The Truth About ObamaCare!

There has been so much misinformation, outright lies and mischaracterizations of the Affordable Care Act that I don’t know where to start.

It has become known as “ObamaCare”, thanks to the media, including those on the left and of course, Republican politicians.

I remember the battle for health care reform during the early 90’s when the Clinton’s took on the issue and failed miserably. It sucked all the oxygen out of Washington, along with the wonderful compromise that President Clinton made that brought us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (sarcasm)

When President Obama announced that he was going to pass a health care law early on in his presidency, I thought it was a bad idea. I couldn’t help but picture a similar outcome as the Clinton’s produced. NADA!

Since I lived through the other attempt at health care reform and followed it closely, when the Obama administration was successful at passing the Affordable Care Act, I was elated. Even with all of it’s imperfections, the fact that President Obama set the standard that America cares about the health of ALL of its citizens was incredible. It was a monumental achievement, one that will go down as one of the most amazing political wins in the history of our country.

Given the opposition from both sides of the aisle and the huge amount of misinformation that was and still is being spread about it, I thought I’d take a minute to share with you some truth about what “ObamaCare” has accomplished so far. There is much more to come in the years ahead.

The provision that covers adult dependent children between the ages of 19 – 25 was already working in 2010.

More than 2.5 million young Americans under 26 now have health insurance who would otherwise not be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday morning.

Previously, the department had reported that 1 million young people were covered under the provision in the act, which also helps recent college graduates without a job but not on a parent’s plan stay insured.

I work at a university and supervise over 15 student workers. To them, the Affordable Care Act is kick-ass.

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Helping the Working Poor — A Practical Defense of PPACA, The Health Care Law

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

The Health Care Bill, more often than not, raises the ire of both conservatives and progressives. They’ve teamed up to spread as much misinformation about the bill as possible. Why? I am not sure, because this bill goes a long way to get more people access to health care.

I think it all began with a guy named Howard Dean and some comments he made In December of 2009.  Dean was very angry that the public option was eliminated from the Senate bill. The target of Dean’s rant was Joe Lieberman, ( I)CT, he was pretty pissed at Lieberman and he seemed to feel no bill would be better than this bill now. He was angry at the process. And his anger is not unfounded. This Senate has become a branch of our government that is immovable, ideologically entrenched, almost completely unable to pass any worthwhile legislation. Dr. Dean was pretty pissed about that, as we all should be. However, instead of directing his anger at the improbable 60 vote requirement to pass any legislation of substance, he decided it would be time to just let Republicans win by killing the bill. That didn’t happen of course, but that was an extreme reaction, one Republicans were relying upon, this is where they were able to begin to sow the seeds of discontent among voters, they have filled the air with misinformation, with the help of people who are otherwise quite progressive. All that discontent, and the Executive Branches unbelievable inability to fight back against the propaganda has left people with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to their thoughts about PPACA.

A number of people jumped on Dr. Dean’s bandwagon, Keith Olbermann went on the air to loudly proclaim why the Senate Bill should not be passed. Two days after Dean’s rant against the bill, a number of left leaning organizations and people banded together to help kill the bill:

Dave Linderhoff of The Public Record
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake
Markos Moulitsas; Daily Kos Founder
Darcy Bruner; a past candidate for Congress

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Political Mythbusters: There Never Was A White House Deal To Kill The Public Option, Stop Lying!

There have been many lies circulated about President Obama over the last 3 years, but the one that seems to have poisoned the water from the beginning is the lie that President Obama struck a deal to keep the public option out of the final health care bill. It has formed the basis of the “caved” meme that people on the left, most of whom never supported Obama as a candidate, have used to feed their irrational hatred for our president.

The lie has taken on epic proportions as it’s morphed over the years. Recently, I’ve had liberal friends throw it in my face when I’ve shown my support for our very accomplished president. The lying has to stop!

The birth of the “public option” lie

The original source from which the lie was created, is an article that David Kirkpatrick wrote in the New York Times about the active role that President Obama was taking in crafting the health care law. There were two mentions of the “public option” in the entire article, one was in reference to what the Democrats in the house were pushing and the other contradicts the lie completely. Rep. Henry Waxman was quoted in the article.

The president has said he wants a public option to keep everybody honest. He hasn’t said he wants a co-op as a public option.”

