August 4th, 2009

Health care reform: I am sick and tired of…

…bad faith, distortions, and lies on the part of the bill’s proponents—plus their counter-accusations that it’s actually only the opponents of the bill who are guilty of bad faith, distortions, and lies.

Many of you have probably already seen the video of the “wink, wink, ‘this is the first step towards single-payer but don’t let the public know'” statements of so many pushing this bill. But if not, here it is:

And, speaking of “don’t let the public know,” whatever happened to transparency and the posting of prospective bills online in a timely fashion? Although some on the Right are trying to force the issue on the health care reform bill, the Democrats in Congress who head the Committee in charge know they can stonewall by keeping the American people in the dark about the details through most of the August recess, the better to head off any substantive objections and the better to spread reassuring misinformation about how wonderful it will all be:

Unfortunately, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is dragging its feet on posting the final bill. When we called them yesterday morning to get a copy, we were told that the amended version might not be compiled until after the August recess. When we called back for an official comment, spokeswoman Lindsey Vidal gave us the slightly less jarring news that it would take at least two to three weeks, even though we live in an age of computer cut-and-paste.

The press has its own obfuscating role, as well. First, there’s the need to keep quiet about all of the above. Then, there’s the need to paint the vast majority of those who object to the bill as mere tools of the big bad evil health insurance industry rather than reasonable and concerned citizens.

Next, it’s very important to set up strawmen and then to knock them down. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek has written an excellent example of this genre, painting opponents of Obamacare who are satisfied with their own health insurance as uncaring dolts who feel that the entire health insurance system is perfect just the way it is.

This is duplicitous sophistry on Alter’s part but hey, what else is new? If the American public is too deficient in critical thinking to understand the strawman technique and to reject it; well then, that’s just too bad for our country, I’m afraid.

Alter writes his piece in the sarcastic pretend voice of Obamacare’s opponents, who are portrayed thusly:

I like the status quo on health care in the United States. I’ve got health insurance and I don’t give a damn about the 47 million suckers who don’t. Obama and Congress must be stopped. No bill! I’m better off the way things are…I like the fact that if I lose my job, I won’t be able to get any insurance because of my illness…I like the absence of catastrophic insurance today…speaking of fair, it seems fair to me that cost-cutting bureaucrats at the insurance companies—not doctors—decide what’s reimbursable. After all, the insurance companies know best…

And how could the supporters of these reform bills believe in anything as stupid as a “public option”? Do they really believe that the health-insurance cartel deserves a little competition to keep them honest? Back in the day, they had a word for competition. A bad word. They called it capitalism…

And on and on and on. You really have to read the whole thing to get the full flavor of it.

Alter ignores the myriad statements on the part of Obamacare opponents criticizing many aspects of the current system, as well as all of their suggestions for improving it except tort reform (see this, for example, for a GOP plan which eliminates the pre-existing condition problem as well as freeing health insurance from its ties to employment, among other things; also note that allowing catastrophic insurance is something that Republicans support and Obamacare eliminates and/or discourages ).

The fact that the Republicans do have ideas for changing health care coverage, and that they are merely different from the ones in the current bill—and might indeed be better—is something Alter needs to hide, because fair debate on the parties’ competing ideas for reform is not on the agenda of most Obamacare proponents. He also needs to hide what actually is in the current bill, because most Americans would be quite alarmed were they to find out.

Alter is also following the party line in his representation of a public option as traditional capitalistic competition. In doing so, he’s relying once again on the ignorance of the American public (I am paying him the compliment of assuming that Alter himself is not so ignorant as to actually believe what he writes). As he must know, the government has an advantage in the game: it is subsidized by our tax dollars, and can therefore compel the public to fund a government plan that can then undercut whatever competition the health care industry can muster and drive it out of the market.

But perhaps my favorite line in the Alter piece is his sarcastic “speaking of fair, it seems fair to me that cost-cutting bureaucrats at the insurance companies—not doctors—decide what’s reimbursable. After all, the insurance companies know best.” Just replace the phrase “insurance companies” with “the federal government” and you’ve got the program he’s pushing, to wit:

[S]peaking of fair, it seems fair to me that cost-cutting bureaucrats in the federal government—not doctors—decide what’s reimbursable. After all, the federal government know[s] best…

If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, nothing will.

25 Responses to “Health care reform: I am sick and tired of…”

  1. armchair pessimist Says:

    My theory is that the squatter in the White House has his own ecstatic visions of such paradises as Cuba, but that Congress arrives at that place via more sordid considerations.

    Their Great Society jewels, Medicare and Medicade, are hopelessly bankrupt; that’s the unsustainable healthcare system they keep talking about. The one they made. Like somebody who owes some money to organized crime and is frantically trying to raise it, the politicians know the only way to get themselves out of their mess is to force the rest of us into it. Quite literally, they can’t afford to listen to us.

    Rather, they’ll gamble that We the Dupes will get used to the new system, forget we ever were against it, be distracted by the dead celebrity du jour, and life will be goooood.

    So far they’re read us right.

