GOP Strategy: When in Doubt, Lie Louder

Especially about money.
I hate to admit it, but my Congressman is joining the chorus.

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -The debate in Washington continues over healthcare reform.
Congressman Randy Neugebauer says he’s disappointed such a controversial and important bill passed with such a slim margin of only 5 votes, but he’s still hopeful Congress can make changes to it.

“This is huge federalization of healthcare in our country where a lot of the healthcare decisions are now going to be made by the government rather than the patient and the doctor,” said Neugebauer. One of his biggest problems with the recently passed House healthcare reform bill is the cost.

“It also creates huge new taxes; over 3/4 of a trillion dollars in new taxes. It causes premiums to go up for many of the Americans that already have healthcare today,” he said.

Fortunately, we know that these statements and others like them made by such Congressional stars as Michelle Bachman and John Boehner are actually spin, propaganda, and GOP talking points.

Those taxes? Not in evidence.

MYTH 9: Public option would be financed by tax hike

CLAIM: The public option is unaffordable because it would be financed by a tax hike or would otherwise be “costly to taxpayers.”

* Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich stated of the yet-to-be released Senate health reform bill that “nobody knows what this idea is. Nobody knows how it would work. And I think you have to raise a question. What if a big state like Texas opts out? Does that mean they don’t have to pay taxes on it?” He added, “Or are they going to opt out and pay for California and New York’s health care?” [Fox News’ On the Record, 10/26/09]

* The Associated Press reported that “Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman says while he’s ‘strongly inclined’ to vote to move Sen. Harry Reid’s health care plan to the Senate floor for debate, he would ultimately oppose the measure because it includes a public option,” adding that Lieberman said “he’s worried a public option would be costly to taxpayers and drive up insurance premiums.” [AP, 10/27/09]

REALITY: Public option financed by premiums — not taxes. Although the Senate has not released the text of its compromise bill, both the House bill and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s bill require their public options to charge premiums sufficient to cover administrative costs as well as the cost of enrollees’ benefits.

Bills’ tax revenues are used to cover expansion of coverage, with or without public option. The Senate Finance Committee’s bill, which does not include a public option, requires a tax on high-cost plans to cover the expansion of Medicaid and subsidies for lower- and middle-income Americans purchasing insurance. Similarly, CBO’s July 2 analysis of the Senate HELP bill shows that the bulk of cost is for subsidies for lower- and middle-income Americans purchasing insurance. And CBO found that the House bill’s proposed Medicaid expansion and subsidy provision for some families to purchase insurance through the exchanges would cost roughly $891 billion over 10 years, which would be “more than offset by the combination of other spending changes, which CBO estimates would save $427 billion, and receipts resulting from the income tax surcharge on high-income individuals and other provisions, which JCT and CBO estimate would increase federal revenues by $594 billion over that period.”

Facts about the bill? Well, first of all, the Senate hasn’t passed a bill yet. Second of all, the reconciliation of the two versions — and they’re as sure to differ as apples do from onions — hasn’t started yet. But what we do know, other than the odious Stupak Pitts amendment to the bill in the House, is that facts in evidence contradict the GOP claims:

CLAIM: GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER Former Majority Leader Bill Frist: “You hear a lot of people on the extreme say that socialized medicine is going to come in and control everything. … That’s not what’s in these bills.” [C-SPAN, 10/16/09]

CLAIM: ADD TO THE DEFICIT CNN’s Lisa Sylvester: “The House health care bill will cost $1 trillion over 10 years. Democrats say the bill pays for itself, offset by taxes on the rich and built-in health care cost savings. According to the Congressional Budget Office it will reduce the deficit by $109 billion.” [CNN, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” 11/9/09]

CLAIM: HARM SMALL BUSINESSES Small Business Majority Report: “Comprehensive healthcare reform… will reduce the cost to small businesses of providing health insurance to their employees” [The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business, 6/11/09]

CLAIM: KICK PEOPLE OFF THEIR INSURANCE FactCheck.org: Under Obama’s health care plan “nobody would be forced to drop his or her current insurance.” [FactCheck.org, 5/1/09]

CLAIM: CUT MEDICARE AARP: None of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits. [AARP Website]

But Randy’s right.

Some people will have to pay more — because unfortunately, since the plan lets for-profit health insurance corporations continue to exist, nongovernmental entities will continue to extort higher premiums for poorer coverages from consumers.

That’s the American way, though, and the GOP champions profit uber alles in nearly every instance, so, um, what exactly is this particular whine about? I mean, even the US Chamber of Commerce hasn’t got a leg to stand on when it comes to the benefits health care reform offer the citizenry.

Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if the cost of a Hollywood bosom augmentation got to be $2 million per cup size and had to be all cash up front (pun intended); I’m just sayin’. (Might be some healthcare benefit to that, come to think of it. No more burst implants, fewer strained shoulders and backs … )

However, Lubbock Democratic Party Chair, (SIC) Pam Brink, believes this bill will benefit Americans, especially those who have trouble getting insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

“There will be an infrastructure of support for people’s lives that has been missing for many people for a long time,” said Brink. She thinks, in time, the plan will become widely accepted.

“Medicare has been very, very good for people and there was blowback to medicare back then too,” said Brink.

Brink

By the way, prostate cancer survivor Randy Neugebauer is my Congressional Representative. He’s a four-term Republican incumbent who has two challengers in the upcoming GOP primary.
Neugebauer

To give you an idea of the political climate here in Lubbock, this is the story we got on local TV after the 2008 election.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer discussed the shift in power Wednesday. Voters overwhelmingly decided to keep Neugebauer in office, giving him 67% of the vote.
He had only positive things to say about the changes up in Washington. Neugebauer said, “Certainly, the republicans have been in majority but by-in-large it takes a lot of times bi-partisan support for a lot of the things we need to get done.”
Lubbock voters also shared their thoughts about the changes in Washington.
One said, “Hopefully, the blue dog dems will get up and make a showing.”
Another said “I’m definitely for the democrats and they of course won.”
One voter said, “I’m a little disappointed,” and another said, “It’s a big change.”

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