Time to focus on the truth, not the liars.

August 18, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

This information has been derived from various websites, such as AARP.com, PoliticFact,com and FactCheck.org, in addition to the several public statements made by President Obama on the subject of health care reform. I’ve only relied on mass media information when it has cited specific sources, such as the recent study conducted at Emory University and various official statements by AARP.

Below are just a few of the most pervasive lies and fear tactics which have been spread by the insurance companies and various extremist groups:

1. Death Panels: This is so absurd, it barely warrants a response. The ‘end of life’ counseling item was added to the House bill by a Republican (Grassley) and it is something which has already existed in previous health care legislation. It simply means that meetings between a family and a doctor concerning important decisions, such as hospice care, would be covered. Section 1233 of the House bill would allow Medicare for the first time to cover patient-doctor consultations about end-of-life planning, including discussions about drawing up a living will or planning hospice treatment. Patients would, of course, seek out such advice on their own — they would not be required to. The provision would limit Medicare coverage to one consultation every five years. The only “death panels” we have now are the ones owned and operated by the private, for-profit insurance companies, which decide who will be covered and how much it will cost.

2. You don’t get eye care till you go blind: A curious claim by opponents of health care reform, since no proposal being considered mentions blindness, macular degeneration, or the word “sight”. Since the vast majority of people who suffer from macular degeneration are elderly white women, this claim has been an effective scare tactic and no doubt incited many seniors to scream at anybody who supported reform.

3. Socialized medicine: This is an oft-repeated yet totally unfounded claim, given that the government wouldn’t be taking over anything and that no plan currently being considered would put any doctors, nurses, technicians or therapists on the government payroll (not even the so-called “public option” does that). Genuine socialized medicine precludes any choices for the consumer, and that is obviously not the case with either of the reform bills being proposed. What we have right now is a form of corporate socialism (more accurately “corporate fascism”), where a handful of insurance company executives and non-physician actuaries make life-or-death decisions about who will be denied coverage and how high premiums will go. The only thing that the government would administer is the public option, which is only a small part of reform bills being proposed.

4. “I don’t want the government messin’ with my Medicare!” An amazing complaint, considering that Medicare is administered by the federal government, and that most seniors are extremely happy with their coverage. Medicare is in financial trouble, not because of government mismanagement, but because of sky-rocketing medical costs. Unless those costs are brought under control, Medicare will go into the red, taxes will go up and the deficit will continue to explode. It is important to note here that nearly 3/4’s of our annual deficit is driven by just three things: social security payments, military spending, and Medicare coverage. Given that fact, if you’re a genuine conservative, health care reform should be at the top of your “Things-to-Do” list. Under the House proposal, Medicare costs would be reduced, primarily by eliminating waste and fraud, and service to seniors would probably improve. Also, Medicare and Medicaid would be expanded, to accommodate the increasing numbers of seniors in the population. The Boomers.

5. Rationing of medical care for the elderly: There is no such provision in either of the bills currently being considered. In fact, Medicare would remain untouched. Of course, reducing health care costs across the board would ensure that Medicare avoids going into the red. This is yet another scare tactic employed by various anti-reform groups that has zero basis in fact. Americans will not face “rationing” in health care any more than they do now. While a public plan would not be able to cover all procedures, private insurance plans don’t either.

6. The public option will drive people away from private insurers. This is one of the more frequently repeated lies being spread around the internet. This scenario could only happen if private insurers refused to cut their operating costs, lower premiums, and become competitive– which is capitalism in action. Plenty of private companies compete with government-run entities. FedEx and UPS have done quite nicely despite the United States Postal Service. Also, there are many private universities that have flourished despite the less expensive and more ubiquitous state colleges and universities. In any case, the rates of pay to providers would be negotiated and not dictated by the public option. Given that, if private insurers still can’t compete with the public option, then they should probably close their doors anyway. The whole notion that a profit motive should dictate the quality of health care in the United States is immoral anyway. There are plenty of other industries where making a buck is perfectly acceptable. But we’re talking about people’s lives here and the fact that far too many hard-working Americans are going bankrupt every year because they can’t afford decent medical coverage or get coverage at any price because of a previous condition. The legislation in both the House and the Senate would actually prohibit many people with employer-based insurance from switching to the public option, even if they wanted to. The primary purpose of the public option is to provide coverage for people who would otherwise not be able to afford insurance. Period. People and blogs which state otherwise are simply using scare tactics. For every dollar spent on health care in the United States, 31¢ goes to administrative costs. And, of that 31¢, a significant portion is paid out in monumental bonuses to insurance company executives and media costs such as those that are being sustained by the massive disinformation campaign currently being waged by the insurance industry against reform. FACT: The CBO estimates the House bill would result in a net increase of 3 million Americans with employer-provided care.

7. I don’t want my tax dollars payin’ for any baby killin’! This is another hot button issue for conservatives and it was an obvious choice for those who wanted to derail any calm discussion of health care reform. Of course, there are no provisions in either of the bills being considered in Congress which call for or endorse federal funding of abortions-on-demand. This would be illegal anyway, because it is expressly forbidden by the Hyde Amendment, which limits federal funding for abortion care. Effective in 1977, this amendment, specifies what abortion services are covered under Medicaid. In September 1993, Congress rewrote the provision to include Medicaid funding for abortions in cases where the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, and the present version of the Hyde Amendment requires coverage of abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Again, this was a Republican sponsored amendment which passed during a Democratic administration. Again, opponents of health care reform have taken some of the wording in the current reform proposals out of context, ignoring the fact that this issue is already covered in previous health care legislation– just like the so-called “death panels” issue. Most important of all, NOBODY has ever said anything about trying to overturn the Hyde Amendment, which would require an act of Congress. The likelihood of that ever happening is about zero. The fact is that health care reform proposals have to be neutral on this issue or they would risk being thrown out by the Supreme Court.