You really can’t get any more clear than that, can you? In the article that is the source for the public option lie, there is a quote from a respected member of the House saying that the president wants a public option. And to be fair to the author, he never even implies that the public option was part of the deal.

The New York Times article also discusses how the White House was more hands-on with the Senate Finance Committee than with other congressional committees. What is implicit in this analysis is that the White House understood that, as with every piece of legislation the administration supported, it was the Senate that posed the biggest impediment to achieving comprehensive health care reform.

There was another quote from earlier in the article that many used as the basis for the lie. It is an explanation of the deal that caps the costs for hospitals.

Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem. House staff members were present, including for at least one White House meeting, but their role was peripheral, the lobbyists said.

Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private sector rates — or controlled by the secretary of health and human services.

There is nothing in those two paragraphs that says anything about a deal on the public option, it is talking very specifically about costs to hospitals and reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare. The sentence “would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private rates…” is poorly worded and could easily be misinterpreted, especially by people searching for a reason to hate the President.

If you read David Kirkpatrick’s words carefully, you see that the deal was on reimbursement rates and how they wouldn’t be the 80% that Medicare generally pays, which was a sore spot for hospitals.

Here is another example of that same idea, worded slightly better, but with selective placement of quotation marks. Tom Daschle wasn’t happy with the authors characterization of his words and corrected it in an update.

Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.

Once again, if you were to stop reading after the words “health plan”, you wouldn’t have gotten the entire meaning of the sentence. Experience tells me that the Obama-haters aren’t interested in the truth, only that which fits with their preconceived memes.

Tom Daschle sent a note to the author clarifying his comments and making it very clear that there was no deal on the public option.

“In describing some of the challenges to passage of the public option in the health reform bill, I did not mean to suggest in any way that the President was not committed to it. The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House. While I was disappointed that the public option was not included in the final legislation, the Affordable Care Act remains a tremendous achievement for the President and the nation.” (emphasis mine)

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Meme’s in Your Head: Why You Mad Tho? The Struggle to Develop Universal Health Care Policy, 1912 – 2009

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

There have been six times in the past to deliver major legislation restructuring of the provision of hospital and medical services: 1913- 17, 1937-39, 1943-46, 1964-65, 1969-75 and 1993-94.  Each previous attempt collapsed usually generating a series of legislation crafted to assuage the legislators who fought so hard ultimately to achieve so little (Danielson and Mazer 161).  In 2009, after nearly 100 years, Democrats with Nancy Pelosi in the lead, took that ball and finally passed legislation that would guarantee access to health care. The rest is history, but it did not come without a fight. No doubt, every time the efforts failed, more policy was developed and negotiated for the inevitable, because it was inevitable that some form of Universal Coverage would pass Congress and be signed by a President from the Democratic Party.

To be perfectly honest, there was no public option in the policy that was eventually developed and finally passed through congress some parts have already been implemented and other parts are waiting for funding in this fiscal year.  Although I had been somewhat involved in Comprehensive Health Care Policy research at our local committee level for this blog I thought some extra research would be in order. I ran across an interesting excerpt of a column originally published in the Washington Post by Don Coburn one of their staff writers.  I found the excerpt in the British Medical Journal Summer, 1986, and lo and behold, I found a copy of this on-line at the National Institute of Health.

                This is the first universal health insurance plan in the United States, and Governor Dukakis hails it as a model for the whole country. “Forty years after Harry Truman first proposed it we are finally on the road to basic health security for the citizens of this state,” he said. “It’s something which is long overdue for Massachusetts and long overdue for the country.’

However, the real issue before us is in understanding how we got to today, and taking some personal responsibility for the failures of the past, and some joy in the huge accomplishment of 2009. Because, in all honesty, we should have some pride in finally being able to move on from those who continue to say this will destroy us, to defending the bill, and keeping Republicans from further demonizing what is a huge accomplishments by Democrats in office. My particular thanks to Nancy Pelosi and her deft handling of her caucuses to get this bill passed. She ultimately will go down in history as one of the greatest speakers of all time. There is an excellent interactive time line of the history of Health Reform in America at the NY Times.

