Negotiating Health Care Reform

Crowing about the Republican failure to get their demands after costing the nation 24 billion dollars and threatening even more damage may be playing into Republican hands by helping to spread the “Democrats won’t negotiate” lie. David Akadjion warns about this while using, as an example, a Racheal Maddow chart which says “They Got (Nothing)”:

Note how the Maddow chart appears to a conservative who has bought into this idea that Democrats won’t negotiate.

Akadjion points out that negotiations were in place prior to the shutdown. But the Affordable Care Act was a negotiation right from the start.

The original idea was single-payer, but even before Barack Obama got elected with a significant majority, right wing pundits began lying about how horrible health care was in countries with nationalized health care. People in those counties defended their systems and thought Americans were crazy for resisting reform. The phrase “Best health care system in the world” was widely used by right wing pundits, and even when Glen Beck’s “best in the world” rants were starkly and hilariously debunked by Beck’s own bitter criticism of American health care just a short time earlier, Fox News fans, some of whom must have seen both stages of Beck, didn’t seem to get the irony.

The first health care compromise was to trade single payer for a public option. This would have allowed each citizen to choose between “socialized medicine” and a private insurer. But the Republicans criticized the public option on two fronts: First, that government will provide expensive, complicated, and low quality health care than nobody wants, and second, that private insurers will be at an unfair disadvantage in competing with such a system. Again, irony lost.

So be it. President Obama’s answer to Republican criticism was “Ok, we’ll do it your way”. And so the Affordable Care Act was patterned after Mitt Romney’s health care plan for Massachusetts (Romnycare) and on suggestions for health care overhaul promoted by such right wing outlets as the Heritage foundation. The right wing response to Democrats altering their own vision for health care in favor of a Republican idea was to fight it at all costs.

From that point on, any attempt to negotiate with Republicans was met with resistance, followed by lies about the intransigence of Democrats. Republicans achieved a new level of hypocrisy by taking their own idea to the Supreme Court. When ACA was deemed constitutional by SCOTUS, Republicans pinned their hope on electing Mitt Romney to repeal a national health care system based on one of the few successes he had in an otherwise dismal record as governor of Massachusetts. And Romney lost.

Republicans claim that the ACA never had majority support. That’s no longer true, but even when polls showed less than a majority in favor of Obamacare, Americans approved of the provisions of ACA as long as it wasn’t called “Obamacare”. A classic example is the Kentuckian who was impressed with Kentucky’s new health care exchange system.

… The man is impressed. “This beats Obamacare I hope,” he mutters to one of the workers.

Obamacare polls are also misleading in other ways. For one thing, much of the disapproval over Obamacare is about the concessions Obama made trying to woo conservatives. Another point which Obama pollsters fail to mention: There is no plan with majority support, including doing nothing. Even before Obamacare polled with majority support, it was more popular than any other idea.

So here were today, in the aftermath of a 24 billion dollar temper tantrum led by a junior Congressman who for some reason, has the Republican party by the nose. What Ted Cruz has to say about the damage he has caused in his failed attempt to undermine the will of the people is, “I hope that in time, the Senate begins to listen to the American people.”

If Congress were to listen to the American people, they would support Obamacare, and stop causing billions of dollars with of damage to our nation trying to destroy it.

A Campaign of Lies

I’m disgusted and angry that the Romney camp is still running the “You didn’t build that” sound bite. It’s been debunked by a wide range of sources, and yet Romney believes that enough Americans are so ignorant of current events that they will digest what his campaign feeds them without even sampling the few sentences that preceded the bite.

At one point, it represented an uncommonly low level in the field of dishonest campaigning. But now Romney has sunk even lower by falsely accusing the Obama administration of trying to block early voting for military members. Mitt Romney is developing quite a pattern of lying to military members and veterans.

Mitt Romney is running the most dishonest campaign that I can remember. He has a record of taking multiple sides of several issues, continues to break campaign tradition by withholding his tax returns, and denies that his tax plan will raise taxes on the middle class while refusing to explain a $360 billion gap which economists have concluded can only be paid for by cutting deductions which help middle class taxpayers. Romney’s lies are so numerous that it’s hard for fact-checkers to keep up.

But still, people will see the “You didn’t build that” bite over and over, and believe it. They’ll believe it because they don’t read anything other than opinions from pundits who reiterate their own beliefs, and tune out arguments which challenge their own views.

Mitt Romney hopes that the percentage of voters who only get their news from sources which support his lies is greater than the percentage of those who get their news from other sources. If you’re cocooned in a right wing echo changer or even a left wing echo chamber, you can break out by considering the possibility that even those who disagree with you might have a valid point that should be explored. Often, you’ll learn that the other side really does have a point, although that’s not very likely when the other side is listening to Romney. At least you’ll know what the other side is hearing and be more prepared to defend the truth.