small steps for the Big Lie

Hitler famously claimed that a Big Lie is easier to plant in the minds of the broad population, essentially because they themselves would be ashamed to lie so blatantly, and thus naively assume that their politicians would be ashamed to do so as well.

Oh, simpletons. Even Rodney Davis mastered the easy art of bold lies. His prose is clanky, but the lies are blatant. This country is not quite the Weimar Republic GOP wants us to believe it is, so let’s hope Rodney’s lies won’t work as intended. Still, these lies are noxious enough to be confronted.

A summary of Rodney Davis’ positions on ACA and AHCA (Obamacare and Trumpcare) just appeared in State Journal-Register in an opinion piece bylined by the Representative. It consists of three parts (abusing, needlessly, the Hegelian triad):

  • Synthesis: Trumpcare is great (“The AHCA includes reforms that the non-partisan C[BO] confirms” are all peaches and honey, saving a trillion in taxes);
  • Antithesis: Obamacare is worse than the devil, or even, perhaps, Obama himself;
  • Thesis: there are many falsehoods said about AHCA.

By and large one can start and stop with the first claim. The key argument Rodney Davis advances for Trumpcare is that the new system will lead to about a trillion fewer dollars flowing through the federal budget to pay for health care over the next decade.

Is this as good as Rodney wants us to believe it is?  Let’s see. If this amount of federal funding is lost, then

  • either the health care providers are paid less, and hence less care is delivered to Americans,
  • or the Americans will pay more for their health care – out of pocket or through an insurance plan.

One might be tempted to think that replacing ACA with AHCA will just reduce taxes on the middle class, so that we could funnel the freed money into our health care. Not so: most of ACA was financed by taxes on the rich. So, if you’re among the overwhelming majority of us, those who earn less than $200K a year, do not count on any extra cash to pay for the missing federal funds. The state will pay far less for your health care, and the balance will be on you, one way or the other.

Whenever you read about how good AHCA is, remember, this is the key balance:

less money coming in from taxes on the rich to pay for healthcare means less money goes to healthcare for the middle class.

This is the essence of what AHCA aims for, and this is the main reason why the GOP wants this law. It does not look good for us, but it does look mighty good to the rich.

In the second part of his opus Rodney engages into not very energetic critique of Obamacare.

He laments about the $1.7B of federal loans that some medical coops spent – oh, horror – on delivering healthcare to the Americans.[1]

He is also upset about “75 percent of Illinois having only one or two insurers”.  What the hell does “75% of Illinois” mean you might ask? [2] Well, Google tells us: he meant 75% of 102 counties in IL. Google also tells us that more than half of IL population live in just 2 largest counties (Cook+DuPage)  and have 3 insurance providers on the Obamacare exchanges to choose from.

And so on it goes. “There are many falsehoods about” ACA, as Rodney would say, and he regurgitates them, yet again, with all the stylistic elegance of a Soviet apparatchik’s speech at a Party congress.

So let’s turn to the most significant part of Rodney’s article, the supposed rebuttal of the “falsehoods” about AHCA.

As an aside, a false argument that X is bad does not make X something good. Dubya’s argument about WMDs possessed by the Iraqi regime turned out to be false, to put it mildly, –  but Saddam Hussein still was no Mother Theresa. So any bogus claims against AHCA Rodney collects do not amount to arguments in its favor, and don’t make AHCA any less lousy a bill.

Substantively, Rodney aims to refute the claim that the restrictions on insurers – to sell worthless claims [3], or to price out the folks with pre-existing conditions – will be dismantled by AHCA. No, he tells us, albeit the provision is there, that can only happen if a state decides to do that. Right, and the mentally unstable guy next door will start shooting randomly only if he decides to do it. Still, not a good idea to provide him with a gun.[4]

Next, Rodney makes a big claim that no one will take away Medicaid from those who have it now. Of course not – they will do it themselves! As soon as someone on Medicaid expansion takes any job that places them for just a month outside of the current 146% of the poverty level, presto! – they are off  the hated Medicaid, and will be never reenrolled, even when they lose this job.

This is not a bug, this is a cherished feature of AHCA. In fact, most of the massive cuts on the federal healthcare spending are stemming exactly from the planned Medicaid funding reductions.

These planned cuts, Rodney, they are there, we know that, and so you do. You, in fact, pronounced that the Medicaid cuts are a most welcome development.

You, Rodney, just hope that the folks affected by your bill – less informed folks, most probably, your voters, – you hope they won’t recognize that it’s you who designed the mechanism to get them off Medicaid, and will blame it once again on the rigged system. You rely on planting the Big Lie, Rodney.

That’s about all that’s there in that important article by Rodney. Just one more thing, – one we are happy to agree with you on, Rodney: the part where you ask us all to start working together. Yes, Rodney, good plan, and we are acting on it, getting organized to get rid of you in the Congress.

Enough is enough.

***

But while your tchotchkes still defile your office in DC, our standing plea – do tell your staffers  to get their act together. They are illiterate, and this is embarrassing for IL-13.

We were long worried by the proliferation of that to denote a human (the Representative that lies all the time in lieu of the correct the Representative who lies all the time). But now, Rodney, your staffers outdid it by the reverse usage of who for an inanimate entity:

“If a state who applies for and is granted a waiver…”

Really, Rodney. Tell them. Better grammar and coherent writing skills will greatly improve their chances to get a new job come 2019.


[1]  Some women got cancer screening, and stayed alive like Rodney’s wife whom he never forgets to mention, thinking this adds any credibility to his musing on healthcare policy. It does not – if it did Rodney wouldn’t consider getting extra care to other women such a policy failure.

[2]  Your Representative, who has a couple of dozens of staff we pay for to write and to proofread the articles signed by him, is above giving a thought as to what’s the meaning of the copy-pasted claims he “authored”.

[3] Like the policies that McDonald’s, the biggest of Rodney’s donors, used to sell to its employees before Obamacare – policies that were capping at $2,000 a year.

[4] If you are offended by the comparison of your state government to a lunatic, you probably are not living in Illinois. Or perhaps in the US altogether…

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