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Bogus Claims About Health Care Proposals Persist:
CNN has some coverage here. The debate over health care legislation reminds me of the debate over the USA Patriot Act back in 2001 (albeit with the politics more or less flipped). In both cases, the legislation was very technical and difficult for a non-expert to understand. In both cases, you had a lot of vocal critics with only a marginal understanding of the law who were more than happy to be loose with the facts in their criticisms. And in both cases, you had a lot of members of the public willing to believe just about any claim about the law, no matter how outlandish.

  UPDATE: A commenter points out another parallel: Many critics seem focused on whether the legislators have personally read the latest text of the bill (as compared to reading summaries of it, reports about it, etc.)  I suppose one easy prediction is that if the health care bill passes, it will have a patriotic acronym name, and critics will then complain that the bill passed only because the Senators and Representatives couldn't possibly vote against a bill with such a patriotic name.

  To make it more challenging, let me predict a name: I think the bill will be called the "American Medical Excellence Reform In Caring for All" Act -- the AMERICA Act. I mean, who could vote against the AMERICA Act?!?!
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Funny.... I just mentioned to my sister another parallel: I dont think most congressmen read either bill, and I am even more sure that few indeed understood it.
8.20.2009 4:40pm
FC:
What proposals? Last I heard the comittees and the Administration are still trying to decide the actual content of the legislation. This thing is a rapidly moving target.
8.20.2009 4:43pm
Michael A. Koenecke:
Funny thing is, the part about accessing bank accounts has a significant basis in fact, though CNN doesn't bother to actually check it out:



They are just "declaring" it debunked, without actually citing the statute and doing actual debunking. There is a lot of that going on in the mainstream media who, of course, have no agenda of their own...
8.20.2009 4:46pm
Michael A. Koenecke:
That link did not work at all. Here's the text:

National Review Article
8.20.2009 4:48pm
Houston Lawyer:
Since the MSM are acting as schills for healthcare "reform", why should the public believe anything they have to say? The Brits call their version of Sarah Palin's feared death panel The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE.
8.20.2009 5:00pm
Steve:
I was surprised to learn the other day that there really is such a law as the "Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006." Guess what, it passed the Senate 100-0. Who knew that no one would want to go on record in favor of fetus farming?
8.20.2009 5:04pm
Steve:
The Brits call their version of Sarah Palin's feared death panel The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE.

I assume that's the same "death panel" that would execute Stephen Hawking in a heartbeat if they could ever get their grubby little British hands on him.
8.20.2009 5:05pm
cs3:
While many of these arguments may be somewhat hyperbolic, I think most have at least a decent justification as argumentation tools in the court of public opinion. For example, I would guess that most people don't actually believe that Senators or Representatives are obliged to read the actual text of each bill they pass, but this criticism seems like it represents at least three different problems with the bill to the public at large:

1. Congress and the White House tried to pass it too rapidly, here 'not reading the bill' conveys the fact that they were willing to pass it without having 'robust debate' that they claimed to want.

2. Congress doesn't even try to read it, because it's a boondoggle of lawyer-speak and bureaucratic garbage they wouldn't understand, which people realize will undoubtedly make the bill full of pork, concessions to special interests, etc.

3. Related to point 2, while you say that 'vocal critics' have a 'marginal understanding' of the law, it's not clear if anyone has any sort of comprehensive understanding of what the major possible bills do. Hopefully these Senators have been reading 'summaries' and 'reports' about the bill, prepared by... who? In the best case, staff members, in the worst case, media reports or lobbying briefs.

I guess in my heart of hearts I would prefer that all arguments in the court of public opinion were like think-tank policy wonk arguments, but this ain't the world we live in.
8.20.2009 5:13pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Here is one supposed "bogus claim" about the health-care "reform" proposals: That the legislation will not provide free coverage to illegal immigrants.

Just how gullible do the Democrats think we are? Oh yeah, sure, the following chain is totally implausible:

1. Obama legalizes the illegal immigrants by signing legislation providing a "path to citizenship", just as he promised his base he would do starting in 2010. It is less risky to carry out this plan later since there is much firmer interest group support for legalizing illegals as "citizens" rather than legalizing them as "patients"; much of the current leftist thinking scares those stakeholders who are afraid to be outright nationalized after the initial health-care "reform" has passed.

2. Now, presto! Due to political machinations, there are no more illegal immigrants receiving free health-care. Now they're full citizens, and Obama can credibly pretend that he has not told a lie.

3. OK, so maybe only a fair fraction of the current illegals will get covered under the "public option". If there's some sort of matching funding mechanism, I look forward to municipalities in liberal havens telling the American public that it's not their job to enforce federal law, as they pay for the health insurance of illegals from their local funds while using the federal matching funds for the insurance of ordinary citizens.

I think quite few of the claims are simply outlandish, Prof. Kerr. You seem to believe in this strange principle, beloved by statists, that if something is not out-rightly stated in the text of the bill(s) then it is dishonest to engage its inevitability before the fact. Does it really matter that "death panels" are not yet enshrined in the legislation, even if they --and/or other unseemly mechanisms of cost control-- are a virtual certainty? To my knowledge the Left has not yet figured out how to repeal very basic ideas of economics and political science: one can expect rising costs when increasing demand with constrained supply, and similarly one can also expect hurried and immoral cost-controls institutionalized when the political ramifications of ineffective legislation become apparent.
8.20.2009 5:14pm
Dan M.:
Yeah, the media is totally in the tank. NBC is push polling, trying to clarify "myths" that it will ultimately lead to rationing, that it will cover abortion, or that illegal immigrants will be able to get health insurance through the public plan.