  • 1912 – Teddy Roosevelt campaigns on a National Health Insurance policy,  Great Britain passed such a policy in 1911, and many European nations had such policies, the earliest being Germany they passed a national health insurance policy in 1883. The debate in America went on until 1917.
  • 1937 –  38 The New Deal omitted plans for a national health insurance program in 1934, although it was included in the original discussion and planning for implementing New Deal Programs.  What happened in 1934? By 1938 it began to push a National Health Insurance Program. Again, it failed. There were many forces against this new plan, but in the forefront were doctors who opposed national health insurance.
  • 1948 – Harry Truman includes a national health insurance program in the platform of his election campaign and it stays in the Democrat Party platform. Back then the AMA opposed a national insurance program, and claimed we were heading towards socialized medicine, the same tired argument employed by conservatives today. Essentially this is where the hard fight began.

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The Road To 2012 And Why I’m Smiling!

Regardless of what the noise machines of Fox News, MSNBC and to some extent, CNN are saying, President Obama and the Democratic Party are sitting pretty for the 2012 election. The reason why I am smiling is because the American people, with the exception of the extremes on either end, are very perceptive. Sure, the pundits will try to be dramatic and say things so they get asked back on those cable networks…controversy sells, bold pronouncements sell (see Howard Dean) and polls, with all their flawed methodologies, give lazy reporters easy stories. So in the next year and a half, the talking heads on cable TV and broadcast networks will try to make the race close, it’s just best for them, but when push comes to shove and we get to November 6, 2012, President Obama and the Democratic Party are going to win big.

People will say, but what about the unemployment rate, what about the lack of jobs? And those are valid questions. Whereas the media wants to blame all of the country’s problems on POTUS, whether he inherited them or whether they were actually caused by an obstinate Republican Party that has blocked all attempts at fixing it…well the American people, after the campaigns and many speeches, debates, etc. will know the truth. The President has fought hard against a unified front of Republicans intent on thwarting him at every turn and the idiots in the faux-left intent on proving that they were right in opposing Obama all along. Despite those forces arrayed against him, the President has accomplished more than any president since FDR. Go here for the many accomplishments and remember, he was up against a GOP that won’t work with him on anything, except maybe the extension of the tax cuts for the rich, a deal with the devil that the President had to make to get more stimulus, an unemployment extension and keep the economy growing. It was another one of those “Republicans holding the country hostage” situations and I’m sorry folks, you have to compromise in our democracy. There is no way around it. If you haven’t read Milt Shook’s piece at PCTC (Please Cut The Crap), you need to. You should bookmark his site too, he has a lot of great insights into how to win elections.

I’m sure my post will provoke the “Obama Derangement Syndrome” folks on both the left and the right to blow a microchip, but that’s fine, maybe it will jar lose whatever it is that is causing their derangement. It always amazes me how the media created narrative that constantly tries to paint President Obama as incompetent or unqualified (racism is part of it) is so far from what the general public really feels. IF he were incompetent and unqualified, would he have a personal approval rating of 75%, according to a recent CNN poll? Regular readers know how I feel about polls in general, I have a master’s degree in communications research so I’ve studied it a bit. I won’t go there in this post except to say that polls can be useful to gauge general attitudes, but horse race polls between fictional, possible candidates so far out from an election are just an exercise in futility. They get predictive when you get close to an election, and of course Nate Silver is “The Man” when it comes to that. But the number that says 75% of people like President Obama personally, says to me that people are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and to listen to him when he speaks. It’s why whenever he gives a major speech or makes an appearance throughout America, he is very well received and people believe him. That is a very powerful sentiment to have going into an election. As long as he tells it like it is, explains the situation and presents what he has tried to do and will try to do, with no help from the GOP, he will swing that blame and anger back to where it belongs.

So I recommend to all you fellow liberals and supporters of President Obama to not get upset when the forces arrayed against him tell us that they are making headway, that’s part of their strategy…to use the bandwagon effect, everyone get on board. Ignore them, keep smiling, keep telling them about the President’s many accomplishments and the Republicans very obvious hatred of middle and working class folks, seniors, students, children, minorities and anyone who doesn’t fit within their Ayn Randian world, where market forces will make everything just peachy. Stay positive, encourage your like minded friends to help, get involved and fight back against the tide that has shown its ugly face in Republican governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and the “Ricks” Scott, Perry and Snyder. Since the VAST majority of the voters in America don’t pay attention AT ALL to those bloviators, their impact is only felt within a small range. It’s like a big choir preaching to each other, while the rest of America goes on with their lives.

