The Washington Post has reported that the anti-health care reform camp is spending $1.4 million per day to fight health care reform efforts, particularly to kill the public option.
The aim of the lobbying blitz is simple: to minimize the damage to insurers, hospitals and other major sectors while maximizing the potential of up to 46 million uninsured Americans as new customers. Although many firms have vowed to help cut costs, major players such as PhRMA, America’s Health Insurance Plans and others remain opposed to the public-insurance option, a key proposal that President Obama has endorsed.
Here’s how some of that money is being spent to create a new reality:
The website Hands off My Health is putting itself out there as a way for average Americans to let Congress know they are AFRAID and want them to keep their hands off their health insurance plans. They have a petition, signed by just over 16,000 as of this morning that says the following:
Dear Congress members,
Like so many Americans, I’m worried about my health care. My gravest concern is the so-called public plan “option.” Government intervention doesn’t create competition, it kills it. I don’t want the longer waits, rationed care, and higher costs that accompany government-run plans. Everyone agrees that reform is needed. What we don’t need is a massive $1 trillion government program that co-opts our health care and leaves us with fewer choices.
Of course none of us is surprised that fear is being used to drum up support for not changing anything. This has been the modus operandi of the opposition on all progressive reform measures for the past decade. What really sets my teeth on edge are the arguments they are using. Clicking the “Get Facts & Resources” link on their website takes you to this list of so-called “facts”:
- Public plan proponents are advocating a $1.25 per hour per employee tax to pay for the public plan.
- Under the public plan, doctors and hospitals would see their reimbursements for providing medical care cut by as much as 30%.
- The Lewin Group estimates that more than 100 million people would be enrolled in the public plan meaning more government spending at a time when the federal budget deficit is more than $1 trillion.
- The Commonwealth Fund’s own report on its public plan option says federal government spending would increase by $593 billion by 2020.
- Hospitals and doctors would see a $97 billion reduction in reimbursements.
- Despite claims by public plan proponents like Jacob Hacker that Medicare’s “efficiency” has helped lower health care costs, the truth is Medicare was forced to lower reimbursement rates by Congress.
- The Lewin Group’s latest estimate: 119.1 million people would be shifted from private coverage to government-run health insurance. This represents 70 percent of all people currently covered by private health insurance.
- Under a government-run health insurance plan, providers would be forced to provide more services for more people with less money.
- If a new government run plan is setup through Medicare, administrative costs would be 13.2%, the same as private health plans’ administrative costs.
- In his latest paper, Jacob Hacker admits “private plans are generally more flexible, and they have, at times, moved into new areas of care management in advance of the public sector.”
- Advocates of a public plan admit “substantial investments will be needed to create a new public health insurance plan.”
- “Medicaid does grievously underpay providers in many states.”
The first “fact” that “Public plan proponents are advocating a $1.25 per hour per employee tax to pay for the public plan” comes from an analysis done by the conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis and is based on some pretty sketchy assumptions. This, however, does not prevent them from describing it as a “fact”.
Many of the other “facts” are based on studies done by the anti-health care reform Lewin Group which has solid ties to the health care insurance industry. Beyond that, many of the items on this list are simply opinions of health care reform opponents stated as “facts”.
So who is behind “Hands Off My Health”? It’s a project of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) (more here) which is, in turn, part of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI). From PRI’s “About Us” page:
Now more than ever, it is vital that our policy responses are guided by the principles that best preserve the essence of America – its entrepreneurial spirit, belief in the dignity of individuals, and vigilant defense of liberty.
The mission of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) is to champion freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility for all individuals by advancing free-market policy solutions.
Ahhh…free-market policy solutions. It’s getting clearer. CMPI’s Board of Directors includes two investment firms and a company that does the research for investment firms. PRI’s Board has members from the medical devices industry, investment firms, and a charity run by a man with connections to the conservative Heritage Foundation among others.
CMPI has two other websites dedicated to spreading disinformation about health care reform. The first is BigGovHealth. Their webpage has the following statements:
Increased government control and bureaucracy over health care will come at great risk to American patients, consumers and health care workers. Around the world government-run health care systems often mean long wait-lines, a diminished quality of care and denial of life-saving treatments.
Government-run health care is not the solution for America.
Their site is full of “testimonials” from patients and U.S. policymakers.
The other site they run is PublicPlanFacts. Here’s a bit from this “fact” site:
Our Health Care System is Broken
But is a public plan the right solution? Forty-seven million Americans are uninsured, yet Congress’ plan to cover them through government-funded health care could still leave millions of us out in the cold and cost trillions. More than 119 million privately-insured Americans would lose their employer-sponsored coverage, and their right to choose their doctors. Is this really the way to fix our system?
Learn more about why creating a massive government-run public health care plan is a poison pill and what government health will mean to you and your loved ones.
They, of course, have a “Get the Facts” page full of “facts”. In fact, the word “fact” appears no less than ten times on their short “facts” page so they must be actual FACTS!!!
Facts, facts, facts!!!
Apparently if you spend $1.4 million per day, you get to make up your own facts. If we’re going to win this battle, health care reform proponents are going to have to counter these “fact blitzes” with some facts of their own. It’s time to start spreading some real facts around in a very public way so that average Americans can see them.
You know, real facts – the true kind.
I’m just sayin’…