So, once NBC describes to people a plan that will never lead to rationing, will not cover abortions, and will not cover illegal immigrants, people like it more! Now how about Congress give us such a plan?
8.20.2009 5:16pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):


1. Obama legalizes the illegal immigrants by signing legislation providing a "path to citizenship", just as he promised his base he would do starting in 2010. It is less risky to carry out this plan later since there is much firmer interest group support for legalizing illegals as "citizens" rather than legalizing them as "patients"; much of the current leftist thinking scares those stakeholders who are afraid to be outright nationalized after the initial health-care "reform" has passed.

2. Now, presto! Due to political machinations, there are no more illegal immigrants receiving free health-care. Now they're full citizens, and Obama can credibly pretend that he has not told a lie.

Congratulations. You just summarized two of his campaign promises.
8.20.2009 5:17pm
Houston Lawyer:
Yes, the fact that Stephen Hawking is still alive proves conclusively that NICE doesn't ration healthcare.
8.20.2009 5:19pm
Steve:
Yes, the fact that Stephen Hawking is still alive proves conclusively that NICE doesn't ration healthcare.

Look, maybe the use of terms like "death panel" and "porkulus" is a way to gain credibility in your circles, but in mainstream discourse, not so much.
8.20.2009 5:21pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Cato the Elder:

How about this possibility: Government extends diplomatic immunity to all illegal aliens and their children so as to avoid offering citizenship to the babies born here (that would place them outside the definition of citizenship in the 14th Amendment).....
8.20.2009 5:21pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Government extends diplomatic immunity to all illegal aliens and their children so as to avoid offering citizenship to the babies born here

I completely support that idea. Immunity would sparse them responsibility from any crimes they commit. This would allow us to deport them rather than have them serve prison time, thus further increasing costs.
8.20.2009 5:24pm
Sarcastro (www):
Wow, Cato the Elder, so all Obama has to do is pass amnesty after health care, and it'll be horrible! I'm sure this will not come up in the amnesty debate!

WAKE UP AMERICA! We need to make sure Obama only covers natural born Americans! Long forms for everyone!
8.20.2009 5:25pm
BerkeleyBeetle:
The reason folks are willing to believe any claim about the law is that there's no one to credibly debunk those claims. The media doesn't have credibility with conservatives, and it often seems that, for instance, CNN's "debunkings" are just as fact-free as the claims they're supposedly exposing as false. The politicians certainly aren't going to be trusted, especially if they don't read the bills they pass. And CNN reporting that a politician says the claim isn't true is almost laughable as a denial.

In any case, since there is no final text of a bill right now, how do you prove a claim bogus? "That's not in the bill right now" doesn't mean it won't be in the bill eventually.

And finally, if the administration promises, at various times, that everyone will have health coverage, costs will go down, and no one will have their health coverage options reduced, even without knowing anything about the plan, people are going to conclude that something has to give. They figure that someone's going to have to make the decision as to which procedures to approve, and while calling the people who make that decision a "Death Panel" is inflammatory, when Obama responds with "The notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma ... when you start making arguments like that, it's simply dishonest," he's responding to a straw man, and not challenging the basic factual claim.
8.20.2009 5:26pm
ShelbyC:

Government extends diplomatic immunity to all illegal aliens and their children so as to avoid offering citizenship to the babies born here (that would place them outside the definition of citizenship in the 14th Amendment).....


Brilliant. Then they could just rob banks to pay for their health care...

BTW, we only gotta extend it to children, not the illegal folks themselves, right?
8.20.2009 5:29pm
Kazinski:
Since Harry Reid is on record as saying that the goal is to get to conference with whatever they can, and then rewrite the bill, why should anybody care what's in it. Both sides can say whatever they like, and there will probably be some element of truth to it. If Abortions aren't in the current bill, you can bet somebody is going to push to have them included in conference. Same with illegal alien coverage, rationing panels, the public option, etc. Some or all may not make it to the final bill, but why take a chance?

The fact that Obama has specifically talked about funding for abortion and rationing panels just makes it easier.

The best strategy is oppose and demonize everything, at least until there is a rational process to review a concrete proposal, and debate it thoroughly.
8.20.2009 5:32pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
I am glad that Ted Turner's (remember the guy who used to be married to Hanoi Jane?) cable network determined that ObamaCare would not implement death panels. But they should have first looked to statements by President Obama himself and his health care advisor, Dr. "Death" Emanuel, concerning the necessity of rationing health care based on just the sort of factors that have the elderly petrified right now. And, yes, they should also try to answer the question of how to provide more health care for less money without rationing.

So, yes, HR 3200 does not have any panels, commissions, agencies, etc. specifically called "death panels". And none of them are specifically tasked with killing off granny. So, if that is what the article is trying to convince us of, then it was successful.
8.20.2009 5:32pm
trotsky (mail):
Dan, HR 3200 explicitly states:


SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

That sounds to me, at least, like a law stating that they won't subsidize coverage for illegals.

Obama on the Mike Smerconish show today:


"When you start hearing that somehow this is all designed to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants, that is simply not true and has never been the case."


Nowhere in the bill is abortion mentioned one way or another, but under existing federal law, Medicaid covers abortion only cases of rape or incest, or when the mother's life is in danger.

So on at least two points, NBC is "push polling" by accurately describing the bill that has advanced furthest. This is in the tank?
8.20.2009 5:34pm
Shelby (mail):
Re parallels to the Patriot Act, another is the alleged need to immediately rush through something that no one completely understands. Yet another is that it will be found to consist largely of things that have been on the agendas of the relevant interest groups for the past decade or two; many of these things will turn out to be unrelated to any supposed emergency.
8.20.2009 5:40pm
Dan M.:
trotsky

That's not the final bill. They can easily strip anything singling out illegal aliens later. If they aren't going to get coverage, why does Obama talk about all those 47 million people without health insurance when 25% of them are illegals?

And even if illegals aren't getting subsidies, that doesn't mean they are excluded from the public plan. And we all know that the public plan is ultimately going to go bankrupt without taxpayer funds. So, presto, taxpayer funds for illegals.

