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Monday, September 16, 2013

A War of Messaging

Obamacare and the GOP Cartoon
Two minutes into the segment of “Morning Joe” I could tell that the words of President Obama angered Joe Scarborough. President Obama told George Stephanopoulos that the beltway media is about style points, and that he was more interested in the right policy. That message was for Joe Scarborough, Maureen Dowd, Andrea Mitchell and Peggy Noonan because they form the world’s perception through their own eyes. I can’t imagine any country not fearing the military might of United States; those five warships in the Mediterranean influence policy just by being there. Tom Friedman stunned the panel of “Meet the Press” when he reminded them that the United States did not have a thing to do with the successful turnover of government in South Africa; Nelson Mandela did. Barney Frank said that some of those on the panel were talking as if Syria was the 51st state.

Joe Scarborough thought he was going to win the Obamacare argument after reading some polls where 44% of Americans think that the Affordable Care Act is a bad thing. I believe the numbers because that same poll said that only 30% of Americans understand the healthcare law. Since 70% of the population doesn’t understand what the new healthcare law is all about and all they hear is mainly negative things supported by billions of dollars of pessimistic ads, the results are self-evident. The GOP knows once those subsidies  start kicking in January, the game is over and the Affordable Care Act will be as popular as Medicare. It's funny how the questions get different results. A question about Obamacare will automatically poll badly while a question about the Affordable Care Act will get a lot of "I don't know."

The more Obamacare obsessed wing of the Republican Party thinks they have a winning hand. Their latest proposal is to delay the implementation of the individual mandate portion of the law until 2015 and attach it to the continuing resolution bill to fund the government until mid-December. Why would the Democrats agree to that? It’s the same rationale that the Republicans used by filibustering Social Security in 1936.

There’s no question that the Affordable Care Act will be difficult to implement because besides the Republicans, there’s the hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, private insurance companies and some doctors who love the status quo. For example, hospitals hate the penalties that will be imposed for their high rate of infection and patient readmission rates.

Obamacare is the new bogeyman for the right; it’s what keeps them up at night ,as they continue to try and come up with new gimmicks to get rid of the law. They think that healthcare is a privilege for those who work hard, and it’s not for those lazy poor people who failed to make it in a free-market economy. They are convinced that the government cannot do anything right, so a new entitlement is doomed to fail. They will not be convinced with evidence of bending the cost curve, or the efficiency of Medicare, Social Security and the VA.

Shutting down the government for a few days, by not passing a continuing resolution won’t hurt the economy as much as it would if we decided not to raise the debt limit. Not raising the debt limit would have a downward spiral effect on the world economy. A government shutdown will hurt the GOP in the 2014 elections; even though a lot of people think that we shouldn’t raise the debt limit without agreeing to more spending cuts. President Obama is adamant about not negotiating the debt limit because of the message it sends to our creditors. How would your creditors like it if they were on the list of the bills that might not be paid?

I think we’re slowly hitting reset button by moving away from the thinking that led to the policies of President Ronald Reagan. It’s a slow messy process, and you got to give credit to the Republicans and Frank Lutz for doing everything they can to win the messaging war at the expense of any pretense of governing.


Mike said...

Just Terrible as President Obama said " We are confronting another mass shooting."

Edith Ann said...

One of my FB friends posted a link to a story that says ALL doctors, no matter the specialty, will be asking questions about their patients' sexual activity. Frequency, number of partners, etc. Have you heard this? I could not find anything to confirm, nor deny it. All I know is that those questions have been asked by our GYNs forever.

Mike said...

I filled out a 5 page questionnaire before I started therapy and two of those questions had to do with sexual activity before and after arm injury. It's one of those questions that might or might not apply;nothing to do with Obamacare.

Betsy McCaughey.a right wing anti-Obamacare activist was the first to spread the rumor about the new requirement. One carddiolist said that it might not be a requirement but he thinks it's necessary to ask his patients about their sex life;perhaps not on every visit but the question is part of the medical record.

Ms McCaughey is trying to mix and match federal requirements to suit her needs. There are federal EHR(Electronic Health Records) and the HITECH Act but not Obamacare to require STI records and counseling.

Mike said...

My big mistake when I quoted Dick Durbin's assertion that the GOP filibustered Social Security....I was wrong for not fact checking before posting.

“Although Social Security was the initiative of a Democratic president, by the time the bill arrived on the floor of Congress a substantial bipartisan majority had developed in its favor,” says an official history of the Social Security administration. “It would be fair to say that at its inception Social Security was a bipartisan program, and has been so for most of its history.”