Health Care Ground War Intensifies Around Unchallenged Crazy Rhetoric

The Denver Post’s Michael Riley reports only part of the story today:

Now that Congress has missed the chance to pass health care reform before the summer recess, the reform battle could be won or lost not in Washington’s hallowed halls but in lawmakers’ home districts during August.

Don’t expect a gentleman’s war or the Geneva convention. This will be the political version of trench warfare: brutal, mud-filled and bloody.

Already, YouTube is filling up with videos of Democratic lawmakers across the country confronted at town-hall meetings by opponents of the current plans for health care reform. (A Maryland lawmaker was hanged in effigy; Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett faced protesters carrying a tombstone with his name on it.)


“We’re headed right now to this thing being a fringe group of people demanding that there be some kind of ‘public option’ versus real America that is saying we’re not going throw out a health care system that delivers fine care but is expensive and maybe has to be refined,” said Jeff Crank, head of the Colorado chapter of Americans for Prosperity, which is launching a 13-city Colorado bus tour today as part of its opposition to Democrats’ reform plans.

Groups like Crank’s and others also hope to turn the Democrats’ town-hall strategy on its head, flooding the events with opponents. Focus on the Family Action has been sending e-mail alerts to subscribers that encourage them to attend town-hall meetings and demand that abortion funding be explicitly excluded from any reform bill, according to Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for the Colorado Springs-based group.

As the battle lines are drawn, Colorado congressional offices are being inundated with calls asking when members are holding events and where.

In a sidebar, Riley lists a few Democratic arguments in favor of their health care reform plans, and a couple of rather sanitary Republican counterarguments. Fair enough.

But there’s a big hole in Riley’s report today, a missing part of this story that we think explains the angry intensity behind these ‘townhall crashers’ as they disrupt Democratic recess events around the country–including a likely attempt to do so today at a downtown Denver clinic for the homeless, an event headlined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

These protesters believe–really believe–that Barack Obama wants to kill old people.

Anti-health care reform rally, Denver, July 28, 2009. Submitted anonymously

We’ve been watching the coverage of these protests build for the last few days, and a major disconnect has emerged in our opinion between media coverage of the protesters and the facts. What you see on television is generally upset protesters as background footage, a few audio clips of them yelling but mostly the protesters rolling in the background while talking heads explain “what it all means.”

The relatively dispassionate GOP talking points against the health care reform bill cited by Riley are what the talking heads are usually talking about on TV while protester footage runs in the background, cleverly leading the viewer to believe that those talking points are what the protesters are up in arms about. But they’re not.

The protesters think Obama wants to kill old people.

There are two different narratives about the health care reform bill being pushed by reform opponents now–one publicly and the other virally though email networks, talk radio, word-of-mouth, etc. The public narrative is the one about tax hikes, deficit spending, and “burdens on business.”

The viral message is that Obama wants to kill old people.

A portion of radio host Rush Limbaugh’s show yesterday:

CALLER:  Oh, great to… (cell drops).  I’m so angry.  I mean, I’ve been upset before about this but now I’m just so angry about this commercial.  They are just treating us as just mindless people working for insurance company, lobbyists.  I mean, we are citizens expressing our rights.  Are we just supposed to sit idly by while they try to get our parents to die — [Pols emphasis]

RUSH:  You are supposed to —  no.  

CALLER:  — because they know what to do, know what’s good for us?  

RUSH:  You are supposed to get mad, exactly what you’re doing.

Look, you know it’s crazy. The television news producers who are, consciously or unconsciously, feeding this insanity by–we don’t know any other way to say it–concealing the actual opinions being expressed at these protests to create false empathy with them among non-crazy people, they know this rhetoric has no basis in reality. When these furious people scream at Democrats to “keep the government’s hands off my Medicare,” or “my insurance company doesn’t ration me,” some part of even the most cynical opponent of the plan has to realize they are manipulating ignorance for political advantage–and it’s wrong.

And yet it goes on, totally unchecked in the media. The key failure, in our view, is not telling the full story about what these people are actually saying in the crowds Jeff Crank uses as his backdrop–as much as we respect him, Michael Riley had a chance to do that today, and didn’t.