But we can’t get complacent, they are some sneaky bastards who will lie, cheat and steal to get the power that benefits their rich friends. We can’t rest on our laurels, we must put up the good fight and build on the momentum that has started in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Florida. The consequences of elections matter and if we really care about people, we have to fight with all our might.

The GOP’s “Vouchercare” Ends Medicare As We Know It!

The Republican’s have been trying desperately to change the subject, redefine the word “voucher” and get the media to help them with it. So far it hasn’t been working, although the media is starting to come around – they are made up of some of the dumbest people on the planet. I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying watching Paul Ryan and all those Republicans who hitched their wagon to him scattering like rats fleeing a sinking ship. It’s also been fun watching as others double down on their strategy and dig the hole even deeper. The tactics the GOP are using amount to intimidation and a huge heaping of whining. From Paul Krugman…

What’s in a name? A lot, the National Republican Congressional Committee obviously believes. Last week, the committee sent a letter demanding that a TV station stop running an ad declaring that the House Republican budget plan would “end Medicare.” This, the letter insisted, was a false claim: the plan would simply install a “new, sustainable version of Medicare.”

But Comcast, the station’s owner, rejected the demand — and rightly so. For Republicans are indeed seeking to dismantle Medicare as we know it, replacing it with a much worse program.

I’m seeing many attempts to shout down anyone making this obvious point, and not just from Republican politicians. For some reason, many commentators seem to believe that accurately describing what the G.O.P. is actually proposing amounts to demagoguery. But there’s nothing demagogic about telling the truth.

The kings of demagoguery, the GOP, are trying the Karl Rove strategy of accusing your opponents of doing what you are actually doing. This works with the “red meat” Republicans who simply chew up anything thrown their way, but I’m afraid it doesn’t work on the rest of the population. But since the election of President Obama, it seems the only people the GOP is playing to these days are those hard core, believe anything Fox and Rush say boneheads. It’s kind of funny though, when it comes to seniors being directly affected by the idiocy of the Republicans, they don’t take too kindly to things like paying out of pocket for their Medicare. More from Krugman…

And most seniors wouldn’t be able to afford adequate coverage. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that to get coverage equivalent to what they have now, older Americans would have to pay vastly more out of pocket under the Paul Ryan plan than they would if Medicare as we know it was preserved. Based on the budget office estimates, the typical senior would end up paying around $6,000 more out of pocket in the plan’s first year of operation.

I say to the Republicans, keep doubling down, seniors don’t vote or contribute anyway. You’ll be just fine, keeping pushing your plan to eliminate Medicare, it won’t matter to those seniors. Really!

A Lot Of Good Stuff For Your Reading Pleasure!

Have you ever had a day when you couldn’t decide what to write about on your blog? So far this morning, I’m having one of those days. It could change, but until it does I decided to share some of the links in my stash that I really enjoyed. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, really. Check them out. I’m sure I’ll snap out of my indecision. Now for the good stuff, enjoy.

Don’t feed the pundits, they bite. This is an interesting read from Marianna76 at Daily Kos Community Site. She delves into the shouting match between Ed Schultz and David (clueless) Sirota.

Speaking of that shouting match, here is a story from Mediate about the bout. Good for Ed for standing up to the craziness from the Moore, Hamsher, Sirota and Greenwald crowd who seem intent on bringing back Republican rule.

This is an excellent analysis by Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast that points out a major difference between Rep’s and Dem’s when it comes to tactics. Make em’ squirm.

And this is an awesome study of how wrong the Professional Left was in their carping at the President while he was saving us from the next great depression. Rootless_e at The People’s View does a masterful job of explaining this complex idea. Read it, learn it and share it.

I posted about this one on a previous day, but I liked it so much I wanted to make sure you took a look at it. It’s about the “other Obama Derangement Syndrome”, the one on the left, from F. Grey Parker at The Hand That Feeds You.

And this one I found this morning from Frank Schaeffer, a big Hat Tip to The People’s View who did a post about it too. Go read both of them, excellent stuff. It speaks to the fact that President Obama is one kick ass president, the best ever in my opinion.

Call Their Bluff – Let’s Have A Vote On Repealing The Health Care Law In The Senate!