8. “I’m not payin’ for no wetback free health care!” Both reform bills being considered make it quite clear that this will not happen. Repeating over and over and over again that illegal immigrants would get free medical care under those bills does not make it a fact. It’s not. The quickest way to derail any kind of genuine reform is to start stacking other controversial and highly complex issues on top of it. That is exactly what right-wing anti-Obama groups and the insurance companies are trying to do. The handling of illegal immigration is a totally separate issue that will probably take years to work out. Sticking it and other controversial problems onto the issue of health care reform is a less than subtle way of just saying you don’t want reform of any kind. The only way that an undocumented alien can get insurance coverage under President Obama’s plan IS TO PAY FOR IT! Many already do. Finally, the Welfare Act of 1996 is a federal law which strictly forbids any illegal immigrant from obtaining a federally subsidized benefit or service of any kind. Any health care reform bill would be required to conform to that law.

9. “President Obama is tryin’ to sneak the government into taking over our health care.” Obama has always been for single-payer health care, or a ‘Medicare for all’ system. He’s never been secretive about that. He has also made it quite clear that he knows that a sudden shift to such a system would be too disruptive, in addition to being politically unfeasible. What is interesting in this debate is that those who are attacking the single-payer system are actually attacking something that would benefit them. They’re against it because someone has told them that it’s “socialized medicine” and that the federal government is incompetent and evil. They blame the financial woes of Medicare and Medicaid on the government, ignoring the fact that sky-rocketing medical costs are the real culprit. Shockingly enough, they trust the insurance company executives who are driven by an out of control profit motive more than they would trust the government, which has myriad checks and balances in place. It is more than a little amazing that some people would condemn this president for putting the right of their fellow citizens to have affordable health care ahead of the profiteering and greed of the insurance industry. The notion that the federal government is eternally incompetent and insidiously evil goes back to the Civil War, when some states chose to secede from the Union rather than emancipate their slaves. What we’re seeing now is a new group of bellicose bigots who are willing to attack anything this black president tries to do, even if it would benefit them and their families in the end. By some unfathomable logic, these people are proud of the fact that THE UNITED STATES IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD WHICH DOES NOT OFFER ITS CITIZENS AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE.

There are so many liars out there who seem to be driven by something other than the facts about health care reform. Perhaps it’s anger that we have a black man sitting in the White House. As many commentators are saying now, this debate hasn’t been about health care reform for some time. It’s now about President Obama. That’s why we have people screaming in the faces of their elected representatives who are trying to dispel all the rumors and untruths.



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  3. geoff said,

    These points were universally wrong. Although you were rude enough to spam Nice Deb’s site with a cut-and-paste of nearly your entire post, we did take a little time to point out how dishonest and short-sighted your analysis was. We didn’t hit #7 and #8, though, since you didn’t paste those into your comment.

    #7: As pointed out by critics, claiming that the abortion money is paid out of participant premiums and not government subsidies is a meaningless and dishonest shell game. It’s like buying a house and claiming that your downpayment is just going toward the master bedroom, so you own that outright. Nonsense.

    Not to mention that most of the definition of what would actually be in the bill has emerged over the past 3 weeks, while much of the controversy you criticize was occurring during the run-up.

    #8: The administration has included illegal immigrants in the “47 million Americans without insurance” statistic, so wariness as to their handling in the bill is warranted. It turns out that the President is going to execute an end-around, rather than trying to fight that battle in this bill. To mollify the advocates for illegals, he made it clear that he will try to legitimize their status next year. So yes, if things go his way, they’ll end up as part of the plan anyway.

    And to address another of your points: there’s never an excuse for spamming other people’s blogs. You are not some courageous white knight doing a chivalric deed by carrying the message into the evil enemy’s terrritory. You’re just a jerk crapping on other people’s blogs. Knock if off.

    • johnrj08 said,

      I approved this comment because it is yet another example of the disinformation that is being spread about the PROPOSALS currently being reviewed by Congress. THERE ARE NO BILLS. They’re just proposals and are a ‘work in progress’. I don’t know what this loon is referring to here in regards to “Nice Deb’s site”. I’ve posted two comments there which have been met with a barrage of half-truths and abusive remarks. With regard to the abortion question, no federal funds can pay for abortions-on-demand. Period. If you’re covered by the proposed “public option” plan, which is the only plan that would receive government subsidies, abortions for victims of rape and incest, or endangered mothers would be covered, just as they are currently covered by Medicaid. Therefore, that part of the reform proposal in the House is abortion neutral. The Congress has done the best that it can to make the proposals “abortion neutral” so that they don’t conflict with either side of that issue, and they comply with existing legislation, including the Hyde Amendment. Those who are diametrically opposed health care reform choose to make this a bigger issue than it really is just to incite people by attaching highly volatile issues to any discussion about it. On the issue of illegal immigrants, whatever plans the president may have for addressing the illegal immigration problem, they are not relevant to any of the health care proposals currently before Congress. Nothing in any of the plans provides undocumented aliens with free medical care. Period. Whether or not a single illegal alien will ever be “legitimized” is something for the President and Congress to wrestle with at another time. Again, people who are raging against any kind of health care reform stack as many knotty issues as they can on top of the discussion in an attempt to scare people away and make it sound unsolvable. When it comes to health care reform, some blogs need to be “crapped on” because they are purveyors of misinformation and scare tactics.

  4. exemployee said,

    You “approved” the above comment? Well, that is nice of you to support freedom of speech, but I suspect you delete as much as you support, so I don’t think my comment will be posted to your site.

    As for your comment on my website about AARP, yes, I did investigate it. Especially after I received a response back from AARP’s own website.

    • johnrj08 said,

      I would say that I “approve” more than 95% of the comments I receive, especially those that are contrary views because they frequently prove the point that I’m making. Some comments are either too hard to understand or they’re just obscene rants, which I get a lot after I’ve posted dissenting views on conservative blogs. I was glad to read your post about the email from the AARP and I do find it suspicious that they would ask that you delete portions of their message before forwarding it to friends. However, a very large percentage of the AARP’s membership are obviously conservative seniors. It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the AARP, which is a subscription membership organization, would want to avoid making an outright endorsement of this president’s health care reform plan, which has become highly partisan. The AARP doesn’t want to risk alienating potential members by taking a side on this issue. It sounds to me like, for all intents and purposes, they are in agreement with most of the things the president wants to do. Even so, it was a mistake to send out that email with that wording. What you’re doing with it is proof enough of that.

