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Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Myths -- ahem -- lies about health-care reform

By Richard Cohen

The Post, enamored of euphemisms, calls lies myths. Thus the headline on a terrific article by Glenn Kessler entitled "Debunking common myths about health-care reform."

The first myth is that "This is a 'government takeover' of the health-care system." It is, of course, no such thing, unless the term "takeover" means the passing of some regulations. If that's the case, then the government long ago took over the radio and television industry (the FCC and all of that), the drug industry (the FDA) and, of course, mining, what with all those pesky inspections and periodic indignation over the deaths of miners. In fact, as Kessler points out, the government did not take over the health insurance industry. You can, as they say, look that up.

Kessler's next myth has to with "death panels." This was the phrase propagated by Sarah Palin for which the word lie is itself insufficient. (Damned lie is closer to the mark.) The bill and now the law contain no such provision, and, in fact, the end of life counseling once envisioned for the act has been deleted. It was a humane and prudent idea, and now, to the harm and anguish of many old and befuddled people, it is gone. Good work, Sarah.

What strikes me about these myths is how blatant the lie is and how they suggest sheer contempt for the intelligence of the American people. Politics and cynicism are inseparable and sometimes humorously so, but the malarkey of the campaign ought to stop when it comes to substantive and critically important legislation. Yet, the House Republicans are shameless in using lies, half lies and concocted statistics to advance their cause. They have even entitled their bill to repeal health care reform "A BILL. To repeal the job-killing health care law" -- a concoction worthy of some politburo of the past, like People's Republic or Democratic Republic of..."

The new era of comity in Washington is a wonderful thing, which will, I am sure, not survive the month. But if it endures, it will only do so if lying and exaggeration are banished -- as well as the raising of voices and the impugning of motives -- and Congress really respects the intelligence of the American people. They myth is that they say they do -- but that, folks, is just another lie.

By Richard Cohen  | January 19, 2011; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
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Comments

Mr. Cohen:

Of course you avoid discussing the real problems with the health care reform.

Such as the questionable assumption in the CBO analysis that where used to support it's passage. The fact hat it has driven a stark rise in health insurance premiums? Something which I can personally attest to as my insurance premium has gone up by a full 25%.

Or for the matter the fact that the health care reform utterly failed to address some of the real causes of the rise of health care costs such as an insurance system that incentives a rise in costs. Or for the matter the the sheer extortionate cost to doctors of malpractice insurance? If there is one grou that has done more harm to health care it is those lawyers who specialize in malpractice tort. Have you ever seen the sheer amount of ads in the D.C. Metro system with the lines of "If you or your loved one have been victims of medical malpractice call..."

Posted by: werehawk | January 19, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately you're right. It's too much to expect the Democrats and folks like yourself to stop lying. So let's do away with civility entirely and party like it's 1861.

Posted by: pcannady | January 19, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Nancy herself said it best: "We Have to Pass It To Find Out What's In It"! Only in Liberal Wonderland does this pass the "logic" test!! Cohen you need to get back to something you actually know something about like how dangerous to humanity Sarah Palin is. Your columns are so much better when you stay on course and since the only thing that keeps you Dimwits breathing at the moment is to somehow get Palin to stop breathing, your defense of the defenseless Obamacare rings hollow. The Dimwit logic that you can ADD 30 million to the gov't dole and Costs will go down is as inane as Pelosi's unemployment benefits are the "best stimulus". So in Liberal Wonderland "logic" the Dimwits continue on with their crusade to have the entire country on "Unemployment"!

Posted by: bobcatbuzz | January 19, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

werehawk just dropped in to to repeat some of the worst lies by the GOP. I assume he's gone back to the propaganda desk at FAUX News.

Posted by: mcstowy | January 19, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I understood Mrs. Palin's "Death Panel" comment to refer not to end-of-life counseling to the elderly, but rather to the application of Federal cost-benefit analyses to the apportionment of health care. While some may find her word choice inflammatory (as some always do), the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness is the embodiment of Palin's concern. Whether Mr. Cohen sees the absurdity in the federal government demanding a larger role in oversight and regulation of insurers when its decades-long record of oversight and regulation has been laughingly and tragically ineffectual, condemning Palin's concern on rhetorical grounds while at the same time calling it a "damned lie" is disingenuous and does as much to insult the intelligence of the American people as any Congress has.

Posted by: beervendor1 | January 19, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the biggest lie that is will reduce the deficit? No rational person believes this.

Posted by: sarno | January 19, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Death panels - Why distort what Palin said and meant. If you have more people using more resources there will come a time when you do not have enough resources to provide care for those that are old and needy. Panels will determine who should get what treatments. She called that panel that can make that life and death decision, a death panel. Please correct me if I am wrong and show me why.
Government takeover of health care. --- If your employer drops your health coverage and decides to pay the fee instead, you must sign up with the government mandated health care plan. It will be advantageous for many employers to save money by dropping health care, so you are on government run health care. Correct me if I am wrong.
The health care bill did not address money saving options such as interstate competition among health care providers.
The health care bill did not address money saving options such as limiting medical lawsuits.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | January 19, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"I understood Mrs. Palin's "Death Panel" comment to refer not to end-of-life counseling to the elderly, but rather to the application of Federal cost-benefit analyses to the apportionment of health care. "

Actually, Palin and her followers equated both end of life counselling and cost benefit analyses as Death Panels. Palin specifically said that the end of life counseling panels were Death Panels in and of themselves.

Odd how some on the right are just fine with a for-profit corporation deciding if they will pay to keep you alive, as is the case in private health insurance now, but they are horrified if the government does the exact same thing.

Posted by: TheHillman | January 19, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

People have been complaining about insurance companies raising their premiums as much as 30%, and they are having trouble paying for insurance now. They blame the health care bill for this raise, like somewhere in the bill it states: "Insurers must raise costs because you have to cover more people". Can someone please explain why it is the governments fault for private insurance companies to jack up their rates?

Posted by: ConcernedStudent | January 19, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Because it's just too much to expect our news organizations to call a knowing lie by its right name? This isn't FOX 'NEWS' we're talking about here, it's the Washington Post.

Posted by: michael5 | January 19, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cohen...here's what you and the liberal wind bags you represent don't get...this country CAN'T AFFORD TO GIVE OUT FREE HEALTHCARE....we're $14T (and counting) in debt...and Obama wants to hand out more freebies...notice he isn't saying this will bend the cost curve anymore...he sold a bag of lies and passed this law the night before Christmas...what a bag of coal it is!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 19, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

what strikes me is the ommission:

159 new govt agencies.... 540billion in new govt spending.... 500 billion cut in medicare alone.....

how can it be a myth that the above is a slow encroaching takeover of an industry?

how can someone with an ounce of intellectual honesty not concede that this is an obvious attempt to control a major industry in the nation?

if one side can just dismiss a 1.2 trillion dollar NEW govt program with 770billion in NEW TAXES as some simple "regulations".... then we cannot discuss anything.

that is the divide.... the divide of intellectual honesty.

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 19, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, sir intellectually superior one-please enlighten us on the role of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness.

How can someone, with a straight face and intellectual integrity, make a claim that the fedeeral government directly influencing the coverage of 30M + citizens is in any way comparable to the role of the FCC or FDA. Yeah, this little bill was just some "regulations"-- wont cost a dime, will it Bill?