88 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Karate Kid says:

    It’s an easy conclusion to make.  If you use government to ration which services are provided and which aren’t — and to which people — then yes, you are essentially valuing money over life.  That’s the essence of any cost-cutting measures in the Obama health plan.

    Just as the Left has (rightly, in my opinion) complained about health insurers refusing to provide coverage in certain cases, the right is now complaining because bureuacrats would be in the business of doing this under Obama.  It is completely appropriate and a very valid argument to make.

    • Car 31 says:

      The rhetoric and the grandstanding around health care in this country are neither appropriate nor justified.

      When my grandmother, 94 years old, receives treatment the doctor doesn’t order a battery of tests because she’s 94 years old and many treatments would harm her more than help.

      When my father, 76 years old, goes in for a physical the doctor tells him to do x, y, and z and prescribes a medication.  That doctor is making the judgment on what to prescribe based on his judgments.

      Rationing of healthcare exists today and the seniors in this country are being led astray by straw dogs pissing away the future of their children.

      I’m not convinced that Obama is 100% right on everything and the kool aid I drink is my own, but frankly, the whole thing, from Rep. Polis’ grandstanding to the Blue Dogs to the rabid tea baggers disgusts me and makes me ashamed of how shallow and feeble our electorate has become.

      • Another skeptic says:

        So you want to shut down debate before Americans learn that the public option will cost trillions?

        You want to shut down debate before people can read something besides the biased, incompetently reported Denver Post stories?

        You want to shut down debate before people realize their health care will cost more if Obama’s bill is passed?

        You want to shut down debate over the public option, which would allow Congress to make huge mistakes for everone in one bill instead of making small mistakes in a series of smaller reform bills?

        You think you have all the answers and nobody has a right to challenge your views?

        Looks like you’re a perfect Obama Dem.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      to screen patients and ration which ones get health care?  It looks like you took one too many chops to the head to actually be advocating that health care rationing is good when it is done by insurance companies but bad when it is done by the government.  Maybe you could add something about a culture of death and we don’t need no stinkin rationing around here when there are so many unborn babies to rescue

      • Another skeptic says:

        If you’ve been paying attention, you know politicians, bot Dems and Repubs, have been cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits for years.

        If Congress enacts a public option health plan, its rationing and cost cutting will make the insurers look like pansies.

        Look at how the FDA delays approving new drugs and medical devices so Medicare doesn’t have to pay for them. It happens all the time.

        When we have 1,300 insurers screening, they have different policies. When the Feds do it, you’ll have one dumbed down health plan for all regardless of individual patient needs.

        I’ve been privately insured for a long time and have had medical needs that have never been denied by my insurers. But they sure would be by gov. bureaucrats.

        And if you think careless government employees would be as conscientious about patient needs as most insurers’ employees are, you haven’t been in either the private sector or subject to the bad decision making by public employees.

        But I guess you’ll have to experience the treatment of the typical govt. employees before you’ll get it.

        No, not all govt. employees are slugs, but too many are for  anyone who cares about how their health care services would be managed by arrogant bureaucrats who can’t be fired.

  2. BlueCat says:

    partly because the WH is doing a lousy job of countering.  They need to stop stressing covering the uninsured so much and start stressing the fact that most of us who are insured are on shaky ground that get’s shakier all the time. That and the fact that the media is lazy.  That’s why pro reformers need to show up, too.  

    They need to pound home the fact that we can lose our coverage in a heartbeat for any one of a number of reasons and not just the self-employed on ultra picky private plans that more and more of us can’t afford and could be dropped from.  Tell the self insured about strategically placed fine print that can always be used as an excuse to screw us if, after  struggling to pay through the nose all these years, we get really sick.

    But it’s not just the small percentage of self insured.  Even if you have a great plan at work, you could lose your job or your employer could no longer n be able to afford it or could double or triple your rates. These things are happening to thousands every day who now have no good options and it will only get worse as costs climb and we do nothing. That’s the message that needs to get out.  It’s not just about the other guy you may think doesn’t deserve your sympathy.  It’s about you.

    It’s also not about forcing you onto a government plan but about making sure you have that option if you ever find you need it.  And they need to set all those antis on Medicare straight on the fact that the medicare they want the government to stay out of is a government plan. Duh.