It's push polling.

You're talking about a federal law impacting Medicaid. That has no relevance to a subsidy for a person to purchase a public insurance plan that covers abortion.
8.20.2009 5:46pm
krs:

In both cases, the legislation was very technical and difficult for a non-expert to understand. In both cases, you had a lot of vocal critics with only a marginal understanding of the law who were more than happy to be loose with the facts in their criticisms. And in both cases, you had a lot of members of the public willing to believe just about any claim about the law, no matter how outlandish.


Maybe this is better addressed to the VC's resident scholar of rational ignorance, but how would a member of the public who has a decent IQ and education but also has a day job supposed to get anywhere close to the bottom of this?

Most of the commentary I've seen doesn't sound like it's written by people who've gotten very close to the legislation.

There are people on one side who think the "death panels" claim is so absurd that there's no reason to even toss out any details regarding why it's absurd... I get the impression from reading that these people think one should be ashamed for even entertaining the thought that the "death panel" thing is accurate... it's just a lie perpetrated by the usual villains who are just a bunch of corporations and racist white people scared out of their greedy bigoted minds of the coming wave of hope, change and racial harmony that will wash over us all.

Then there are the people on the other side who insist that "death panels" is a rhetorical device that accurately captures what's in the legislation, either in the text or as a natural consequence of how it will work... and damn those evil liberals who want to try to smuggle this past the public and force Soviet government and hippie morals on us all .... but they don't give me much confidence either.

Is there anyone out there who knows how the legislation works and isn't an angry partisan?
8.20.2009 5:58pm
Brian K (mail):
So on at least two points, NBC is "push polling" by accurately describing the bill that has advanced furthest. This is in the tank?

You have to understand what conservatives mean when they say mainstream media is "in the tank". For them to get out of tank they have breathlessly repeat the newest lie that conservatives come up with, point out how racist obama is, continually repeat that all liberals are commies who want to destroy america, constantly insult mulsims, mexicans, gays and any other group deemed by the lowest common denominator to be "un-american", etc. if at anytime media groups question a conservative policy, try to debunk the lies, report honestly or say a single bad thing about any conservative they fall right back into the tank.
8.20.2009 6:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
krs:


Is there anyone out there who knows how the legislation works and isn't an angry partisan?


Given that it is a 1300+ page bill, is there anyone out there who knows how the legislation would actually work? I am not sure ANYONE (angry partisan or not) understands the bill and that has me rather worried.....
8.20.2009 6:06pm
Constantin:
Henry Waxman openly boasts of getting the Medicaid expansion framework passed by assuaging conservative fears, because he knew that once in place he could do whatever he wanted bureaucratically.

I'm sure the guy writing this bill wouldn't think of such a stunt.

(Wait, what?)
8.20.2009 6:12pm
trotsky (mail):
Well, it's easy to imagine an illegal immigrant, gainfully employed, who has insurance via the public plan through his employer. If that's the case, there's no public subsidy. So what's the problem?

And "we all know the public plan will go bankrupt without taxpayer funds"? I don't. Again, the law explicitly requires it to be funded via premiums. All insurance would be subsidized, in part, for those who can't afford it. But HR 3200 sets a level playing field.

No, HR 3200 is not the final law, but it's the most concrete proposal yet and thus the one everyone's talking about. It is a truly bizarre argument that "they" can rewrite the bill at any point. True enough, but public subsidies for illegal immigrants simply aren't popular. In the California Legislature, I could see it. In the U.S. Congress? Not a chance. "They" can rewrite the law only with a majority vote of the House and Senate, remember?
8.20.2009 6:15pm
Frater Plotter:
NICE? Weren't they the bad guys in one of C. S. Lewis's books?
8.20.2009 6:24pm
DangerMouse:
For them to get out of tank they have breathlessly repeat the newest lie that conservatives come up with, point out how racist obama is, continually repeat that all liberals are commies who want to destroy america, constantly insult mulsims, mexicans, gays and any other group deemed by the lowest common denominator to be "un-american", etc.

The only one calling peopel un-American is Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts. Oh, and then there was that lib congressman who said it was "treason" to oppose Obamacare.

Now Obama's saying it's a religious duty to support his statist plan. The guy really does think he's a fricking Messiah, I guess.
8.20.2009 6:37pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Section 242 of HR 3200 prohibits "undocumented aliens" from receiving health care benefits, but it does not provide any means for preventing them from doing so. This language is a "cover," so representatives can tell their constituents that illegal aliens won't receive benefits at their expense. Sections 1702 and 1714 also discuss eligibility, but they all fail to provide for enforcement. The Deal Amendment (what a name!) did provide for enforcement, but it was voted down. My own representative voted against the Deal Amendment, but he tells his constituents (in an approving tone) that HR 3200 won't cover illegal aliens. He's hoping they don't know about his vote on the Deal Amendment. I can't get an answer out of him or his staff on his vote on Deal. The channel goes dead. He's liar, and once his constituents find out what a mendacious guy he is, they will vote him out in 2010. His is not a safe seat.
8.20.2009 7:09pm
SKI:
So let us summarize the "heights" of the logic being presented here: Because the legislation could change in conference or, better yet, by other legislation that hasn't been proposed yet, it is ok to ignore what actually is in the legislation and to lie about it because in some possible future, cows really could fly over the moon while sipping expressos.

As an lawyer working in the health care industry, I actually have read HR 3200 and there are no death panels. There is explicit language prohibiting illegal aliens from getting coverage (much to the chagrin of hospitals that are getting killed by services being provided to illegals that have no coverage but show up in the ER). The public option really is required to be self-sufficient.