  5. Russ Goldstein said,

    Please show me where in the US Constitution all of this taxpayer-funded charity is authorized?
    Obama and Congress is very noble with other people’s money.

    • johnrj08 said,

      WHERE DID IT SAY in the US Constitution that there had to be a post office, a Navy, an Air Force, NASA, Medicare, VA, an interstate highway system, social security, etc? And exactly who has said that health care reform will create a “taxpayer-funded charity” other than you? And what is your evidence that it would be such a thing? You’re not paying attention, Russ. Health care reform isn’t going to be cheap. Nobody said it was. However, in the next 7 years premiums and other costs are going to double. Do you think wages are going to double during that time? Unlikely, considering the fact that they haven’t increased in the last 15 years. You obviously could care less about the millions of Americans who will be left with no medical coverage at all. What ever happened to “compassionate conservativism”? If people continue to use emergency rooms for their primary care and families continue to go bankrupt because they can’t afford medical insurance, who do you think is going to pay for that care? The Tooth Fairy? Over the next decade, health care reform could cost around $8 trillion. If we do nothing, health care costs will go up to $40 trillion. Do the math. What omniscient source do you use for your “facts” about health care? Michelle Malkin? Rush Limbaugh? Newsbusters.org? Try visiting Politifact.com, FactCheck.org, and the AARP website. And, in the process, ask yourself why you’re so upset that a black president might actually succeed in reforming health care in this country, which is THE ONLY INDUSTRIALIZED NATION ON EARTH THAT DOES NOT PROVIDE ITS CITIZENS WITH AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE.

  6. johnrj08 said,

    Nonsense. Nearly 1/3 of every dollar spent on health care goes to the “administrative” costs of the insurance industry. And, of that amount, a huge portion is paid in bonuses to insurance company executives and to finance disinformation campaigns such as the one we’re witnessing right now. The insurance industry, despite a global economic downturn, is posting profits in the billions of dollars. It is obscene when you think about all the people who are being refused insurance or can’t afford it because of high premiums. The “root cause” of skyrocketing health care costs is the profit motive which has hijacked the industry since the formation of the first HMO. Also, the accumulation of more than 1/2 of the country’s net worth in the top 2% of the population has contributed to the problem. Fewer people can afford the premiums, so they use emergency rooms as their primary care doctors. OR, they wait until they’re very sick to see a doctor, so the cost of the care is incrementally higher.

  7. Mike said,

    The problem I find with alot of the scare tactics is that both sides are using them. The left as much as the right. The left = the economy will collapse if this doesn’t pass now, it’s morally imparitive, 1000’s are losing their insurance everyday because of skyrocketing costs (which is my favorite, it’s almost like if this doesn’t pass now the insurance companies will put themselves out of business). We all just read the scare tactics from the right. What peaks my interest is the fact that this has to happen NOW, And our elected officials aren’t reading the bill, and then telling me this is best for me, but they can’t tell me what’s in the bill because they haven’t read it. A lot of the suspicions comes from the fact that the scare tactics used by the right can only be answered with a promise were not going to do that, or simply a trust me.
    So in the end it comes down to how much you trust the goverment, My answer is not at all. And it seems like according to the polls the majority of the country is with me.

    • johnrj08 said,

      I don’t think any of the facts about the impact of unreformed health care on the economy are “scare tactics”. They’re definitely scary, but they’re not a tactic. Projections about the increases in medical costs and premium rates over the next 7 years have been based upon the accelerating, chartable direction of those costs over the last several years. It is not a made-up tactic that has no basis in reality, like the scare tactics being used by opponents of reform.

      The reason reform “has to happen now” is easy enough to explain. Attempts to reform health care over the last 50 years have failed because there hasn’t been sufficient political will to push past the massive disinformation campaigns and powerful insurance industry lobby that are mustered every time the issue comes up. Few would argue that Obama’s election presented a unique opportunity. Obama knows that the longer health care reform sits in a committee and fails to come to a vote in Congress, the more likely that it will never see the light of day. That’s how things work in Washington, DC. Good bills die because the political will to enact them weakens.

      There are currently three PROPOSALS before Congress, and all of them are very complex and fluid documents which are being negotiated and nuanced every day. The idea that a Senator or Representative should commit thousands of pages to memory so that he show an opponent of reform that he has read them is preposterous. Few complicated bills that have been before Congress in the history of the nation have been thoroughly read by every member of Congress. That’s not necessarily a good thing, even though they have committees and staff do do that, but it’s no reason to stand against the basic tenets of reform, which have in the public debate for the last 3 months.

      If you trust the private insurance industry, which operates for-profit and makes more money by denying coverage and raising premiums, more than you trust the government, which administers Medicare, the VA and the armed forces, then you deserve what will come if there is no reform.

      • johnrj08 said,

        Another point needs to be made here, which is that health insurance premiums have inflated much faster than the general rate of inflation in the rest of the economy. The insurance companies, which are profit-driven corporations, have incentivized denying applicants coverage and rewarded employees who save the company money by not issuing prompt payments to health care providers. While our premiums have doubled every five years over the last 20 years, payments to health care providers have gone down and insurance company profits are in the billions. This is a vampyric industry whose behavior borders on immoral. When I read that some people trust them more than the government, I have to wonder what country those people are living in.