Posted by: asnis715 | January 19, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Apparently beervendor1 and Sarah Palin would prefer to be victimized by the insurance industry than to allow for Federal cost-benefit regulations. The usual bad choice of righties.

Posted by: LifeBeforePrinciple | January 19, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have a very concise understanding of the intelligence of the American people. They lie with impunity because Americans aren't smart enough to see the wolf in the sheeps clothing. However, is it contemptible to lie like this or is it just good politics? Why can't the Democrats make their own lies to counter the Republican lies? A whole world of possibilities will open up if Democrats stop working so hard to reflect the truth!

Posted by: rgray | January 19, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

One part of the law that republicans want to change is that medical malpractice awards be capped. How is this helpful to the American people? If a doctor through his negligence causes a baby to have cerbral palsy then how much money do you think it will take for life time care? How is it helpful to the American people to buy health insurance across state lines? Especially when alot people don't have jobs? Just as I don't understand how can the gov't force people to buy health insurance, where is this money coming from? Americans need to take a good long look at our elected officials BOTH republicans and democrats. Neither group is about promoting the welfare of the people. The more we fight amongst each other the better for them. We need to have an insurance system that is NOT tied to employment. Am I the only one tired of being a serf?

Posted by: chynna12169 | January 19, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Where's the column on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)?

If there is a Big Myth --- using your terminology --- a Big Lie --- this is it: a system that most people are happy with will undergo virtually no change by bringing in and paying for 30M+ people who can't afford or won't volutarily pay for health insurance now.

Now that is a WHOPPER.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 19, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The biggest lie of all is, Obamacare will reduce the deficit.I doubt if even Jared Loghner would believe that one.Fact: 26 states are now suing the federal gvmnt over obamacare.In the recent Thomson Reuters poll,where they actually polled real doctors,2/3's believe that obamacare will raise prices of their patients healthcare.

Posted by: insaneinthemembrain | January 19, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Too stupid to respond to...

Posted by: scott3 | January 19, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

We now have a new poster boy for NOW! Dr. Kermit Gosnell a true liberal hero! You will have to google Dr. Kermit Gosnell. No way would WAPO ever publish this.


Posted by: Straightline | January 19, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

As usual, the boo birds are out in force on the issue of health care and health care repeal. Id be willing to bet that 90%+ of all the people that complain about the health care law have not read the health care bill, either in part or its entireity. I have read some of it, and the sections that I read were the ones where people came out with comments like the death pannel scare, the governments attempt to overthrow the private sector health care providers, etc. As time permits, I will attempt to read more of the bill, just to make sure that I have the facts of the bill in the most critical areas. After I read these sections, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that most of the people complaining didn't have a clue as to what was really going on with the issue. It looked to me as if these people were being lead by the pied piper along the path to ignorance. I don't know if these people are what I call "willfully ignorant",(opposing something just because some political commentator, like Glenn Beck, Rush, or even Keith Obermann says that it isnt good for you), or if these people are opposed to anything based on which party proposed the idea. Either way, it just doesnt make sense. I have no problem with people that have different opinions than my own on any issue, thats what makes America so great. But if you have an opinion, and you don't agree with an issue, and you choose to speak out, at least have the facts on your side. If you cant at least read a little of the proposed legislation and learn what is really in the bill, please reserve your comment until you have had a chance to get the correct information from a reliable source. Don't be one of the sheep that is being lead to the slaughter because you don't know any better, read what you are concerned about and then make up your mind for yourself. If you don't, you run the risk of being lead to a position falsely from a group of people or political party that could care less if you knew the truth on the issue. As they say, the truth is usually the first casualty in any argument, especially if the one that is giving his/her opinion has something to gain on a personal level. (Like lobbyists, and a the people in congress that the lobbyists are paying to support/oppose a particular issue. I know that all of the new health care bill is not perfect, but I also know that a lot of it is good for the average American and his/her family. If you don't believe me, read the bill for yourself and if you find something that doesn't make sense, contact your represntative or senator and ask him/her what the item really means.

Posted by: cajunjimbo225 | January 19, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dickie boy, How come you know so much about what is in and what isn't in Obamacare. The democrats in congress don't even know. Do you know why Dickie boy? Because no democrat in congress even read the bill. Are you telling me Big Dick that you read the 2000 page bill and know what is and isn't in the bill? You are a liar if you tell me you have read it. Dickie, a little journalistic suggestion. Most of what you write about is not true. I check on everything you write. You are a left wing BS artist who invents facts and basis the truth on your own opinion. Find another vocation in like. Maybe a furrier is your true line of work.

Posted by: lori9 | January 19, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Here are 10 reasons why they are right that it is a government takeover of health care:
1. For the first time in our nation's history, the government will order citizens to spend our private money on a private product -- health insurance -- and will penalize us if we refuse.
2. Any employer with more than 50 employees will be told it must provide government-decreed health insurance to its workers -- or face financial penalties.
3. Government has the authority to destroy the private insurance market by preventing insurers from earning a reasonable return. If companies charge "unreasonable" premiums, as determined by Health Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, she can block them from participating in a huge sector of the market -- as she already has threatened to do. Michael Barone calls this "gangster government."
4. The law provides the foundation -- and $6 billion -- for a stealth public plan. The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program will help set up non-profit, member-run health insurance companies in all 50 states.
5. As many as 80 to 100 million people will not have the option of keeping the coverage they have now, per President Obama's promise. According to analyst Allisa A. Meade of McKinsey & Company, they will be switched into other policies after the insurance mandates take effect in 2014 ?-- whether they like it or not.
6. The federal government will determine what health benefits are essential -- or not.
7. Doctors and hospitals will face an avalanche of new reporting rules to make sure they are providing health care that fits the government's definition of "quality care."
8. The legislation creates the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute that is modeled on rationing boards in other countries with government-run health systems. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the U.K., for example, has a record of denying access to the newest drugs, with government officials often deciding they just aren't worth the cost. That's already happening here with the FDA'S withdrawal of its approval for Avastin last week.
9. States are being treated like contractors to the federal government, ordered to expand Medicaid to levels that could bankrupt them, and to set up new Health Exchange bureaucracies lest the federal government sweep in and do it for them.
10. Obamacare expands Medicaid, the worst health plan in the country, to cover 84 million people by 2019, stretching yet another of our government-run health programs to the bursting point.

Posted by: jahoby | January 19, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Sigh . . . so many of the comments underwrite America's basic problem . . .

Severe Ignorance, Lack of Common Sense, and Lack of Compassion for Poor People. In other words so many Americans suffer from the Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, McConnell Syndrome!

Posted by: lufrank1 | January 19, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"Fact: 26 states are now suing the federal gvmnt over obamacare.In the recent Thomson Reuters poll,where they actually polled real doctors,2/3's believe that obamacare will raise prices of their patients healthcare."

Fact: What some teabagger goober state AGs are doing carries no weight.

Fact: Real doctors don't use ignorant terms like Obamacare.

Posted by: Observer691 | January 19, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen,
For all the bluster of your article you could only name "death panels" as an example of a Republican "lie". This death panel stuff was just brought up again in secret and was bounced again when it was discovered by a leaked letter. Additionally, HHS has been given almost 2000 new directives that are now just being published. The monetary savings are a lie (see initital projected medicare #'s from the 1960's, now that is a real lie)from the democrat side and you know it. Pure budget gimmicks all the way through. Who is the real liar? I say you Cohen.