    In short, put the focus on the majority, not the uninsured majority.  The insured majority is in big trouble if the status quo remains.

    Here’s a link to a flyer that can be used as a sign of support if you plan to show support for reform at any town hall or other event.  And if we don’t want the antis to own the message, we’d better start showing up:

  3. Arvadonian says:

    The one good thing that could come from the right wingers protesting Pelosi today is that this could be the only time in their lives they will ever see homeless people.  Perhaps a bit of compassion will seep into their stone hearts…

      • BlueCat says:

        And it’s not just the far right that will be unmoved.  That’s why going for sympathy for the 48 to 50 million uninsured is not very successful. Especially since, to be honest, some of them could be insured if they were willing to struggle as hard as some of us do to buy insurance.  

        We are a “me” nation. The most effective message is that we all need a public option for back up if and when (when more likely every day we do nothing) we find ourselves without that insurance we like so much or denied when we thought we were safely covered or losing insurance because we’re laid off or divorced or our company can’t keep up any more.  

        We need to show the crazies and liars for what they are, counter the lies with accurate info and combine that with appeals to good old self interest, not sympathy. We won’t get the fringe that way but we’ll have a shot at the middle.  

    • Another skeptic says:

      Why is it that the left is so worried about uninsured illegal immigrants and free riders and have so little compassion for the 200 million insureds whose coverage would deteriorate under Obama’s health bill?

      Polls show most Americans correctly worry that the cost of their health insurance will go up under Obama’s plans.

      And they correctly worry that the quality of their care and access to care would decline under the bills passed by committees in the House and Senate.

      But I guess if you pay for health insurance, you should be willing to sacrifice quality and access to care for the benefit of free riders and illegal immigrants.

      Makes no sense, and it won’t sell.

      • Aristotle says:

        It’s always those darn scary illegals with you. The ones who aren’t draining the system like you say, and won’t be eligible for a program designed for citizens. Good work, Socrates.

  4. Laughing Boy says:

    “You get to keep your current plan if you want”.

    “No tax increase for the middle class”.

    Pretty crazy stuff running around out there.

    • MADCO says:

      Here’s a site to address keeping your current coverage-

      As for tax increases on the middle class- define the middle class? And then tell me whether we care whether should care whether it’s increased premiums or increased taxes.

    • BlueCat says:

      So sad to see you so gullible and illogical on this issue.  

      • rocco says:

        Up to now, I thought you were simply defending the goobers.

        Please tell me you aren’t one of ’em. Come on buddy, this is just too important to screw around with.

        And let’s see that info on how you can’t keep your plan. Like I said on the other thread, I’ll not only own up if you show me a real source, I’ll be upset about it myself.

        So quit snarkin’ and get crackin’. We’re burnin’ daylight here.  


    • Another skeptic says:

      You’ve got to be very gullible to support the health bills approved by various Congressional committees.

      Or you have to think that if the government takes over health insurance, you’ll get a cushy job with the government health plan.

  5. robertbq says:

    Looks like the rally in Ft. Collins last Wednesday is getting some national attention. This post showed up on Huffington Post this morning and shows a great (sarcasm) picture from one of the “protesters”.

  6. redstateblues says:

    Why can’t we just have a civil discussion about this? Why does it have to be screaming and yelling or nothing?

    The Republicans in Congress have been offered a seat at the table multiple times on this issue, and people like John Boehner laughed in the Democrats’ faces. Now, as CQPolitics puts it better than I could, they go to this tactic:

    All across the country, conservative opponents are clamoring to disrupt town-hall meetings about the proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system, using GOP-generated talking points to shout down Democratic congressmen who attempt to explain the plan.

    It’s not some left wing talking point that the protesters have the goal of shutting down the debate. It’s the GOP strategy. Instead of sitting down like adults and having an actual conversation about what the best way would be to implement health care reform in this country, you get a few dozen conservatives (give or take a few) at every event trying to shout down everyone else.

    But the nature of the protests suggest the GOP has run out of options for fighting on substance, said David S. Meyer, a sociology professor at the University of California-Irvine who wrote The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America.

    In historical context, it’s a tool of the weak,” Meyer said. He said it is noteworthy “that conservatives have to throw this kind of Hail Mary pass to stop health care reform” in a political system that favors that status quo.

