Monday, August 20, 2012

A made-up number for a fake President - Wall Street Journal: "The $6,400 myth": "One of President Obama's regular attacks on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform is that it would force seniors to pay $6,400 a year more for health care. But merely because he keeps repeating this doesn't mean it's in the same area code of accurate."

In other news, Obama suck-up Jonathan Cohn informs us that the latest "distortion" from the Romney-Ryan ticket is that 15% of hospitals will become unprofitable under the Obamacare-Medicare raid.  What follows is the most ineffectual refutation of that "lie" I've ever seen:
An independent analysis of the Affordable Care Act suggested that some hospitals might not be able to adapt these reductions—and that, as a result, 15 percent would become unprofitable. If that happens, they might stop seeing as many Medicare patients, forcing seniors to wait longer for care. Or Congress might decide to ease up on the cuts, cause the law's total cost to rise.
The analysis comes from Richard Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary. He is smart and honest, so you should take what he says seriously. But plenty of smart and honest analysts take a different view.
And we prefer those analysts on the Obama campaign payroll, so you can stuff it Richard Foster.  It's not an exaggeration to say that Cohn all but advocates the bankruptcy of these greedy hospitals:
To be clear, Foster could be right that hospitals will struggle. But would 15 percent of hospitals losing money be a disaster? In most industries, it wouldn’t be.
You see, the Medicare raid to pay for Obamacare is a form of "tough love" to compel those hospitals to pare back unnecessary procedures that drive up costs.  The exact same compulsion for hospitals to reduce costs by applying market forces is "cutthroat competition."  Free choice = bad.  An unelected board slashing reimbursement rates to hit spending targets = good.

It's all about good intentions.


Anonymous said...

Ryan's Medicare voucher plan is capped at GDP + 0.5%. Over the last 20 years, health care costs have risen by greater than that number 20 times.

Serious question: why have a cap at all? Vouchers are going to reduce the total cost, right? How quickly Ryan's belief in the power of market competition disappears.

And when health costs go up faster than Ryan's cap, which happens approximately 100% of the time, his vouchers will cover less and less of the cheapest available healthcare plan with each successive year. Who will pay the difference? Ryan's plan is silent on this minor detail. But as it has no mechanism for cutting payments to insurers or doctors, and as the plan's raison d'etre is cutting the cost to the taxpayer, that leaves just one option. Hint, hint: it's that made-up group our fake President is telling fibs about.

Nigel Tufnel said...

According to the GOP:
Bob Dole was wrong;
Mitt Romney was wrong;
the Heritage Foundation was wrong;
Newt Gingrich was wrong;
the American Enterprise Institute was wrong.

This power-game tack away from support of universal health care by the right is bad for America.

Our society has advanced to a point where our expectation is cradle to grave health coverage for everyone. Our current system is an accident of history and is driving up costs and leaving millions without coverage.

Instead of sincerely taking part in a discussion to come up with an effective plan, the GOP expends tons of effort trying to undercut it. Then we have comical scenes like Mitt Romney's pledging to destroy the ACA and replace it with a Romney plan that has all the elements of the ACA.

At some point cognitive dissonance has to kick in, Vike. Don't you feel it? Any persistent feelings of agitation? Insomnia?

Eric said...

Second comment first: hey Nigel, how come every time I talk about Obamacare, I'm told that Republicans supported it in the past and therefore I should step in line?

JFK made tax cuts for the rich that would have made Grover Norquist blush. LBJ escalated the War. Only four years ago some jerk Senator derided the individual mandate. Where's the pro-tax-cut, war-loving, mandate-hating Democrats now?

Also, do you know why Republicans rail against Obamacare? America hates it! That's why Obama never talks about it. There must be some reason he's so reticent about his greatest achievement. ***cough*** ***election!*** ***cough***

Anonymous: yeah, health care is skyrocketing and Obama plan to do NOTHING other than that IPAB which will fold like a cheap tent under pressure (see: "doc fix.")

Take a look at Robert Samuelson's article about how the vouchers in Medicare Advantage have done a better job keeping health costs down than Medicare. That's why Obama had to destroy it in his $716 billion in cuts. That would be the cuts he's using NOT to extend the lifetime of Medicare but to use as a piggybank for Obamacare.

Which America hates.

Davey Deathpanel said...

Everyone knows it's all about the word "Obamacare" and nothing else. All of the provisions in the law are popular, including with Republicans.

Eric said...

So stupid Americans just don't know how stupid they are? Classic Demo-think.

Nigel Tufnel said...


The 'discussion' about healthcare is a clear example of how a good idea was sacrificed on the altar of winning the political power game.