Posted by: j751 | January 19, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"What strikes me about these myths is how blatant the lie is and how they suggest sheer contempt for the intelligence of the American people"

Well, yeah. For almost 50 years, since the start of President Reagan's first term, Reublican politicians have continually sold their party as the party of patriotism, and other such emotional appeals.

Very rarely have they been the party of facts.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that each year their BS gets worse and worse. They have yet to hit a point where the 25% of Americans that consitute the Republican base realizes that their party stand for nothing except getting re-elected.

Iraq, I believe, almost did, but President Bush the younger kicked that can down the road enough.

When John Boehner started the process to bring a repeal of the President's health care plan to a vote, he stated that the "American health care system is the best in the world"

It was then that I realized that there is no lie too big for the Republicans to tell their base.

I wonder what it will take for these good citizens who call themselves Republicans to realize that their party is a hollow shell?

Just check out the folks that are considered front runners for the Republican nomination in 2012. If these are the party's intellectual leaders, you guys have got huge problems.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | January 19, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't the biggest lie that is will reduce the deficit? No rational person believes this."

Isn't it a bit irrational to assumbe the CBO report wrong without any evidence to support otherwise?


Posted by: sr31 | January 19, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Democrat Senator Harry Reid has no credibility with the American people and what he says does not matter. Senate Democrats are dropping out like flies on a frosted window. After watching the House debate for or against, it is clear the repeal must be passed in the House and justification mounts for the American people to clean the slate.

The “shoddy” politics of the Obama administration are becoming more evident. Obama health care was pushed from the every beginning as a Democrat partisan bill as the top domestic achievement of Obama’s tenure. The national law is a catastrophe of conflicting and ambiguous language that would require the talent of a creative writing professional to write any federal regulations that make sense.

As Democrats testify they can only come up with case stories related to isolated features of the law intended for social good. The Democrats in the House need to upgrade their skill in legislative analysis. The American people will prevail against bad legislation and bad federal health laws that will do more harm and good.

The House Speaker’s gavel comes down and the legislative bill to repeal the Democrat national health law is passed by the Republican majority of the House of Representative. The hearts of American voters will rejoice and tears of joy will be in the eyes of the American people.

Posted by: klausdmk | January 19, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Richard are you suffering from dementia? How can you write an article like this where you obviously state no facts and then word everything in a manner that will reflect your socialist ideaology? I am really surprised that the WP allowed such a whisp of smoke to go in as an opine??

Posted by: pechins | January 19, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Asking the Republicans not to lie is like asking a scorpion not to sting.

Posted by: ejs2 | January 19, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

What makes you think that "death panels", i.e.- cost benefit analyses to apportion health care resources, don't exist today?

If you believe they don't, take Alzheimer's patient to the emergency room and watch what happens.

It really helps if you know what you're talking about. I know about the preceding.

Posted by: jpslon1 | January 19, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if it reduces the deficit? It will give much needed help to those who need health care and are not receiving. Why are people so nasty and mean spirited when it comes to helping the people who need it the most? Is this what "Christian Values" are all about?

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | January 19, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans can get away with their lies about healthcare precisely because we, the “American People”, who they refer to all the time are too intellectually lazy to understand the issues. They would rather watch Fox News to get the “truth” from the opinionators such as Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity. The only government health care programs in existence are Medicare and Medicaid. But the “dumb and dumber” population does not get it. The TV media ignores the problem conveniently since they are owned by the corporations. Instead of having televised prime-time public debates on the healthcare issue we have the stupid sex innuendo sit-coms to watch.
Our intellectual, cultural and societal decline can be attributed to targeting the lowest common denominator level since this is the largest percentage of the population and, therefore, where more money can be made. In this way our popular music culture appeals to the mind-numbing monotonous rhythm of rock’nroll music. Small wonder since much of it was generated by “artists” who were drug addicts. Of course, this appeals to the masses. The same thing has happened to our education. Formerly, extra-curricular activities are now part of the basic curriculum causing standards in science and math skills to decline and this has been accelerated by the introduction of electronic calculators into the classroom before students understand the basics of mathematical operations.
Instead of setting higher standards for our common culture we have done the opposite – we are losing ground and sliding back into the gutter.
All of this is fertile ground for Republicans. We are now living in an era of “The Arrogance Of The Ignorant”.

Posted by: morryb | January 19, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Fact: The Health Care "Reform" that was passed last year will increase health care costs.

It's simple supply and demand. You force people to buy something. Thereby increasing demand. Thereby increasing price.

FACT: The individual mandate will hurt the economy.

By forcing people to buy a product they do not value you take away money they would have spent on things they DO value. So instead of buying products they want they are forced to spend money on something they don't want. And in doing so the government will be actively destroying wealth and lowering the standard of living for everyone.

Posted by: BradG | January 19, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

All, the term "death panels" and "Obamacare" were first introduced to the public by "Fix (Faux) News. In a recent survey concluded by the University of Maryland indicates that anyone who watches Faux News on a regular basis, are the most "misinformed" viewers in the United States. Mr. Cohen, your article was spot on and included facts. Facts however will not change the minds of the Repubs; nothing will!

Posted by: TruCherryHillNJ | January 19, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

You know what the biggest problem with health care is in this country? It's a for-profit enterprise, making it a privilege not a right. Almost every other "first world" country has single payer, government run health care. But, oh no, not the U.S.; there's too much money at stake and nothing gets people more upset than when you mess with their money.

Posted by: SeanBoyd | January 19, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse


One thing that is not a myth is that it takes from the poor and gives to the richer. Young people, who are poorer, must pay to protect the property of older, richer and sicker people from loss due to illness.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 19, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem with our current health care system is rising cost and no way to stop the increase. The way insurance works well is everyone must pay into the plan, healthy and less healthy, so the cost is spread over a broad base as happens with car insurance. When everyone pays, costs are kept down. If only the old and/or unhealthy are paying and getting the services, the costs will be high. In our current for-profit insurance industry, unhealthy people are kept out or kicked out of the system and the young and healthy are not buying health insurance. Reform is necessary so those of us working and having health insurance provided through our employer can continue to get affordable insurance and maybe a pay raise some day. Workers are paying for health insurance for those who don't buy insurance. Somebody has to pay and right now, it's the middle class - as usual.
The objective of the health reform bill is to ensure that everyone pays for and everyone benefits from health insurance.
The idea that it's a government take-over is ridiculous - only the uninformed, or those who listen only to right-wing talking points, believe that lie. Insurance companies are raising premiums right now to give credence to that lie. Don't forget they are for-profit. Health care reform will force them to cover more people, to not exclude those with pre-existing conditions, to not drop people who are too sick. Face it people, this is not 1930 - we cannot afford to pay our own medical bills, or trade a chicken for service. We have to have a workable, equitable health care system. It is unfortunate this was not tackled decades ago. Who lobbied against it? The American Medical Association and the for profit health insurance industry. Ask yourself why they are fighting passage now and trying to convince us it is in our best interest.

Posted by: seethewest | January 19, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Republican Plan:

Don't get sick.

And if you do, die quickly.

