Last week, President Obama went to Iowa, which always has been friendly territory to him, to market his wealthcare plan. If you look at the text of the speech, it's amusing to see just how much bullshit he included with it. Let's look at some of the lies.
"If people like their plan, they will keep their plan."
The wealthcare bill will seriously damage the plans of at least two groups of people with coverage now. The plans won't be even close to the same.
1) People on "Medicare Advantage" (the HMO version of Medicare) will face dramatic reductions in services because of funding cuts. Even worse, the HMO version of Medicare is a trap. Once people are in that version, they can never go back to regular Medicare. The tradeoff of a lack of premiums and lower quality care already existing in "Medicare Advantage" mean that the population of seniors most likely to be hurt by these cuts are the elderly poor.
2) People With Mediocre Plans, which the corporate media call "Cadillac Care" (they must really, really hate Cadillacs) will face cutbacks in care, higher premiums, and higher copays when the excise taxes on those plans go into effect in 2018.
"The days of the insurance industry running roughshod over the American people are over."
1) The insurance companies and HMOs wrote this bill. They already have started discussing the loopholes they put into place which will keep them from having to cover sick children.
2) The regulations in this bill require sick people and their families to enforce them. If they are relatively lucky, they can go to court. The HMOs and insurance companies have all the best lawyers in the field. However, if the contract for the HMO or insurance company requires arbitration, then people are forced to go to an arbitration system that is completely rigged in favor of the corporations.
"And so if you already have insurance, this reform will make it more secure and more affordable."
Every time insurance companies have managed to get laws passed making any kind of coverage mandatory, they have shot premiums through the roof.
Lie: (worded differently in different parts of the speech)
"And costs will come down for families, businesses, and the federal government, reducing our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades."
"But we have built into the law all sorts of measures to assure that in years to come, health care inflation, which has been rising about three times as fast as people's wages, will start slowing."
This cynically ignores the fact that instituting heavy fines for not buying defective insurance will cause premiums to go up dramatically.
"And I want seniors to know: despite what some have said, these reforms will not cut your guaranteed benefits."
This bill will result in cutbacks for many in benefits not guaranteed by law. (This is a trick more than a direct lie, though the intent to deceive is the same.)
Two Lies in One Sentence:
"Once this reform is implemented, health insurance exchanges will be created, a competitive marketplace where uninsured people and small businesses will finally be able to purchase affordable, quality insurance."
The new lie contradicts the fact that HMOs and health insurers don't provide quality insurance. They provide something which is universally known to be a defective product. Even with the subsidies, the insurance won't be affordable for the overwhelming majority of the uninsured. Insurance will become more expensive for people who already have it.
(I should note that, in this sentence, Obama reminds me of one of the hucksters who sell crap products on cable TV as "affordable, quality" products. They leave out that the junk they are selling is "not available in stores" because the stores don't want to deal with the returns.)
I'm not going to pretend that I'm surprised by a politician lying. But, what really is surprising is that so many liberal blogs aren't calling President Obama on it. This is the same wealthcare proposal Bush and the Republicans would have pushed through if they were in power, and the sales pitches would be only modestly different.
Politics isn't team sports. Policies have very real impacts on peoples' lives, and that has to be taken a lot more seriously than many blogs on the left are doing so far. We need to stop cheering on the donkeys vs. the elephants and pay attention to what's actually going on.