HUH? Kellyanne Conway Says Trump’s Medicaid Cuts Are Not Medicaid Cuts

Sunday morning the inventor of “alternative facts” was at it again. Donald Trump staffer Kellyanne Conway made an appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to discuss the Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare. TrumpCare, as it is known, has been widely criticized by a bipartisan array of politicians and pundits. Even Trump tagged the House version of the bill as “mean.”

Kellyanne Conway

Among the complaints are that it would result in higher deductibles and premiums, eliminate protection for preexisting conditions, and throw more than twenty million people off of their health insurance plans. What’s more, it would be paid for by giving billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy.

It’s issues like those that have caused at least five GOP senators to announce their opposition to the bill. If those numbers hold the bill cannot pass. Republicans have a two-vote margin and can expect no help from Democrats. Adding to its problems is that TrumpCare would impose severe cuts to Medicaid. Despite repeatedly promising to never cut the program, Trump is nevertheless enthusiastically supporting the bill. This support comes even though the senate version is even meaner than the one the House passed:

“The much more drastic changes in the Senate bill as compared to the House bill come in the realm of Medicaid. The House bill immediately ended enhanced funding for the Medicaid expansion to able-bodied low-income adults under the ACA, while the Senate bill would slowly phase that funding out. This, in theory, would put millions fewer people immediately in the ranks of the uninsured and increase government spending over the House plan.”

Undeterred by reality, Conway addressed the issue in her interview with Stephanopoulos. She was asked directly about the how the bill cuts 800 billion dollars from Medicaid and asked why Trump is going back on his promise. Her lie-riddled, word salad reply was that:

“These are not cuts to Medicaid. This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility for the future with Medicaid dollars because they’re closer to the people in need. […] If you are currently in Medicaid, if you became a Medicaid recipient through the Obamacare expansion, you are grandfathered in. We’re talking about in the future.

“You know, ObamaCare took Medicaid, which was designed to help the poor, the needy, the elderly, the sick, the disabled. Also children and pregnant women. It took it and went way above the poverty line. Opened it up to many able-bodied Americans who should probably see if there are other options for them.”

Stephanopoulos deserves some credit for not allowing Conway to advance the falsehood that the bill doesn’t cut Medicaid. He also challenged her baseless assertion that no one on Medicaid now would be affected. He pressed Conway to address the matter of the 800 billion dollars in cuts, to which she replied, “You keep calling them cuts. But we don’t see them as cuts.”

And therein lies the heart of the problem. Trump and his shills have created their own language that ignores the reality of any situation. They will feverishly spin until the rhetoric is hopelessly removed from anything resembling the truth. It’s a strategy that is ultimately aimed at creating confusion and muddying the waters so that a coherent dialog is impossible. And no one is better at that than Conway.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Donald Trump On Passing Healthcare Bill: ‘It’s Going to be Republicans or Bust’ (VIDEO)

Donald Trump traveled to Cincinnati today to campaign on behalf of his infrastructure initiative.He delivered a typical misrepresentation of reality and offered no details about his own phantom proposal. But what stood out in his speech had nothing whatsoever to do with the topic he came to discuss.

ObamaCare Trump

Taking a diversion far from infrastructure, Trump launched into a tirade against ObamaCare and Democrats in Congress (video below). It was mostly a rehash of his past criticisms that he has never managed to document. His familiar antagonistic posture was full of bluster and hyperbole, but lacking substance or logic. He railed in part:

ObamaCare is dead. I’ve been saying it for a long time. Everybody knows it. Everybody that wants to report fairly about it knows. The House of Representatives has done its job. They sent a plan to the Senate and the Senate is working it over. We spent a lot of time yesterday with Mitch McConnell and a lot of the great senators. They happen to be Republican cause we’re having no help, it’s only obstruction from the Democrats.

The Democrats are destroying health care in this country. We’re having no help. It’s only obstruction from the Democrats. We have had no help, we will get no votes. If we gave you the greatest plan in the history of the world, we would have no Democratic vote. It’s going to be Republicans or bust.