The above solves everything. Health issues in this country wouldnt exist if people just didnt get sick or if they were sick would just stop looking for handouts from the healthier tax paying population and just die.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | January 19, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I find it strange that people are only now pointing to politicians to blame them for the rising cost of health care. I am 31 single male and my small company I work for in the 10 years I have been here have switched our health care provider 3 times due to rising cost of premiums.

Furthermore, how many of the reforms and changes have actually taken place?

I think most like the idea that you won't be denied for preexisting conditions, or is this what most of you are against? You have to realize to have that you must have a base of people insured who are mostly healthy to cover the cost of those ill otherwise you will have to have premiums raised and raised again. this is a large part in general of why insurance premiums are high in the first place, with 30 to 50 million uninsured, and increasing every year the insurance companies don't have the money to pay for the health care of the nation. It raises premiums and then businesses slash health care more, fire people or make them part time to avoid paying for health care further increasing the number of uninsured and further making premiums higher.

How do we end this cycle? Obama and the dems put legislation to try and solve this issue while the republicans give no answers, no solutions. They just tell people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps...

Posted by: JBUD | January 19, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Soviet-style politburo is the right word to describe the arguments used by today's reality-challenged GOP.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to employ the phrase "Iron Law of Emulation" to describe that phenomenon by which organizations or institutions come to resemble their competitors.

And, as anyone familiar with the style of the Soviet Union understands, one of the most confounding things about the old Communists was how dismissive they were of actual facts that contradicted Communist ideology, whose "truths" were embraced without question and as a matter of faith. Today's GOP is a lot like them.

Posted by: TedFrier | January 19, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

View point of a pragmatic centrist.

Although the healthcare bill probably adds some uncertainty to the hiring decision there has been no empirical evidence produced in the current debate to suggest that it is significant. The bill might be long and complicated but the business community is savvy and sophisticated. There is no sure thing. There is always some uncertainty. Concerns over demand are probably the biggest cause of uncertainty today.

The bill is not a government takeover. It would not lead to death panels.

I sympathize with the tens of millions of people who do not have health care. I have been there several times myself in recent years when I was in between jobs. I think we should think about the reasons people don't have healtcare and think about ways to address them individually. For example how can we lower the cost across the board to help those with modest incomes and on the other hand how can we incentivize people to take steps to increase their income by doing things like increasing their education? (This is also the long term solution to unemployment) What about giving tax incentives to employers for offering coverage to their low wage employees? How can we encourage personal responsibility? How do we encourage teen parents who can not support themselves not to bring children into the world that they can not support? Imagine that?

What we should not be doing is creating an unfunded entitlement program that rivals if not surpasses social security by going down the slippery slope towards government guaranteed universal and unlimited healthcare the way the current bill does.

Such a liability threatens the economic future of the country. We are already threatened by social security and medicare despite the denial of some. If the system collapses then everyone will suffer. The poor, the middle class, the upper middle class, yes even the rich.

Also although I do not believe that the health care bill is responsible for most of the recent increases in the cost of health insurance it certainly doesn't do anything to stop it either.

If you can grasp the truth in all these statements then maybe you are as angry as I am about the contempt shown for the intelligence of the American people by both sides of the political spectrum.

We need a responsible third party to represent the adults in this country.

Footnote: Be weary of those who tout tort reform as the cure all for reducing health care cost. The underlying assumption is that the democratic pillars of the judiciary and jury system are inherently incompetent.

Posted by: wardm | January 19, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

So much for civility in our political speech: the other side is a 'liar or damned liar'. Perhaps they dont believe your assumptions and projections.

Posted by: bruce18 | January 19, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Death panels - Why distort what Palin said and meant. If you have more people using more resources there will come a time when you do not have enough resources to provide care for those that are old and needy"

See, this is how conservatives use lies to make an argument. They insert language like "there will come a time when you do not have enough resources" like its a commonly accepted truth, when in fact there is NO evidence we would run out of resources. When that assumption is accepted as fact, there is no other conclusion than that which they want you to believe. If that assumption is shown to be speculative at best, and fabricated at worst, the underlying argument falls apart. Its like when they say "combating global warming will cost jobs and wreck the economy, so we cant afford to make that sacrifice", when all the evidence (ie. energy conservation and renewable energy efforts to date)have done nothing but CREATE new jobs. You expose the underliying assumption as a blatant lie and fabrication, and their whole argument falls apart....

Posted by: emoenergy1 | January 19, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

A casual perusal of these comments will reveal the same type of reasoning,broad generalizations, found mainly on the right. In their defense of Sarah Palin, a gargantuan task in and of itself, her defenders tell us that what she meant by death panels is the application of Federal cost analysis to the apportionment of health care. Maybe, maybe not.

But in a huge leap of logic we get from apportioning care to death. Even if we were to apportion care, as every civilized country including the US does, that does not lead to death panels. No matter how you slice that bacon, her statement about death panels was a lie.

Posted by: flamingliberal | January 19, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen might contribute to the new spirit of comity that he and his colleagues at the Post so desire by refraining from calling those with whom he disagrees "liars". In my long life, I have had many disagreements, many of them very heated. but I have never called anyone a "liar". One reason is that it would invite a physical response. A person who uses such invective while being protected from retaliation is commonly called a coward. I'm not saying that Richard Cohen is a coward, that would be hate speech, only that he risks being thought one.

A footnote: I first head the phrase "end of life counseling" when it was used by the president some months ago. Try to say it to yourself without thinking "Death Panel". This is what Sarah Palin was unable to do.

Posted by: JamesCurrin | January 19, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sr31 |


"Isn't the biggest lie that is will reduce the deficit? No rational person believes this."

Isn't it a bit irrational to assumbe the CBO report wrong without any evidence to support otherwise?
-------------------------------------
The CBO was off by a factor of 10 when it initially estimated the cost of Medicare. We currently have over $33 trillion in unfunded obligations to Social Security (no, really, that's a real number). Besides, would you trust any budgeting body of the Federal Government that spends $1.5 trillion more than it takes in? Yes, I think it's perfectly reasonable to be skeptical of any number produced by the CBO. It's supposed to be the press's job to be skeptical. Seems they forgot that some time ago.


Posted by: pswift00 | January 19, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

thank u for informing the masses that politicians lie. is this just pubs or do the rats also indulge?

Posted by: pofinpa | January 19, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Ahem....Mr. Cohen...for the sake of toning down the rhetoric, please dont use the term "lies" as this may offend some on the right. Perhaps "untruths" would be more palpable?

Posted by: ruthella10 | January 19, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

In Arizona right now we are seeing what happens when the GOP controls a health care system: In a word, rationing.

Posted by: maurban | January 19, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

When your one and only constituency is the 1% wealthiest in the country, you're going to HAVE to make up a lot of lies in order to have a prayer of winning elections. Is Cohen really surprised to see Republicans making stuff up? LOL

Posted by: B2O2 | January 19, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin was right about the existence of "Death Panels", but so very wrong about where they originiate. As Palin would have you believe the Federal Government would set up these panels to decide who lives and who dies. But in fact, "Death Panels" have been around a very long time. They can be found in the halls of health insurance companies, run by bureaucrats who had until Obama's healthcare bill put a stop to it, routinely decided whose policies should be cancelled, who would not receive life saving treatments or surgeries, and who could be denied coverage of life threatening illnesses. Yes Sarah, Death Panels did exist, until President Obama ended them for good!