The inadequacies of the existing health care delivery system were clear to Republicans, who worked hard years ago to come up with a means of addressing it. Many of the key elements of the plan (like the requirement that everyone pay), were based on core conservative principles.

It was supported by the right until they made a political decision to transform it into a wedge issue in a failed attempt to bring down Bill Clinton. There was still enough conservative momentum in support of it for Mitt Romney to implement it, very successfully, here in Massachusetts. He could not have anticipated the election of Barack Obama and the Republican ressurection of their failed tactic in the past.

This strategic move has caused irrational 180-degree reversals by those in the GOP, including the presumptive nominee.

The Viking Pundit, a staunch Republican, has made it his business to embrace and provide arguments in favor of these reversals.

It is therefore reasonable to point out this history and question the seemingly passionate response to universal health care.

Nigel Tufnel said...

"Also, do you know why Republicans rail against Obamacare? America hates it! That's why Obama never talks about it. There must be some reason he's so reticent about his greatest achievement. ***cough*** ***election!*** ***cough***"


You know darn well when Americans are polled about the individual elements of the ACA they support them, but when they are asked about "Obamacare" the support lags.

Do you think this might have something to do with the non-stop political attack machine unleashed by the GOP?

The statement "Obama never talks about it" is not rooted in fact.

From the NYT a couple of weeks ago:

By the summer of 2011, Mr. Obama made his first attempt to appropriate the term. “I have no problem with folks saying Obamacares,” he said on a Midwest bus tour, adding the s. “I do care.”

But that did not last. Democrats continued to complain when the news media used the term and tried to stop House Republicans from using it in their official correspondence with constituents because they said it violated rules against partisan letters.

As this year’s campaign has intensified, though, Democrats seem to have adopted it more and more. Mr. Obama has used the term at least four times in the last two months. Mr. Biden in a fund-raising e-mail urged donations because Mr. Romney “wants to repeal Obamacare.” The campaign’s online merchandise store sells “I Like Obamacare” bumper stickers, buttons and T-shirts.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said there was no particular decision to embrace the term, but it happened organically once Mr. Obama himself started using it. “We describe health reform in many ways but we certainly don’t run from the term Obamacare,” he said. “It’s an accomplishment the president’s proud of and talks about in nearly every speech.”

In last month's USA Today:

"A new poll shows that most Americans -- 56% -- want to see critics of President Obama's health care law drop efforts to block it and move on to other national issues.

The survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation also reflects continued partisan divisions over the law in the days after a divided Supreme Court found it constitutional.

"Democrats overwhelmingly say opponents should move on to other issues (82%), as do half (51%) of independents and a quarter (26%) of Republicans," Kaiser reports."

Classic Demo-think must be contagious said...

When you're done chortling about Obama hiding from his signature accomplishment that "America hates," follow the money: Mitt Romney isn't spending it to attack Obamacare.

Meanwhile, somebody'd better tell the stupid Republicans about their classic Demo-think. A majority of Republicans polled support the following central Ob_mac_re provisions, in some cases by as much as 78%, 80%, 82% and 86% favorability:

*Creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.

*Providing subsidies on a sliding scale to aid individuals and families who cannot afford health insurance.

*Requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employers.

*Allowing children to stay on parents insurance until age 26.

*Banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions

*Banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.

When HusseinKenyaRadicalcare ceases to be an election year buzzword to most people and becomes a series of tangible things, most are going to love it. And they're going to remember where and how they got it. Today's GOP was foolish enough to oppose an idea they'd originally championed, instead of co-opting it and sharing the credit. That's a tactical screwup which is going to punch tomorrow's GOP in the shorts, again and again, for decades to come. The good news is: now, they're covered.

Eric said...

That's interesting. I told my wife I wanted to get a new Porsche. I listed all the neat features:

* Power windows
* Power doors
* Nice radio
* Killer engine

Somehow she failed to support my suggestion even though there's nothing but upside. Weird.

Therefore said...

"America hates Porsches!"

Nigel Tufnel said...


Your Porsche analogy is a like a big jam doughnut with cream on top.

Nigel Tufnel said...


Your Porsche analogy is a like a big jam doughnut with cream on top.

Nigel Tufnel said...

So damn funny I posted it twice.

Anonymous said...

But does the doughnut have fine German engineering?

Nigel Tufnel said...

The Germans do know a thing or two about pastry engineering.

John F. Kennedy, clearly in the throws of pastry-induced ecstasy while on a visit to Germany, was heard to shout:

"Ich bin ein Berliner!"