The first point that needs to be made is that ObamaCare is most definitely not dead. Despite Trump’s relentless proclamations of the service being in a “death spiral,” the facts stubbornly disagree. This charge has been reviewed by PolitFact and ruled to be “False.” And the dishonesty of Trump’s ranting that “everybody knows it” doesn’t make it any less a lie. To the extent that ObamaCare is struggling at all, it’s due to the Trump administration’s purposeful sabotage.

Secondly, Trump claims that the Senate is working on the bill that was passed in the House. That’s also untrue. Republican leaders of the Senate have even refused to bring up the House bill. Some of them have publicly stated that there will be no healthcare bill this year at all. Then Trump noted that he spent some time with senators who just happened to be Republican. That may be because he just happened to meet exclusively with the Republican caucus.

Finally, Trump was mightily disturbed that he was getting no help from the Democrats that he was deliberately excluding. From that he surmised that they were obstructing his initiative out of petty partisanship. And he demonstrated his openness to dialog by accusing Democrats of “destroying health care in this country.” He was outraged at the prospect of getting no votes from across the aisle for a bill intended to cast twenty-three million people off of their health insurance plans. Therefore he declared that “It’s going to be Republicans or bust.” Never mind the irony that it was Republicans who actually did withhold votes when ObamaCare was before Congress.

In his campaign-style presentation, Trump trotted out some folks that he described as ObamaCare victims. It was a self-serving photo-op that proved nothing. If he’s really interested in a fair discussion of the issue, there are some other Americans he might like to meet. Vox Media recently interviewed a group of Trump voters who are grateful for ObamaCare and regret their support for Trump. And poll after poll shows that the nation favors ObamaCare over the GOP efforts to repeal and/or replace it. But somehow, that never makes it into Trump’s speeches or Twitter feed.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage ObamaCare Now Include Bribing Health Insurance Companies

Donald Trump made repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) a key plank in his campaign platform. It became the first legislative project of his administration. But after four months of his presidency he has failed to deliver on his promises. Consequently, he is seeking other routes to force his anti-healthcare policies onto a nation that wants to keep and improve ObamaCare.

Donald Trump

Trump has repeatedly claimed that ObamaCare is dead. It isn’t. However, Trump is doing everything in his power to murder it. Just his false characterizations of it being in a “death spiral” makes insurance carriers nervous and unwilling to expose themselves to that artificially created risk.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Trump has approached health insurance providers with an offer to put more money in their pockets. The proposal involves the funds paid by the government for the premium subsidies that make health insurance affordable for low-income Americans. These are called “cost-sharing reductions,” or CSRs. Trump has been threatening to cut off this funding in his quest to cripple ObamaCare. But his offer comes with a caveat. In exchange for continuing the CSRs, the providers must support his wildly unpopular bill to kill ObamaCare. That’s the bill that recently passed in the House of Representatives. The Senate is not expected to take it up. So offering to retain the CSRs in exchange for political support amounts to a bribe.

What’s more, Trump is effectively admitting that he is lying about ObamaCare being dead. His threat to ax CSRs undercuts the claim that insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own. The Times notes that the more likely cause of chaos in the industry is Trump himself:

“Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues.

“At the same time, state insurance regulators — both Democrat and Republican — have increasingly concluded they cannot count on the Trump administration to help them ensure that consumers will have access to a health plan next year. […]

“Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance.”

Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Seema Verma, made the politically motivated bribe in a recent meeting with providers. According to the Times she told them that Trump “would fund the CSRs if insurers supported the House Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.” But the providers were less than receptive. In fact, they later signed on to a letter sent to the Senate spelling out their concerns. The signatories include a broad array on health industry players. They include: America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Benefits Council, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The preamble to their letter says that:

“[W]e are writing again to you as leaders in Congress to express our serious concerns about the continued uncertainty around funding for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. There now is clear evidence that this uncertainty is undermining the individual insurance market for 2018 and stands to negatively impact millions of people.”

In addition to using the CSRs to bribe insurance companies, Trump has used them to blackmail Congress. Politico reports that he is employing a tactic aimed at forcing Democrats to negotiate. Even though “Many advisers oppose the move because they worry it would backfire politically if people lose their insurance or see huge premium spikes and blame the White House.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In any case, it’s a cynical move where the potential victims are not members of Congress, but average Americans. Trump is holding a virtual gun to the heads of citizens and telling Congress he’ll shoot if they don’t pass his bill. Between that threat and his bribery of insurance carriers, Trump’s proving that he couldn’t care less about the American people. They are merely hostages in his quest to give the wealthy tens of thousands of dollars in tax cuts. And if 24 million people lose their health insurance, that isn’t his problem.

