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Thread: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

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    Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo
    Jonathan Weiler
    Professor of International Studies at UNC Chapel Hill

    Recently, Digby wrote a post about the pathological tendency of right-wing activists to insist that their rights are being trampled while they themselves push to shut down town hall meetings intended to inform the public about health care. Death threats, violence and other efforts to close down debate are coming from the same people who insist that a fascist tide sweeping America is strangling their right to air their views. About this phenomenon, Digby writes:

    I know. This kind of full-on psychotic projection is disorienting and weird. I've never been very good a dealing with this particular wingnut tactic and I don't think anyone is.


    That post got me to thinking more prosaically about the main right-wing talking points against health care reform. What is striking about those talking points is that every horror that the right-wing alleges is a feature of Obamacare is actually a mainstay of American health care as it currently stands. Below are five broad claims against Obamacare that fit this pattern.

    1) Claim: that Obamacare will entail runaway costs, exploding our deficits. Reality: We currently spend far more than any other OECD country for health care relative to GDP. And every significant proposed cost-control initiative -- like a public option, or allowing the government to actually negotiate lower prices with the pharmaceutical industry -- is being attacked full-on by opponents of reform. There is simply no serious debate about whether our insanely convoluted, privately-based insurance system is far more expensive than any comprehensive single-payer system would be.

    2) Claim: Obamacare represents a frontal attack on Americans' freedom, including their freedom to choose the health care that is best for them. Reality: The current market for health insurance in the United States is, for most Americans under the age of 65, a state-by-state market. And, far from being characterized by competition and choice, most states' health insurance markets are highly concentrated, with near-monopolies in numerous states. A public option would, in fact, clearly give many Americans more choice and more freedom than they have now, because Americans' fear of losing health insurance constrains their job mobility.

    3) Claim: Obamacare will mean runaway bureaucracy. Reality: Private insurers are far more bureaucratic and far less efficient than is Medicare, whose overhead costs are a fraction of the private insurers. Why? Because private insurers incur massive expense trying to figure out whom to insure and to whom they should deny coverage. Universal systems, like Medicare, don't have this problem. Some defenders of the status quo insist that private insurers incur high bureaucratic costs because they are trying to prevent fraud. But this is bogus. Fraud is a concern for Medicare and Medicaid as much as it is private insurers. Just ask Rick Scott. He's a ringleader of the anti-reform movement. He's also the founder of Columbia/HCA, a health care company that had to pay $1.7 billion in fines to the federal government, the largest medical fraud case in U.S. history.

    4) Claim: Obamacare means rationing of health care. Reality: let's leave aside, for the moment, the hysterical claims being made about socialism trampling on our rights to get the care we want. The fact is that we now have rationing of health care. Every time an insurance company denies a claim, it's rationing health care. And denials of claims, as sentient American knows, are endemic in our system, as is the related practice of rescission, whereby insurance companies try to strip policy-holders of their coverage once the policy-holder becomes sick and actually needs coverage.

    5) Claim: Obamacare will set up death panels that will play God and decide who gets to live and who is condemned to die. This meme has become a staple of anti-reform propaganda and Sarah Palin weighed in this weekend to say that her son Trig might have been doomed to death by one such panel. Reality: We already have bureaucrats determining who gets to live and who gets to die -- insurance companies do this everyday. Chris Hayes, writing in the Nation, tells one such story:

    I am 36 years old and have Blue Shield HMO health insurance coverage through my employer. In January 2009, I was diagnosed with metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer.... My doctors prescribed a medication that targets and removes the cancer throughout the body like a "smart bomb"; however Blue Shield of California denied coverage of my doctors' recommended treatment. Blue Shield also denied a radiation procedure that would target and remove the two lesions in my brain. In both cases, Blue Shield denied the original requests and subsequent appeals I filed on the grounds that the treatments are not a medical necessity. I have learned that insurance companies will use "medical necessity" as an excuse to not cover treatment when it appears that the patient is "too sick" (read: not worth it).


    There are, of course, many, many stories just like this one.

    In sum, everything the anti-reformers hate about Obamacare is a feature of the current health care system in America, a textbook case of projection.
    Food for thought, you know there is always two sides to a story. Would be nice to hear actual discussion and debate, rather than dishonest Kill Granny and all the rest.