Posted by: logcabin1836 | January 19, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

For access to a real article about Obama care...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703954004576089702354292100.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

Posted by: scott3 | January 19, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The biggest health care lie is that it will reduce the cost of health insurance.
And, of course: "if you like your insurance you can keep it"....how many times did Obama look us straight in the eye
and repeat this lie?

Posted by: ohioan | January 19, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I wholeheartedly and partial walletly supported the passage of the health care bill. I think it does a lot of good things. However, one thing it did not do was lower health insurance premiums--at least not yet. On Jan. 1, 2011 the semimonthly premium I pay for health insurnace through my employer increased about 33 percent! And they told us they changed from last year's provider BCBS CareFirst to Aetna to avoid an even larger increase. It was a big mistake to remove the single payer option from the legislation.

Posted by: foofoofoo | January 19, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Can you believe all of this psycho drama.. it is really scary to think that there are people who voted these Yahoos' into office to have power over our way of life.. The Rethugs have no alternative plan other than to process. A process that is a mockery and a deceptive plan to fool the foolish once again.

Posted by: sabrina2 | January 19, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, it IS based on lies. I have already lost FSA benefits that I had last year. It was promised that people would not have to pay more.

A clear lie.

What else negative is there that I just haven't experienced yet?

Posted by: primegrop | January 19, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, it IS based on lies. I have already lost FSA benefits that I had last year. It was promised that people would not have to pay more.

A clear lie.

What else negative is there that I just haven't experienced yet?

Posted by: primegrop | January 19, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Talk about myths ! This piece continues the myth that the "death panels" were removed from the bill.
In fact, the end of life counseling provisions are not where the death panels were located.

The death panels are still there, in the provisions establishing a committee, whose members are not subject to congressional approval, that will have the power to determine which medical procedures will or will not be covered by Medicare. Their mandate is to reduce medicare costs.
This committee's findings are final unless specifically revoked by Congress.
Their power to ration care makes them in fact a "death panel."

Posted by: tjmacdonald | January 19, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's see... "lies" like the death panels? Once folks started talking about those, they disappeared from the bill. Then they reappeared as a regulatory decision on an issue congress rejected when the flashlight got turned on them & the cockroaches scattered.

When a liberal opens his mouth... that's the definition of a lie. But it all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is, doesn't it?

Posted by: aicohn | January 19, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I first head the phrase "end of life counseling" when it was used by the president some months ago. Try to say it to yourself without thinking "Death Panel". This is what Sarah Palin was unable to do.

***************************

Sadly, this is what passes for intelligent thought on the right. Because the phrase "end of life counseling" conjures thoughts of dying it proves the existance of death panels. C'mon. My cat exhibits more reason than that. Has this person written a will? Should that be considered attempted suicide?

Posted by: rgray | January 19, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,
You are correct in that this is not the final manuveur. It is another step along the way. The ultimate goal is the take over, though we haven't arrived there yet, thankfully. It does not make it a lie to point out the ultimate goal and oppose it now. One football team need not wait for the other team to throw a pass to the end zone to recognize that their opposition is attempting to score a touchdown. We are well aware of incrementalism, it is not a lie to identify your long-term plans now and we don't intend to wait until it is 1st and goal at the 1 yard line to defend against it.

Posted by: GnirJ | January 19, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Those against healthcare reform are the greedy, self-serving liars called Republicans. Their own greed has, for years, clouded their better judgement, so they believe everyone is stupid and cannot see through their endless deception. The bottom line is that Republicans are only concerned with legislating in favor of the rich and corporations at the expense of working class, lower income families.

Posted by: jeffersontao | January 19, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Those against healthcare reform are the greedy, self-serving liars called Republicans. Their own greed has, for years, clouded their better judgement, so they believe the American people are easily duped and cannot see through their endless deception. Anyone who believes a word of what they hear on Fox News is a good example of that stupidity and the reason Republicans feel they can get away with these farces. The bottom line is that Republicans are only concerned with legislating in favor of the rich and corporations at the expense of working class, lower income families. It has been that way since Ronald Reagan was president.

Posted by: jeffersontao | January 19, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

In response toe werehawk--The most important part of the health Care bill, the part that will begin to control the costs of healthcare, do not kick in until 2014.

Posted by: martinjmurphy | January 19, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

>Those against healthcare reform are the greedy, self-serving liars called Republicans.<

Must be a liberal opening his mouth again (i.e., a "lie"). The house vote to approve the health care reform was partisan & it passed by what, a vote or two? Take a look at the vote to repeal this thing and ask yourself if it's bipartisan & compare the size of the majority with the one that enacted it.

Posted by: aicohn | January 19, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

SheJack:

Girlfriend, uh-huh.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/01/18/sheila-jackson-lee-repealing-obamacare-is-unconstitutional/

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 19, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen

You show the ultimate contempt for the intelligence of the American people by omitting the biggest lie, that it will reduce the deficit..

Posted by: alexandria6351 | January 19, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Your opening myth/lie is wrong.
The US Government will offer an alternative healthcare plan that will, subsidized by the US tax payers, undercut all available health plans. By doing so, it will become a sole source by default as the private sector drops health insurance for their employees.

Posted by: nosuchluck | January 19, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

How about the lie that you can throw 25% more patients into the system without building more hospitals, or MRI scanners, train more physicians, not impose price controls, and not have rationing (e.g., "death panels") and have prices go down? Ever take econ 101 in college?

Posted by: aicohn | January 19, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

You right wing nuts forget where the massive debt came from after the Clinton years, didn't you?
So its okay to blow a massive wad of cash in Iraq on the premise of WMD's when none were found (and literally drop bags of cash that you got on LOAN from Communist China so "we" could purchase loyalty from terrorists), but when it comes to health care you don't want to spend a dime for anyone but yourselves. Republican = Greed.

For example, you bring in illegals to support your businesses profit margin, then you complain about freebies to non-citizens, then you complain about the lazy unemployed 'liberals' on welfare. Get a clue you morons, the IQ's in blue states are higher than those of red states, sorry, get your facts together and quit yer complaining.

We need to correct the direction of the ship, albeit temporarily with healthcare, which should lock illegals out of the existing system of false i.d. and fraud against hospitals and clinics that in turn drive up costs. That'd be a cost savings right there, but not for scammer republican business owner types, you'll be taking multiple hits against your wallet after years of greed and fraud against your own people.

I picked on our southern neighbors a bit here which is not the major issue, so other mentionable items would be corporate healthcare artificially raising the costs in the last year or two based on projections and not fiscal reality, effectively projecting profits into their kitty fund to fight the peoples will to have healthcare - they spend millions buying the political capabilities to do so. This example describes extortion of our American rights, and our Democracy and very obviously so. Real patriots KNOW the difference. I'm happy going toe to toe with any Republican.


The only thing they can do to improve the healthcare bill is to put a time limit on it about 20 years out. By then healthcare will be a well regulated commodity with little room for the disgusting profits they currently enjoy, while people DIE because they can't afford care.

Fewer people will die as a result of the healthcare bill, but maybe thats not what Republicans want.