The section National Review referenced in the link above has nothing to do with patient's bank accounts. It has to do with providers (physicians and hospitals) getting paid via electronic fund transfer and the payor, in this case the government, being able to retract overpayments and the like. The part about "real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual's financial responsibility at the point of service" helps physicians and hospitals collect the patient's responsibility from the patient at time of service - rather than making the doctors wait 17+ days to get the EOB back and then bill the patient and hope they pay. I don't know whether the National Review author is simply ignorant or deliberately deceitful but the presentation simply isn't accurate.
8.20.2009 7:11pm
SKI:
@ A. Zarkov. You state

"Section 242 of HR 3200 prohibits "undocumented aliens" from receiving health care benefits, but it does not provide any means for preventing them from doing so."


Are you nuts? Stating that they aren't eligible for affirmative benefits IS the means to deny them access to those benefits. It isn't like they magically get benefits in a vacuum.

If they aren't eligible to participate, they don't get to participate. What possible language would you rather see?
8.20.2009 7:15pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Why should American provide free medical care to illegal immigrants? Just because they are here? Anyone who can jump the border deserves treatment at our expense?

There are many implications to a policy that provides illegal aliens with medical benefits. Organ transplants. A 20 year old illegal Mexican immigrant gets a liver transplant ahead of a 50 year American who has paid taxes all his life? Do anyone think the majority of Americans want that? If you believe that you must be crazy or just plain stupid.

It's simple arithmetic. Increasing the demand faster than the supply means Americans get less medicine so illegal Mexicans can have more.
8.20.2009 7:15pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
SKI:

"Stating that they aren't eligible for affirmative benefits IS the means to deny them access to those benefits. It isn't like they magically get benefits in a vacuum."


Read the bill. If there is no enforcement mechanism, the language in the bill is vacuous. Surely you can understand this. We have to judge a law on how it's really going to operate in practice.

If what you say is true (it isn't) then why did the Deal Amendment fail? Why not pass it to convince the public that Congress really means to deny access by illegal aliens?
8.20.2009 7:21pm
Dan M.:
Yeah, the worst part about the "We're not going to cover illegals!" lie is that despite a mandate that everyone get insurance, illegals are still going to not have insurance and we're still going to be required to treat them in emergency rooms.

So, hey, let's repeal the law that says ERs have to treat anyone who shows up. Then talk about insurance reform.
8.20.2009 7:27pm
Steve:
Increasing the demand faster than the supply means Americans get less medicine so illegal Mexicans can have more.

Wow.
8.20.2009 7:28pm
SKI:
Deal's amendment would have mandated the use of the SAVE system - a system that is inaccurate and unreliable.
8.20.2009 7:39pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Dan M:

"We're not going to cover illegals!" lie is that despite a mandate that everyone get insurance, illegals are still going to not have insurance and we're still going to be required to treat them in emergency rooms.


You seem to imply that care in an ER is the same as full coverage under HR 3200. You know that's not true. You are not going to get an organ transplant or heart bypass surgery or orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery from the ER.

With a major amnesty that allows for chain migration, the US will get an enormous influx of new aliens both legal and illegal. We are then supposed to provide all of them with the same benefits Americans get? Where will the money come from? Answer rationing.
8.20.2009 7:39pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Steve:

"Wow."

Yes. My feeling exactly.
8.20.2009 7:41pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
SKI:

"Deal's amendment would have mandated the use of the SAVE system - a system that is inaccurate and unreliable."


If that's true, and I doubt it, then the answer is other legislation to fix any problems with SAVE. Let's have hearings about SAVE. Let's hear from experts who have analyzed the unreliability and hear their suggestions on how to fix it.
8.20.2009 7:43pm
SKI:
It is really sad that due to what appears to be pathological fear/hatred of immigrants (I would say illegal but AZ's previous post makes clear that his problem isn't with their legality), people are distorting what a health reform bill will and won't do.

The bill does NOT provide illegals with coverage. It doesn't. Claiming that it must because otherwise Congress would have mandated the use of a specific flawed system is just sad. Claiming that we are going to end up with rationing because of an influx of immigrants is delusional.
8.20.2009 7:44pm
11-B/2O.B4:

Is there anyone out there who knows how the legislation works and isn't an angry partisan?



I've posted this before on the subject of "death panels". Disclaimer: I am definitely angry, not about anything in particular, that's just the way I roll. And partisan? Not so much. Here's my read based on my (layperson's) reading of the (now excised) bill that contained "end-of-life counseling".

Under a strict reading of the bill, it merely mandated that a primary physician speak with at-risk patients about medical options for care (hospice, etc.), and legal issues such as living wills. So, in essence, the so-called "death panel" would be some sort of oversight committee providing guidance to the doctors who are providing this counseling. Fairly innocuous stuff in my opinion, the concern rises when one looks at other government run end-of-life counseling. For instance the VA's guidance book and worksheets on end-of-life decision making are pretty depressing stuff and in my opinion are definitely slanted toward getting veterans off their rolls as soon as possible.

The simple fact is that HCR is going to be retardedly expensive, so there will be pressure to cut costs eventually, and that is going to lead to some sort of rationing, even if it's only strongly "advising" people to take certain options or "forgetting" to tell them about others.

So no, in the strictest sense, the "death panel" does not exist, but it's not hard to see how the bureaucracy created could morph into something very much like one without much problem.

As I said, I hear a lot of promises on one side, and a lot of hysteria on the other. If supporters of the HCR bill want to silence the opposition, put those promises in the bill. I suggest the following.

If any of these conditions are not met at any time, the HCR bill becomes immediately null and void.

1: The new health care regime will save money. It will be, at very minimum, revenue neutral, and if it ever loses a single dime, it ends.

2: There will be no waiting in lines. The first line in any clinic, office or hospital will revoke the bill.

3: No care will ever be rationed. No legitimate treatment option will ever be denied to any patient for any reason. The first instance of refusal of care will permanently void the bill.

and so on. Do you think that the politicians have enough confidence in their bill to bet it on it's own effectiveness? Or are these promises just hot air intended to assuage the gullible until the government has the controls firmly in its grasp?
8.20.2009 7:44pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Cato The Elder:

Here is one supposed "bogus claim" about the health-care "reform" proposals: That the legislation will not provide free coverage to illegal immigrants.

