Obamacare Disinformation Campaign

New York Post ObamacareA lot of politics is just about differences of opinion. You know: reasonable people can disagree. I’ll give you an example. I believe in a guaranteed minimum income. Providing this would allow people to go out and be creative: they could build innovative businesses without worrying that failure would ruin them. It would also raise the wages of difficult and boring jobs because people could get by without doing anything. And it would improve the level of human dignity. But there are those who say the opposite. They claim that it is only when people are staring into the face of total destruction that they come up with great ideas. I think they are totally wrong and history proves it, but these people really do believe what they argue.

What if, however, the state of California started a project to provide a guaranteed income and it worked really well. Suddenly, California’s economy was booming with highly innovative new products and the happiness index went through the roof. Imagine that the people that didn’t believe in a guaranteed minimum income tried to hide the success of the program. Or even worse: imagine they tried to keep the people in California from knowing about the program so they didn’t take part in it. That would be evil.

Well, that’s what we have with Obamacare. Jonathan Cohn reported yesterday, A Shameful Victory for Obamacare’s Opponents. McKinsey and Company did a study of Obamacare and found that about half the people who shopped on the exchanges ended up not purchasing insurance. But here’s the key, “[T]wo-thirds of these people said they didn’t know they could get financial assistance.” How proud the conservative movement must be that their disinformation campaign worked so well!

You may remember back last year when Sean Hannity had on four couples who were hurt by Obamacare. It turned out that all the people were mistaken. But I was especially interested in Robbie and Tina Robison:

When I spoke to Robbie, he said he and Tina have been paying a little over $800 a month for their plan, about $10,000 a year. And the ACA-compliant policy that will cost 50-75 percent more? They said this information was related to them by their insurance agent.

Had they shopped on the exchange yet, I asked? No, Tina said, nor would they. They oppose Obamacare and want nothing to do with it. Fair enough, but they should know that I found a plan for them for, at most, $3,700 a year, 63 percent less than their current bill. It might cover things that they don’t need, but so does every insurance policy.

Or there was Julie Boonstra who just knew that Obamacare was going to cost her money even though it was going to save her well over a thousand dollars per year. These and many millions more have been lied to very effectively by the right wing disinformation system. It’s disgraceful.

I’m sure that as the years go on, everyone will see that they are better off with Obamacare than they were before Obamacare. Eventually, Republicans will stop talking about it and Fox News will find that it doesn’t boost their outrage ratings. Within ten years at the most, we will be at that glorious moment of, “Keep your government hands off my Obamacare!” But the cynic in me will still be sad. Because all the same “journalists” will be lying about something else and all the same viewers will have learned nothing and will believe whatever lies come next.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Obamacare Disinformation Campaign

  1. We’ll see. My prediction way back when the ACA dropped the "public option" was that it would improve matters slightly, and turn out to be the worst thing for liberalism since . . . well, since something.

    Because the "public option" would have provided a stark contrast to what the alternatives are. The ACA does not. No matter its likable fiddling with the margins, it leaves our health care system a bloated, bureaucratic, deadly nightmare — most of whose failings can be blamed on "the market."

    That isn’t how people are going to see it. They will see the endless dicking around by insurance companies, the ever-increasing premiums (increases have been slowed by the ACA, but they will go up again) as the ACA’s fault. The systemic problems WON’T be the ACA’s fault. The ACA will mitigate them slightly. However, what’s wrong with health care will largely stay wrong. And it will have "big government" tattooed on its ass for conservatives to aim at.

    We can wail all we want about this being due to a conservative propaganda campaign, and the laziness of our ostensibly objective media, and these complaints will have merit. Neither will they change a thing. I fear the ACA will end up being something close to liberalism’s last gasp. At least the modern variety of liberalism, which chooses to tackle major problems in the most dithering, let’s-not-offend-our-partners-in-the-corporate-sector variety.

    I recently watched an HBO documentary on the early days of Air America radio. In it, Michael Moore comes in for an interview, and leaves the building angry after an off-air conversation with an Air America executive. In the elevator, Moore grumbles, "they say we don’t want to go too far . . . well, that’s what got us into this position in the first place."

    I understand those honest politicians who voted for the ACA thinking something was better than nothing — that helping real people now was better than possibly helping more people down the road. Laudable empathetic thinking as this may have been, it was abysmal strategic thinking. Unless I’m way wrong, it’ll prove to make liberal policies that much harder to enact in the future. And on much bigger issues. "See how they messed up health care? How can you expect them to regulate Wall Street?"

    My hope now is that some states begin offering their own version of a "public option." That could help a lot.

  2. @JMF – I share your frustration with the Democratic Party. The Republicans learned a long time ago that people would vote for them even when they disagreed on policy because people admire moral clarity. We are starting to get some moral clarity from Democrats. Look at the 2004 primary. Dean wasn’t charismatic and really didn’t have the greatest policy platform. But he said that the Iraq War was wrong. There was no equivocating. It constantly annoys me that the Republicans have to pander to their base but for some reason Democrats get away with a great big "Fuck you!" to the base. Remember when Ron Emanuel said that liberals were "fucking retarded"? Charming!

    But I think the ACA is a good thing. We already had a single payer system for the old and the poor. Now, we have expanded the poor side of the equation. I believe eventually the business community will revolt and say, "We can’t compete with companies in Japan that don’t have to pay for their employee’s healthcare." And I have a way of getting rid of the insurance industry. Have the government buy them out. The whole industry isn’t worth that much. It does terrible harm in denying care, but its profit margins are razor thin. Then the government can hire all their employees to work for our single-payer system.

  3. That’s another good, optimistic idea. We’ll see. I have no faith in the American business community at this point. After all, Wal-Mart already has to pay nothing for health care . . . their workers qualify for state assistance!

    Having the government buy out the industry would certainly work. They could even overpay as a last crony favor . . . hire many of the same employees for necessary administrative work . . . many sensible options. Again, I think people’s frustration with their health care will cause them to blame "the government" and not the real target for a long, long time. But that’s where the work of talking to people and spreading better information comes in for those of us who want change. (I tend to grouse too much!)

  4. @JMF – I just heard, however, that before the Civil War, the government was willing to buy all of the slaves and the South balked at the idea. So maybe I’m living in a fantasy land on that one.

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