UPDATE 5/22/17: Democrats in Congress are requesting information and documents pertaining to this attempted bribe/hostage taking by the Trump administration.

GOP Rep Gets His Ass Handed to Him By an Angry Veteran Over TrumpCare

Last week Republicans in the House of Representatives narrowly passed their bill to repeal ObamaCare. Their alleged plan to replace it has been widely criticized as failing to provide coverage for most Americans, particularly those with low incomes, preexisting conditions, and seniors.

TrumpCare

As a result, they have been greeted with anger when returning to their home districts. Their constituents are well aware that gutting ObamaCare means the loss of coverage for themselves, their families, and their friends and neighbors.

At a town hall for Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) one constituent was especially upset. She let Reed know, in no uncertain terms, what she thought of his vote to take away the health insurance of Americans like herself. In a viral video she began by saying that:

“I’m a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and I have single payer [healthcare]. It has saved my life four times.”

She went on to note that single payer plans operate differently than conventional policies from insurance companies. They are patient driven, not profit driven. She lamented the Republican efforts that put money before the welfare of people. The Veterans Administration is an example of single payer healthcare. And despite recent reports of problems at the V.A., it is still overwhelmingly popular among those it serves. Most vets get prompt and effective care.

Watch this righteously outraged constituent hand Rep. Reed his ass:

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

A Fox News Host Tells the Truth About GOP Healthcare Bill – Gets Slammed By Co-Hosts

The Republican bill to repeal ObamaCare squeaked by Thursday in the House of Representatives. Not surprisingly, it received no votes at all from Democrats determined to protect access to healthcare. The independent analyses of the legislation are virtually unanimous that it will result in higher premiums and fewer services. The projected number of people covered by insurance would decline by twenty-four million or more. Virtually every consumer healthcare advocacy group has come out against the bill. Rep. Jim Cooper compiled a list of fifty such groups that include AARP, AMA, American Cancer Society, and Families USA.

Fox News Juan Williams

Of course Fox News still leans decidedly toward the Republican view. Their reports are unabashedly anti-ObamaCare. Since the House vote, Fox News has been portraying it as a major victory for Donald Trump. Never mind that it still has a long and arduous path to becoming law. The Senate is already predicting that the House bill will not even be brought up. Instead, they will draft their own legislation, which will likely be unacceptable to House conservatives.

In the midst of the debate, one of the co-hosts of The Five on Fox News managed to get worked up about the misinformation surrounding coverage of the bill (video below). Juan Williams broke from the mandatory Fox orthodoxy to unleash a stream of truth-telling not often seen on Fox. He began by declaring that GOP bill was “a fraud.” He continued with criticisms aimed directly at Trump:

“This is a guy who didn’t get anything done. No legislative accomplishments the first 100 days. Desperate for something that he can call a victory.”

At that point Williams was interrupted by co-host Meghan McCain. She wondered “Then why are Democrats so hysterical today if nothing happened?” Williams ignored her question, but the answer was pretty obvious. Democrats, and most Americans, are outraged by the efforts of the GOP to throw millions off of their healthcare plans. Just because Republicans haven’t yet achieved success doesn’t mean that the attempt isn’t reprehensible. But Williams kept his stride saying that:

“Here’s the details you have not heard about, America. Uninsured, more uninsured people. … If you’re a senior in this country, so many older people voted for President Trump. Guess what? Now you can be charged five times more for your medical coverage. … Hospitals are going to pay more for Medicare. … What about the poor? Paying more for premiums and deductions. It’s a fraud!”

And that’s about as far as Williams was allowed to go. He was pounced on by the other four conservative panelists on the program. (That’s why every panel on Fox News is heavily over-weighted with wingnuts). The subsequent shouting and cross-talk made everyone unintelligible, thereby suppressing Williams’ arguments.