Not just illegal immigrants; the Illegal Immigrant in Chief!
8.20.2009 7:46pm
SKI:
They have been having hearings about SAVE and VIS which underlies it for years. It has gotten better but it still isn't "fixed".
8.20.2009 7:52pm
Spanky von Spankowitz:
SKI- Do you honestly believe that Healthcare won't be extended to illegal aliens? That is to say, can you envision a Democratic politician announcing, after the law is passed, that the law will not be interpreted so as to cover illegal aliens and that such aliens cannot receive coverage in this country? And further that no law should be drafted to remedy the issue?

Is that, in your mind, consistent with how the Democrats have handled illegal alien issues over the past couple of decades?
8.20.2009 7:54pm
SKI:
@ "11-B/2O.B4:" - Your analysis contains an error.
The "end of life counseling" was NOT "mandated" in the bills being discussed.

It had been "mandated" in Sen. Isaakson's bill from a prior Congress.

The current bills only provided for such a counseling session to be a reimbursable event for the provider. That is, the doctor who takes his or her time to help their patient could be compensated by Medicare for it.
8.20.2009 7:55pm
SKI:
@ Spanky von Spankowitz -

I can tell you that Steny Hoyer stated earlier this week in a private meeting with hospital CEOs from Maryland that, contrary to their request, illegal aliens would NOT be covered. Trying to do so would, in his view, kill the entire effort.
8.20.2009 7:57pm
SKI:
Oh and this
2: There will be no waiting in lines. The first line in any clinic, office or hospital will revoke the bill.

3: No care will ever be rationed. No legitimate treatment option will ever be denied to any patient for any reason. The first instance of refusal of care will permanently void the bill.

and so on. Do you think that the politicians have enough confidence in their bill to bet it on it's own effectiveness? Or are these promises just hot air intended to assuage the gullible until the government has the controls firmly in its grasp?

is insane.

None of that exists NOW. No one is promising it. Demanding it is ridiculous and a sign that the author is either living on a different planet or a completely unserious hack.
8.20.2009 8:00pm
Dan M.:
If the public option will NEVER use taxpayer money to make payments to hospitals, WHAT IS THE POINT?

If all we need to get prices down is some old-fashioned competition, why isn't there a private non-profit providing it?

Of course, maybe there's so little competition because of regulatory barriers to the market.
8.20.2009 8:01pm
ShelbyC:

If all we need to get prices down is some old-fashioned competition, why isn't there a private non-profit providing it?

Of course, maybe there's so little competition because of regulatory barriers to the market.


One of the main reasons is the tax subsidy of employer-provided insurance. So the companies aren't competing to get picked by you, there competeing to get picked by companies.
8.20.2009 8:06pm
Dan M.:
Hell, mandate insurance, repeal ER mandate, and refuse subsidies to illegal immigrants, and then I don't care what about the illegal immigrant issue.
8.20.2009 8:07pm
Brian K (mail):
The only one calling peopel un-American is Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts. Oh, and then there was that lib congressman who said it was "treason" to oppose Obamacare.

did you live under a rock when bush was president? or did you just keep your thumbs in your ears for the last 8 years?
8.20.2009 8:13pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
SKI:

"It is really sad that due to what appears to be pathological fear/hatred of immigrants (I would say illegal but AZ's previous post makes clear that his problem isn't with their legality)..."

Being unable to cope with reality, you have now descended to personal insults.

"Claiming that we are going to end up with rationing because of an influx of immigrants is delusional.

This "delusion" is going to sink the bill. Any rational person who can do simple arithmetic can see that Obamacare (to use a term of art) plus amnesty cannot be sustained without some form of rationing. Illegal aliens are currently enjoy a benefit level in California that has made a major contribution to the fiscal shortfall. It's politically impossible for illegals not to get medical care under universal coverage. Look at the way politicians carefully avoid talking about this subject. If they were serious we would have clear language in the bill denying them coverage along with enforcement provisions.

BTW where is the data on the unreliability of SAVE?
8.20.2009 8:13pm
Dan M.:
Well, wasn't Obama the one who thought it was such a terrible idea to make health benefits taxable?
8.20.2009 8:18pm
Abdul Abulbul Amir (mail):




SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.




That sounds to me, at least, like a law stating that they won't subsidize coverage for illegals.



OTOH, with no penalties and no enforcement mechanism it seems at best a sentiment. BTW, illegals are not supposed to vote either, but the Dems are four square against anyone having to prove citizenship. There is no reason to believe this will be different.
8.20.2009 8:24pm
name:
I don't really understand how you guys think that illegal aliens would get coverage. As I understand it, under the current proposals to get the government-subsidized premiums you have to show through your tax forms that your annual income is some percentage of the poverty level. Illegal aliens work off the books; they don't have social security numbers; they don't have W-2s or W-4s; and they don't file tax returns. So, how exactly do you think this would work?
8.20.2009 8:29pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Dan M.:

Well, wasn't Obama the one who thought it was such a terrible idea to make health benefits taxable?

Yes, and he was wrong. Glad we agree.
8.20.2009 8:30pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
"You're either with us or against us" seems to be the unspoken rule of the day.
8.20.2009 8:49pm
Wiley Quixote (mail):
This thread reads like the Underpants Gnomes discovering politics.

There is no lie so big that it can't be supported by an infinite set of possible futures (no matter how unlikely/unrealistic/ridiculous).
8.20.2009 8:53pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
From the WSJ: ObamaCare Is All About Rationing by Martin Feldstein. Feldstein is professor of economics at Harvard and president of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Is he making bogus claims?

Feldstein doesn't even consider the cost of providing immigrants with medical care.

