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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It may take a few more elections for Republicans to figure this out, but health care just isn’t a good issue for them.

You can understand why they’re confused.

In 2010, their histrionic “OMG! Death panels!” Obamacare attacks were a small part of a massive landslide victory that owed more to the economy cratering than anything else. And the most successful tactic was going after Democrats for “cutting” Medicare by reducing overpayments in the Medicare Advantage program, reversing a strategy that the left employed successfully for decades.

Four years later, Republicans have two huge problems: They can’t say how they’d replace Obamacare, but they have said how they would ruin Medicare.

After taking the House in 2011, Republicans elected with a mandate to protect Medicare passed a budget from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would gut the program and pass massive costs on to seniors by turning the program into mostly privatized “voucher” system. In 2013, Ryan proposed similar cuts that would remake America’s health care system for seniors, along with the same reforms of Medicare Advantage that they ran against in 2010, in an effort to endorse a plan that would balance the budget in 10 years.

So what are Republicans doing in 2014, as they’re supposed to be laser-focused on what a disaster Obamacare is?

A new memo from House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says the GOP will focus on cuts to Medicare Advantage.

The only problem?


Nearly every Republican in the House and Senate voted for Ryan’s 2013 budget that includes the same reforms they’re now decrying, as White House staffer Jesse Lee pointed out using nearly a dozen specific examples in his Twitter feed.

Lee also notes that premiums in Advantage are down and enrollment is up since Democrats reformed the program, the exact opposite of what Republicans predicted.

But you can understand the bind Republicans find themselves in. Despite predictions of mass panic and destruction, they’re having great difficulty finding any actual stories that illustrate how terrible they claim the law is. In some cases, they’ve turned to actors. And often their “horror” stories sound more like success stories.

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  • Independent1

    Boonstra has most likely allowed herself to be nothing more than a GOP shill, but virtually all Americans needing insurance should have done a little research as ACA became affective in order to get a little background on what they should have been expecting.

    Here’s the link to an ariticle on 5 Things Women Should Know about President Obama’s Promise

    And here’s a little more background on the fabricated Obamacare story covered by the above article:

    Koch brothers pushing another Obamacare ‘horror’ story that isn’t
    by Joan McCarter

    First off, Boonstra was able to get a plan on the exchange with Blue Cross Blue Shield that had her doctor in its network. While she doesn’t claim in the ad she lost her doctor, she sure implies it. She didn’t.

    Secondly, Boonstra herself told the Detroit News that her monthly premium cost had been cut in half, from $1,100 a month to $571. Her assertion that “the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable,” is hard to back up as well because Obamacare limits out of pocket spending to $6,350 for an individual plan, at which point the insurance company picks up everything. According to what Kessler found, all of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Michigan have that limit. So the out of pocket expenses Boostra is facing will be almost entirely covered by how much she is saving in premiums over the course of the year—$6,348. AFP’s answer to Kessler about all this is that her out of pocket expenses are now more unpredictable, and that makes it harder to budget. That’s a fair point, and the uncertainty surrounding monthly costs would be upsetting for anyone battling any illness (though potentially mitigated by the $571 in savings Boostra sees every month), but that’s not the message given in the ad.

    AFP is being purposefully misleading using Boostra’s story, and doesn’t think that their ad should be subject to this kind of scrutiny, attempting to shame Kessler and any other fact checkers with this: “The reality of what she’s dealing with is much more involved and can’t be swept aside by saying, ‘you have an OOP maximum so quit complaining about your cancer.'” No one is sweeping aside her illness, or telling her to stop complaining about her cancer. They’re pointing out that she’s saving enough in premiums to cover her out of pocket costs. She can complain all she wants, but it’s not callous and it’s not out of bounds to say that she’s not telling the entire truth.

    Here’s the link to the DailyKos article:

    • johninPCFL

      My family has had three major healthcare events in the last three years, fortunately none with “pre-existing condition” insurance compilcations. Our previous policy had a $10k deductible, so the new silver policy we just got will be a major improvement at no change in cost. The previous policy did not exist until ACA was passed, was $3k per quarter cheaper than the plan it replaced (cancelled, by the way) and it was BCBS’ first try to build an “approvable” plan for ACA.
      So far for ACA, we’ve seen a steep decline in premium price, better coverage, and a lower deductible while keeping the same doctor and eliminating hospital choice restrictions.

      • MVH1

        I suspect many of these cancelled policies have way better offerings through ACA in Louisiana. But a lot of these people are so mad, they won’t even check. I have sent the info twice to a friend of mine for her son. She is paying $1000 a month just for a hospitalization policy for him when she could pay $450 a month and cover everything with a fairly low deductible. She hasn’t bothered to do anything about it. She believes it’s bad and will fail and that’s that.