  8. Mike said,

    What you don’t say in your posts is that the insurance companies are owned by investers, the american people. and if we get national run public option, it will hurt the insurance companies, or more to the point it will hurt peoples retirement plans, investers portfolio’s, which if memory serves me correctly was the reason we had to bail out the savings and loan companies in america, because it would have destroyed people retirement plans. Now he wants to do something that will in effect hurt the same things he was trying to save. Which more proves to me that the current adminisrtation is incompetent. And they prove it more and more everyday. So if you wish to blindly follow them I feel you’ll get what you deserve, And why I say blindly follow is because you can’t tell me or anyone what the finale bill will look like.
    And a finale point I would like to make on the trust people have in the current administrations, what happened to any bill before congress was supposed to be on the whitehouse website for X numbers of days before congress voted on it. Just another campaign lie and another reason not to trust them.

  9. johnrj08 said,

    Investors, executives and insurance company staff all rely on the company for income, but the difference is that investors are speculators who do not have to invest in those private insurance companies. They can easily modify their portfolios. With regard to any damage that reform MIGHT do to their portfolios and retirement plans, the collapse of the health care system in the United States would no doubt be accompanied by another major financial meltdown of the overall economy, which would impact everybody, not just the investors. Worrying about the fate of speculators who can invest in other businesses rather than the financial and physical well-being of the entire country seems a little upside down in its logic.

    That said, there is zero evidence that a government administered public option will damage the private insurance industry. In fact, the CBO has recently stated that it would bring millions of additional consumers into the private insurance sector because it mandates coverage for all. Since not all people would even qualify for the public option, they would have to seek coverage in the private sector. Some people don’t like that, but the fact is that we all either get insurance coverage, or we end up paying the freight for those who don’t have it. That’s how it works.

    As far as not being able to find any health care reform bill on the White House website is concerned, there is no bill yet. There are three proposals currently being negotiated in Congress, that were written in Congress. So, what do you think should the President put on the White House website? Reforming our health care system is one of the most controversial, complex and labor intensive challenges that government has taken on in the last half century, and it is opposed by powerful, well-financed forces on the extreme right and within the insurance industry itself. You’re expecting a simple solution that can be posted on a website, and that is NOT going to happen. Blaming the President for that is just looking for another excuse to attack him and his policies.

  10. Mike said,

    You said; As far as not being able to find any health care reform bill on the White House website is concerned, there is no bill yet. There are three proposals currently being negotiated in Congress, that were written in Congress. So, what do you think should the President put on the White House website?

    you keep dancing around the point: the point is TRUST, and your absolutly correct there is no bill yet. Which means you can’t tell me what will or won’t be in the bill, again it comes back to trust. And as far as the website goes I truly expect nothing to go up there, I know He said that all the bills would go up before they were voted on, which turned out to be a lie. again trust. He said he wouldn’t sign and bill that contained pork, he wouldn’t have any lobbyist in his administration, All campaign lies.

    The question is why do you trust him

  11. johnrj08 said,

    Mike, you suggested that because there is no bill posted on the White House website that it indicates the president is untrustworthy. I explained clearly why no bill has been posted there. That obviously does not mean that nobody knows what has been written into the proposals so far. I’m not dancing. You just keep moving the goal-posts. I have no idea where you’re getting your information, as I don’t know where most other opponents of health care reform are getting theirs. This is not about trust, although that’s an important thing to have. It’s more about a fluid process which, until now, the President has allowed Congress to mediate. He’s not writing the bills, even though he has made it crystal clear what he’s looking for. According to today’s news reports, the president has finally realized that Republicans have no intentions of honest collaboration and that they’ve essentially “walked away from the table”. If the final bill that finally does come out of Congress doesn’t reflect what he has been talking about, then you can bet he won’t be hosting any signing ceremonies in the Oval Office for it. Your lack of trust in this particular situation is no doubt a result of inaccurate or biased press reports, such as the kind we see on FOX News every single day, and blatant disinformation that has been intended to discredit the president. Be more skeptical about your sources and ask yourself if they have some kind of an agenda going. (Of course, if you share in that agenda, never mind).

  12. Mike said,

    You said: Your lack of trust in this particular situation is no doubt a result of inaccurate or biased press reports, such as the kind we see on FOX News every single day, and blatant disinformation that has been intended to discredit the president.

    Tell Me that what I said wasn’t true. Did he not promise that no bill that contained pork would be sighned by him. Did he not promise that no lobbyist would be a part of his adminastration. Did he not promise fiscal responsability and then he turned around and spent more money in six months than president Bush spent in 8 years. And I never insinuated that because the bill wasn’t on the white house website that he was untrustworthy, I insinuated that he was untrustworthy because that he has broken most of his campaign promises, including the one were all bills were to be posted on the whitehouse website prior to being voted on. And a little piece of information on me, I get my news from Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Realclearpolitics.com, and politico.com. I try to look at all sides of the issue before I make up my mind.

    More to the point, I understand that this issue is important to you and a lot of Americans, And rightly so. But this president and his administration have flubbed up almost everything they’ve touched. Which by the way I just realized something, you never answered my question.
    Why do you trust him.

  13. johnrj08 said,

    Let’s not be too naive here. He signed a crucial bill into which some senators inserted an extremely small amount of “pork”. It was a political reality he had to face, or not get the bill passed. Condemning him for that is grossly unfair, especially after the last 8 years of free-flowing pork. He said he would not have a lobbyist in his administration, and he doesn’t. Probably half the people worked for lobbying firms at one time or another, either full-time or as expert consultants. Refusing to hire the best person for a job because they had worked briefly for a lobbying firm would have been short-sighted. “Look at me! I stuck to my campaign pledge and didn’t hire the best person for the job. Aren’t I smart?”

    Obama was and continues to be an idealistic man and, like 100% of all other elected officials in the history of this country, he has had to make compromises to get ANYTHING DONE. Don’t turn around and criticize him for something that is routine part of this country’s political process, and don’t tell me no other politician has ever broken a campaign promise. I think we need to see how this speech goes on Tuesday and the way that the process plays out in the coming weeks before we draw any conclusions about whether or not this president “flubbed” anything. He has been up against the biggest disinformation and smear campaign in the history of the republic.

    I don’t “trust” anybody but my members of my own family, And I am not stupid enough to hold ANY politician to that standard. If I did, I would have move to the mountains and live in a cave. After having lived through several very popular presidents who were famous for reneging on their staunch promises, I wonder why people try to act so shocked that this one has had to compromise. Makes me thing something else is going on.

