November 20th, 2010

Persistent Lies About Health Care Reform

Persistent Lies About Health Care Reform

Some factions of the mainstream media continue to make a mockery of honest journalism...

It's not enough to sit back and "yell at the TV." We have to speak out in favor of the truth. The recent elections are a vivid reminder of how lies, repeated often enough, can take hold.

My comment, which is buried somewhere among countless others:

What an utter nonsense article. First of all, Democrats weren't hurt in the elections because of health reform; they were hurt by (among other things) an incorrect perception of the realities of health reform that the right wing managed to sell to the media and their base. It's like getting people to oppose the local fire department by getting them to believe the lie that it starts fires rather than putting them out.

A lot of lies were successfully sold this election season. It's remarkably easy to do, when a lot of people are still hurting and don't realize it takes more than two years for an entire country to climb out of the nastiest recession in generations. Even though Republican policies brought about this mess in the first place, Republicans took advantage of the public's short political attention span and rode into office on a wave of lingering dissatisfaction. "The party in power hasn't changed my life for the better in the last 2 years? Time to go vote for the other party instead! You know, the one that got us into this mess!"

Also, it's complete misinformation to suggest that Democrats were punished in the election because of their progressive stances. Other than a few progressives elected in the last few cycles in traditionally conservative districts who got swept back out with the political pendulum return swing this year, the wing of the Democratic party that took the biggest hit in the elections was actually the "Blue Dog" i.e. "conservative Democrat" wing that seems to believe the key to electoral success is to become watered-down Republicans themselves, rather than standing up for their core values that would actually benefit the vast majority of people.

Oh, and the results of the election really aren't that unusual, nor do they constitute any sort of a special mandate. Midterm elections generally swing back in the other direction from the party in power, and the severity of the swing in this case is directly proportional to the severity of the recession we've been trying to climb out of -- you know, the ones the Democrats didn't cause in the first place. And even then, the results really weren't that one-sided. The Democrats did keep the Senate.

Health reform itself is probably not doing as much good as it could because it was so compromised and watered-down in the first place, largely to appease the "Party of No" Republicans who ended up opposing it en masse anyway, in spite of all the compromise. The Democrats couldn't get their act together and fight for the reform we really needed.

Still, this reform legislation will move us noticeably forward *once it has the chance to be fully implemented.* It's stunning how short-sighted some in this country can be on this subject, just because they personally have never experienced the shortcomings of our current health care system, or because reform hasn't fixed everything overnight. Giving a bunch of insurance companies -- companies motivated by nothing other than profit -- free reign to set the rules of the game was always destined to leave many unlucky people out in the cold in their time of greatest need. Health reform is a modest and timid, but still much-needed, step towards curtailing some of the industry's worst abuses. And that's all it is. No "Obamacare." No "Death Panels." Those are all lies. The insurance companies are still largely in charge. They just have a few new restrictions on how badly they can screw people over in the name of the almighty dollar. I struggle to see how that's a bad thing.

This article (or more accurately "slanted opinion piece favoring insurance companies and the Republicans who fight for them") is a perfect example of the lies about health reform that managed to take hold and sway public sentiment, and it has no place on any site that calls itself "News." AOL should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to be published under its name.