        • 4sanity4all

          Yes, all of the distress stories that the GOP is pushing seem to be people who bought policies directly from insurance companies, bypassing the ACA web site, because they hate the President so much, they want nothing to do with “his” insurance. The ACA web site is the only place where you can get qualified for the subsidy, which is what saves you from having unaffordable premiums if you are broke. Shame on the GOP for shaming people who should be seeing what they could get on the ACA web site.

      • MVH1

        And for anybody in a red state having trouble getting online with ACA, they should avail themselves of an independent, free site where you can see exactly what’s available to you and there is a “buy” button. Takes less than five minutes.

  • daniel bostdorf

    The GOP/Teaparty/Libertarians never had a credible attack anyway….only in the minds of their followers. The propaganda machine at Fox Faux News and Koch brother/Rove shills keep telliing lies that the American people don’t believe.

    And the Supreme Court validated the fact the ACA is constitutional…

    “Obamacare” has worked successfully for past 7 years in Massachusetts thanks to Mitt Romney…and the Mass legislature that saw the logic in the plan…

    • RNPRN

      And it will migrate to Medicare for all, single payer, even better in the future.

  • AlfredSonny

    Hey, there are many people who are being “harmed” by the Affordable Care Act! Sociopaths such as the Kock brothers and cronies will suffer a small dent in their assets which may mean they will have to give up one of their Porsches.

  • paulyz

    Already 6 Million Americans have lost their health care, 30% still remain un-insured, Millions have had their premiums skyrocket, and much more is coming. People have not saved money on the ACA as promised and many have had less coverage than they had before. It is not a bright picture.

    • johninPCFL

      Yes, millions have had their policies cancelled by their insurance carriers, just like every other year, and they’ve replaced them with policies having better coverage.
      My policy was cancelled by BCBS three years ago and we replaced it with a better policy (their model for what became today’s silver plan) and saved $3k per quarter. Our plan was cancelled this year, so we moved over to a silver plan at the same cost, keeping our doctor.
      So, in short, we have better coverage at a cheaper cost than before ACA.

      • 4sanity4all

        And I am enjoying much better care now for $80/ month more than I was paying for the lousy policy I had before the ACA. I will save money, too, because my ACA policy pays for things like prescriptions and office visits. My former policy did not. So now my premiums actually pay for my healthcare; they are not just a windfall for the insurance company.

    • daniel bostdorf

      You are parroting right wing propaganda that takes facts and statistics out of context.

    • jmprint

      JUST STATE ONE case that is not a made up story.

    • elw

      Oh please we have already heard that, it is not true and a silly thing to keep repeating.

    • Sand_Cat

      Why don’t you stop and smell what you’re shoveling, moron?

    • gmccpa

      You must have noticed the Republican echo chamber is continually moving the goalposts to claim the ACA is a failure. Your 6 million have lost their health care claim has already been proven to be silly. Most of that is inferior insurance thats been replaced…so its not ‘lost’.

      But even with this. They started with claims of death panels. Obviously wrong. They claimed no one could read it because it was 2300 pages long. Wrong again…900 pages with almost 3 inch margins. They said it was the worst law ever and would destroy the country. Well, thats just laughable. They said it was unconstitutional. We all know how that ended.

      So now this 6 million nonsense. When will YOU realize that you’ve been had? The only people they can find to support their nonsense are paid actors. Get it? ACTORS. Because its all a show. They cannot find real people. They keep being wrong…and you keep parroting them.

      • KrisCynical

        They also said Medicare and Social Security would strip us of our freedom and destroy the country. Pretty much anything that helps the populace as a whole is going to destroy the country, basically, because the GOP hates all of us.

        I sure do know that I just HATE not having to live in fear of my insurance dropping me anymore due to having really screwy nerve system problems/damage before 30 that requires some hefty medications to manage. It sucks knowing that I can finally shop around for better policies, too, even though I have those preexisting conditions… I enjoyed the hell out of being grilled by an insurance company for over an hour on the phone about every time I’d sneezed since second grade only to get a rejection letter because I have menstrual cramps. Seriously. For menstrual cramps. It was FABOO getting rejected for having a functioning female reproductive system!

        … and the nerve damage was reason number TWO for rejecting me, by the way.

        But now because of the ACA, that can’t happen to me anymore. Oh yeah, the ACA is Satan incarnate, I tell ya!

    • LEK56

      You should do a little more research. Well, a LOT more. Easily refuted talking points are SOOOO 2010.

