At his press conference last Friday, President Barack Obama thrice accused Republicans seeking to repeal or defund Obamacare as attempting to “prevent 30 million people from getting health care” and/or “making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care.” Not sure why his vacation couldn’t wait for a complete reiteration of the Democrat Party’s Big Lie (at least 45 years old and counting) that the GOP is a racist, sexist, homophobic party that exists to starve children and throw old people over the cliff; but what is equally disconcerting is the reluctance of so many Republicans to identify and refute the Big Lie.
Federal law has for many decades prohibited hospitals that accept federal funds from denying health care to anyone that shows up for treatment at their emergency rooms. Republicans have never sought to change that law and never did change that law when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Yet, when Democrats seized control of both the legislative and executive branches of government for the first time in 14 years after the 2009 Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, they passed the Affordable Care Act which provides that:
Hospitals who re-admit patients within 30 days after they were discharged will now have to, under an Obamacare provision, pay fines as of October 1, 2012, which could force hospitals to slash programs that help the elderly, the poor, and the chronically ill.
The law now, under Obamacare, penalizes hospitals that provide health care to patients who get have the gall to get sick enough to require hospital admissions more than once per month. How dare they!
Yet, the architect of the eponymous Obamacare, that for the first time uses federal law to discourage the extension of health care to the chronically ill, engaged in epic projection of his Democrat Party’s own sins at last week’s presser:
Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail, their number-one priority. The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care and, presumably, repealing all those benefits I just mentioned — kids staying on their parents’ plan; seniors getting discounts on their prescription drugs; I guess a return to lifetime limits on insurance; people with preexisting conditions continuing to be blocked from being able to get health insurance.
The notion is simply that those 30 million people, or the 150 million who are benefiting from the other aspects of Affordable Care, will be better off without it. That’s their assertion — not backed by fact, not backed by any evidence. It’s just become an ideological fixation.
And let me just make one last point about this. The idea that you would shut down the government unless you prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a bad idea. What you should be thinking about is how can we advance and improve ways for middle-class families to have some security so that if they work hard, they can get ahead and their kids can get ahead.
Admittedly, the risk of such serial chutzpah is greatly diminished when most of the Fourth Estate is a wholly-owned subsidiary of your political party whose reason for existing is to run interference for your lies and gaffes; but what to make of conservatives accused of such an abominable sin so reluctant to refute the lie? It wasn’t until Sunday before an Obama Media-owned camera and microphone was placed within eye and ear-shot of an elected tea partier-conservative Republican willing to call a lie a lie, only to have a Republican Beltway icon poo-poo the effort:
“That’s a false narrative,” [Rep. Louie] Gohmert [R-TX] said. “He said that we’re trying to keep people from having health care. That’s just not true. That is an absolute blatant lie. We are not trying to keep anybody from getting health care and whether or not they have insurance under an exchange or not does not prevent people from getting health care.”
But [George] Will said although it may be false, this was a battle the Republican can’t win because the president will control the narrative. “The congressman said that’s a lie,” Will said. “Remember when Mark Twain said the difference between a lie and a cat is a cat only has nine lives? The fact is, the president has the power, particularly when supported as this one is by the mainstream media, to set the narrative.
So according to Republican friends like George Will, conservatives shouldn’t waste their breath defending their character against false narratives because “the president will control the narrative”? The tautology becomes him less than his signature bow ties. Yes, if Republicans don’t refute lies about them told by Democrats, then elected and media Democrats will, ipso facto “control” the narrative. Yet, we seem to recall that most of Will’s career has been to refute lies about conservatism and big government programs including Obamacare, but I digress.
The facts: Obamacare does not ensure that 30 million more Americans will get health insurance. Our bold emphases on care versus insurance are meant to highlight an old Democrat strategy to confuse the public, and one which Republicans regularly fall for due to laziness in their own language discussing the related but distinct issues. One could almost forgive the Stupid Party in this instance if Obamacare actually did require the conference of private health insurance coverage on 30 million people not now insured. But it doesn’t!
What Obamacare does is mandate the buying of insurance by some individuals under penalty of taxation (as defined by Chief Justice John Roberts); and subsidize the purchase of such insurance by others via state or federal exchanges. Obamacare does not mandate that any additional persons receive health care or secure health insurance coverage. Moreover, insurance coverage mandates are raising the cost of health insurance beyond the means of more Americans; employer mandates (despite the recent delay via executive fiat) are causing employers to terminate full-time employees or cut their hours to part-time so that they don’t have to provide insurance for them; and insurance companies are opting out of many exchanges.
All of the above make it more likely that less Americans will have health insurance once Obamacare is fully implemented; that those who have health insurance will pay much more for it; and that the value of the coverage most insured Americans have will be greatly diminished.
Why the George Wills of the Republican firmament are reluctant to engage in shaping the narrative every chance they get, especially when it is the Democrats’ and President Obama’s Obamacare law that fines hospitals for providing health care to the poor and elderly that dare to get sick more than once a month, is beyond this conservative’s imagination.
Mike DeVine‘s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson