the plight of Americans who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. In other advanced countries, everyone gets essential care whatever their medical history. But in America, a bout of cancer, an inherited genetic disorder, or even, in some states, having been a victim of domestic violence can make you uninsurable, and thus make adequate health care unaffordable.
One of the great virtues of the Democratic plan is that it would finally put an end to this unacceptable case of American exceptionalism. But what’s the Republican answer? Mr. Alexander was strangely inarticulate on the matter, saying only that “House Republicans have some ideas about how my friend in Tullahoma can continue to afford insurance for his wife who has had breast cancer.” He offered no clue about what those ideas might be.
In reality, House Republicans don’t have anything to offer to Americans with troubled medical histories. On the contrary, their big idea — allowing unrestricted competition across state lines — would lead to a race to the bottom. The states with the weakest regulations — for example, those that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to victims of domestic violence — would set the standards for the nation as a whole. The result would be to afflict the afflicted, to make the lives of Americans with pre-existing conditions even harder.
Don’t take my word for it. Look at the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House G.O.P. plan. That analysis is discreetly worded, with the budget office declaring somewhat obscurely that while the number of uninsured Americans wouldn’t change much, “the pool of people without health insurance would end up being less healthy, on average, than under current law.” But here’s the translation: While some people would gain insurance, the people losing insurance would be those who need it most. Under the Republican plan, the American health care system would become even more brutal than it is now.
So what did we learn from the summit? What I took away was the arrogance that the success of things like the death-panel smear has obviously engendered in Republican politicians. At this point they obviously believe that they can blandly make utterly misleading assertions, saying things that can be easily refuted, and pay no price. And they may well be right.
But Democrats can have the last laugh. All they have to do — and they have the power to do it — is finish the job, and enact health reform.