  2. Occam's Beard Says:

    No, no, neo, it’s not cost-cutting bureaucrats at insurance companies who should be making these decisions, it’s cost-cutting bureaucrats in the government who should do so.

    Totally different situation. The government is well-known for hiring the cream of the bureaucratic crop.

  3. blert Says:

    Medicare, the VA, the Native American’s medical care, Medicaid…

    Until these fiascos are fixed big government has no credibility with regard to changing the status quo.


    That Obama is trying to erect a patronage wall; with the health system 17% of the GDP it’d be his keystone.


    Because of the socialized systems in the rest of the G20 we are virtually the sole source for medical advances.

    Should our beacon of progress wink out there would be no other spark of progress.


    Dick Morris is on target with his critique: Obama is adding a jolt of medical demand without ANY provision for more professionals.

    This nation should drop Obama’s nightmare and draft plans for many new medical schools — to include the entire range of professionals.

    We’ve got to stop importing talent so that the rest of the globe has a crack at decent medical care. In the short term the competition for MD’s is a zero sum game and we’ve not been playing fair.

    Our medical sector is going to take a generation to fix. The place to start is on the supply of talent.

    I have no interest in a scheme which entails throwing my parents into the grave so that illegal immigrants can receive Obamacare. Of course they won’t be illegals by the time they hit the hospital: Obama is going to naturalize them PDQ.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Occam’s Beard: did you not see I wrote exactly that towards the end of the piece?

  5. br549 Says:

    Like I said a while back, my problem is all things government will just get put into a single pot, or “general fund”. They won’t won’t be able to keep track of jack s*** when then happens. And no one will be able to make heads or tails out of it to run it down.
    It would be the stimulus package on steroids.

    It is high time I get a copy of the stimulus package and read it from front to back myself. I have seen snippets here and there that have boiled my blood. I want to read the whole thing – I SHOULD read the whole thing. Are there any links to it? Is it available to read in its entirety? Anyone?

  6. br549 Says:

    And the health care package, by the way. Links?

  7. OlderandWheezier Says:

    (I posted the following on another message board earlier, but it seems appropriate enough to paste here:)

    Personally? I don’t mind paying a little more in taxes if that extra payment helps provide coverage for every legal citizen who needs but honestly can’t afford a healthcare plan or policy. Just as I don’t mind that some of my tax dollars go to support those who labored for many years and are now retired.

    But I do bristle at the idea of our current administration and congress attempting to twist arms and re-label issues (“Health Care Reform? No, no, we meant to say Insurance Reform.”) in order to pass into law a bill that gives them control over an additional 1/6th of my income, especially considering the way our current elected officials have shown not just a willingness but an eagerness to run roughshod over the rights of secured creditors, corporations, appointed officials, and voters.

    And whether the protesters at town hall meetings are bused in or not, they sure seem to be making more sense than clowns such as Specter, Sibelius and McCaskill.

    There is no earthly reason for the president and legislature to try to push through a bill of such significant impact in such a hurry (especially given the current economic and jobs slump), UNLESS they fear that the more citizens learn about the current bill, the more they will withdraw their support for it.

    (…still waiting for a reply from those who differ on that board….)

  8. jon baker Says:

    Watch out Neo, you may get reported to the White House. Michelle Malkin claims the White House is wanting people to snitch on opponents of the Health bill that claim something Fishy on the net. (Not saying you are claiming anything Fishy. ) She is suggesting we report our complaints about the bill itself..haha

  9. jon baker Says:

    Here is the link about the snitch brigade, the one above is a link where she suggest turning the table…

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    has anyone noticed that the press is no longer in competition for facts, or the news, but instead upon who can write the article, fact or fiction, that can move or manipulate the most people. and that the one who does capture their whatever and moves a lot, gets celebrated (creating a darwinian kind of pressure that creates self sorting behavior).

    where the nobel prize was given for truth and to return to mankind, it now sits as an award to inspire global manipulation and movement.

  11. Artfldgr Says:

    The yid with lid has an interesting take. i mentioned a lot of things the soviets did and the history, but its usually when someone else says things that they are more believed or heard.

    Obama Uses Soviet-Style Tactics To Discredit Health Care Dissent

    In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. If you disagreed with the government you had to be crazy Therefore Psychiatric hospitals were often used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally.

    The Obama administration uses a similar tactic against those who dissent against his health care plan. Anybody who disagrees with the President is either a racist or crazy, so any protest against Obamacare must be set up by the Republicans or special interests.

    or my favorite, professor moriarty

    The Hubris of the Democratic party is that it is inconceivable to them that anyone could disagree with them. The Tea Party protests were ignored, underestimated, or chalked up as a Fox News production. They are ignoring the anger of the electorate and letting it grow. Now that much of the anger has attached itself to Obamacare, the Democrats are using their Soviet-style tactics on the protesters.

    more at the link

  12. Mr. Frank Says:

    The kind of work that insurance companies do — keeping records, applying regulations, reimbursing service providers, etc. — is basic bureaucratic stuff. I fail to see why anyone would think that government could do a better job than experienced private companies. I also fail to see how it could be less expensive. Is there anyone who thinks the Postal Service does a better job than Fed Ex?

  13. MikeLL Says:

    After all, the federal government know[s] best…

    This is one of the scariest things I have read in quite awhile.

  14. logern Says:

    per Neo’s story in the other thread.

    Neo, tell the version of your story where you’re also unexpectedly layed-off from work at the most importune time and your insurance goes unpaid, or perhaps completely unable to work, or how those complications they warned you of came true after surgery requiring much more care, and how the insurance company eventually decides you’re dead weight and tries to dump you.

    Hey though, I scoff at anyone who says that private care model doesn’t work or is broken. It is working exactly as expected, given the product being sold, which is really not like any other.

  15. logern Says:

    laid off, heh.

  16. logern Says:

    importune –(sigh)

  17. Baklava Says:


    nobody is saying there is no access or cost issues.

    The Democrat/logern/leftist/∅bama plan would exacerbate cost and access issues…..

    We say no to your/∅bama’s plan. 🙂

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    logern: if you read today’s post of mine, or paid any attention at all to some of the Republican proposals for health care reform, you’d see that there are ways other than Obamacare to handle problems such as health insurance being tied to employment. I’m in favor of decoupling health care insurance from employment, but I am most decidedly not in favor of the Obamacare way to do it.

    You are repeating the sort of deceptive Democrat talking points I deride in my post. The choice is not Obamacare or the status quo.

  19. Oldflyer Says:

    Both of my daughters are medical professionals in California. One is the Director of Therapy at a large Rehab center owned and operated by a major urban county.. She has told me for years that the Medi-Cal patients (which are the bulk of the patient population) get more services than private insurance patients.

    The other daughter is the Nurse Coordinator for a cancer surgeon at a large University hospital. It is often a pain for her to deal with Medi-Cal and Medicare to get surgeries approved–but it is transparent to the patient and it gets done.

    Do most people want to be dependent on medicaid? Probably not. But if they are, they do get health care. Do most people want to be subject to a government mandate health program with no choice? Hell no.

    Part of the problem is that this debate is often myth vs reality.

  20. notherbob2 Says:

    We have reached an Orwellian threshold when our government produces a video (the Linda Douglas propaganda piece on youTube) that tell us not to believe our own lyin’ eyes and ears (the youTube videos of past comments by President Obama) and to believe the poll-tested hooey she and the President now offer.

    The Republic is in real danger.

  21. Thomass Says:

    neo-neocon Says:

    “You are repeating the sort of deceptive Democrat talking points I deride in my post. The choice is not Obamacare or the status quo.”

    When I reported misleading heathcare arguments to the whitehouse I mentioned the linking of helping the unsured with having a government plan (designed to take the air out of private insurance and lead to single payer / government control). No such objective link exists, ergo saying there has to be is a lie.

  22. Thomass Says:

    notherbob2 Says:

    “We have reached an Orwellian threshold when our government produces a video”

    Michael Moore was a little head of the curve on that. He would respond to factual criticisms in similar ways. Say they’re wrong, produce some new ‘facts’ that ‘disprove’ the accusation and declare case closed (even though the new fact didn’t disprove the initial point). It was enough for his fans. We should have pushed back more back then to ridicule people who accepted that… Parts of the left are such sloppy thinkers they think just throwing an argument in the ring is enough to declare victory… regardless of how bad it is.

  23. Michael Says:

    When you get to my age, it’s pretty easy to see when someone doesn’t know the subject matter under discussion. When Obama was delivering that patronizing “Red pill/Blue pill” load of rabbit pills, it was very clear to me that he was not just talking down to us, but also that the patronizing crap was not even his own, but a spiel he had been taught by rote. Red pill? Blue pill? Has the fellow never heard of insurance company formularies? Apparently not. As things now stand, if a drug is not on the formulary, you can get it, but pay a bigger share of the cost. Or, your doctor can call them up and yell at them, and, since they compete and don’t want to make too many enemies, they’ll often fold. When health care is a monopoly, those will be the fond tales we tell our grand children, but they won’t believe.

    And, how ’bout them tonsillectomies? They have been declining almost every year since Neo and I were kids. Besides that, you family doctor is not the one who takes out the tonsils. That is referred to an otolaryngologist.

    There’s plenty more to say, of course, about the end of medical progress, for example, but these really catch my attention as a nurse.

    So, the chief proponent does not even know these salient points, does not even know he sounds like an idiot, but he knows enough to plan for my needs as I age? This is not just an argument against socialized medicine. It is an argument by example of the case against socialism in general.

    Oy! This is bad for my blood pressure!

  24. Michael Says:

    I may have misunderstood a comment. If I did, my apologies. Is there anyone who does not understand the link between “government option” and eventual monopoly? Barney Frank does. I do. (I can, however, control my oral secretions better than Congressman Frank.) The government option can undercut the pricing of any private insurance, using tactics that would be illegally anticompetitive, if they were used by a private business. The Left knows that. Sometimes they even let it slip. They are really angry right now that we have them saying so, on video tape.

  25. Michael Says:

    There! Laughing at Slobbering Frank is GOOD for my blood pressure.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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