    Of course, Hail Mary passes sometimes do work. Just ask Doug Flutie and Kordell Stewart. But it’s a sad day when the political discourse in this country turns from civil conversation to outright mob rule.

    • MADCO says:

      It’s almost like they don’t want that seat at the table.

      Oh wait- they don’t.

      Can’t very well make it be anyone’s Waterloo if you sit down and talk to them.  

      • BlueCat says:

        Inhofe says blocking reform will be the greatest blow possible to the Dems.  Luntz says that if the American people ever do get a good healthcare system from the Dems,they will like it so much the Rs will be out of power for the foreseeable future.

        These pricks know what they are talking about.   No matter how spineless and greedy Dem pols are they should realize that handing the GOP exactly what they want is going to hurt them as Dems a lot more for a lot longer than failing to sell us out to their money men will. If they stay firmly in power the money men will have to continue to come through.

        Instead of fearing that they’ll shoulder all the blame for a new plan in the absence of meaningful bi-partisan compromise they aren’t going to get anyway, they should be ecstatic about the credit Luntz is sure solid health care reform will bring them and them alone if they manage to pull it off without Rs. If the Dems had a clue, getting this passed with no Rs would not only be fine but would actually be the ideal scenario; more credit for Dems.  

        • rocco says:

          You got that right Bluecat. Luntz is a dirtbag, but he’s a wordsmith and a genius with slogans. He’s a pragmatist and he rarely misreads trends.

           Can you imagine the blowback on the repubs if the Bill, with public option, goes through, and the results are as positive as I firmly believe they’ll be?

          Imagine 100 million people in a plan. Low premiums, better care.

          You’re right Bluecat. The reds can win by lying, obstructing,  moving the goalposts with misinformation, and by shutting down the discourse.

          But they can’t win straight up.

          Just like Ohio ’04.  

          • BlueCat says:

            Dem pols to see that this is their moment, no time to cower.  They can do the right thing and get tons of political advantage, long term.   If Dems seize the day, the GOP will have the options of continuing to shrink to bathtub drowning size or re-inventing itself as a party fit for intelligent grown ups. Or the Dems can  piss it all away…again…for a change…

            • rocco says:

              Let’s sat the Democrats grow a spine. (I’m already in shaky territory with that hope) and pass a strong Bill, via reconcilliation, with a very robust, ass kicking public option that nukes the insurance industry and grinds it into the ground.

              The idea the repubs fought it with the childish, vile tactics they used will be to their peril politically.

              Should this  actually happen, it will ensure a Democratic majority for a decade plus. While no red will admit it, they’ll take advantage of health care reform every bit as much as the rest of us.

              But this window is closing fast. We hit these guys in the mouth with a partisan, reconcilliatory bill (bush did it with tax cuts for the rich and the prescription drug for seniors horror) now, or we’ll lose this opportunity for another lifetime.

    • The realist says:

      by the insurance industry “generals.”  The only acceptable outcome for the industry is the status quo.  The Repubs and hangers-on have nothing coherent to contribute to the debate.  The only question is, why is anyone listening to them?

      • dukeco1 says:

        You’re right Bluecat. The reds can win by lying, obstructing,  moving the goalposts with misinformation, and by shutting down the discourse.

        But they can’t win straight up.

        The oil and gas industry uses the same phony, abusive tactics to defeat any effort at reform of their industry as well. The insurance industry might do well to note how effective these tactics were for COGA. They got their hats handed to them on the Colorado O&G rules and are facing the emminent repeal of their exemption for “fracing” from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

        They can’t win on the truth, so they have to resort to this kind of hypocritical subterfuge. It is a sign of weakness.

        The Colorado Republican party has put itself in a very weak position with such bullshit behavior. They seem to be getting better at digging themselves a hole with each succeeding issue.  

        • rocco says:

          Please go to 630 am on the caplis and silverman radio rewind for wednesday, I believe the 4pm hour.

          I didn’t listen to the whole interview with penry because I wanted to hear Polis on Mario’s show. But I specifically heard young josh the crusader say that as Governor he would get rid of all the “obstacles to our wonderful state’s progress”. And he got pretty specific in it. He was referring to Governor Ritter’s implementation of the current O&G rules. This guy is a total industry shill.

          And he obfuscated, lied and danced pretty well for being so new to the game.

          Any way, just thought you might be interested.  

          • dukeco1 says:

            I’ll do that.  

            Sen. Penry is, in fact, one of the leaders of the “What’s good for Big Oil and Gas is good for Colorado” bunch.

            The obstacles he is referring to are clean air, unpolluted water, public safety, private property rights, you know, trivial stuff like that.

    • Another skeptic says:

      I guess everyone can comment on the proposed regulations that will come out after the bill is passed.

      People can discuss HOW abortions will be funded, with pre-Obama or post-Obama dollars.

      People can discuss whether the regs should cut off new knees for people over 70 or 75.

      People can discuss whether end of life counseling should be in English or Spanish.

      But discuss the bill before it’s enacted? Horrors!

      • Aristotle says:

        You DO realize that rsb basically answered those questions in the post you’re responding to, don’t you? If the ‘pubs wanted a civil discussion they should have sat down at the table when invited. Your response is therefore nonsense.

        • Another skeptic says:

          Obama made it clear from the start that it was his way or the highway.

          He was never sincere in inviting GOP participation in writing the bill, and Congressional leaders have basically shut the GOP out from the beginning.

          Even the Senate Finance Committee negotiations are a sham, because if the 3 Repubs don’t cave, the Dems will  go to reconciliation.

          That’s what they’re threatening. How it turns out remains to be seen.

          As Obama’s poll ratings continue to plunge and public disapproval of his health plan continues to rise, the Dems may back off.

          But I”m not counting on it.

  7. Canines says:

    The right wing will soon be mentioning how Obama wants to send old folks to assisted-suicide clinics and then turn them afterward into a food source (i.e., “Soylent Green,” like in the Charlton Heston movie, featuring Edward G. Robinson’s last cinematic role):

  8. dwyer says:

    I am with Blue Dog….I couldn’t go.  What the f#@k happened??

  9. DavidThi808 says:

    Ok, we have everyone worried that the government will use their control of medical care to kill off old people. And the polls clearly show that while younger people want the government offering medical insurance, older people are against government run insurance.

    So here’s what we do. We switch medicare to be for everyone under 65 instead of over 65. Then everyone’s happy.

    1) Old folks no longer have government provided insurance.

    2) With old folks using private insurance, they don’t have to worry about the government trying to kill them off.

    3) Young people get medicare which is what they want.

    Everyone’s happy. Well everyone except Laughing Boy, but I can live with that 🙂

    • BlueCat says:

      But I think all those old folks at townhalls yelling about how they are against socialized medicine and the government better keep their hands off their medicare are just precious. Do you want to be the one to tell them?

      • Another skeptic says:

        They’re not anti-Medicare. They like their Medicare until they don’t.

        Medicare is a huge failure as is Medicaid. Both are financial disasters, and anyone who calls them successes is clueless.

        Seniors don’t want Medicare to cut their access to care as they sicken, age and die, which is what the White House and man Congressional Dems believe should be done to cut costs.

        That’s what seniors are angry about. Ask your grand parents.

        • dwyer says:

          I am old and I am on Medicare.  Medicare is going broke because it has been so successful that seniors are living far longer than they did.  You get what you subsidize. Seniors get old and are on fixed incomes, or have seen their retirement funds collapse and do not have time and energy to work to make more money or build up their retirement funds.   Plus, the older you get, the more physical consequences to aging and the higher the medical outlay. So, seniors are scared.  We are scared of three things – pain; losing independence; being poor.  All of those consequences are very real for us.  So what is the answer?  Private insurers piggyback on Medicare and provide some additional coverage.  Doctors and hospitals  are reimbursed about 80% of cost now.  One result?  A lot of medical practices won’t accept medicare patients.  I don’t blame them.  Rationing is already going on in that regard.  SEniors who can afford good supplemental coverage are getting better care because they can afford it.  

          • dwyer says:

            The reason that medicaid is going broke is the high cost of nursing home care. Long term nursing home care costs $3000-$5000 per month. Seniors exhaust their assets or find a way to hide them, and then the government picks up that cost. Long-term nursing home insurance is prohibitively expensive, and the older you are the more the cost…and it goes up with every birthday.

