Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Latest GOP Lie About Obamacare

For a political party that claims to honor and place high value on "Christian principles," it remarkable how the Republican Party feels totally free from the restrictions in the Ten Commandment which condemns lying and bearing false witness.  On the other hand, perhaps it should not be a surprise since as I have noted before, no one seems to lie more than the "godly Christian" crowd which seemingly has excised what is generally numbered as the 9th Commandment.  The latest GOP big lie concerns the party's favorite bogey man - Barack Obama and Obamacare and the claim that the law represents "massive insurance company bailouts."  A column in Politico exposes the lie.  Here are highlights:

There’s a saying that “nothing is more admirable in politics than a short memory.” But we are amazed by the audacity of the latest attack by Republican leaders on the Affordable Care Act.

The target of Republicans’ new criticism is a sensible mechanism to ensure an even distribution of risks across insurance companies. According to Republican leaders like House Budget Chairman Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, these risk corridor provisions are “massive insurance company bailouts.” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has even introduced a bill to strip them from the ACA. Some conservative groups are calling them “nothing more than a built-in, blank check bailout for insurance companies.”

What’s most remarkable about their comments on risk corridors is that Republican leaders are denouncing a model they created to smooth out rate increases in prescription drug coverage under Medicare. When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in 2003 to create Medicare Part D, he called the law “the most important social legislation … in my memory” and said it provided “a genuine opportunity for the private sector to actually compete in offering this new drug benefit.” House Republican Leader John Boehner made similar comments, noting in 2007, “By almost every measure, this drug benefit has exceeded expectations, and it continues to score high marks among seniors for providing big savings on their prescription costs.”

Under the program, if insurers’ actual costs for medical claims are more than 3 percent below their expected costs, they will transmit a portion of their profits into the federal Treasury. Those funds will then be redistributed to insurers whose actual costs exceed their expected costs by more than 3 percent. The provisions were included i
n Medicare Part D to give the insurers confidence to enter a new market. And they worked.
At the time, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) described the Part D risk corridors as one of the “incentives that the secretary can use” to get the new plans started “in a strong way” and said that “on risk adjustment … these plans are enabling many beneficiaries to lower their out-of-pocket costs substantially, and that’s particularly true for beneficiaries with chronic illnesses.” The Bush administration highlighted the risk corridors as a strategy to “insure against higher than expected drug costs.” Notably, the Part D risk corridors are a permanent feature of the program.
In addition to being outright liars, these Republicans apparently view all voters as utter cretins - perhaps a correct assumption in regard to today's GOP base - who are too stupid to figure out their lies and/or to check past legislation.   Many politicians stretch the truth, but outright deliberate lies and demagoguery ought to be off limits.

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