Saturday, October 13, 2018

Republican Blatant Lies on Health Care

I view quality health care for all citizens as something very important.  First, if one is a moral person - I can't say Christians because evangelicals continue to prove themselves to be both morally bankrupt and hypocrites nearly daily - the welfare of others, especially children and the elderly ought to concern you.  Secondly, Americans pay the highest costs for health care of any developed nation because we fail to cover preventive care and as a result have people flooding ER's with catastrophic illnesses that could have been either avoided or greatly lessened in magnitude.  These un-reimbursed costs get passed on to everyone else and drive up insurance premiums.  The simple math is that to save money, one needs to spend money on basic and preventive care.  A third reason is that from personal experience when one of my children came down with a rare and very deadly disease, I understand how unexpected medical bills can ruin one financially.  Even with "excellent insurance" all of our savings were wiped out and it took me four years to pay off the balance of the bills.  But for a well paying job, I'd have been forced into bankruptcy.  

Polls indicate that a majority of Americans similarly deem health care and access to health care insurance as important, especially when it comes to pre-existing conditions.  Yet what do Republicans want to do?  Gut the Affordable Health Care Act, allow insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions (or charge them exorbitant rates).  Worse yet, to finance the Trump/GOP tax cuts they want to make cuts in Medicaid and Medicare.  But heven forbid that they be honest with voters about their agenda.  Instead, as a column in the New York Times notes, the blatantly lie.  Here are column excerpts:

Republicans no longer bother with deceptive presentations of facts. Instead, they just flat-out lie.
What do they lie about? Lots of things, from crowd sizes to immigrant crime, from steel plants to the Supreme Court. But right now the most intense, coordinated effort at deception involves health care — an issue where Republicans are lying nonstop about both their own position and that of Democrats.
The true Republican position on health care has been clear and consistent for decades: The party hates, just hates, the idea of government action to make essential health care available to all citizens, regardless of income or medical history.
This hatred very much includes hatred of Medicare. Way back in 1961, Ronald Reagan warned that enacting Medicare would destroy American freedom. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that happened. Newt Gingrich shut down the government in an attempt to force Bill Clinton to slash Medicare funding. Paul Ryan proposed ending Medicare as we know it and replacing it with inadequate vouchers to be applied to the purchase of private insurance.
And the hatred obviously extends to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans don’t just hate the subsidies that help people buy insurance; they also hate the regulations that prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Indeed, 20 Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit trying to eliminate protection for pre-existing conditions, and the Trump administration has declined to oppose the suit, in effect endorsing it.
So if you’re a voter who cares about health care, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out where the parties stand. If you believe that Medicare is a bad thing and the government shouldn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions, vote Republican. If you want to defend Medicare and ensure coverage even for those who have health problems, vote Democrat.
But Republicans have a problem here: The policies they hate, and Democrats love, are extremely popular. Medicare has overwhelming support. So does protection for pre-existing conditions, which is even supported by a large majority of Republicans.
Now, you might imagine that Republicans would respond to the manifest unpopularity of their health care position by, you know, actually changing their position. But that would be hopelessly old-fashioned. As I said, what they’ve chosen to do instead is lie, insisting that black is white and up is down. Thus Josh Hawley, as Missouri’s attorney general, is part of that lawsuit against Obamacare’s regulation of insurers; but in his campaign for the Senate, he’s posing as a defender of Americans with pre-existing conditions. Dean Heller, running for re-election to the Senate in Nevada, voted for a bill that would have destroyed Obamacare, including all protection for pre-existing conditions; but he’s misrepresenting himself just like Hawley is. All of which brings me to a remarkable op-ed article on health care in USA Today, which was published under Donald Trump’s name . . . Part of the article claimed that the Trump administration is defending health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions, when the reality is that it has tried to destroy that coverage. And what did “Trump” say Democrats would do? Why, that they would “eviscerate” the current Medicare program. Oh, and that they would turn America into Venezuela. Because that’s what has happened to countries that really do have single-payer, like Canada and Denmark.
Why do Republicans think they can get away with such blatant lies? Partly it’s because they expect their Fox-watching followers to believe anything they’re told.
But it’s also because they can still count on enablers in the mainstream news media. After all, why did USA Today approve this piece? Letting Trump express his opinion is one thing; giving him a platform for blatant lies is another. And as fact-checker Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post put it, “Almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.” Even the president of the United States isn’t entitled to his own facts.
So will the G.O.P.’s Big Lie on health care work? We’ll find out in a few weeks.

No comments: