The White House is on a mission to clarify what it calls “disinformation” about what they call health care reform and I call two trillion dollars of new taxes.

The president went to in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on August 11 to sell his plan to the voters. He had a great crowd. Unlike the House member “Town Halls” that Nancy Pelosi says Republicans pack with “un-American” hooligans, ABC noted the Democrats packed the President’s gathering with yes-men while outside was packed with the (disenfranchised) nay-sayers.

In selling his plan, President Obama said, “the American people will be glad we acted to change an unsustainable system.” Too bad the news reports refuted that.

Nobody in Washington — not even the President — listens. “The problem is people become frustrated because they can’t get their voices heard,” Corey Lewandowski, of the activist group Americans for Prosperity said. The President apparently still believes even the frustrated people will be glad.

In selling his plan, President Obama said, “We have the AARP on board” to endorse the bill. Too bad AARP refuted that statement.

“Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate,” an AARP statement said.

In selling his plan, President Obama said, “Under the reform we’re proposing, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like you health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” Too bad our experience in Vermont refuted that claim, too.

ABC News aired a periodic “Fact Check.” It didn’t dig deeply enough to see the expectation (born in Vermont) that insurance companies would flee.

Reporter David Wright supported the president. “Opponents of health care reform claim that the proposed changes would put private insurance companies out of business,” he reported. “That’s false.” Wright went to the bill itself to to show that insurers will continue in business. Section 102 of the current House bill actually says “Insurance companies have five years to comply with new government standards.”

They won’t.

See, Vermonters have a little experience with voluntary compliance with government standards. In 1992, then-Governor Howard Dean signed into law a program to force universal health care on Vermont by 1995. (Governor Dean opposed a competing single-payer plan as too expensive. “Their package would have cost $500 million in a state with a total budget of $1.3 billion,” Governor Dean said at the time.) His new law banned “cherry picking” and enacted many of the rules present in the current House bill.

Strangely, insurance companies did not flock to Vermont.

In fact, Vermonters found just the opposite happened.

In 1990 the state had more than a dozen companies writing health insurance for Vermonters. By 1995, the state had three companies writing health insurance for Vermonters.

The current House bill also includes tax breaks and mandates to keep employers from exercising their free market right to drop existing (expensive) insurance plans. Mandates may make good sound bites; they don’t work if no one sticks around to obey them.

What have we learned today?

Maybe, just maybe our trust that our politicians could tell the truth should match our expectation that used car dealers ever tell the truth.

4 thoughts on “Disinformation?

  1. It’s true nobody listens. But especially, nobody listens when people shout. And when they just want to be heard and don’t want to listen back. And when people can’t trust the public with honest answers, especially of the “I don’t know” or “here’s what we are thinking” kind.

    An impartial, nonpartisan body needs to come up with a side-by side comparison, identify misconceptions and real questions. People on all sides who are serious about finding solutions, not just blocking change, need to meet with the administration. And the whole thing needs to be televised.

    Of course, only PBS would carry it, and nobody would pay attention. It would be hard work.

  2. We don’t need a non-partisan body to compare Obamacare to status quo. That presumes that those are the only two conceivable choices to “improving” healthcare in America. What we need is a non-partisan body to understand the costs of this 2 trillion dollar a year enterprise, and to identify a wide range of ways to improve the efficiency of the process as a way to reduce those costs, and then propose a real solution to the problem.

    This will NOT happen in Congress. There probably aren’t a handful of people in that sugust body with the skillsets needed to solve such problems…. their long suit is primarily wheeling and dealing. Congress needs to commission a multi-discipline group to go do this and come back with a realistic proposal. This is a HUGE enterprise, of literal life and death importance, which we deserves to be properly and thoroughly deliberated. And this could not be a 90 day wonder, if it is to truly get at root causes and develop quality solutions.

    Nothing less should be acceptable to the American people.

  3. Bob is one of the world’s experts in Zero Based Design, the process we need the non-partisan committee to use.

    He tell us that the process lets us understand what functions we need. It identifies all the ideas that would accomplish those functions. And it helps us home in on the best solutions.

    It is not a process that works with amateurs (like Congress Critters or PBS reporters). It is a process that will recast the hardware/software/goods/services needs in entirely functional terms rather than emotional or traditional terms.

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