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November 20, 2013

Dana Milbank: These Dirty Republicans Are Attempting to Scare Young People Away From Obamacare Exchanges By Telling Them Facts About Obamacare

Via Hot Air, that is Milbank's basic claim.

The Republicans’ scary-movie strategy has some logic to it: If they can frighten young and healthy people from joining the health-care exchanges, the exchanges will become expensive and unmanageable. This is sabotage, plain and simple — much like the refusal by red-state governors to participate in setting up the exchanges in the first place. But those sabotaging the new law should be careful what they wish for: Instead of killing the law, they are likely to make it more expensive to taxpayers. Their efforts could have the effect of turning Obamacare, which relies on private insurance and the free market, into just the sort of big-government entitlement Republicans were worried about in the first place.

If they succeed in scaring people away, the ones who join exchanges are likely to be older and sicker, making the insurance pool costlier to insurers. As Larry Levitt, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, explained to me, if costs are more than 3 percent higher than anticipated in the first few years of Obamacare, the federal government will have to pick up at least half of the additional expense.

This was just explained to you yesterday?

Um, why are we reading you then? Most casually-informed people have known about this for three weeks. Truly informed people have always known about it.

But you just had very basic information explained to you, and now you're going to tell us all how the world works?

How the hell does that happen?

If the health-care exchanges continued to attract only the elderly and the sick in future years, premiums would rise and the only people likely to remain in the program will be those who qualify for the federal subsidies, which would increase sharply because individual contributions are limited to a percentage of the recipient’s income.

“The more successful opponents are at discouraging young and healthy people from enrolling, the bigger share of the cost the federal government will end up covering,” Levitt said. “The implication of encouraging young and healthy people to sit on the sidelines is that costs are shifted to the federal government.”

You can read Ed Morrissey's rebuttal at Hot Air.

I prefer to look at this more globally. What the Republicans are doing is telling the public The Truth. And The Truth is this:

* Obamacare, as currently configured, is a "hacker's paradise," according to MaAfee Anti-Virus founder and former owner John McAfee.

Is that scary? Does that discourage people from signing up?

Indeed it does. It's also true. Another security expert just called the site filled with "critical risks." CMS's former head of IT, Tony Trenkle, refused to certify the site as secure.

What does Milbank suppose we should do about this? Lie to the people, as his coreligionists have been lying to them for four years?

* Obamacare is premised on a "Spread the Health Insurance Wealth Around" philosophy which is strongly redistributive, that is, it shifts costs from the poor or uninsurable to the healthier members of the Middle Class.

This means the healthier members of the middle class -- especially men, and especially young men -- are now paying far more for insurance than their actual risk profile suggests they would. This means, finally, that insurance is now a bad economic deal for them.

That's the heart of Obamacare-- and that's not a glitch. That's what Obamacare is supposed to do.

Again: Should we continue lying to them about this? Should we tell them their health insurance dollars -- and their formally generous networks of health care providers, now restricted in order to give doctors to other people* -- are not being appropriated to fund other people?

This is what Obama and the Democrats have been doing all along. The GOP has attempted to tell the public this would happen, but there has been little media interest in covering the story. The media simply assumed Obama was telling the truth and the GOP was lying and refused to look into the actual facts.

Well, now that these things do not require any reading or research to discover -- witnesses are coming forward -- the media cannot continue maintaining its pose that Obama was telling the truth.

He wasn't. He was lying. He was lying all along.

Dana Milbank is upset by this. He wants the media and government to go back to lying to the public. Because he knows the truth will make the public less likely to buy into Obamacare, and if they don't buy into Obamacare, it goes into a death spiral.

And then Obama will have to repeal it, and the Democratic Party will be discredited for a generation.

All that's true, and, no one's going to lie much about this, the GOP would like to see that happen just as much as a partisan Democrat shill like Dana Milbank would like to not see it happen.