Posted by: DemocratsWithGuns | January 19, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

What's really revealing here, is that the Right knew all the time that the slogans being bantered by their Representatives were complete falsehoods! Some of you are finally being more substantive in your view and a little more honest in your assessment of the rhetoric. I am proud that you are beginning to disagree with integrity! We are far apart on solving the problem but a little closer to being honest. This kind of disagreeing will be productive.

Posted by: minco_007 | January 19, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"America Put'em In"

Good that just what the fools who voted Republican get, and this registered Voter/Vet USAF, glad, the Republicans lying about Health Care Reform as fools who voted for them where stupid enough to put'em back in!

..."It's true America, put'em back in, and it's true you can't fix stupid!

Posted by: ztcb41 | January 19, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"America Put'em In"

Good that just what the fools who voted Republican get, and this registered Voter/Vet USAF, glad, the Republicans lying about Health Care Reform as fools who voted for them where stupid enough to put'em back in!

..."It's true America, put'em back in, and it's true you can't fix stupid!

Posted by: ztcb41 | January 19, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The author discredits himself and this newspaper by acting like the lied only come from one side, the NYT did a good job of running down both sides lies... and the point that lies below.

Examples:
Do we really believe the reimbursement rates for hospitals are going to medicaid levels? CBO says this is not likely.
How about 6 years benefits for 10 years costs?
How about not counting implementation costs? Not scored.
How about long term care payments being taken in and spent on current healthcare expenses and creating a new liability? Not scored.

These problems are not "scored" by CBO

Posted by: rinva | January 19, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

One wonders if Mr Cohen would have been equally happy mixing Kool-Aid in Jonestown or playing the violin at Auschwitz. Perhaps he has never heard of the Code of Federal Regulations, and perhaps he is unaware of the fact that the "actual" Obamacare law will be written by unelected Obama-radicals working at the CFR. Yes Mr. Cohen, while they will not be called "death panels" we already know that the feds will decide when and where health care should be terminated because keeping the patient alive is no longer cost-effective for the state. We also know that "phase 1" involves fed regs that make private insurance too expensive to keep, after which phase II of the plan will kick in as the socialists come to our rescue with a formal takeover. You see, Cohen, some of us have lived in places where the socialists took over, and we know how it works. Obama appeals to a brainless herd that is more interested in what they can get for free than they are in the Constitution, individual liberty or personal responsibility. Mr. cohen, you can go resin up your bow while we line up for the showers.

Posted by: MARKM2 | January 19, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Democrats' emotional "props" pictures and stories --aren't even making sense. They're showing pictures of people in the hospital on Medicare... and, somehow this helps their argument about ObamaCare? Huh?!

Maybe, Boehner needs to force Democrats to actually Read the ObamaCare Monstrosity, all 2,000 pages -- in front of congress before they start their debate?

Posted by: ohioan | January 19, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Why are the stupid Republicans wasting their time on Health Care ? A few states are already testing it in the courts. But the Republicans hope to gain brownie points for 2012. Their so called repeal won't get past the Senate & even if it did Obama can veto it, Typical Republican politics, avoid the real issues & pose for the cameras over something that's worthless & doesn't mean crap.

Posted by: wasaUFO | January 19, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

What about the lies told by the writers of the bill:

that the bill is deficit neutral?

Comparing six years of costs against ten years of spending, and calling the program "deficit neutral" is the biggest lie of all.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 19, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not that the GOP "lies", the problem is that the GOP tells the truth and the greedy and simple-minded do not like what they hear. It is apparent that the GOP, once again, is in the unfortunate position of having to explain to ignorant and contumacious little children why they cannot have jelly beans for supper. Guess what: (1) There is no Constitutional right to health care. (2) Obamacare raises health insurance premiums by forcing insurers to take on new risks and pay additional claims. (Do you liberal morons understand where the money comes from to pay claims?) (3) By squeezing private insurers between increased claims and capped premiums, the regime will force these private companies out of business, paving the way for a govt takeover. (4) Every "single-payer" nation in the world rations health care and encourages the elderly to die. That is why the Candians, French and others come to the USA for health care they cannot get at home. (5) The "individual mandate" going to grow every year untikl we reach the point where families will have to choose between paying their health care premium ("or else") and paying rent, etc. Of course, in the Democrat/Obama universe, we would all work hard, give our paychecks to the central government, and then be rationed food/shelter/ etc, according to our "needs". Thomas Jefferson warned us that a democracy generally lasts 235 years, and always dies when the greedy herd, motivated by class-envy, discover how to vote themselves money out of the treasury. Look at the comments on here by the dumbocrats , attacking "greedy Republicans" who are "all rich" (nonsense) and you can see Jefferson's dire predictions at work.

Posted by: MARKM2 | January 19, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I wish the Democrats would tell the truth about Obamacare.

Then at least Americans could make an informed decision.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 19, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Someone posted this question:
"Can someone please explain why it is the governments fault for private insurance companies to jack up their rates?"

Of course, the answer is that the insurance company is forced to take on additional payment obligations to insureds and seeks additional revenue to cover what it will have to pay out.

(1) When Government required covering pre-existing conditions, it outlawed the primary means an insurance company controls the risks it is insuring against. Pre-existing conditions by definition increases risk. So, covering pre-existing conditions increases policy costs.

(2) When Government requires that there be no upper linit on lifetime payments an insurance company must pay under a policy, it increases the dollar amount of risk covered each time a policy is sold. Each dollar of risk requires revenue to pay for the additional risk. A policy with a $1 million limit costs less than a policy with a $2 million limit or no limit.

(3) When Government mandates minimum types of coverage in a policy (psychological, dentist, podiatrist etc.) each new mandated area increases insurance company costs. Catastrophic coverage costs less than policies that cover all ailments and all treatments. Government isn't allowing catrastrophic care policies to count as being fully insured for purposes of the individual mandate provision of the law. You have to buy more than catastrophic care coverage to comply with the law. Also, the health exchanges the law creates will have the power to specify the types of diseases and procedures policies must cover. Psychologists, podiatrists, nutritionists, dentists, aroma therapists and other specialists will all lobby to have their services be included in the exchanges' mandated coverage. Those who lobby successfully will increase policy costs. Lower priced policies for limited coverage are likely to disappear, which will increase average policy costs.

(4) Provisions of the law that limit the ability of insurance companies to set policy price based on the risk each individual presents, means that a substantial part the extra cost of high risk people is shifted to lower risk people.

One might reasonably question how much of the extra costs the law requires insurance companies ot bear is occurring right now, and how much will be incurred in the future. It's likely that insuramce companies are setting higher rates now based on future costs not necessarily current costs. Fear of later price controls makes that a wise business strategy. Raise prices now, before the Government prohibits price increases. Since price increases embarass the Government, an insrance company is crazy not to anticipate future price restrictions.


None of the foregoing is realy subject to dispute. People who support Obamacare think these costs are justified by social benefits of mandated coverage. I am opposed to Obamacare, because I prefer free choice and a range of policy coverage and pricing

Posted by: jfv123 | January 19, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

One critique that's true however, is that it did not do enough to reign in the growth in costs -- as another commenter pointed out, the costs of health insurance are [still] rising rapidly and will probably continue at an unsustainable pace even after we have passed the initial shock of having to pay for plans that fully cover preventive care and aren't allowed to drop you when you start to cost a lot.... The only suggestion I've heard that can promise to reign in costs and back up that promise with real evidence is a public option, but that was unacceptable to the far right.