The last thing Fox News wants is for reasonable presentations of progressive policies to get on the air. And if they manage to slip through, they must be squashed with all due haste. Even if that means devolving into childish tantrums that prevent any meaningful discussion. That tactic works for Fox because it silences views they oppose while titillating their drama-hungry viewers. It’s the Fox way.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump Hates America, and His Pathetic ‘Leadership’ on Healthcare Is Proof Of It

The failure of TrumpCare is more than a political pratfall by Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It is an object lesson in the pettiness of a vengeful, self-absorbed man who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the American people.

Donald Trump

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump marketed himself as a master negotiator and dealmaker. But when push came to shove Trump couldn’t close the deal on what was the highest priority on his agenda. Instead, the man responsible for six bankruptcies failed yet again. He couldn’t move the ball across the goal line with a majority in both chambers of Congress. But what’s worse is that his reaction betrays a spiteful disregard for the citizens he purports to serve.

In a video posted on the White House website, the President made some brief comments about the TrumpCare debacle. True to form, he blamed Democrats for his own failings and those of his party. Never mind that Democrats could not have blocked passage if Republicans were united – or competent. The truth is that the GOP didn’t want to pass the bill because it was so transparently awful. They knew that their constituents were opposed to it. What legislator in their right mind would vote for a bill that had only seventeen percent approval?

However, the most disturbing part of Trump’s video statement is his virtual giddiness at the prospect of people suffering and Democrats getting blamed. He repeatedly made false assertions that “ObamaCare is exploding” (it’s not). His takeaway on that was a perverse pride in predicting that Americans will suffer:

“I think what will happen is ObamaCare, unfortunately, will explode. It’s gonna have a very bad year.”

Trump took solace in his estimation that TrumpCare’s demise was “the best thing that could happen.” So he believe’s that ObamaCare will inflict great pain on people, but that that’s a good thing. It’s a position that only a sadist could support. And his reasoning centered on a political analysis wherein Democrats would be held accountable for ObamaCare.

“I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it. One hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican healthcare. This is not anything but a Democrat healthcare. And they have ObamaCare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist. Which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember, this is not our bill, this is their bill.”

Seriously, what reality is Trump living in? Democrats have always “owned” ObamaCare. It didn’t get a single Republican vote. It was drafted and passed by Democrats. It’s nicknamed after a Democratic president fer chrissakes. What’s more, Democrats are proud of the bill. They are anxious to be associated with its historic drop in the uninsured rate. They happily note that it has resulted in the slowest growth of healthcare costs in decades. And the fact that its approval rating in recent polls is at its highest level ever doesn’t hurt.

Republicans had eight years to come up with a viable alternative to ObamaCare. They never even bothered. Rather, they held meaningless votes (more than sixty of them) to either repeal or cripple ObamaCare. But they only did that because they knew that Obama would veto anything that reached his desk. Now, with a Republican in the White House, they are cowering in fear of voting for something the country opposes. Even press secretary Sean Spicer called them out before the vote. “You’ve taken a bunch of these free votes when it didn’t matter because you didn’t have a Republican president,” he chided. “Well, this is a live ball now. This is for real.” That obviously didn’t work.

Also in Trump’s video, he tried to make excuses for his failure by rewriting his history on the subject. “I never said repeal [ObamaCare] and replace it within sixty-four days,” he whined. That’s true, he never said “sixty-four days.” But he did say “immediately” and “on my first day in office” and that “it’s gonna be so easy.” That obviously didn’t work either.

Trump’s habit of lying, making excuses, and blaming others is on vivid display here. And his utter lack of leadership is appalling. A real leader would not threaten people with predictions of pain and suffering. He would not find comfort in the hardship of others. A real leader would face reality and then seek to mitigate any harm that he perceived. He would accept the circumstances and try to make best of them, even if it was not what he favored.

For example, if Trump thinks that ObamaCare is going to result in higher premiums, he should advocate greater participation. That would increase the risk pool and keep premiums down. If he’s concerned about insurance companies offering plans, he should help to create incentives for them to do so. He’s already given up on “repeal and replace” so he should be focusing on helping people rather than hovering over them like a vulture anxiously anticipating fresh corpses.