    • Mike said,

      You say; Obama was and continues to be an idealistic man.
      But in reality he is and always has been far left. Now that only represents 20% of the population, and everything he does seems to cater to that small fraction of the american population. And I understand compromise, If thats all that was going on I wouldn’t have a problem with it. how is it compromising not to put the bills on the whitehouse website before their voted on. The pork part I’ll concede, But when you call it a LITTLE pork, Come on.
      What makes me suspicious is that all this legislation has to happen now, and all I do is wonder why, why is it so imparative that we move so fast that only a few people actually know whats in the bill, because if the president had his way this bill would already be law. I understand (and hope you do to) that if this becomes law, it will be next to immpossible to repeal, Be it good or bad we’ll be stuck with it. Why not slow down, pass some reasonable legislation that will deal with the runaway cost concerning health insurance. Tort reform comes to mind. Try experimenting at the state level (keeping in mind Oregon, Hawaii, and Massachusetts who have all tried this type of reform and are on the verge of bankrupting their states) a sort of trial and error situation. And truly whats wrong with that, if you really believe in this, like I think you do, don’t you think this needs to be done correctly, remember This is 1/7 to 1/6 of our economy depending on who you listen to, if done wrong this could bankrupt the country. Come on man something this big needs to be taken slowly, not “it has to happen now”.
      Makes me think something else is going on.

      On a side note, I truley love debating informed intelligent people like yourself, wish congress would do more of this.

  14. johnrj08 said,

    Where are you getting this 20%. He won the election, Mike. By an electoral landslide.
    It was a “little pork”. You have different information?

    I’ve already gotten into why there is urgency to this reform going through now. If the process is slowed the political will to do anything meaningful will disintegrate. Why do you think there hasn’t been any health care reform since the Truman administration?

  15. Mike said,

    Well you can call it an electoral landslide if you want, truth be told he only carried 52% of the vote. A little pork was an exageration on your part, the stimulas package was nothing but a pig far (as was GWB’s). But I did concede on the pork part. Just disagreed on the amount.
    As far as your reasons for this going through now I think there reckless. And the reason we haven’t had any health care reform since Truman is because the majority of the country doesn’t want it, and the last time I looked we still live in a country were majority rules, as you just pointed out with Obama’s win. Oh and since his win he’s lost 7 to 10% of his popularity (depending on which pole you look at) because of things like this. I will tell you One thing if he slowed down and carefully did this step by step, I think he would get the majority of the country behind him. What he’s doing won’t, so he needs to try something different.

  16. Mike said,

    Oh and 20% was a pole I had seen where that number of people in this country concidered themselves far left liberals. And true or false I believe more people voted against Bush than for Obama.

  17. Mike said,

    And further more I completely dissagree with the electorial college, It’s a misrepresantation of how people in this country truly feel. And by the way if it wasn’t for the electorial college we would never have had 8 years of Bush. chew on that one.

  18. johnrj08 said,

    This is incorrect. The latest polls indicate that more than 2/3’s of Americans want health care reform. And that’s despite the massive disinformation campaign and millions spent by the insurance industry. The effectiveness of those lies account for much of Obama’s slide in the polls. I would concede that he has not been the leader that he needed to be to get reform pushed through. Hopefully, he will rectify that on September 9th. Again, if Obama slows down, the Senators who are riding the fence on reform who will be coming up for re-election will withdraw their support. The reason for that is, again, because of the disinformation campaign and Obama’s passivity for the last month or so. All you have to do is watch the town halls meetings to see that a lot of people have been frightened by the lies and rumors, and incumbent senators and congressmen will become more concerned about holding their jobs if something doesn’t happen soon on the reform proposals. Political will is everything in this process. Nobody knows exactly how close the vote will be on reform, but it will be VERY close. Not because we don’t need reform, but because there are 300 insurance industry lobbyists for every senator and congressmen in Washington, DC. And they are out in force to destroy the chances for any reform.

    I don’t know if more people voted for Bush than Obama, but I would guess that more voted for Obama in 08 than voted for Bush in 04 when you consider how close that race was. In the end, Obama carried more of the major states than Bush did in 04, including some southern states that he was supposed to lose big in. Of course, I think that was more of a rejection of Sarah Palin than glowing endorsement of Obama. Most people with any sense could see that Palin was a grotesquely inadequate candidate, so they voted for what they perceived to be the lesser of two evils.

    The Electoral College ensures that the heavily populated urban centers, where a lot of industry and commerce is concentrated, don’t drown out the votes in lesser populated, but no less important regions of the country. It means that candidates can’t ignore the midwestern states in their campaigns and have to be responsive to their needs as well. Without the Electoral College, candidates would simply concentrate all their money and time in a handful of big states, and never hear any of the issues being faced in the smaller states. There are good and bad things about the Electoral College but, all in all, it serves a useful purpose.

  19. Mike said,

    Your right that 2/3 of americans want health care reform, just not what Obama’s offering, The last poll I saw said 53% of americans opposed Obama’s Plan. But thankyou for making my point that if Obama slowed down I’d bet that those 2/3 of the american public would back Him. More people than not are understanding that if this is done incorrectly it will be devastating for the country. And I said more people voted against Bush than for Obama.

  20. johnrj08 said,

    Again, you’re ignoring the massive disinformation campaign which has been at work for the last 3 months, talking about “death panels”, health care rationing, federal funding of abortions, free health care for illegal immigrants, “socialized medicine”, and cut backs in Medicare. We go full circle to the original purpose of my blog, which is to debunk rumors and expose the lies which have clearly undermined public support for reform. The process of health care reform began in March, about six months ago and it will probably not run its course for another two months. The idea that 8 to 9 months is rushing things makes no sense to me at all. And it’s not as though none of these people had any idea of what needed to be done even before that.

    By the way, if more people had voted against Bush in 2004 than for Obama in 09, Obama wouldn’t have won the election.