Ironically, part of the _problem_ is that politicians are held _too accountable_ for their promises. Consider: the Democrats PROMISED health reform. The GOP realized then that they could guarantee huge political gains by creating a huge structure of lies about and adamantly opposing ANYTHING the Democrats put forth. This not only threatened the Democrats' ability to meet their biggest promise, a failure which could be an even bigger political liability, it made it more difficult for the Democrats to construct good policy, which would have been easier with the _possibility_ of cooperation from a few Republicans who could then be considered as potential votes if they got enough of their policy input included [instead of having ALL potential votes listed in advance and requiring the approval of every single one they could have shopped around to get the votes from those whose policy demands were the best fit]. Similarly, the Republicans then rested their political victory on a promise to put fight for repeal rather than working to improve the system. So, now they are forced into a series of symbolic measures that have no chance of going anywhere. Meanwhile, instead of creating jobs, they just invert reality and call the HCR bill "job killing" to justify it....

Posted by: BoringOrange | January 19, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

There is an unbelievable amount of wrong information in the comments above. If your insurance rates went up that is regulated by the state you live in. Check with the state insurance commission and find out how they justified it and why the state approved it. Don't jump to conclusions; you will probably be wrong Everyone would prefer a range of policy options and pricing; that is not precluded by the Health Care Bill.Pricing regulation still is done by the state. Where do get news that affords them so much misinformation? I think you are listening to right wing propaganda.

Posted by: withersb | January 19, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What strikes me about these myths is how blatant the lie is and how they suggest sheer contempt for the intelligence of the American people
-------------------

Actually, it sums it.

Posted by: theFieldMarshall | January 19, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@werehawk I think you will find that there were a lot of people willing to talk substance a year+ ago, but then the right decided it was more politically advantageous to go off the deep end with the lies and political tactics rather than work for a better policy solution. I guess the clock ran out. Now, in order to keep their promise, then Dems have no choice but to defend health care reform at least until the main components of it come on line in 2014.

It's really a political problem more than a policy one. It's simply too soon to start an honest debate again, because too many completely off-the-wall lies are still at the forefront of the debate. You've just repeated a few yourself. So, basically, we can't have an honest conversation about health care policy moving forward until we can see [and have no pressing reason to lie about] the _actual_ policy in this health insurance reform package, or until it's repealed, or until the political atmosphere is far enough removed from the the atmosphere of the previous debate for all the politicians involved to BEGIN an NEW debate about the policy.

Posted by: BoringOrange | January 19, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

We already pay for health care for poor and illegals who go to the emergency rooms. The process is expensive and the taxpayer picks up the bill. Cheaper and more effective preventative health care will be had under the Obama health plan. As long as the law now requires we treat the uninsured we need to require that those who can afford it help pay for the cost of their health care. It will lower costs and improve the system. Those who most vehemently protest having to pay for insurance they don't want are the first in line at the emergency room demanding to be seen by a doctor. That needs to stop.

Posted by: seemstome | January 19, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The talk of insurance rates [still] going up actually brings back one of the few moments of joy for me in the health insurance reform fight. I remember the week several folks on the "NO" side decided that "insurance rates will go up" was a winning argument for them. At first, I thought "oh shucks, how we can possibly win that argument in the public mind? Even honestly describing the question requires an understanding of math well beyond the grasp of the typical person participating in the public discourse." Then, some genius decided to respond to this threat from insurance companies with another policy: "Okay fine. Raise your rates, but we are going to cap your overhead and profit at a percentage of premiums so that people can be sure that, even if rates go up, at least they are getting what they pay for." Ouch! They've been fighting that regulation tooth and nail since that moment -- but they can't bring that fight to the front of the publican debate and take advantage of the hordes of wingnuts who would otherwise support them because there is just no way they can win THAT argument in the public mind. :) One of the few big long-term strategic errors of team "NO" was the timing of that talking point :)

Posted by: BoringOrange | January 19, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

As one of the Americans who has not only read the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act but has had 40 years of experience with health care delivery and financing, I would have to agree with much of Mr. Cohen's article, though I sympathize with the comments about his more-intellectual-than-thou tone. The CBO is not perfect, but the analysis is probably the best we have and other independent and centrist analysts have come to similar, if not quite as rosy conclusions. The most informed opinions seem to be those that are coalescing around the conclusion that the impact on the federal deficit (and, indeed, on jobs) will be relatively minor. That is to say it will not be as strongly positive as the Democrats contend, nor as negative as the Republicans. The label the Republicans used, inserting the words "Job-Killing" is, frankly offensive to me as a moderate. Just as offensive is the use of the term Obamacare. The bill is far more favorable to insurers than President Obama's original concept. While InsurerCare might not be exactly appropriate, it would come closer.
It is clear from much of the rhetoric of my fellow commenters that the refection called for by the incident in Tuscon is regretfully short lived.

Posted by: RockyRetired | January 19, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

liar in chief and gang going to include our military and dependents in welfare care? back in the day retired folk were gurarented care forever,then tricare BS was impemented. solve the situation by giving every CITIZEN the same program that the politicians enjoy.

Posted by: pofinpa | January 19, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Funny, even before this dismal health care reform package, I found that my health insurance premiums kept going up, as did my deductibles, my co-pays, and the addition of categories which separately called for deductibles.

Funny, I don't recall hearing any Republicans calling for measures to address the costs of NON-"Obamacare."

And, with the respect to "tort reform," I don't know why Republicans think that the need for continued support for a permanently disabled individual ends when the money ends.

Incidentally, although I could be wrong, I think it was Frank Luntz who devised the term "death panel" for the end-of-life counselling that Jonny Isakson [sic] pushed for when he was a Republican Congressman from Georgia and George W. Bush was president and then changed his mind on when he became a Republican Senator from Georgia and Barak Obama became president.

Posted by: edallan | January 19, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

You need to read Glenn Kessler and learn that Richard Cohen who wrote the above article doesn't know what he is talking about.

he is another one who is a liar to the American public.

Posted by: tonyjm | January 19, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Everything the poor does, will be a focus of cost to the system.Excessive births,drug use, alcoholism,smoking kools?Fat! you know the poor are fat, the ones collecting free money are fatter.Are we going to deny them coverage?Raise their cost?No they will continue to party on workers dimes and demand more care.We can't be mean to the poor.We depend on them for millions of government jobs...

Posted by: jmounday | January 19, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The biggest myth, IMO, is that those who object so strenuously to H.R. 4872, "The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act" know what it does or does not include.

It's available on line. Read it. Yes, it is long and complex, not an easy read.

Sound bites, second hand info will mislead you. Read it for yourself. Think for yourself. Share your thoughtful conclusions with respect and civility; listen to others with the same respect and civility. We all want the best for our country no matter which party is in power.

If you try to hit the rest of us over the head with vitriol and logical fallacies, you will convince no one.

And that's no myth.

Posted by: castleb | January 19, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The biggest myth, IMO, is that those who object so strenuously to H.R. 4872, "The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act" know what it does or does not include.

It's available on line. Read it. Yes, it is long and complex, not an easy read.

Sound bites, second hand info will mislead you. Read it for yourself. Think for yourself. Share your thoughtful conclusions with respect and civility; listen to others with the same respect and civility. We all want the best for our country no matter which party is in power.