Nevertheless, these things aren't happening because the GOP is lying to the public. These things are happening because Obama's lies are finally being contradicted, not by GOP "scare campaigns," but by actual facts. Things you can actually check. Real things. Not spin, not rhetoric -- actual real-world facts.

Milbank's cry, though he won't admit this, is that he wishes the GOP would feel the sense of Redistributive Patriotism that Obama and Democrat partisan shills such as himself feel, and lie to the public about the nature of this program, at least long enough to get it to take root, because when it has taken root, the public will not be able to do away with it, ever, no matter how much it harms them.

Well, the GOP has no interest in lying about this. Lying about other things, sure, maybe. But lying about Obamacare, which they oppose?

Do Milbank and his other firebreathing partisan liberal partisans really think they're going to enlist the GOP in their lies (or at least bully them into keeping silent about the truth) to save Obama, Obamacare, Reid and Pelosi from the consequences of their awful, harmful policy preferences?

You know what's really scary, Dana? Poppin' Molly. It's a dangerous drug. Just say no.

Progressives view the public as three things:

1, stupid and incapable of making the "right" political choices.

2, ethically foul (bitter clingers, racist) and therefore not only deserving of, but requiring, manipulation and deceit from their intellectual and moral betters to induce them to make the "right" political choices. The truth won't work with people who are both intellectually and morally retarded; like children being told to be good or else Santa Claus won't give them gifts, they have to be manipulated into the right decision by childish fictions.

3, tax-generating worker drones whose only real value is not in the fullness of their own lives (they're essentially zombies, monsters, beasts of the field) but whose labor can be expropriated to improve more worthy lives.

Essentially, the entirety of Flyover Country, filled with dull-minded, black-hearted suburban and rural Middle Class workers, is a gigantic farm of human beings from which progressives can harvest the fruits of Middle Class Labor for various feasts they've planned.

Milbank's column is implicitly a confession of this. He cannot write the nonsense he writes without having this idea central in his thinking (but hidden from his audience). He's just Darned Angry at the GOP for blowing the whistle and letting people know that Obama is turning them into farm-animals to be periodically shorn of fur with which to make sweaters for members of Obama's coalition.

He spends an awful lot of time complaining that the GOP is saying these Mean Things, and very little time at all explaining in what way these Mean Things are actually untrue.

Because he knows these things are true. But he doesn't want the Sheep to know that.

Why, they might even begin to fear the Shears.**

Perhaps instead of dishonestly making this sort of argument, Milbank should man up and tell the truth himself. If he believes it's people's Patriotic Duty to sacrifice for the good of the Collective, he should just argue that case honestly, instead of trying to fashion Tricksy Narratives in which the greatest villain, and the greatest threat to the common weal, is an Informed Citizenry.


* It's not exactly true that people's doctors are being taken from them to be given to other people. It's indirectly true, though: Obamacare is restricting doctor networks in order to put pressure on doctors to reduce medical costs. With only one or two insurers in an area, the insurers have more bargaining power. This is intended. "Bend the cost curve down" and all.

It's also required to restrict provider networks in order to reduce costs. Because without that cost-reducing move, the premiums now causing sticker shock would be even higher. So Obamacare screws the Middle Class over in both ways-- it jacks up their premiums, and then, to keep premiums from being even higher, it reduces their access and choice.

** In ancient Rome, the office of tax collector was a position that people paid the state to perform. Becoming a tax collector meant that you now had the right, granted to you by Rome, to tax all the people in the province you purchased.

It was a position you purchased to profit from -- if you were anywhere near good at squeezing taxes out of the population, you'd collect more in "revenue" -- their taxes -- than you paid to state to get the job.

These folks were very commonly called tax farmers, as they were in fact farming tax money from the Human Corn called "citizens." This wasn't even said in a derogatory fashion-- tax farmers called themselves tax farmers. It was just accepted that this was your function, plucking the human farm of its fruits.

We should bring back this terminology, this notion. It's pretty vivid, and it does indeed describe the situation accurately.



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posted by Ace at 12:09 PM

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