We will most likely get some form of rationing even without Obamacare, but with it, rationing will come sooner, and be more draconian.
8.20.2009 8:54pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Wiley Quixote:

"There is no lie so big that it can't be supported by an infinite set of possible futures (no matter how unlikely/unrealistic/ridiculous)."

That really applies to Obama who has blamed the economic crisis on the lack of universal health care. So dire was his "possible future" that he said we had to pass Obamacare before the August recess. No hearings, no debate, don't even read it-- just pass it.
8.20.2009 8:58pm
trotsky (mail):
"Repeal ER mandate."

So, really, somebody's in a car wreck or severely ill with a communicable disease or dying of a heart attack -- and you want the ER to first demand that they go home and get their wallet to provide an insurance ID, along with a passport or original birth certificate to prove citizenship?

There's a practical issue here regarding the nature of emergency care.
8.20.2009 9:00pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

There is no lie so big that it can't be supported by an infinite set of possible futures (no matter how unlikely/unrealistic/ridiculous).

Wiley Quixote,

Perhaps. But come, let's be frank with one another. We know was soon as the legislation passes, even if it did possess enforcement mechanisms, many leftist organizations will immediately begin arguing that it is racist and xenophobic to deny illegal immigrants health coverage. We are reasonably sure of this because as the debate has gotten sufficiently heated here, that very accusation has been tossed out by SKI. We know there will be significant interest group pressure on your side, and what's more there are already plenty of examples of liberal municipalities flaunting federal law when it regards giving illegal immigrants government benefits. Do you not recall that bricks were tossed at Tom Tancredo because he had the temerity to suggest that illegal immigrants in North Carolina should not be the ones benefiting from a publicly subsidized college education? Ours is not an irrational fear.
8.20.2009 9:14pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
CNN says,

"The CNN Truth Squad, which fact-checks political claims, has debunked the bank-access rumor as false."


The federal and state governments already have the power to make a deduction from your bank account. It happened to me. No due process. One day money was taken from my account and the bank told me "too bad, it's legal." Can we trust CNN to give us the straight story? Along with CBS, NBC, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, they support Obama and Obamacare. Look at the softball questions they ask at his press conferences.
8.20.2009 9:27pm
Fury:
SKI

"The part about "real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual's financial responsibility at the point of service" helps physicians and hospitals collect the patient's responsibility from the patient at time of service - rather than making the doctors wait 17+ days to get the EOB back and then bill the patient and hope they pay."

Thank you for this information. How will the determination be made?
8.20.2009 9:29pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Not just illegal immigrants; the Illegal Immigrant in Chief!

I have paid attention to your input for some time Leo Marvin. I hope you are not one of those arguing for "elevated discussion" as your first instinct in these threads nearly always tends towards easy sarcasm, which accordingly might possibly be construed as hypocritical. Very few on this particular forum are Birthers; off the top of my head I can only think one, Clayton E. Cramer. Even so, as he is no Bellesiles I can only assume that he came to his position with care, though we disagree. You may choose to engage my actual arguments at your own prerogative.
8.20.2009 9:30pm
Wiley Quixote:
Cato:
So your argument is that we'd be in the same position as we are in now? Ooooh, that does sound scary!

Still arguing that the current health insurance reform proposals will inevitably lead to covering illegal aliens through unproposed future legislation isn't the same as lying about what this current legislation will actually do.
8.20.2009 9:37pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Wiley Quixote said: So your argument is that we'd be in the same position as we are in now?

We would not be in the same position we are now. Illegal immigrants are still bankrupting the State while they are ineligible for big-ticket items like organ surgeries and expensive end-of-life care. Once Obamcare is passed, we would not be able to deport immigrants like the man referenced in this New York Times Article, meaning the costs of tolerating this wretched state of affairs will only increase, and dramatically. (Practically, we are loath to deport them even now, as hospitals are faced contemplating expensive tort lawsuits from _non-citizens_.) So you are mistaken.
8.20.2009 9:52pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

So let us summarize the "heights" of the logic being presented here: Because the legislation could change in conference or, better yet, by other legislation that hasn't been proposed yet, it is ok to ignore what actually is in the legislation and to lie about it because in some possible future, cows really could fly over the moon while sipping expressos.

As an lawyer working in the health care industry, I actually have read HR 3200 and there are no death panels. There is explicit language prohibiting illegal aliens from getting coverage (much to the chagrin of hospitals that are getting killed by services being provided to illegals that have no coverage but show up in the ER). The public option really is required to be self-sufficient.

The section National Review referenced in the link above has nothing to do with patient's bank accounts. It has to do with providers (physicians and hospitals) getting paid via electronic fund transfer and the payor, in this case the government, being able to retract overpayments and the like. The part about "real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual's financial responsibility at the point of service" helps physicians and hospitals collect the patient's responsibility from the patient at time of service - rather than making the doctors wait 17+ days to get the EOB back and then bill the patient and hope they pay. I don't know whether the National Review author is simply ignorant or deliberately deceitful but the presentation simply isn't accurate.


Does the bill also say that monkeys will fly out of my butt?
8.20.2009 9:58pm
name:
Cato: How would anything in any of the current bills prevent hospitals from repatriating immigrants? Can you cite some provision that deals with this practice?
8.20.2009 10:05pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Most everyone (except Cato) keeps dancing around the fundamental issue: why is the US responsible to provide medical treatment to the Third World? Evidently many people for some reason believe we have that responsibility, and they have make tortured arguments about health care legislation. I wish someone well tell me in a straightforward manner without weasel words why I'm supposed to pay for medical care to the Third World.
8.20.2009 10:38pm
East:

11-B/2O.B4: and so on. Do you think that the politicians have enough confidence in their bill to bet it on it's own effectiveness?