If you try to hit the rest of us over the head with vitriol and logical fallacies, you will convince no one.

And that's no myth.

Posted by: castleb | January 19, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

To: chynna12169, No you are NOT the only one, I am also a "serf".

Posted by: theonlysugarcomcastnet | January 19, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The biggest myth is ignored altogether by the author, that being health reform will cost America jobs. They even titled their repeal effort with this blatant lie. We are already seeing hundreds of thousands of small to medium sized businesses adding health insurance coverage for their employees not because as a previous post suggested they are being forced to insure their employees but instead because of the 30% to 50% tax credit included in this bill. It is in the economic self interest of business owners to happy and healthy employees but health insurance was mostly too expensive for most of these businesses. Now they can afford it and it makes good business sense to give their employees peace of mind that they will not have to go bankrupt if they or a family member gets seriously ill.
Many Americans are stuck in dead-end jobs that offer health insurance because they or a family member has health challenges. Now these people are free to change jobs and bring their health insurance with them even if they decide to start their own business. More jobs will be developed as more people are set free to follow their American dream just like after Social Security became the law of the land. The decades after WWII boomed because SS allowed Americans to take risks and start new businesses because of the new retirement safety net they enjoyed. Millions of new private business opportunities and tens of millions of our jobs were created by the billions in benefits circulating in our local economies. This is the opposite to a job destroying bill.
Yes, this bill needs some work but it's a good starting point. Repealing it would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Posted by: RMForbes | January 19, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't this Republican bill be called "the American citizen-killing repeal of much needed health insurance reform"? After all, the repeal is taking away all sorts of family-friendly and Middle-class friendly regulations. Regulations that offer life-saving and cost saving rights for all citizens, not just the privileged few. Once again, the Republicans paint themselves as heartless, cruel and cynical in the face of human suffering.

Posted by: bruce19 | January 19, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Cohen is way off on this one. While he pretends to easily dismiss these lies, there's now way he could dismiss all 310 ObamaCare Nightmare lies we list here:
http://conservativeamerican.org/health/healthcare-reform-bill-list-of-310-lies-broken-promises/

Posted by: conservativeamericanorg1 | January 19, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,
Republicans blatantly lying and showing contempt for the intelligence of the American people?

We need to stop spending NOW, before its too late. Because some people want to stop this madness before we go broke they are "myth mongers?"

Well here is no myth. Math does not lie. Want to add 30 million people, (non payers), to the health care roles?

Know what that line of people would look like standing shoulder in a line?

If a person can stand in a two square foot area and put their hand on the person in front of them, ..... know what that would look like? Ready for the myth?

30 million X 2 feet divided by 5280 feet/mile = 11,363 miles long.
That line would go from Boston to Perth Australia, (the far side).

Now how do you propose to pay for that?
Remember, ... its no myth that none of those 30 million are payers into the health system. None of them.

I would like it to work. I would like them to have coverage, but at the expense of the USS America sinking?

It will, ... and that is no myth unless we reverse spending like drunken sailors.

Posted by: BoGalvin | January 19, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

It's not "the government", it's "our government."

Posted by: Jazzman7 | January 19, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

It is very funny to see the GOP running all these scary, absurd assertions up the flagpole. It is completely obvious that they are grandstanding and only want to feed their base the red meat they seem to require to become politically active. They've gone from trying in earnest to derail what will become the crowning hallmark of Obama's presidency to angling for short-term political gains.

Time will tell whether or not "Obamacare" will be a cost-effective, humane system under which all will be covered or a total disaster. Given the deft handling of the auto industry bailouts (now paying dividends - go figure, a "socialist/marxist/commie" making a profit for the American people using the very capitalist system conservatives argue that he abhores!) - I honestly don't think that the Dems would put so much into building a new bureaucratic nightmare if it weren't ultimately a good thing. If this is a disaster in the same vein as the Iraq war (which was supposed to cost only $50 million, iirc), it will tarnish the Democratic party for decades, much as unpaid-for drug plans and wars should have tarnished the GOP.

If it pans out to be everything - heck, even a fair portion of - what the Dems are saying it will be, Dems will hold the White House and Congress for decades to come. That, folks, is what is behind the bizarre political and ultimately meaningless grandstanding by the GOP House leadership today.

Posted by: Chaspari1 | January 20, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

"What strikes me about these myths is how blatant the lie is and how they suggest sheer contempt for the intelligence of the American people."

Truer words were never spoken, Mr. Cohen.

Posted by: tunkefer | January 20, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Lies? The Healthcare bill is based on lies. Apparently, liberals justify the lies they told Americans while trying to sell this monstrosity as justified because of "the greater good". Doesn't sound like a democracy to me.

Do we have an ego problem on the part of strictly partisan left? If the greater good of national healthcare is truly a motive, break the bill down line by line and then fix it. Everyone agrees that we need reform,but we need to do it in a fiscally responsible way. AND, without special exceptions for special interests (unions, for example).

Posted by: bethg1841 | January 20, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

hmmm, forcing people to purchase medical insurance is not 'taking over' the system? I have heard some say that such is no different than 'forcing' people to buy auto insurance.

I beg to disagree. One only has to buy auto insurance if one has an auto. Unless the government takeover of medical care is only for people who have a life...which the government now controls from birth (and before) to the grave ( and after)

Posted by: GUYK | January 20, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

This is what you wrote--
"Kessler's next myth has to with "death panels." This was the phrase propagated by Sarah Palin for which the word lie is itself insufficient. (Damned lie is closer to the mark.) The bill and now the law contain no such provision, and, in fact, the end of life counseling once envisioned for the act has been deleted. It was a humane and prudent idea, and now, to the harm and anguish of many old and befuddled people, it is gone. Good work, Sarah."

Sir, re-read the CMS guildelines. It's called "advanced care planning". Providers get money for providing and documenting this service. So, in fact YOU are propagating a "damned lie". stop misleading people, get your facts right, and stop treating us like we are idiots. It reflects poorly on your intelligence.
And really, you all are afraid of what, one woman from Alaska?? Get over yourselves. Talk about fearmongers!! You make me laugh.

Why don't we have a reality show where the politicians have to work and live on what we make, fear for your jobs, wonder why a government so powerful can't create jobs, which would pay for a person's health care, stimulate the economy and make us once again proud to be Americans? I take back the 'make me laugh' statement and change it to make me sick. I would say more, but I HAVE TO GO TO WORK,YOU KNOW, A REAL JOB???? TRY IT.

Posted by: mdjkieffer | January 20, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The thing that stands out in these comments is that the lies have been effective. Damn the facts, accept the lies and plunge ahead with the most corrupt and expensive health care system in the world. You can only help people who want to help themselves and this group stands firmly against anything except helping the rich.

Posted by: guyachs | January 20, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

You are the liar. You are nothing but a slimy piece of lying liberal FILTH.

Posted by: gorak | January 20, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry folks... the BIGGEST LIE around the healthcare reform act for 2010 was already chosen, by Politifacts.com:

'A government takeover of health care'

See: http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2010/dec/16/lie-year-government-takeover-health-care/

But hey, it's a new year! For 2011 so far the BIGGEST LIE I vote for is:

'job killing health-care reform'

Posted by: sansbw | January 20, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

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