            Now, the so-called “greatest generation” had their financial futures secured at every juncture, by the federal government. The GI bill gave them education and a first home.  When their own parents reached 65 and it looked like the ‘greatest generation” would have to fork out their own money to care for their aging parents, along came medicare.  Which allowed seniors to basically protect their estates and pass them along to their heirs…first the “greatest generation” and then the “boomers.”  Now what??

            I have benefited from this system.  I think that the WWII and other vets deserve everything they get.  But the pile of money is limited.  I believe we have to ration.  I believe that priorities should be first:  families….parents and their kids.  second; productive working members of society; third…everyone else.  I think that should be the government priority.  Let the private insurance companies pick up the slack with supplemental policies.

            I am open to any other suggestions.

        • BlueCat says:

          and against any government plan for healthcare at the same time. Correction: You can because these people are but only if you have no understanding of what the heck you are talking about. Sorry, AS

          • dwyer says:

            I am for health care reform and I am for the public option.  I was just trying to point out the issues involved.  There are real financial concerns.  What did you think I was saying?

            Or, was the post not for me?  

            • BlueCat says:

              I was responding to Another Sceptic.  That’s why I said AS (not ASS though that would be accurate, too, but certainly not directed at you)  Sorry.  Thought I hit the right “reply”.  You’re aces, Dwyer.

    • Another skeptic says:

      Like most “nonprofits,” AARP executives are in it for the money, and they know that under Obama’s health plan, they’ll sell more Medicare supplemental insurance. The more insurance they sell, the higher their salaries will be.

      Seniors are catching on and calling the AARP on its hypocrisy.

      • Aristotle says:

        That’s why we’re in this mess, and why the government is the only entity that can get us out.

        Whether this is the way, I don’t know, but health insurance is a free market disaster and ought to be enough to make anyone grow out of the notion that markets can take care of everything.

  10. BoulderRepublican says:

    …about the reality on this issue.  For those of you who challenged me the other day about the validity of Rasmussen polls, I submit to you a poll from a fine, liberal institution.

    Bottom line?  By a 52-39 margin (that’s a solid 13-point edge, and a majority, not just a plurality, for those of you who might be mathematically challenged) Americans do not approve of Obama’s health care plan.

    Also, people have a right to be afraid of health care rationing.  It happens in every other country that has a government run system, and it will happen here if this bill passes.  Take Ezekiel Emmanuel (Rahm’s brother), a health policy advisor to the President, who said this:

    Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely ‘lipstick’ cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change.

    And this:

    This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity–those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia. A less obvious example is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason.

    Anybody who is old, mentally disabled, physically disabled, etc… falls under the group who are “irreversibly prevented” from being “participating citizens,” and therefore their health care services “should not be guaranteed.

    • MADCO says:

      The reform being proposed doesn’t force anyone to change health insurer. No one seriously thinks public single payer plan has any chance here. So making the comparison to other countries with public single payer plans is almost useless.

      As for the 52-39 that you claim shows “Americans do not approve of Obama’s health care plan.”

      Here’s the question:

      6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling health care?

      I assure you part of the 52% are the single payer proponents that believe the Obama plan doesn’t go far enough, doesn’t do enough. And that 52% surely includes other frustrated D’s that don’t understand why President Obama doesn’t just take his Congressional majority and jam reform down R’s throats.

      Beyond that- I think we can all agree that hardly anyone really understands the proposed reforms.  How many of the 52% believe that part of the plan includes euthanizing seniors?

      And the most important point you bring up- a potential real impact to healthcare in America.  

      No guarantee for  healthcare that currently exists would go away.  If my 95 year old grandmother wants some service that Medicare won’t pay for- she can buy it herself if she chooses. That doesn’t change.  LIkewise, an HIV+/AIDS patient who wants a kidney transplant that his private insurance won’t pay for can buy it himself- (assuming he could find a kidney donor). That doesn’t change either.

      What does change is citizens who cannot get insurance because the free market, profit driven healthcare system we have today drives out those with pre-existing conditions and others who would clearly be unprofitable will have access to health insurance.

      Let’s get past the hype and hyperbole – you oppose the President’s proposal: what’s you proposal for reform? Or is everything fine now?

      • redstateblues says:

        Let’s get past the buzzwords, propaganda and hyperbole and have a real discussion.

      • divad says:

        …and dialysis for that matter, are covered under Medicare.  No matter what age you are or what other coverage you may have.  

        • MADCO says:

          That’s why I used as an example someone for whom transplants are not covered.

          AIDS patients can’t get transplants.

          And, obviously, can’t be donors.

          • divad says:

            …and quite interesting since I’m on a transplant list.  

            Do you have some links to support this?  

            I found this from ’03 and I can’t imagine there has been a regression.

            Kaiser Permanente – one of the largest US health maintenance organizations – approved a kidney transplant for a Denver man with HIV on Wednesday, reversing an earlier decision. In September, Kaiser had rejected John Carl’s request for a new kidney, calling a transplant on someone with HIV or AIDS too risky because drugs used to suppress rejection of a new organ can jeopardize their already weakened immune systems.

            “I think [this decision] reflects further understanding of HIV,” said Dr. John McGrory, the Kaiser physician handling the case.

            Kaiser has referred Carl to the transplant program at the University of California-San Francisco, where his name was added to its transplant list, said McGrory. “That doesn’t mean he’ll get a kidney,” McGrory added, referring to the often-lengthy waits patients endure before a suitable organ becomes available.

            Carl, 53, tested positive for HIV in 1988 and, with the help of drug advances, was in fairly good health until kidney failure in 2001 forced him to undergo dialysis three times a week.

            • MADCO says:

              I hadn’t kept up- I’d guess it’s still a review for each case.

              But apparently not an automatic no.

              Next time I’ll use a different example-  

              • divad says:

                …the transplant clinics test for everything under the sun to access what kind of risk you are.  And they are MUCH more concerned about things like drug/alcohol addiction and a person’s ability to survive the surgery, follow the rigorous post-op treatment plan and prospects for long term survival.  

                It’s quite a process, as you might imagine.  Lots of factors come into play when they’re deciding if you’re a qualified transplant candidate and other serious medical conditions can certainly play a role in that, but AIDS isn’t an automatic exclusion.  

                In fact, using medical marijuana or tobacco is more likey to keep you off the list.  Which is odd since ESRD goes hand-in-hand with nausea and loss of appetite.

                BTW, I didn’t mean to pitpick, but this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.  Your larger point was spot-on, IMO.

      • BoulderRepublican says:

        …responsibility to have an entire bill written up to address each and every issue, but this isn’t an argument about whether the current set-up is perfect or not.  Obviously it isn’t.  It is a good system–yet another poll shows that nearly 90% of people who have health insurance are happy with it.  But the problems–including transferability among employers, lack of coverage for those with existing conditions, etc…–can be fixed other ways.

        I think one of the main reasons health care is so expensive is because the government mandates coverage for every “affliction” under the sun.  If the government did the same for, say, car insurance, the result would be mandated coverage of things like oil changes and snow tires.

        Also, it is the stated goal and intention of Barack Obama (, Barney Frank (, and others in congress for us to move toward single payer.  The public option is not the destination, but the mechanism they will use to reach the intended destination.  The government cannot and will not fairly ‘compete’ with private insurers.

        On another note, I just got back from the “Coffee on the Corner” event with Jared Polis and he lied straight to my face.  I was speaking, and when I suggested H.R. 3200 is “tax payer funded,” he retorted “it’s not tax payer funded.”  Direct quote.  I wonder why, then, he wrote Pelosi a letter stating concerns about…oh, that’s right, the “taxes” that she plans to use to “pay” for this hunk of junk.

        And for those of you concerned about manufactured, unruly protesters, I can tell you that probably fifty people at least were holding the same stupid sign printed directly off of the “Organize for America” website.  They also shouted down everybody who dissented, and when someone asked why the Democrats are acting as a “tyrannical majority” by forcing this down our throats, someone in the crowd shouted possibly the most common misconception in this country today:  “It’s a democracy!”  I know they all wish it were a democracy, but I’m pretty sure I still lived in a republic when I woke up this morning.

        • redstateblues says:

          It’s a democratic republic. Thanks for playing.