The conventional wisdom of late has been that Harry Reid won’t let the repeal of health care to come to the floor of the Senate but as with most conventional wisdom, it isn’t usually very wise, just group-think really. Well now it looks like ole’ Harry is going to call their bluff and might say, “bring it on.” I hope this is true and that it signals a new strategy for the new dynamics in Washington. Back in the day, when I used to spend time watching C-Span, it seemed like both parties would use every rule and loophole to their advantage. In recent years, the Democrats have been getting rolled and taking the high road too much for my tastes. Politics is a dirty business, get dirty people. Steve Benen clues us into what may be in the works in the Senate, let’s hope…

Kevin Drum had a creative take yesterday, arguing that Senate Dems’ instincts may be backwards — don’t ignore the House bill, embrace it and make the most of it.

They should bring the House bill up for a vote quickly, let Republicans speechify about it for a bit, and then vote it down, 53-47. End of story, time to move on.

But wait! With Republicans in control of the House, it’s not like the Senate can really get much done anyway. So what’s the harm in wasting a bit of time and making this a knock-down-drag-out fight? After all, the House leadership got a nice, clean repeal vote by bringing up the bill under a closed rule and allowing no potentially embarrassing amendments and virtually no debate. In the Senate, by contrast, Democrats control things, and they can bring up all the amendments they want. So maybe they should play along, hold hearings, and force Republicans to vote on, say, an amendment to the repeal bill that would keep the preexisting condition ban in place. And another one that would keep the donut hole fix in place. Etc. etc.

Jonathan Bernstein, who had a generally positive take on this, noted some of the risks of the amendment strategy, and Senate Dems would be wise to consider them.

That said, as of this morning, it appears there’s some fluidity to the Democratic strategy in the Senate. Whereas the plan earlier in the week was to simply ignore the House Republicans’ repeal bill, there’s apparently a fair amount of interest in pursuing a plan very similar to what Kevin wrote about yesterday.

Please, oh please make those Republicans get on the Senate floor and tell us why pre-existing conditions should be repealed and why all those senior citizens should pay back that $250 they got. Republicans are losing their minds and we ought to help them do it. Give them a nudge…or maybe a body block. :)

Republican House – You Want Symbolism, They Got it!

As a veteran political observer…damn near 40 years now…I’ve seen all sorts of strategies and tactics used by all political parties. Republicans certainly know how to gather support however they can and they understand and perpetuate the cynicism in politics. They don’t see any downside to being hypocritical and as Rachel Maddow says, they are shameless. They divide and conquer, they pit one group against another….but they understand completely that when it comes down to election time, they can get all their people in line. Usually it entails sending out racist dog whistles, abortion, immigration, and they throw in a little socialism, fascism, communism and all those salivating dogs coming running home.

The latest manuever that everyone sees through and is just a symbolic gesture, red meat to the base…is the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” that they are playing with in the House of Representatives. Steve Benen has been all over this over at the Washington Monthly, this is from one of his posts…

After a week-long break, House Republicans will get back to work today, renewing their admittedly-pointless effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The vote, which will likely come tomorrow, isn’t hard to predict — the House will easily approve the repeal measure — but even supporters know the bill will promptly fade into oblivion soon after.What’s more interesting is how little Republicans’ ostensible allies are doing to give them a hand. (thanks to reader V.S. for the tip)

The health care industry’s biggest trade groups have remained uncharacteristically neutral on the Republican effort to repeal the health care reform law, choosing instead to save their political capital for smaller, more targeted changes that have a chance at becoming law.

America’s Health Insurance Plans lobbied against much of the health care overhaul when it was passed in Congress, but it is not supporting the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. The heads of Aetna and Cigna, members of AHIP, have publicly said they do not support efforts to repeal the law. […]

The pharmaceutical industry, which spent months cutting deals with Democrats to protect its interests, has remained mum on Republican repeal efforts.

Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a leading opponent of the Democratic reform law, is on record formally supporting the Republican repeal bill, but isn’t at all interested in investing any time or energy into the GOP push.

When your allies turn their backs on you and ignore your symbolic bullshit, you know you are wasting everyone’s time. But I suspect that it will be plenty of red meat for the base to keep them satisfied until the next batch is thrown out to them. Democrats will of course use it to their advantage too. The big difference is that Democrats will be using it to appeal to moderates, some of whom are in the 129 million people with pre-existing conditions. So it is kind of a win-win for both parties, right?