Ah, the doctrine of If At First You Don't Succeed, Implode. I would like to see a commitment that the public option be self-sustaining.
8.20.2009 11:36pm
John Moore (www):
Speaking of misinformed... The party that is pushing this legislation contiains 99% of the people who believe:

O.J. is innocent;

-- Bush shirked his National Guard duty;

-- Sarah Palin's infant child, Trig, was actually the child of her daughter;

-- Justice Antonin Scalia threw the 2000 election to Bush so that his son could get a legal job with the Labor Department;

-- The spectacularly guilty Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed;

-- The Diebold Corp. secretly stole thousands of Kerry votes in 2004;

-- Duke lacrosse players gang-raped a stripper;


-- Heterosexuals are just as likely to contract AIDS as gays;

-- John Edwards didn't have an affair with Rielle Hunter;

[thanks, Tigerhawk]
8.20.2009 11:46pm
Wiley Quixote:
Yeah, but you got the flat earthers ;)
8.20.2009 11:53pm
11-B/2O.B4:

is insane.

None of that exists NOW. No one is promising it. Demanding it is ridiculous and a sign that the author is either living on a different planet or a completely unserious hack.


No, none of it exists now, and the democrats ARE promising it. Obama said in a press conference, and I quote: "You won't be waiting around in any lines". He's claimed on dozens of occasions that the new regime would save money. And while I have no recollection of him saying specifically that care would not be rationed, I have heard that from Frank, Dodd, and several other lawmakers. There is a lot of irrational hysteria, but what do they expect when they have six competing bills constantly being updated, none of which have been even written in their entirety, much less read? This is a huge deal, and they tried to slip it past the public, and we know it. In all seriousness, I don't expect any provisions like I posted earlier, but think how great it would be if laws contained a self-cancellation if they did not achieve their purpose?

Things the Democrats need to do to bring this debate to a successful conclusion.

1: Get a bill. They have half a dozen. Which bill matters less, but right now they're just using this as cover. "Oh, I don't support that, that will never happen under my bill". But it might under the other five we're being asked to accept uncritically.

2: Publish the damn bill. Let people read it. As a finished product, before it is voted on.

3: Accept discussion. No, it's not all astroturf and nazis, hate to break it to you. A few wingnuts will always get their pictures in the news by acting the fool. That doesn't nullify the real people with real concerns.

4: Pass whatever they damn well please, and quit whining about the goddamn Republicans. You own all three branches of government, there is no filibuster. This government is completely and totally Democratic run. It's like the Pittsburgh Steelers complaining that Barry Sanders is keeping them out of the Super Bowl (he's a retired player from the worst team in the NFL, for the uninformed).

5: Take the consequences.
8.20.2009 11:56pm
John Moore (www):

If that's true, and I doubt it, then the answer is other legislation to fix any problems with SAVE. Let's have hearings about SAVE. Let's hear from experts who have analyzed the unreliability and hear their suggestions on how to fix it.

Yeah, but that's not how things actually work, or the British wouldn't be dying for SAVE.

Either the government rations, or the costs balloon. That's really, really obvious and shouldn't be a matter of debate. Whether they ration by cutting payments to drive doctors out the business (check out their plans for anesthesiologists, for example), or they ration by deciding who gets what care based on a SAVE panel or equivalent, they're gonna ration.

One of the shocking things about this debate is how bald the lies have been from Obama (but then he lied about income taxes and darned near everything else). His plan is going to reduce costs? Lie. Nobody will lose their insurance (LIE - when their employer drops the private coverage because the public plan crowds out the market). There will be no rationing (LIE, unless one wants to get into definitional issues about the definition of what is is is is rationing is). And it goes on...
8.21.2009 1:21am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
John Moore:


-- Heterosexuals are just as likely to contract AIDS as gays;


Aren't heterosexual women more likely to get AIDS than lesbians?
8.21.2009 1:48am
geokstr (mail):

Brian K:
...if at anytime media groups question a conservative policy, try to debunk the lies, report honestly or say a single bad thing about any conservative they fall right back into the tank.

Gosh, it must have just slipped your mind, but I don't recall a whole lot of "media groups" that make it a normal practice to also "...question any conservative liberal policy, try to debunk their lies, report honestly or say a single bad thing about any conservative liberal...". But they do make it a highly consistent practice to spot all these supposed "lies" that come from the right and beat them to death, panel or no.

Of course, I recognize that the left never distorts, twists, spins, contorts, demagogues, proposes left-wing policies, tells outright lies or has a single bad thing to say about any conservative. It's just in our fevered imaginations that the media is in the tank for the left, despite the 40 years of surveys that ask editors, anchors, reporters, journalism professors and their students, etc, to self-identify their political leanings, party affiliations, who they voted for, who they donated to. So what that it's consistently 9 to 1 or higher Democrat in every one of those areas, and that they are far to the left of the majority of Americans on all major issues? We just have to admit that your team has so much more honor (or whatever it is that poses as honor on the left) that they can play it right down the middle.

After all, how can an entire profession be biased when they agree with you 90% of the time, right?

Typical leftist.
8.21.2009 2:08am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Yeah, but that's not how things actually work, or the British wouldn't be dying for SAVE."

Are we discussing the same thing? SAVE is an electronic identity check to verify legal immigration status.
8.21.2009 2:13am
SKI:
Well, wasn't Obama the one who thought it was such a terrible idea to make health benefits taxable?

If that was the ONLY reform. McCain's "plan" would have made such benefits taxable but done nothing to actually help people who are currently blocked from the health insurance marketplace (i.e., anyone with a pre-existing condition) from accessing insurance. It was a bad idea.
8.21.2009 10:24am
SKI:
@ Cato


any leftist organizations will immediately begin arguing that it is racist and xenophobic to deny illegal immigrants health coverage. We are reasonably sure of this because as the debate has gotten sufficiently heated here, that very accusation has been tossed out by SKI

That is NOT what I said. I said that AZ's preoccupation with immigrants, both legal and illegal, is ridiculous and appears to me to be pathological.

