Thursday, August 20, 2009

Republican Spam - Health Care Edition

Yep, I'm still getting Republican spam. It's been enlightening, to say the least. For example, this email, purportedly from Michael Steele, chairman of the RNC:

President Obama told the American people in his weekend address he wanted to "start dispelling the outlandish rumors" about the Democrats' risky health care experiment.

I couldn't agree more with the President.

There is no place for outlandish rumor or outrageous rhetoric in the debate for the affordable and accessible health care reform we all want...

  • Rhetoric: President Obama Promises Americans Can Keep Their Current Health Care Coverage. "You know, the interesting thing is we've actually been very clear on what we want. I've said I want to make sure if you have health care you are going to keep it..." (PBS's "The Newshour With Jim Lehrer," 7/20/09)
    • FACT: Analysis Shows Over 88 Million People To Lose Current Insurance Under Government Health Care Takeover. "Under current law, there will be about 158.1 million people who are covered under an employer plan as workers, dependents or early retirees in 2011. If the act were fully implemented in that year, about 88.1 million workers would shift from private employer insurance to the public plan."

Inconveniently enough, the CBO has estimated that only around ten million people total will switch to the public option, if it's implemented. Even if you're content to ignore facts like this, as many Republicans are today, you still have to admit that nothing in the quote actually suggests that anybody will lose their insurance - just that they'll switch to a public plan. The fallacy is fairly obvious, but what makes it particularly disgusting is the way that it's framed as a response to excessive rhetoric. :(

Going further with this same email:

  • Rhetoric: President Obama Pledges Americans Can Keep Their Doctor. "If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won't have to do a thing. You keep your plan. You keep your doctor...We're not going to mess with it." (President Barack Obama, Remarks At White House Press Conference, The White House, 6/23/09)
    • FACT: Mayo Clinic Says Government-Run Health Care Will Force Doctors To Drop Patients. '[L]awmakers are on track to approve across-the-board federal payment reductions of $155 billion over 10 years for hospitals ... Mayo and similar health systems object to the sweeping cuts. 'Across-the-board cuts will be harmful to everyone and we think it is particularly bad to penalize the high-value organizations,' said Jeff Korsmo, executive director of the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center. 'We will have to violate our values in order to stay in business and reduce our access to government patients.'" (Phil Galewitz, "'Model' Health Systems Press Case For Medicare Fix In Reform," Kaiser Health News, 7/20/09)

Gosh, that certainly sounds bad! Just for completeness' sake, though, let's put back in part of the quote they felt the need to remove.

Both the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association say they favor additional study of new payment strategies, rather than any major revamping now.

That's the approach Congress seems to be pursuing. In addition, lawmakers are on track to approve across-the-board federal payment reductions of $155 billion over 10 years for hospitals, reflecting a deal reached recently by major hospital groups, the White House and Senate Democrats. That agreement assumes that the hospitals will see increased revenues as reform legislation results in fewer uninsured Americans, whose care is now a financial burden.

Other emails have repeatedly stated that the plan will cost trillions of dollars (specifically, 1.5 trillion, as stated in an email from sent on the same day as the previous one). Once again, we turn to the ever-reliable CBO, which does indeed estimate the cost to be over one trillion dollars - as long as you ignore any additional revenue from the bill (which offsets most of the costs), and add up all the costs over the next ten years. I doubt this is what most people have in mind when they consider the cost of the bill.

Right now, there is a strong push by Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress for the federal government to virtually take over our health care system - running it like "nationalized" health care programs in Canada and England.
(from an email purportedly from John Cornyn, sent on the 17th.) It would be nice if it were true - I've heard a lot of nice things about health care in Canada and England. Unfortunately, all the health care plan does is create a public health care option. It won't even compete with private insurance companies, because the rates it charges would be tied to the rates that private companies already charge. This is actually a textbook example of a standard Republican play: If you say a lot of untrue things at once, in such a way that your opponents can only respond to one of them in a single soundbite, then you get the rest for free.

And then, of course, we have Sarah Palin. Not one to be outdone by others, she has jumped straight to claiming that under Obama's health care plan, her child with Down's syndrome would be put to death by evil government bureaucrats. Yeah, I don't know either.

The Republican party used to be great, and this is what they've been reduced to? What happenend? The Republicans of yesteryear would at least have had the decency to propose an alternative plan, something in line with conservative values. I can't even call the current batch of Republicans conservatives anymore, because the party leadership has so thoroughly abandoned conservative principles that it would make a mockery of the term. It's like they don't believe in anything anymore, and just want to score a political victory, for the sake of politics itself, no matter what the cost may be.

1 comment:

Æther said...

How do you even get this stuff? Rarely do I see any spam even make it to my bulk folder.

If it makes you feel better, I don't believe anyone in the health care bill. Everyone has selfish reasons either in being for or against it, and I definitely don't believe in anecdotal evidence that seems to run rampant in the debate.