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Quick, repeal health care… before the people realize it’s good
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Smart v. Stupid

Quick, repeal health care… before the people realize it’s good

  • House Speaker John Boehner
    flickr/John DuboisHouse Speaker John Boehner

John Boehner, the new Speaker of the House, is promising to repeal health care legislation passed last session. But he’s lying.

He’s actually involved in a marketing campaign. He wants to pre-taint the popular provisions now coming on line so you’ll overlook their obvious benefit. This sort of advertising strategy is not uncommon in business or politics. Apple’s “I’m a Mac” commercials are a good example. Both Apple and Boehner want to make the other choice unacceptable before you see for yourself. It’s a clever tactic, sure, but not really honest.

What’s really at play is an effort to convince you that health care reform only looks great. You’ve been scammed, they want you to believe. Don’t trust your lying eyes, implores Boehner.

He claims that health reform is causing unemployment, even ridiculously naming his bill “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Now there’s a mouthful. But there is no evidence to support the speaker’s claim. It’s simply tan on a fanny.

A long look at Speaker Boehner’s new website reveals he doesn’t even try to support this Big Lie. He relies, I think, on you being too busy to check. I was amused to find that he calls last year’s landmark legislation “the Pelosi bill,” so I don’t mind calling this one the Boehner repeal. As I write, he claims to be “releasing a report.” If he actually does, expect a lugubrious title like “Obamacare will cause Nuclear Armageddon.” I’m betting he hopes you won’t look past the cover. In fact, I’ll bet he’s counting on it.

His fear, you see, is that you’ll find out that the new provisions are just dandy. He’s already starting from behind — two thirds of Americans either like the bill or don’t like it because it didn’t go far enough. They are supporters of health care reform.

Only thirty-seven percent of us agree with the Republican viewpoint. Those aren’t good numbers for Republicans looking to 2012. But support for the legislation can only grow as people benefit from it. Unless Boehner can convince you that black is really white, health care reform is here to stay. So he desperately seeks to demonize these health services. After all, the speaker has a Corporatocracy to serve. The new rules do cost insurance companies some portion of their annual record-setting profits, but not nearly all and certainly not even most.

The rules are a clear winner for all Americans. Here’s some of what you get:

  • A prohibition against dumping you when you need to use your insurance.
  • Insurers must spend 80 percent of what they charge on your health care instead of spending it — for example — on denying your claim.
  • Your kids can stay on your plan until they get a good start at a career.
  • Seniors get help paying for prescriptions.
  • Some ginned up “pre-existing condition” like acne won’t allow your insurer to screw you.

The Associated Press reports the 2009 Census data shows an increase in families living below the poverty line. This signals a return of the “lower middle class” that was largely eliminated in the Clinton years. Today, nearly 50 million Americans live below the poverty line. Health costs are partly to blame. Five million people are poor simply because they had a medical expense. They are the “one illness away from poverty” group that Vice-President Biden spoke about.

They are also our canary in the health care coal mine. Another 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance but have so far dodged a major illness. That luck won’t last for millions of them as they get older. Almost no American family can afford the cost of a major illness. That’s why we pool our risk.

On top of all of that, The Congressional Budget Office released a letter they sent to Speaker Boehner informing him that Boehner repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion dollars over the next ten years — even more after that.

We’d all be well served if John Boehner made a House rule that every bill had to be honest, not just in its name, but also in its intent. Don’t hold your breath, though. And don’t get me started about that big, silly gavel.

Jimmy Zuma splits his time between Washington, D.C. and Tucson. He writes the online opinion journal, Smart v. Stupid. He spent 5 years in Tucson in the early ‘80s, when life was a little slower, swamp coolers were a little more plentiful, Tucson’s legendary music scene was in full bloom, and the prevailing work ethic was “don’t - unless you have to.”

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