          • BoulderRepublican says:

            …in the Constitution (I know, democrats hate whenever anybody brings up that document) that  they “guarantee to the several States a republican form of government.”

            I realize there is a democratic element to it, but it was meant to be minimized to whatever extent possible by the people who knew that pure democracy is the truest form of oppression.

            Way to ignore all my actual points, though.  Good work.

            • redstateblues says:

              The founders didn’t write in the constitution, “this here be a democratic republic”, but that’s what it is.

              There’s a difference between democracy, republic, and democratic republic. We haven’t had an actual “republic” republic since the Romans.

              And yes, we Democrats just hate the constitution. God I despise it so.

              • BoulderRepublican says:

                …the democratic element to our system.  But the intent was never to let 51% dictate to the other 49%.  Luckily, in the health care debate, the American people are so overwhelmingly against what they’re trying to pass, it will not happen.  Ben Nelson and the like wont commit political suicide yet again.  Take my word for it.  You can argue with my assertion, but time will prove me right.

                Also, thank you again for entirely ignoring the real debate offered in my original post and instead choosing to split hairs over nothing…

                • redstateblues says:

                  Nothing I’ve ever seen you post has give me that impression.

                  You want to talk policy? I’m all ears. So far it’s been the same old talking points.

                  • BoulderRepublican says:

                    If you can’t come up with a good counterargument, ridicule it.  Works every time…straight out of the Saul Alinsky play book.

                    • redstateblues says:

                      Dude, I just asked you for some serious conversation. You can’t get too flustered if it came off as snarky because of your repeated inability to have an actual conversation.

                      Let’s try this again: what, specifically, are you against in this bill, and what is your alternative to our current system that everyone agrees is unsustainable.

                    • redstateblues says:

                      You were responding within a minute or so earlier, but when I ask you for specifics you are conspicuously absent.

                      If you feel like responding, e-mail me or something.

        • MADCO says:

          “But the problems–including transferability among employers, lack of coverage for those with existing conditions, etc…–can be fixed other ways.”

          Then why didn’t the R’s do anything about it when they had the WH and Congressional majorities?  

          You think “… one of the main reasons health care is so expensive is because the government mandates coverage for every “affliction” under the sun.  If the government did the same for, say, car insurance, the result would be mandated coverage of things like oil changes and snow tires.”

          LIke what?

          I believe in preventative medicine and the power of wellness therapies and diet. My health insurance (considered the gold standard by many) covers exactly zero preventative & wellness expense.

          You may be on to something here- but unless you can cite factual examples with hard data and numbers  (like coverage for procedure  “x” is mandated, which costs insurers $Z, + profit margin and SGA = total cost to consumers.)  then it’s just your emotional gut reaction.

          And, in case you haven’t been paying attention- part of the real beauty of our democratic republic is that if enough citizens dislike what the elected officials have done, we get to vote for different ones next time.

          Of course, there is no time machine, so we can’t go back and undo the invasion of Iraq, nor the creation of Medicare and so on. (I’d love to see the R candidate who wins the nomination to challenge Bennett campaign on the elimination of Medicare.)

          So if you are right and the Obama administration and the D’s in Congress are so opposed on this issue by so many Americans, then you should be ecstatic. It’s just 61 weeks until the mid-terms. And just 3 1/2 years until you get your new President.

          Of course, if you’re wrong (I believe you are) – you might start thinking about how you can get yourself into one of those cowardly and unpatriotic seccesionary states. Either that, or be like my grandfather (RIP) who was in his late 30’s when Medicare was adopted. He HATED it right up until his employer paid (partially) plan kicked him out at age 65 and he had to use it. A lifetime of bitterness and anger that ended up with: grudging acknowledgment it was pretty good. but it should go no further.  

          Personally I regret rubbing his face in it at all, though politically I was right when I told him he didn’t have to use Medicare, he could have just started paying out of pocket for everything.

          The rest of your post is emotional hogwash and blather.

  11. RedGreen says:

    From Steven Pearlstein’s Friday column, via TPM:

    The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they’ve given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They’ve become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.

    There are lots of valid criticisms that can be made against the health reform plans moving through Congress — I’ve made a few myself. But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation.

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