    • Mike said,

      You say: Again, you’re ignoring the massive disinformation campaign which has been at work for the last 3 months, talking about “death panels”, health care rationing, federal funding of abortions, free health care for illegal immigrants, “socialized medicine”, and cut backs in Medicare. And to you all of this is disinformation. but in your Blog you offer up little more than that won’t happen, again a promise

      Now this is how I feel about these things, abortions will be done, weather I agree or disagree on this issue. Rationing will happen, there’s no way it can’t. Taxes will go up, the deficit will go up. And in the end there’s not one shred of proof you can give me to disprove any of those statements, other than we have to take Obama’s word for it. Because like you said there is no finale bill, And yet you tell people what will and won’t be in it, Which I believe you are just regurgatating what you hear on MSNBC and read on the whitehouse website. Oh and I went and looked again and as of today 53% of america dosn’t want Obama’s plan which by the way is larger than Obama’s win last year which you called a landslide. And one last point, imagine if the health care reform passes, and then we find out that a lot of the fears opponents had about the reform are true, and since you don’t know what will be in the finale bill you can’t for sure say that won’t happen, then who will have waged the DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN.

  21. johnrj08 said,

    Taxes have to go up, but the question is on whom? The deficit will go up, but the alternative to that is another Depression. And, you’re right. No one can guarantee that they’re 100% right about anything, and you should be skeptical of ANYONE who talks as if they do. In my case, I relied on several websites, such PolitiFact.com, FactCheck.org and the AARP website. I’ve listened to both sides of the argument, and have concluded that most of the opponents of health care reform are driven by one common thing: a raging hatred for this president.

    After having lived through a few different administrations, you learn to recognize ideological spin and straight-forward pragmatic thinking. Usually, the person who sees no value in the other side’s argument is the ideologue, and I think ideologues are a danger to our democracy, because it is a very short step from ideological demagoguery to fascism. As of today, the internet is buzzing with fascists who don’t even know they’re fascists.

    I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about by describing an online encounter I had earlier today with a rabid opponent of health care reform. He was attacking an assertion I had made about the number of Americans who are uninsured. He told me that a “think tank” called Employment Policies Institute (EPION) had analyzed the Census Bureau’s figures and concluded that President Obama was lying when he said that 47 million Americans were uninsured. This person assumed that I knew nothing about EPION, but he was wrong.

    EPION is affiliated with Rick Berman’s operation, which is a public affairs consultancy which is a dedicated anti-Obama organization. Berman’s company, EPION, was simply doing it’s job for the insurance industry lobby, which was to try to discredit anything that Obama says or tries to do. You may not think so, but I see this as grossly dishonest. And it’s probably worse than that, since so many people like the person I was exchanging comments with had used this information to attack a sitting president and accuse him of lying to the American people.

    This demagoguery is going on all over the country and in blogs every single day. The insurance industry is spending $1.4 million PER DAY on this kind of mischief and lot of people are not only buying it, but they’re questioning their loyalty to this president. The question is, do you choose whom you would like to believe, or do you choose whom you think is being honest? That is kind of process which I’ve gone through in arriving at my point of view about health care reform.

    Am I 100% right? Nope. But I can assure you that the opponents are 100% wrong when they say their opposition is purely about the content of the reform proposals being crafted in Congress. It’s about people who cannot stomach the idea of a black man sitting in the Oval Office.

    • ed said,

      “I’ve listened to both sides of the argument, and have concluded that most of the opponents of health care reform are driven by one common thing: a raging hatred for this president. ”

      THIS is what i am tired of hearing. anyone who disagrees with anything, hates the President.. whats next? oh wait for it… im racist too, right? no matter what you think, it IS a trust issue. i left a post above on why, i personally, oppose the proposals, but ultimately it is trust. this is going to directly affect our lives, and no proposal has any language in it that is even on the same planet as cut and dried. so in order for us to support it, we HAVE to trust the people with our LIVES to make the best decisions, and to tell us exactly how this things is going to work. now look back on my post. have i said anywhere that i hate President Barack Obama? No. and i don’t. i disagree with about 50% of his policies, but i do not hate him, or wish him harm, or anything else that you can come up with. i disagree, and i have stated why, if i “hate the president” because of that, im not living in the USA.

      • johnrj08 said,

        Trust? There is a basic problem with what you’re saying here. President Obama didn’t write any of the proposals now being considered in Congress. He has spoken at length about what he wants in health care reform, but he has left it to the legislative bodies to develop their bills. People like you attack the president even though Republicans and Democrats had a hand in writing these proposals. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, is the person who insisted on the element which was later referred to as “death panels” by Sarah Palin. There is a rush by some people to attack this president for anything that he tries to do. When you say that you don’t agree with “50% of his policies”, to which “policies” are you referring? The bailout wasn’t a policy, per se. It was emergency rescue of the banking system, which was voted on in Congress and endorsed by most economists who didn’t have an ideological axe to grind. Yet, we had people in conservative blogs saying that the Nobel Prize-winning economists who supported the bail out were stupid and that they were socialists. This, despite the fact, that the government took over no businesses as a result of the bail out. This is not about trust. It’s about an unwillingness by some to listen to any facts unless those facts fully support their own particular view and an eagerness to embrace anything negative that is said about this president, no matter how outrageous. The man has been in office 7 months, and has been confronted by multiple crises which few presidents have had to face, yet he has been described by some as the worst president in history and has even been compared to Adolf Hitler. Excuse me if I don’t entirely buy your claim that this is all about trust.

  22. Mike said,

    The system is totally broken and in need of radical reconstruction, but nothing will change; Medicare is bankrupting the country, but $500 billion in cuts will have no effect on care; we will expand coverage while reducing deficits. A public insurance option that have no restrictions and no need to show a profit will have no effect on your private insurance company that runs under restictions and answer to share holders.

    You see when Obama tries to make me believe things like this it only breeds mistrust. This is not disinformation, these are some of the things he has said, just not all at the same time. Now I don’t care how many times you try to convince me that 1 + 1= 3 I’m never going to buy it.