I said NOTHING about it being racist or xenophobic to be opposed to subsidizing care to illegal immigrants
8.21.2009 10:27am
SKI:
@ Fury
Thank you for this information. How will the determination be made?


Same way it is made now. A provider sends the patient's demographics and insurance information through their clearinghouse (or directly) to the payor and receives back confirmation of insurance coverage and a determination of what the patient owes based on the patient's contract with the payor and the payor's contract with the provider.
8.21.2009 10:31am
SKI:
@ AZ
Most everyone (except Cato) keeps dancing around the fundamental issue: why is the US responsible to provide medical treatment to the Third World? Evidently many people for some reason believe we have that responsibility, and they have make tortured arguments about health care legislation. I wish someone well tell me in a straightforward manner without weasel words why I'm supposed to pay for medical care to the Third World.

What you seem to be missing is that for the rest of us, that is not the "fundamental issue". That immigration is a minor sideshow dreamed up by minds overly obsessed with an issue that impacts a minuscule fraction of health care in this country.

It is clear that you have a unhealthy preoccupation with the issue but for the rest of us, particularly those who live in and see the impact of a structurally flawed health care system every day, your ranting about illegal (and legal) immigrants is nonsensical.
8.21.2009 10:35am
SKI:
@ Cato


Once Obamcare is passed, we would not be able to deport immigrants like the man referenced in this New York Times Article, meaning the costs of tolerating this wretched state of affairs will only increase, and dramatically.

Why not? I've read HR 3200 and there was nothing in there prohibiting deportation. What provision are you claiming would have this effect?
8.21.2009 10:37am
Martha:

Given that it is a 1300+ page bill, is there anyone out there who knows how the legislation would actually work? I am not sure ANYONE (angry partisan or not) understands the bill and that has me rather worried.....

1300+ seems to be a slight exaggeration. In any event, Slate today published an interesting Explainer column about bill length and whether anyone actually reads the whole of a long bill. 1000+ pages is quite long, but apparently not aberrantly so.
8.21.2009 12:12pm
John Moore (www):
Aren't heterosexual women more likely to get AIDS than lesbians?


Yes, but much less likely to get it than homosexual males.
8.21.2009 12:22pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
John Moore:

My point was that generalizations are hazardous to one's argument.
8.21.2009 12:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
SKI:


If that was the ONLY reform. McCain's "plan" would have made such benefits taxable but done nothing to actually help people who are currently blocked from the health insurance marketplace (i.e., anyone with a pre-existing condition) from accessing insurance. It was a bad idea.


McCain's plan, once it hit the House, would have turned into something almost identical to the house bill.

"Deregulation" regarding the States would have meant new federal regulation of the sort the House proposes. I voted against McCain in part on that basis and asked my congressmen to oppose any reform plan which dismantles state regulation.
8.21.2009 12:53pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
SKI:

"What you seem to be missing is that for the rest of us, that is not the "fundamental issue". That immigration is a minor sideshow dreamed up by minds overly obsessed with an issue that impacts a minuscule fraction of health care in this country."


Costs are the major issue because it's costs that will produce rationing. Of the 47 million uninsured a major fraction are illegal aliens and immigrants. Most of the rest have voluntarily declined to insure.

Obama says will push through an amnesty bill. He repeated that from Mexico and that's what he and Feinstein are telling La Raza. That will drive up costs. So there is nothing "unhealthy" or "nonsensical" about the impact of current and future immigration on Obamacare. The non-Hispanic population is stable to declining; it's the Hispanic population that's exploding. It is neither "unhealthy" or "nonsensical" to give demographics careful consideration. If I had simply talked about demographics would you then be happy?

In any case avoiding the usual snarl words like "racist" and "xenophobe" does not mean you have not descended into insults-- you have. If you don't think that demographics will be the prime cost pusher in the future, then tell us what will it be.
8.21.2009 1:20pm
cmr:
My point was that generalizations are hazardous to one's argument.


Actually, to be fair, that was a bad generalization. More homosexual males get HIV/AIDS than heterosexual males and females combined, though.
8.21.2009 1:34pm
David Tomlin (mail):

NICE? Weren't they the bad guys in one of C. S. Lewis's books?


Yes. That Hideous Strength.

The first two letters were for 'National Institute', which I think is also true of the real NICE. I think 'E' was for 'Education', and I don't remember for 'C'. Maybe 'Co-ordinated'?

Btw C.S. Lewis thought British health care in his day was flawed but much better than American, which he thought was atrocious. See Letters to an American Lady.
8.21.2009 1:39pm
Eli Rabett (www):
The enforcement mechanism is that the health insurance WILL NOT PAY for treatment of illegal aliens. Of course the amusing part which has the tort guys firing up their engines is that a significant number of the illegals will be paying for health insurance through their employers.

Emergency treatment of uninsured will be paid for the way it always has, by inflating charges to individuals and health insurance companies. Since the major part of the billing is facilities and administrative costs (the MRI, the XRAY, etc.) it will not be possible to discount significantly for the undocumented.

The really interesting part of this is that if one of youse comes down ill in a civilized country such as Canada, UK, etc., your health care is free. What happens in the US under the proposed legislation?
8.21.2009 3:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
cmr, I don't doubt that statistic. Receiving penatrative sex is a major risk factor. Just arguing for specificity in arguments.
8.21.2009 6:03pm
John Moore (www):
einhverfr - no, just being unduly picky. It's obvious, when one is discussing AIDS and homosexuality, that the subject is not lesbianism.
8.21.2009 7:21pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Cato The Elder:

Sometimes I don't live up to my own standards. I don't try to excuse it. I don't know if that meets your definition of "hypocrite." As for your not being a fan of my satire, well, it is a matter of taste.
8.21.2009 8:19pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
John Moore,

Less obvious though when one uses it as an argument against SSM, etc.
8.22.2009 4:41pm

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