That, however, is not Trump’s style. He is a petulant, vindictive, narcissist who throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. And it doesn’t matter who he hurts. He is as poor a leader as he is a dealmaker. The battle over healthcare has been an instructive experience that lays open the festering flaws in Trump’s character – or more accurately – the lack of it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Paul Ryan’s Health Insurance Seminar Proves One Thing: He Has No Friggin’ Idea How Insurance Works

Thursday morning Republicans rolled out a presentation of their long-awaited alternative to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It came in the form of a lecture by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He stood before the class and gave a PowerPoint aided speech that supposedly spelled out everything you might need to know about the GOP plan.

Paul Ryan

There was just one problem. Well actually, way more than one. But in the broadest terms the single most problematic part of Ryan’s lecture was that it made no sense whatsoever. It failed to address how it would cover everyone who is presently covered. There were no financing specifics to explain how it would be funded. But the most prominent flaw in his presentation was that it revealed that he has no idea what insurance is. Nor does he have any notion of how it works. Ryan summed up his criticism of ObamaCare saying that:

“The whole idea of Obamacare is … the people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick. It’s not working, and that’s why it’s in a death spiral.”

Let that sink in. What Ryan is saying is not that ObamaCare doesn’t work, but that the whole concept of insurance doesn’t work. Every insurance product, whether it’s for healthcare or auto accidents, operates on the same principle. Many people pay into a pool that is used to cover the costs of the unfortunates who suffer a loss. Insurance depends on the fact that most policy holders will not have a claim (i.e. healthy people). Therefore, their premiums pay for folks who do have claims (i.e. the sick or injured).

Paul Ryan doesn’t seem to grasp that concept. To demonstrate the depth of his confusion, he offered a little example:

[Video below, starts at 14:30]: “Take a small business that has forty employees. Let’s say that four people in that business get cancer. Well, under that business, that business has to pay for all those cancer patients, all those cancer treatments. So the other thirty-six people in that forty person pool get hit with much, much higher premiums to pay for the four that got cancer. That’s how the insurance works today. And that is one of the reasons why this thing is going bankrupt.

“Here’s our solution. Let’s just make sure we cover the people who have preexisting conditions. Make sure reinsurance or risk pools kick in for those four people in that small business that get cancer. Subsidize that coverage and what you do by doing that is you dramatically lower and stabilize the price of insurance for everybody else.”

Let’s break that down. Ryan says that the practice of insuring people by having many people contribute to a risk pool is going bankrupt. He might want to run that by the multi-billion dollar, highly profitable insurance corporations for confirmation. Then he proposes that only the sick people get federally subsidized insurance. That leaves the population of healthy people with lower premiums. That’s actually true. And it makes the insurance companies wealthier because they are only covering people who don’t need any coverage.

But Ryan doesn’t say where the government would get the money to pay for the cancer patients in his scenario. Ordinarily those funds would come from the healthy people that he just removed from the picture.

So one of three things would happen. Either the government would have to bear the total cost of healthcare for America’s sickest population and incur massive debts. Or everyone would have to be taxed to finance the coverage for those patients. Or the sick people would just die. Ironically, there is a germ of a real solution in there. Universal healthcare would provide all Americans with coverage and spread the costs so broadly across the populace that the premiums would be easily manageable.

But that’s not what Ryan and company are proposing. They want to give all the healthy people cheap insurance and burden the sick with unpayable bills. That’s the solution that is being advanced by Republicans in Congress and has already been endorsed by President Trump. If you have the intestinal fortitude, you can watch the entire presentation by Ryan and see if it makes any sense to you. If not, stay away because intestinal maladies are not covered in the GOP plan.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Majority Of Americans (Including 41% Of Republicans) Favor Socialist Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) has been a contentious point of debate in the media ever since it was proposed by a timid Congress that worked fervently to water it down and excise its most progressive elements. In subsequent polling the nation has appeared divided on whether they favored the insurance reforms, although the polls often neglected to differentiate from those who opposed it because it went too far and those who who opposed it because it didn’t go far enough.

Medicare For All

This week Gallup released a poll that definitively settles that question. They gave respondents a clear choice that included the option of “Replacing the ACA with a federally funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans.” That option, which is essentially universal healthcare, received a clear majority of 58% favoring it.

What’s more, when Gallup broke down the responses by party, it revealed that 41% of Republicans were in favor of the federally funded option as well. Not a majority, nor even close to the 73% of Democrats, but a surprisingly high figure representing the heretofore unknown socialist wing of the GOP.

