Thursday, June 28, 2012

Doomsday Republicans

GOP Tea Party politicians and pundits came out swiftly to comment on the Supreme Court's 5 to 4 ruling to uphold The Affordable Health Care for America Act.  The following comments are examples of fear mongering, outright lies, misrepresentations and generally a lack of comprehension regarding the Constitution and the reality of the Act.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) compares Supreme Court ruling to 9/11

"Because really, isn't it pretty difficult to tell the difference between a horrific terrorist attack and a law saying that maybe people with preexisting health conditions ought to be allowed access to our health care system too?"

Sen. Rand Paul Reacts to SCOTUS Ruling on Obamacare

“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional." 

Rick Santorum Comments on Supreme Court Obamacare Ruling

"President Obama believes he is above the law, entitled to abusing his power to get what he wants, and willing to violate the constitution and the oath he was sworn to uphold. He has proven to be a very dangerous person to have this kind of power, and if he is not stopped this November, I am fearful that the make-up of this country as established by our founders will never be the same."

Mitt Romney’s Response to Supreme Court Decision

"What the court id not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States.  And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare."
Setting the Record Straight 

To set the record straight, Mike Pence's comments were deliberately stoked in fear mongering and misrepresentations.  He eventually apologized.  According to Politico: "at the time he was just in a blind, half-mad rage, and whenever Republicans are mad about something it's exactly like 9/11. Every. Damn. Time."  Pence told POLITICO:
"My remarks at the Republican Conference following the Supreme Court decision were thoughtless. I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced and I apologize."  
Rand Paul's comments are based in a total lack of understanding of the judicial system  and the precedent regarding the rulings by the Supreme Court.  He is absolutely WRONG!

Rick Santorum's comment is is vitriolic, based on innuendo and fear and completely WRONG. Our government in based on the separation of powers.  The decision of the Supreme Court has no bearing on the President's actions.  He is stoking the fires of fear and ignorance.

Mitt Romney went on to profess the affects of the Affordable Health Act and continue to spew his lies and misrepresentations.  Here are the reasons Mitt wants to repeal the Act and the truth about his statements:
~  Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare - cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion. INNACURATE...
~ “Obamacare adds trillions to our deficit and national debt.” This is total fear-mongering.
~ Romney’s talking points have been debunked numerous times and found false. The CBO finds that the ACA is going to reduce the deficit, not add to it. Furthermore:
The key to this claim is the fact that the health care law does not take $500 billion out of the current Medicare budget. Rather, the bill attempts to slow the program’s future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in future spending increases over the next 10 years.
Also, it ends the Medicare Advantage program, which cost the government a huge amount of money with few benefits. Likewise, the law doesn’t add “trillions to our deficits.”  By most accounts, the law reduces the deficit over the next decade and works to reduce the overall rate of health care spending by the federal government.
~ Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. This assertion is a LIE! Under the law, you can maintain your current health insurance if you like it.
~ Along with Romney other politicians including Speaker of the House John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor have echoed Romney's talking point that "The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire. Obamacare is a job-killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three-quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. This is a bizarre and inaccurate claim.
~ And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor. FALSE  The law would set minimum benefits packages, but medical services will not be government-run, nor does the law allow for rationing of care.
Republicans have retreated from reality and launched an assault of lies instead of facing the truth about the Health Act.

Here are the FACTS about The Affordable Care Act:
1. Expands healthcare coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans,
2. Requires many health insurance plans to cover prevention and wellness benefits with no co-pay or deductibles for 54 million Americans that have private insurance,
3. Eliminates the lifetime coverage limit for 105 million Americans already insured,
4. Gives 2.3 million elderly Medicare patients access to annual wellness checkups,
5. Provides prescription care “donut hole” coverage for 5.1 million seniors, and
6. Requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, including 17 million of the 74.9 million children ages 0-17 years old residing in the U.S., according to recent US Census figures.
Most people only know about three portions of the law that have already gone into effect:
1.  The part that closes the donut hole for prescription drug coverage;
2. The provision that has enabled 2.5 million kids up to the age of 26 to piggy back off their parents’ insurance; and,
3. The part which stops health insurers form denying coverage for children and other people with preexisting conditions.

Little is known about the other parts of the law but click HERE to go through a primer on who may benefit and who will lose if the law is upheld or struck down.
The bottom line is that it is important to have the correct information to understand this Act.  Politicians who use innuendo, misrepresentation and lies based on fear mongering should be held accountable for their inaccurate statements. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's in a Name other than a Frame?

Via Joan McCarter at Daily Kos

Obamacare unpopular, unless it's not called Obamacare 

Another poll, and more confirmation that people really don't like Obamacare but ...

(Reuters) - Most Americans oppose President Barack Obama's healthcare reform even though they strongly support most of its provisions, Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Sunday, with the Supreme Court set to rule within days on whether the law should stand. Fifty-six percent of people are against the healthcare overhaul and 44 percent favor it, according to the online poll conducted from Tuesday through Saturday.
They don't like it—that is, until they hear about what's in it. Same old story. Greg Sargent got the partisan breakdown from Reuters/Ipsos on this poll.
* Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents. [...] * Fifty two percent of Republicans favor “allowing children to stay on parents insurance until age 26.” That’s backed by 69 percent of independents.
* Seventy eight percent of Republicans support “banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor “banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.” Those are backed by 82 percent of independents and 87 percent of independents.
* One provision that isn’t backed by a majority of Republicans: The one “expanding Medicaid to families with incomes less than $30,000 per year.”
Just don't call it "Obamacare" and it's all good, even with Republicans—except for that bit about making things a little easier for the working poor, because that's practically anti-American.
The problem, of course, is that you can't separate the law from the very effective (albeit shockingly untruthful) narratives the Republicans created against it. As of now, Republicans have decided they won't do anything to reinstate these popular elements. Even if they change their minds, they'll be relentlessly attacked by the even further Right.
But polls like this show what President Obama is going to have to do politically if the law is overturned. He's going to have to run against the activist, extremist Republican majority on the Supreme Court and what it has done to overturn these provisions, provisions that even normal (non-elected) Republicans support.
The linguist George Lakoff gives as an example of framing an exercise he gives to his students. 
The exercise is: Don't think of an elephant! Whatever you do, do not think of an elephant. I've never found a student who is able to do this. Every word, like elephant, evokes a frame, which can be an image or other kinds of knowledge: Elephants are large, have floppy ears and a trunk, are associated with circuses, and so on. The word is defined relative to that frame. When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame.
So too with the "negative frame" Obamacare that the Republican Tea Party have labeled the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The opposition is not is the parts, but in the part of the label spelled OBAMA!