    And if you believe that this is a racial thing explain this, Clinton couldn’t get it done, Kennedy couldn’t get it done, And they were white, So if this is all a black thing why did the white people fail. My opinion is that it just came down to Majority rule, But that’s just my opinion

    • johnrj08 said,

      Medicare is NOT bankrupting the country. Medicare is running out of money. Why? Because of rising medical costs which are inflating at twice the rate of inflation and which will DOUBLE in the next 7 years if nothing changes. Why are they doing that? Because the insurance industry is a for-profit, investor-driven business that is run by non-physician businessmen who are paid 8-figure salaries. This country spends more per capita on health care than any other western democracy despite the fact that our people get less of it than in any other western democracy. Nearly 1/3 of every dollar spent on health care in the United States goes to administrative costs, not actual health care. That’s why the system needs to be reformed. The reason that no president has been able to get health care reform through Congress is because the insurance industry, the trial lawyers, and the drug companies spend millions of dollars PER DAY to see that it doesn’t happen. The single reason that Obama is down in the polls is the result of their massive disinformation campaign, which has sought to make the president the enemy of the people. And, because of their own deep-seated prejudices, a lot of people are willing to embrace that without question. When Hillary’s reform plan was presented, we didn’t see the kind of bellicose, belligerent reaction that we’re seeing directed at President Obama, nor did we see that when Lyndon Johnson pushed Medicare through. And Medicare IS closer to socialized medicine than anything the president has talked about.

      You continue to bring up issues which I’ve already addressed, such as the notion that the public option will drive private insurance out of business. The CBO has stated quite unambiguously that the House proposal will bring 3 million more people into the system, and most of them will be covered through their employers. This is a windfall for private insurers. Also, the pay-outs to providers will be negotiated in the public option and not dictated. Without the public option, millions of people will continue to go uninsured and the tax-payer will continue paying for their care in emergency rooms. Low income people will continue to wait to get medical treatment until their condition worsens and the treatment they need is even more expensive. There is NO logical reason NOT to have a public option. Not having one would end up being much more expensive.

  23. ed said,

    so much for approving 95% of comments, especially ones with contrary views. didn’t think i was too offensive, can’t see why my comments weren’t appropriate to the subject. thanks a lot

    • ed said,

      lol nevermind that last post, when i loaded the page, my comments weren’t there, but they are now, so im sorry for my misplaced sarcasm/bitterness

    • johnrj08 said,

      This may surprise you, but I don’t sit up all night waiting for comments. It’s early morning here and I just read yours, which, as you can see, I’ve responded to. You appear to be in way too big of a hurry to go on the attack.

      • ed said,

        first off, i wasn’t in a hurry to go on the attack, but after several hours i came back, and my posts weren’t showing up even after i refreshed the page, so it was hard not to come to the conclusion that they hadn’t been approved. then after i posted the above comment, my posts appeared. not sure what happened, but when i saw that i posted my apology for attacking when it was not in order. if i was looking to go “on the attack” i wouldn’t be explaining this to you. i want to have a conversation.

        second, you misread, or maybe, misunderstand my point about trust. its not President Obama that i dont trust. i admit, i did not vote for him, but as soon as he was elected, my POV was “i hope he does well and the right things for this country.” so im not against the President. im trying to give him a fair shake, honestly. when i say i disagree with many policies, it isn’t things like the bailout (how hypocritical woud that be considering W did it first) that bother me. its his stance on issues that i disagree with. things like abortion, taxation, “redistribution of wealth”, etc. look, im not against trying to reform things that are broken, like Health Care. i just don’t like the way he wants to do it (but not to be misundersood, i know that he did NOT write the proposals in Congress, and he isn’t to blame for the language that is in it). i would rather start with major reform of the health care and health insurance industry first, and give it some time. then if we find that the public option is an absolute must, then move on to tackle that. the speed at which they are trying to move this thing is kind of scary to someone who does not trust the people in Congress. (note i said Congress, which is who i was talking about in my other post.) i dont trust them because all of them have their hand in something else, (most are lawyers, doctors, etc.) and it creates conflict of interest. so then i have to trust these people to do what is best for US, and not for THEM. and i dont want to paint a picture that i think everyone that is opposed feels the same way i do, some of them are just plain nuts. but i think there may be some people who feel the way i do, and that my POV is overlooked and lumped in with the crazies, and “right-wing extremism.” you stereotyped me after barely hearing my point, “This is not about trust. It’s about an unwillingness by some to listen to any facts unless those facts fully support their own particular view and an eagerness to embrace anything negative that is said about this president, no matter how outrageous.” i have not raised any ridiculous claims, i havent brought up any ridiculous misleadings in the health care debate (death panels), etc, because i just dont think that way. i’d appreciate being treated as me, a person with real concern, not like the stereotype that has been built up about anyone who disagrees. please excuse any anger i had shown in my other post, but i really think you and everyone else need to get off the kick that most people who disagree with the President, must be doing it because they hate him.

  24. Mike said,

    You Said: Medicare is NOT bankrupting the country. Medicare is running out of money. Why? Because of rising medical costs which are inflating at twice the rate of inflation and which will DOUBLE in the next 7 years if nothing changes

    First of all I never said medicare was bankrupting the country, that was an Obama Quote.
    and second how would you control rising medical cost, Have the goverment go in and tell doctors and nurses what they can charge and how much they can make. what about the hospitals, are we going to tell them what to charge, because thats the only way we stop skyrocketing medical cost.

    And in one breath you tell me that the insurance will make a, let’s quote you on this, “that the House proposal will bring 3 million more people into the system, and most of them will be covered through their employers. This is a windfall for private insurers.” Now that’s what you said in your last post to me. But you also said in the same post “The reason that no president has been able to get health care reform through Congress is because the insurance industry, the trial lawyers, and the drug companies spend millions of dollars PER DAY to see that it doesn’t happen.” So basically your telling me that the insurance companies will make huge profits it this passes, but at the same time their the ones trying to block it from passing. In what realm does that make sense.