The other options in the poll were “Keeping the Affordable Care Act in place,” which was divided 48-49%, and “Repealing the Affordable Care Act” which was also close at 51-45%. However, as Gallup noted:

“…the group of Americans in this survey who favor the law’s repeal, a core policy proposal of many Republican presidential candidates during this campaign season, includes some who apparently want the ACA repealed to replace it with an even more liberal system.”

ObamaCare, in its present form, has been an unqualified success. It has brought the number of uninsured down to historically low levels. It has kept the cost of healthcare down, both in premiums paid to insurers and direct costs of care. It has guaranteed access to insurance for people with preexisting conditions and provided equality of cost and care for women. These are just a few of the reasons that, despite a concerted effort by Fox News and other conservative media to scare Americans away from it, ObamaCare continues to enjoy widespread popularity.

Considering the broad appeal of a universal, Medicare-for-all style healthcare program, it would be advantageous for the presidential candidates to pay heed to the will of the people. To date, only Bernie Sanders has taken a position that fully embraces this policy. Hillary Clinton, though, has been inching toward it with a recent statement in support of a public option.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It would also be helpful if the media would cover this preference on the part of the American people. This may not be as sexy a subject as Donald Trump’s latest sleaze mongering, but the press is supposed to be a source of credible information, particularly in the midst of a presidential campaign. No one would expect Fox News to report the results of this poll, and they haven’t. It would completely contradict their phony free-market, crony-capitalist, Republican sponsored narrative. But the rest of the national television newscasters have largely ignored it as well. And without a responsible media giving this issue the attention it deserves, the candidates for both national and local offices will feel no pressure to address it either.

Sarah Palin Stars In Night Of The Living Death Panels Sequel: The Re-Dumbification

Now that Sarah Palin has been unceremoniously jettisoned from her Fox News post, she has deemed it necessary to whip up as much controversy as possible in order to keep from becoming nothing more than a creepy memory and the reason for John McCain’s eternal damnation to Hell. That’s why she ditched her unsuccessful Internet video subscription service hoping more people would watch if they didn’t have to pay.

Sarah Palin Death Panels

To that end, Palin has posted a screed on her Facebook page declaring in all caps that “DEATH PANELS STILL NOT DEAD.” As the title suggests, Palin continues to suffer from an acute ignorance of law, facts, and common sense. Her blitheringly dumb resurrection of the Death Panel nonsense begins with the hilariously oblivious assertion that it’s the politicians who don’t get it.

“Their ‘Death Panels’ still won’t die. Last night Obamacare masterminds decided they’ll pay healthcare providers for vulnerable patients’ ‘end-of-life’ plans. Remember that’s the strange, intrusive, unaffordable, and unnecessary scheme that was actually stripped from Obamacare five years ago, once we ‘found out what’s in it.’ So now that part of this socialistic healthcare takeover is back.”

Palin then launches into a self-defense of her faulty grasp of what “end-of-life” plans (aka Advanced Directives) are. And she predictably slams the media for correctly noting that she has been “universally discredited” on this subject. She rants about the non-existent government rationing of healthcare and criticizes the imaginary “faceless bureaucrats” who she says “will measure a person’s worth.” She preaches about the “sanctity of life” in her trademark politi-vangelical style bemoaning that “a bloated bureaucracy and weak-kneed politicians sent millions of Americans into financial distress, unseen in history, with this leftist scheme called Obamacare.” Of course the documented truth is that, since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, more Americans are covered by insurance than ever before, and fewer are facing financial difficulties and bankruptcies due to medical bills.

