Lies My President Told Me

Unlike many of the remaining few on what I’d call the Rational Left, or the Reality-Based Community if you like, I haven’t unsubscribed to the various Obamabot mailing lists in the wake of HCR; I think of it as a cheap way to watch the enemy camp. For the same reason I still read some of the especially egregious kool-aid drinking O-blogs, and I’m on a bunch of Dem party mass mailing lists.

So I got an email from ‘Barack Obama’ today. I’m not naive enough to think he wrote the mass spam, or even read it before it was sent in his name.. but his name is attached, so he’s ultimately responsible.

Responsible for a bunch of lies winding up in my inbox.

Let’s take a look:

John —

I’m writing to you on a great day for America.

This morning, I gathered with members of Congress, my administration, and hardworking volunteers from every part of the country to sign comprehensive health care reform into law. Thanks to the immeasurable efforts of so many, the dream of reform is now a reality.

So far, nothing factually untrue. "Reform" is a meaningless term, and I suppose you can call handing over the IRS as a bill collector to Wellpoint and Aetna a kind of "reform".

I’m sure knowing that they can sic IRS agents on people who don’t get with the program warms corporate hearts in insurance land, at any rate.

The bill I just signed puts Americans in charge of our own health care by enacting three key changes:

It establishes the toughest patient protections in history.

It guarantees all Americans affordable health insurance options, extending coverage to 32 million who are currently uninsured.

And it reduces the cost of care — cutting over 1 trillion dollars from the federal deficit over the next two decades.

Ah, here we go. Deep in lie territory.

First, ‘toughest protections in history’ is a bald-faced lie, taken literally. Every other developed nation on Earth has more and tougher protections for their citizens than we get in this bill. Being charitable, our Wordsmith-in-Chief forgot the adjective ‘American’ before ‘history’. Which should then be capitalized. So perhaps it’s not a bald-faced lie so much as sloppy parochialism. Let’s give him that one for free.

Second, this bill absolutely does not guarantee affordable coverage for 32 million Americans. That is absolutely factually untrue. Millions more get Medicaid, and yes, that’s guaranteed. The rest get, instead of coverage, orders from the government to go out and buy it. If they’re lucky, they get some money to help them buy that. If not, they’re on their own. If they can’t afford coverage after the subsidies, they’re also on their own. If they have to choose between food and insurance, well, I guess it depends on how much they like the IRS visiting their homes. So this is definitely a lie.

Plus there’s the delightfully high out of pocket limits in the bill. Up to 11,900 dollars for a family. Yeah, that won’t drive anyone into bankruptcy. Truly "affordable".

In addition to lying about coverage, Obama neglects to mention that, per the CBO, 4 million people will lose the employer provided coverage they have now under his plan, and be forced into buying pricier junk insurance on the Exchange. Oopsie.

As for the ‘reducing the cost of care’ and saving the American people line… the specific figure quoted is a lie, unless you believe in fairy tales. The bill relies partially on an insurance excise tax for funding. A tax that, on paper, generates a lot of revenue… and in practice, nobody expects many people to pay. It will either be pushed back in perpetuity, ala the Alternative Minimum Tax, or it will be avoided by employers forcing their employees onto shitty, high deductible plans.

In fact, that’s the entire idea.

Given the reality of the tax, the billions they expect to collect are a fantasy, and the ‘savings’ number up in the air at this point.

The rest of the email is spent touting the minimal immediate benefits of the legislation, like allowing people to try to afford high risk insurance pools with astronomical premiums until the state level Exchanges, of a type shown in the past incapable of bringing down costs come on line, or letting kids stay on their parents insurance until 26. (Because when the youngest and healthiest people can’t get decent coverage on their own you must be doing something right) There’s a cute cheerleady bit at the end, asking me to ‘co-sign’ this historic piece of dreck.

I managed, with effort, to avoid signing it ‘Get Bent’.


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