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Sen. Johnson’s Weird Petty Lies about Liberals and Health Care

I’ve long since stopped being shocked by Republicans being allowed to publicly promote outright lies to advance their agenda, but the incredible pettiness of this lie by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) stands out.  It’s his claim about what “the left” want for health care that really annoyed me. From his Wall Street Journal op ed:

According to the CBO, 154 million Americans are covered under employer-sponsored plans. What would be the cost to taxpayers if 50% of those individuals lost their coverage and became eligible for subsidies? The answer is difficult to calculate, but CBO’s answer is basically: Don’t worry, revenues will increase automatically to cover those costs (for example, employees’ taxable incomes will increase when they lose employer-provided coverage).

In reality, as government assumes a greater share of health-care costs, pressure to cut payments to providers will be enormous. Reduced government reimbursements to providers will cause massive cost-shifting to those remaining in the private health-insurance market. More employees will lose coverage. Before long, we will have what the left has long sought—a single payer health-care system modeled after Medicaid.

While it is true that some on the left think we should adopt single payer health care system, I’m unaware of a single progressive that thinks Medicaid should serve as the model. The vast majority of single payer advocates want it modeled on Medicare, which is why many efforts to get single payer have been called things like, “Medicare for all.”

With its heavy reliance on state budgets, Medicaid creates real problems in economic downturns by forcing cuts to the safety net when it is most needed. It is simply not a good model for a universal system, and I cannot imagine anyone on the left who believes it is.

I can only assume Johnson went with ‘Medicaid’ instead of Medicare because it is less popular with the American people and is viewed negatively by some who see it as only for poor people.  Forcing people onto Medicaid sounds scarier. Instead of trying to make his point based on the facts and differences of opinions, Johnson apparently believes it’s entirely acceptable to simply make up lies to advance his cause, while the Wall Street Journal happily prints it.


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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at