    What makes sense to me is that if you put a cap on what insurance companies can charge, make them except pre-existing condition, and then don’t limit what the medical indistry can charge, they’ll all be out of business in no time at all. And then all we’ll have is the public option, That’s just plain common sense to anybody thinking clearly on this issue.

  25. johnrj08 said,

    Mike, Obama said “the cost of medical care” is bankrupting the country, not Medicare. Second, as I said before, nobody is going in and telling doctors how much they can charge. Fees will be negotiated, just like they are for the private insurers. What will bring costs down is the increased size in the number of insureds, eliminating fraud, and increasing efficiencies. These are all realistic, achievable goals.

    The insurance companies want zero change. Period. They do not like the idea of a public option one bit. The bottom line is that the private insurance industry knows that it is a bloated, vampyric business which is designed to make profits by refusing to insure people and charging outrageous premiums. Why in the world would they want that to change? At the end of the day, the insurance industry does not want to be forced to insure people with pre-existing conditions, nor do they want to reduce premiums. To them, 3 million more people in the network just means more paperwork.

    Your last paragraph stands the issue on its head. If we don’t reform health care, costs will double in the next 7 years and millions of more Americans will be pushed out of the system. Small businesses will drop out of their group plans because they will be too expensive. Then, because of that loss in revenue, the insurance carriers will raise their premiums even higher, and pay providers even less. Do you know how much it costs a family of four for medical coverage in this country right now? About $13,000/ year, and that’s if you’re in a group plan through your office. For that same family not in a group plan, it’s closer to $18,000 a year

    Which is more important to you? The financial health of the for-profit insurance industry, or providing affordable medical care to all Americans? Where do you stand on that, Mike? You keep looking for reasons to shoot down reform, but you ignore the elephant in the room, which is that the United States is the only western democracy that doesn’t provide its citizens with affordable health care. Are you actually going to continue arguing against that?

  26. johnrj08 said,

    I sounds to me as though you’re coming at this from a healthier perspective than others I’ve encountered here. Your opposition to Obama appears to be based on specific philosophical disagreements with him on a few issues, which is what makes Republicans different from Democrats and Democrats different from Libertarians. There is no rule that says we all have to be the same. I can understand a person not agreeing with a president’s position on taxes, immigration and abortion, but we can differ on the those things without accusing one another of being a menace to the republic. My problem is that I’ve spent far too much time on a couple of rabid conservative blogs where my head has been used in several soccer matches. After that experience, I’ve become personally convinced that MOST people who oppose health care reform are really just opposed to THIS president, more than likely because of his skin color. Because, when you expose one falsehood after another and they just keep coming up with more falsehoods, there’s something else at work. When, in spite of everything, people keep saying “I just don’t trust this president,” they’re really saying that don’t want to listen to him. When they embrace assinine lies, such as that he was born in Kenya, or that he’s a Muslim, you know that dialogue is pointless. When you have right-wing ideologues attacking the president AND his wife on a daily basis, you know that this isn’t just about a disagreement on policy. When a president can’t even give a peptalk to school children without being assaulted with hate speech accusing him of trying to indoctrinate children with his “socialistic ideology”, the usefulness of debate is clearly at an end and we may as well all line up and shoot each other.

    I suggest that we wait until Wednesday night and listen to what the President is going to propose, then go from there. No point in arguing points that may change substantially in the next 5 days.

  27. Mike said,

    Alright John so how did you like the speach, I gave him an A on delivery (as usual) and a C on sbstance.

  28. johnrj08 said,

    He’s a masterful public speaker, so it would be difficult to justify giving him lower than an “A” for any speech. In terms of substance, I didn’t really know what to expect from this one-hour speech. He obviously couldn’t go into a page-by-page description of what HIS bill would include. At a certain point, all he can really do is provide reassurance about the things people are concerned about. If you don’t trust him, you probably feel like Joe Wilson did. The ideal speech would have devoted the entire hour to one area of controversy and completely disassemble it. For instance, he could have spoken in specifics about how the proposals currently before Congress expressly forbid government subsidization of insurance for illegal immigrants. He could have addressed the issue of the 1986 law, which Ronald Reagan signed, that requires all hospitals to provide care for people even if they do not have the ability to pay or don’t have insurance. I believe providers are currently reimbursed for this under Medicaid. It is this law which many conservatives are using as an angle in their claim that Obama’s plan would provide free health care for illegal immigrants. By the time he finished, Joe Wilson and those who “understand Joe’s frustration” would have been exposed as the liars that they are. But Obama chose not to give that kind of speech, probably because there are so many issues that have been used to subvert the chances for any meaningful reform. In that sense, I’d give Obama a B-, but with the caveat that he only had one-hour to deal with a plethora of controversial items, each of which is being used to sabotage reform. Ideally, what would happen is that he or a White House spokesperson gives a series of speeches, with each covering a specific aspect of the bill. Not a town hall. A lecture on the reality of the bill’s contents. Of course, the people who just don’t trust President Obama probably wouldn’t have watched anyway.

  29. Mike said,

    Great blog. Great arguments. Keep up the good work – I know its difficult.

  30. johnrj08 said,

    Appreciate the comment, Mike. It’s not that writing the blog is difficult, but dealing with all the rage can get very exhausting. It’s like being in a bar fight here sometimes, where you’re the only one who’s sober and can feel anything. This is especially true when I venture into the conservative blogs, where I am set upon like a bleeding cow in the Amazon River. There’s no moderation in those sites at all. People will post comment after comment which make it clear that they are a racist, then they’ll fly into a rage when you “play the race card”. I would say that what is most frustrating and upsetting to deal with on those sites is the ignorance. These are, presumably, adults who are old enough to vote, yet they frequently exhibit the judgment and intellect of pre-pubescent boys (and that includes the women). Anyway, I encourage you and any other thinking person to wade into these websites and express your dismay at what is being said. Now is no time to remain silent.

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