Monday, October 16, 2017

Health Care - "Believing Trump"

We've Heard It So Often,
 That It Simply MUST Be
"Believe me."

The obsessive repetition of this now "road weary" crack has moved beyond "simply painful" to a new state which MeanMesa describes as "tediously bizarre."

MeanMesa watches what the US domestic media broadcasts for public consumption. Of course there are all sorts of things oozing out of that television screen, and many of them are shockingly propagandist drivel. These are "shocking" because the quality of the propaganda presented is so "shockingly" amateurish. When these "presentations" are repeated from so many "sources," so often and for so long, the suspicious discomfort grows even more penetrating.

We could rant and rave about this nonsense for a very long diatribe, but -- because this particular post is in the "MeanMesa High Desert Road Kill Series" -- we are obliged to drive right to the point.

The specific subject of this concern is the constant repetition of the phrase "ObamaCare is failing." Or, perhaps, practically any of the lurching, incoherent Presidential laments about the program being a nightmare -- a policy now riddled with "sky rocketing premium costs and co pays."

"I am only the instrument
 that God uses to sing his song.
 I am only the vessel that nature
 smilingly fills with new wine."

This propaganda campaign draws its roots directly from the Joseph Goebbels play book. "Old Fun Loving" Joe became the early master of "the big lie" while he toiled as the NAZI propaganda minister in Hitler's Germany.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Joseph Goebbels [source]

There are, in fact, any number of creepy psychiatric "abnormalities" being trotted out daily by the almost frantic GOPs these days, but this "ObamaCare Nightmare" meme has risen to the absolute top of the pack. Every greedy elected Republican who has scratched and clawed for his turn at the corporate media's microphone repeats the "big lie" in a myriad of forms and at his first opportunity.

If modern college students still actually watched the corporate "news," the unceasing broadcast of these obsessive, awkward repetitions would offer the ultimate opportunity for a teen age beer drinking game.

The Republicans' Very Cleverly Crafted Half Truth
Gee whiz. Parts of this crap are actually fact.

To successfully explain the Goebbels's style "word trick" being employed in this wretched exercise, we must look -- very briefly [Remember - this post is in the Road Kill Series.] -- at a few of the "real facts" hidden in the completely open history of the ACA. This deception is "more of an elaborately constructed mansion" than simply a romantic "grass shack on the beach."

Selling this pitch to the American voter is a very high priority to the billionaires who own the Republican Party. They have been uncharacteristically generous with their "campaign contribution" check books as they encouraged their "wholly owned elected officials" to dance to the tune. The "news" media's "talk models" have become strangely complicit, too.

Fact One: The ACA was finally passed as "reconciliation" legislation. This means that the OMB and other budget analysts studied the bill and determined that it would not add to the deficit.

Fact Two: The reason that the ACA did not add to the deficit was because it included tax provisions which would raise Federal revenue sufficiently to pay for the additional costs. Naturally, the billionaires immediately hated this aspect of the new law. Probably the single part of these taxes which bothered the billionaires the most was this:

High-income taxpayers also help pay for Obamacare. The health law requires workers to pay a tax equal to 0.9% of their wages over $200,000 if single or $250,000 if married filing jointly to finance Medicare’s hospital insurance. It also imposes a 3.8% surtax on various forms of investment income for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is over $200,000 if single or $250,000 if married filing jointly. Those provisions will account for $346 billion in revenues by 2025, according to the CBO.

Fact Three: The billionaires immediately began a public relations smear campaign to incite a general hatred of the new law among Americans. This was no casual effort. Estimates suggest that around $1 Mn per week was dedicated to this cause starting when the legislation was first proposed and continuing for the years after it was finally passed into law.

Although this campaign successfully soured Americans' opinion of the law in the ACA's beginning phases, by the time the Trumpkins and the sold out Congress finally attempted a "permanent death" for the ACA, it's popularity had increased to well over 50% among voters. 

Why was this sabotage propaganda so effective? MeanMesa suspects that the reasons are  both unsettling and disturbingly simple.

a. The ACA was vulnerable because using it was complicated. Many of the Americans who tried to use the ACA were, essentially, "illiterate" with respect to the capabilities required for reading the ACA "rules" and complying with them. The conclusion too often drawn after these failures with the program was that the program didn't work. Of course, the raw statistics of the program working contradicted this, but that same "illiteracy" precluded  the possibility that those who had failed in their attempts to use the ACA from ever seeing the statistics.

b. Insurance corporation propaganda exaggerated the ACA's complexity. One curious aspect of this same "illiteracy" left those suffering its consequences to be exceptionally vulnerable to the propaganda campaign. Uninsured Americans who did previously did not even have doctors, who -- under the ACA provisions were finally able to afford doctors because the ACA was prepared to subsidize them -- were convinced by the propaganda that all of this otherwise "good news" was actually "bad news" because it meant that "big government was getting between them and their doctors."

c. Implementation of the ACA was intentionally frustrated by all stakeholders. Finally, every possible step was taken by insurance corporation, the media, established business groups of medical providers, the pharmaceutical corporations -- and, in some cases, by state government involved in implementing the bill -- to further frustrate attempts by potential ACA users to benefit from the law. The corporate, domestic media was also curiously anxious to cast the ACA into a very dark light, often one strangely similar to what was being promoted by the anti-ACA corporate propaganda.

How, Exactly, Did Republicans Sabotage the ACA?
This part of the explanation is extremely simple.
It explains everything about the "Big Lie."
It wasn't about what was always included in every story -- 
it was about what was always omitted.

When the ACA was first implemented, it was no secret that thousands or millions of people with "existing" medical needs would join in to get health insurance, in millions of cases for the first time. The authors of the ACA already knew that the cost of insuring these new patients would be exceptionally high for insurance companies. To mitigate this "automatic obstacle" the ACA included a risk corridor. If the health insurance providers saw that insuring this part of ACA's patient pool was going to cost too much "extra money," the ACA risk corridor would "make up the difference."

The "murder" of the risk corridor provision basically gutted the ACA's fundamental economic structure. The "murder" began when Senator Rubio "laced" a budget bill with a poison pill. Thanks to the Senator's efforts, risk corridor payments were reduced to roughly 10% of their [ACA] planned amounts. The insurers bolted -- understandably.

Of course, the second and final part of the "murder" was at the hand of Trump and the Republicans in Congress.

With the risk corridor neatly buried in its early grave, insurers rapidly dropped out of the ACA exchanges, premiums and co-payment amounts resumed the same painful increases that the ACA had been intended to stabilize and the ACA's "essential medical benefits" immediately began to fade into being "a thing of the past."

With all this destruction in place, whenever a Republican Congressman or the "Republican President" referred to ObamaCare great caution was taken to cite all these effects of de-funding the program, and to describe ObamaCare as a "nightmare" or a "failed system."

The "Big Lie"

The "Big Lie" showed up with the absolute silence about the reason that the ACA was failing. Naturally, the Republican politicians lamenting this "nightmarish failure" were very careful to never say a single word which might explain why it was failing or -- importantly -- what part the "perpetually cash crazed" Republicans had done to guarantee the disaster.

Further, the media reporting, including the "famous interviews" with the Republican scallywags who had perpetrated this, never so much as mentioned what they had done to the risk corridor -- although this was precisely what had been done to wreck the ACA.

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