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    If you don't want to hear the "kill Granny" comments then don't listen to them. If you want to hear the serious debate then listen to the serious debate. If you want to dishonestly smear the people who disagree with you then by all means, accuse them of being affiliated with the "kill Granny" crowd.
    If you expect people to be rational, you aren't being rational.

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by mpg View Post
    If you don't want to hear the "kill Granny" comments then don't listen to them. If you want to hear the serious debate then listen to the serious debate. If you want to dishonestly smear the people who disagree with you then by all means, accuse them of being affiliated with the "kill Granny" crowd.
    Then if your congressman is a conservative, go to congressman's next town hall meeting and tell him or her:

    "I am a conservative, and I believe that you should publicly disown the extreme and dishonest rhetoric the screamers are engaging in."

    No one is dishonestly smearing the opponents of health care reform. Your problem is that it would seem that the majority of the Republican base actually believes the "kill Granny" garbage, so your beef should be with the loons in the base that are preventing honest discourse rather than with those on the other side you don't agree with.

    If you guys don't take on the loons in your base, your going to continue to lose elections no matter how crappy of a job Obama and the Democrats do.
    "You're the only person that decides how far you'll go and what you're capable of." - Ben Saunders (Explorer and Endurance Athlete)

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    "Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo "

    In other words, the "fix" the Messiah is proposing has nothing at all to do with improving health care in the US and everything to do with creating a MASSIVE new bureaucracy the likes of which has never before existed and transferring control of 1/6 the US economy to the Democrat party.

    And you people wonder why real Americans are opposed Messiah-Care.

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    "Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo "

    In other words, the "fix" the Messiah is proposing has nothing at all to do with improving health care in the US and everything to do with creating a MASSIVE new bureaucracy the likes of which has never before existed and transferring control of 1/6 the US economy to the Democrat party.

    And you people wonder why real Americans are opposed Messiah-Care.
    Again, more hyperbole and non-debate from a conservative. Keep it up! It does your side no good whatsoever.
    It's time for a revolution in our country. Not a revolution forged with guns and bombs but a revolution forged of compassion and altruism. A revolution that extends a hand to those who don't have and who cannot. A revolution that makes Health Care available to all those in the US.

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    You guys know there are more options other than what is being proposed and the "status quo."

    You, the president and congress are creating a false dilemma with this ****, it's getting old.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by sam_w View Post
    Food for thought, you know there is always two sides to a story. Would be nice to hear actual discussion and debate, rather than dishonest Kill Granny and all the rest.
    I find your tone about dishonesty rather humerous following the posting of a highly slanted and hyper partisan piece like you just posted. Lets give it a look.

    Recently, Digby wrote a post about the pathological tendency of right-wing activists to insist that their rights are being trampled while they themselves push to shut down town hall meetings intended to inform the public about health care.
    Ahh, the town hall meetings are intend to "inform" the public about health care? They're not supposed to be about having discussion with the public? That's what I thought MEETINGS were meant to do. I mean, SPEECHES inform people of things one way. I thought town halls were supposed to be a place where people are able to challenge their reps, especially if they feel they're being misleading.

    Death threats, violence and other efforts to close down debate are coming from the same people who insist that a fascist tide sweeping America is strangling their right to air their views. About this phenomenon, Digby writes:
    Yes, they are coming...from a small minority. Additionally, violence, fake protestors, and other things are also happening on the other side. Funny, the writer of this article wants to imply its wide spread on one side while completely ignoring the other.

    Now, we come to the meat of this. Before I go into it I'm going to note this shining pillar of fair minded and "honest" journalism falls back to the tried and true George W. Bush "With us or against us" tactic of calling anyone that opposes OBAMA'S FORM OF REFORM as "Anti-Healthcare Reform".

    Guess the writer must also agree that democrats are "Anti-American" as well if he believes such idiotic extremes.

    1) Claim: that Obamacare will entail runaway costs, exploding our deficits.
    The writer of this piece is either being amazingly dishonest himself or is a complete and utter idiot. His "reality" that he gives is that PRIVATELY we as citizens spend more than any other OECD country. Fair point, except it doesn't counter the CLAIM above because the CLAIM above is focused on the GOVERNMENT. The amount spent by private citizens on health care does not counter the argument that privatizing is going to cause the GOVERNMENT to have runaway costs and increase the GOVERNMENTS deficits.