What launched Palin into this confused orbit was news that Medicare is considering reimbursing doctors for consulting with patients about Advanced Directives. And while Palin calls it an “unnecessary scheme,” it is something virtually every medical professional and patient advocate recommends. The Medicare proposal does not require consultations, nor steers patients toward any specific preference of care. So in effect, what Palin is objecting to is giving people more control over their medical care. And when she fails to make a coherent case against Advanced Directives, she diverts her argument to a completely different and equally benign part of the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is a doctor-run advisory group tasked with identifying the best practices in health care to insure the best medical outcomes and to avoid unnecessary or exploitative procedures.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

None of this is new. Palin has been on a rampage against these useful services for as long as they have been public. And for all of that time she has intensely misunderstood them. A year ago Fox News railed against Medicare’s exploration of this policy, making the same irrational arguments that Palin makes. In short, conservative wingnuts believe that it is a God-given right to be denied healthcare by the faceless bureaucrats at greedy insurance companies. But it is submission to tyranny if the government steps in and makes such care available and affordable. Palin et al prefer the old ways when Americans went bankrupt (or died) because they didn’t have insurance or their coverage was insufficient. And it is obvious that this zombie lie about Death Panels is going to be a cornerstone of conservative politics for the foreseeable future, despite how thoroughly it has been debunked by knowledgeable sources.

Update 7/14/2015: Sean Hannity weighed in on this with his predictably inane commentary saying…

“Remember all the talk about Gov. Palin talking about Death Panels? For those of you who were wondering what ever happened to the Death Panels, you don’t have to wonder much longer. You probably won’t. They’re currently being implemented under “Dying for Dollars,” a strategy where the administration pays doctors to persuade elderly patients to end their lives by discontinuing treatment.”

What a boob. He apparently has forgotten that end-of-life counseling may also result in patients choosing to prolong their lives with every expensive medical procedure that exists. It’s the patient’s choice. That’s the whole point. Hannity and Palin are arguing to prohibit patients from being able to make their choices known. What’s really sad is that they have so many people who blindly believe what they spew.

Republicans Despondent Over ObamaCare Should Be Sending The Supreme Court Fruit Baskets

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is being portrayed in the media as an historic victory for President Obama. And, to be sure, the ruling does affirm the constitutionality of the law and prevents the cancellation of more than six million health insurance policies nationwide.

However, from a political perspective, the big winners are the Republican Party. Chief Justice John Roberts really pulled their butts out of the fire with his decision finding that…

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. […] Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

For the rest of the day, and throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, you will hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth of disingenuous Republicans pretending to be disappointed by the ruling. In fact, they could not be happier. This ruling allows them to run on a platform of repealing what they claim is a disastrous law that curtails all freedoms and sets the course of the nation toward Armageddon.

ObamaCare Supreme Court

Had the Court ruled against the subsidies, millions of Americans would have lost their health insurance, and the the remainder would have been subject to higher premiums as the pool of the insured became smaller and sicker. In that scenario, Republicans would have had to run the gauntlet of enraged voters who were suffering the consequences of the GOP’s greedy self-interest. Most of those voters would have been from red states and the south where the most recipients of subsidies from federal exchanges reside.

As a result of the this ruling, the GOP will still run on a “repeal and replace” campaign, but they won’t have to do it with their own constituents breathing down their necks in disgust. Instead they will lament the corrupt socialists on the Court and promise to deliver something better if they win the White House and Congress in 2016. Never mind that they have made that promise for more than six years but have never produced a viable replacement. To their credit/shame, they have voted more than fifty times to repeal ObamaCare.

On the other hand, Democrats won the legal and logical battle with this ruling. But they lost the opportunity to run against a Republican Party that had stolen the health insurance from millions of Americans. One of the great ironies of democracy is that it is harder to run on your accomplishments than it is to run on your opponents’ failures. So while millions of voters who were rescued from the heartlessness of the GOP by this ruling should be grateful to Democrats for passing the legislation, their gratitude will be harder to translate into votes than if the Court had struck down the bill and they could vote their disapproval of Republicans.

In the final analysis, it is far better that the Court upheld the subsidies because, politics aside, real people’s real lives hang in the balance. For whatever period of time that ObamaCare may have been obstructed by a negative ruling, Americans would have suffered both financially and medically. Indeed, people without access to health care would have become sicker and even died. And those who survived would have lost much of their financial security, including their homes and retirement savings. So if Democrats have to try harder to get their message across, then so be it.

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In light of that, every time you hear a Republican whining about the awful Supreme Court decision, remember these two things: 1) They are actually ecstatic that it takes them off the hook for all the outraged voters who would have lost their insurance had the decision gone the other way. And 2) Their feigned despair is actually an expression of disappointment that millions of people didn’t get shafted and forced to face poor health and bankruptcy, which is what they were ostensibly rooting for.