  • pisces63

    To give you an idea of how the republicans work, an Ohio congressman, Renacci, lied through his teeth on the much loved City Forum Club, last Friday. He spoke of the time his dealership was one of those dropped by GM in 2009. He then told this audience The president caused this to happen. It was his fault. GM had been losing money hand over fist for God know how long and it came to a head where they filed chapter 11 but it was the president’s fault. Just as they said the dropped insurance coverages were the president’s fault. This on going lying has to be called out by the medias. When are they going to grow a back bone instead of letting their DNA take over?

  • howa4x

    Republicans find it hard to attack Obama/Romney care because it is their plan, dreamed up by the Heritage foundation as an answer to Hillarycare. It relies on the private sector to administer heath care payments, and leaves the federal government to administer what it has traditionally done, Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA. The only problem with the ACA is that it relies on young healthy people to buy insurance to keep the profits of the insurance companies intact so they are not only insuring sick people that cost money. This was the deal that was struck so that the insurance companies wouldn’t oppose the law and kill it like they did to Hillarycare.
    Republicans were completely opposed to the single payer or public option plan. They wanted the private sector to run health care but now they struggle with how to work around the protections in the law for pre existing conditions, Kids on parents policy till 26, removal of the 1 million dollar family cap, and the prohibition against dropping higher risk people.
    The insurance companies want protections removed and also want the mandate that everyone both sick and well buy insurance, so buy campaigning against the mandate Republicans are working against insurance company profits. This is the republican dilemma. they are better off moving to other issues because this is a loser for them because they really can’t come up with another plan.
    Better to let a sleeping dog lie.

  • MVH1

    Kochs are running round the clock ads on TV in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana saying, “My insurance was cancelled thanks to Obamacare. ACA is hurting Louisianans.” As a nice-looking young woman opens her mailbox which holds her cancellation notice and goes back indoors to her handsome husband and two lovely children with a scowl on their faces. There are too many who believe it here.

  • elw

    It would be great if they actually stopped attacking, but they won’t, any more than they have ever stopped trying to attack Medicare. After a while they will be like annoying flies buzzing in our ears but ignored.

  • mrmiller

    This is very simple. If the GOP thinks ACA is bad……let it fail.

  • Jambi

    The Republicans are out of “anti-Obamacare-ammo”… When a Party uses deception and misinformation to gain support and votes, it will eventually come back to bite them in the ass! …couldn’t happen to a nicer “bunch of folks”…

  • jointerjohn

    Someone should keep an eye on the spending habits of people like Boonstra. Wouldn’t surprise me if these people suddenly start showing up with mystery money provided by the crooks who are using them.

  • FredAppell

    I don’t believe the GOP can or will actually try to abolish ACA. Historically, they know that it was the GOP alternative to Socialized Health Care that was written in the 90’s. President Obama beat them at their own game, he made them look silly by adopting their own plan and now they’re having a phony tantrum for the benefit of the right wing hardliners. They have no intention of really fighting it but at least they can appear to save face and convince they’re supporters that they fought the good fight and lost.

    The real threat comes from the Kochs and their fellow leaches who don’t want the American people to have something tangible that will actually make a positive difference in our lives. People like the Kochs don’t believe in a level playing field.

  • irishtap

    Seems to me the real problem in all this, is the fact Democrats failed in controlling the message, but they’ve never been strong here. United States health care delivery has been positively assinine, and unethical. It is a real shame a public option wasn’t attached to the ACA. I think that such a provision by itself, would have paved the way to single payer.
    This issue has certainly shed light onto the hideous character of the Republican Party. Imagine, scheming to hinder your countrymen from attaining the right to have affordable health care coverage? I can only describe those of the GOP, as ‘something other than human’.

    • daniel bostdorf


      The GOP/Teaparty/Libertarians never had a credible attack anyway….only in the minds of their followers. The propaganda machine at Fox Faux News and Koch brother/Rove shills keep telliing lies that the American people don’t believe.

      And the Supreme Court validated the fact the ACA is constitutional…

      “Obamacare” has worked successfully for past 7 years in Massachusetts thanks to Mitt Romney…and the Mass legislature that saw the logic in the plan…

      • irishtap

        Unfortunately for the country, the anti ACA crowd did manage enough ‘credibility’ with the ignorant (their followers) to take over congress, and stop anything from passing. So – they have been effective to a point. You are quite correct in stating the opposition narrative toward ACA, is laced in continuous propaganda. Not a great law (since it was hatched in a right wing think tank) – but a decent start in the right direction.