    Saying that the private system is more expensive than the public system would be (giving ZERO facts to back that up btw) doesn't counter the claim that people are upset with this because its going to be runaway GOVT spending and huge GOVT deficits.

    2) Claim: Obamacare represents a frontal attack on Americans' freedom, including their freedom to choose the health care that is best for them.
    I'm sincerely interested to find out what this writers thoughts on the Patriot Act were to find out how consistant he is.

    The issue people have with the thing mentioned in this claim is more on the "slippery slope" scale. The more you involve government into health care the more you make what happens to you in your personal life the business of the government which exorts more control to the government. Is this happening immedietely? No. But neither was the government listening in on every single American with the Patriot Act, but we were always told that's what it could LEAD to. The slippery slope!

    Futhermore in his reality the man fails to point out or counter the republican issues with portions of the various plans that essentially are going to discourage corporations from offering the private option, thus removing large amounts of citizens from the position of options as they rely on that employer aided health care.

    Now, before the natural "Come on conservative, that's the free market. The employer is making the choice". Its not a "free market" when the employer is making the choice due to overwhelming government influence making one choice obviously better than the other.

    3) Claim: Obamacare will mean runaway bureaucracy.
    Again, government bureaucracy not private. Private bureaucracies, if they fail, fail. Government ones are continually propped up and have more money thrown at them. Not to mention, there are very few people are against reforming the insurance companies and the market in regards to these, the difference is HOW people wish to reform it. But I mean, the writer can't mention that, because then he can't have his flashy GWB-esque "Anti-Reformers"

    It goes on and on and I don't want to waste more work time going after it. You tried to counter dishonesty on one side by grabbing a partisan hack article filled with dishonesty on the other. Congratulations, great job. The only thing you've shown is that both sides are enjoying over exaggeration, ommission, and misrepresentation.

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by mpg View Post
    If you don't want to hear the "kill Granny" comments then don't listen to them. If you want to hear the serious debate then listen to the serious debate. If you want to dishonestly smear the people who disagree with you then by all means, accuse them of being affiliated with the "kill Granny" crowd.
    I did not see where the OP in any way accused anyome falsely of being "affiliated with the "kill Granny" crowd". Come on now the idiots like Palin, Republicate Senators, and CONGRESSMEN , and Republican talking heads such as Party Chairman Limbaugh, Vannity, Glennboy Beck, etc are doing a "great" job discrediting themselves with "kill Granny" remarks...
    “I do not recall the Viet Cong asking me if I was a natural born or Naturalized American before they shot at me, they just shot at all of us “ f107HyperSabr

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    Then if your congressman is a conservative, go to congressman's next town hall meeting and tell him or her:

    "I am a conservative, and I believe that you should publicly disown the extreme and dishonest rhetoric the screamers are engaging in."

    No one is dishonestly smearing the opponents of health care reform. Your problem is that it would seem that the majority of the Republican base actually believes the "kill Granny" garbage, so your beef should be with the loons in the base that are preventing honest discourse rather than with those on the other side you don't agree with.

    If you guys don't take on the loons in your base, your going to continue to lose elections no matter how crappy of a job Obama and the Democrats do.
    The sad thing is that the wacko loons are quickly becoming the standard of the GOP. After all look at heir leaders : Party Chairman Limbaugh, Commisar of iDEOLOGY Saun Vannity, Ministress of Culture and and Agriculteure Palin, Minister of the untruth Beck
    “I do not recall the Viet Cong asking me if I was a natural born or Naturalized American before they shot at me, they just shot at all of us “ f107HyperSabr

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    Re: Critics of "Obamacare" Actually Describe the Status Quo

    Quote Originally Posted by F107HyperSabr View Post
    The sad thing is that the wacko loons are quickly becoming the standard of the GOP. After all look at heir leaders : Party Chairman Limbaugh, Commisar of iDEOLOGY Saun Vannity, Ministress of Culture and and Agriculteure Palin, Minister of the untruth Beck
    Grassley seemed to add his name to lot in recent days.
    It's time for a revolution in our country. Not a revolution forged with guns and bombs but a revolution forged of compassion and altruism. A revolution that extends a hand to those who don't have and who cannot. A revolution that makes Health Care available to all those in the US.

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