Lie to me

If conservatives have real arguments against health care reform, then why do they have to lie about it so much?

Bill Kristol on the Daily Show:

“One reason the price of health care is going up so fast is because of government programs. The price of Medicare and Medicaid have gone up faster than private insurance. That’s well-documented.”

Ezra Klein corrects him (with supporting evidence):

It is true that the growth rates of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance are well-documented. But the documentation shows the opposite of what Bill Kristol says it shows. The price of Medicare and Medicaid have gone up much more slowly than private insurance.

Marty Feldstein in WaPo yesterday:

Obama has said that he would favor a British-style “single payer” system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry.

Jon Chait corrects him:

Obama has never said that he favors a British-style health care system. Britain does not have a single-payer system. It has a socialized system, where the government directly employs all health care providers. Indeed, if you follow the link in Feldstein’s own column, it says, “A single-payer system would eliminate private insurance companies and put a Medicare-like system into place where the government pays all health-care bills with tax dollars.” Does Medicare own hospitals and pay doctors government salaries? No. Professor Feldstein, please stop writing about topics you know nothing about.

It’s no coincidence that Feldstein and Kristol both publish regularly on the Washington Post opinion page.

I can’t think of anything that troubles me more than the fact that there is no consequence, no correction for outrageous lies and that our most prestigious media outlets sanction these lies. It’s hard for me to see how this all ends well for American civilization.






64 replies
  1. 1

    Irving Kristol’s idiot child got something wrong? Well know me over with a fucking feather. I guess Irving shouldn’t have fathered a child with his sister.

  2. 2
    gex says:

    I have to hope that journalism will survive, somehow. Right now it is very hard not to wish that the print news media fails in it’s current implementation. They quite literally are damaging the country. It feels like either they fail or America fails.

  3. 3
    burnspbesq says:

    NOR sent a reporter to Bristol, Virginia to sample public opinion ahead of Obama’s town hall meeting there today. Unreal. Must be heard to be believed. The ignorance is amazing.

  4. 4

    know = knock

    Apparently the comment edit function is disabled.

  5. 5
    burnspbesq says:

    Stupid spell check. That was supposed to be NPR.

  6. 6
    Demo Woman says:

    It’s hard for me to see how this all ends well for American civilization.

    Your comment reminds me of the old Beatles song “Revolution”
    I’m watching the videos over at Media Matters and Beck is allowed to call Obama a racist, Malkin on Today show ranting against diversity and Orly on the Colbert Report. As long as whackos have a national forum and touted as news makers, we won’t survive.

  7. 7
    cleek says:

    …our most prestigious media outlets sanction these lies.

    yeah, remember when they bucked the GOP in selling the Iraq war? those were the days.

  8. 8
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    At least Kristol’s nonsense has a shred of plausibility but the Feldstein remark is a patent lie, and the one that is most repeated by wingnuts because it has the greatest scare factor directed at the general public.

    I’m for a single payer system because in the long run it is the most sustainable at keeping HC inflation in check which should be numero uno by all concerned. It’s no longer a question of ideology or even morality of covering everyone, it is a question of survival for the institution of HC delivery.

    HOwever, going suddenly to it would cause convulsions in the economy which would be politically unpalatable and unwise. While it would immediately squeeze out the 30 percent fat in the system, that 30 percent currently means millions of jobs to mostly count beans, sometimes the same bean more than once. Better to move slowly in the direction of SP and assimilate the job market casualties over time. IMHO/

  9. 9
    Demo Woman says:

    @gex: It’s not just the print media, it’s 24/7. Murdoch has killed accurate reporting.

  10. 10
    Lola says:

    I am worried about health care. Over at Daily Kos everyone is just writing about calling members of Congress. Howard Dean has said it is a waste of time to call members of Congress unless they are your own.

    I want to know who will be running the ads in August with public plan talking points of always having insurance even if you lose your job, not letting insurance companies discriminate, reducing the federal deficit over the long term, etc. Does anyone know a group that is planning on running ads?

  11. 11
    Senyordave says:

    What we need to do is clone a few people like Paul Krugman. I have seen Krugman on those rare shows where they actually have people with opposing viewpoints intelligently discuss an issue, and he seems to know everything. His command of facts on a variety of subjects is astounding, and he is expert at pointing out lies. He also debates in a very calm, but emphatic manner. I can see why shows like Morning Joe would be in hesitant in having him, because when he is on you realize how ignorant the regulars are.

  12. 12

    It’s hard for me to see how this all ends well for American civilization.

    No consequence for lying, immoral behavior, or lawbreaking if you’re high enough up. You can also use hate speech and incite violence against the president. No, this isn’t going well.

  13. 13
    Xenos says:

    @Demo Woman: Murdoch has killed accurate reporting.

    Accurate reporting revived itself, to a degree, after Hearst. I don’t know what the process was for that, though. Maybe it can happen again.

  14. 14
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    At the risk of being honest, the three primary reasons that health care costs are going up are:

    1. Defensive medicine and the associated costs of lawsuits against doctors. Solution: Cap damages at $250,000/incident.

    2. The requirement to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay, with their costs passed on to those who play by the rules. Solution: Deport illegal immigrants, strict limits on free services for legal Citizens to include limits on reproductive rights, no free services for non-Citizens.

    3. The results of President Obama’s Community Organization Efforts. President Obama was apparently a really bad Community Organizer. Solution: Send in Sarah Palin to organize Obama’s Neighborhood.

  15. 15
    MikeN says:

    Unless print media stabilizes into a left, right and center equilibrium like cable news…the only thing that wont end well will be newspapers.

    NYT = MSNBC, WSJ = Fox, WaPo = CNN? discuss.

  16. 16
    John Cole says:

    Malkin was on the Today show this morning.

    Being completely insane and full of shit is not a liability. It is a feature in our media market.

  17. 17
    ed says:

    William Kristol just oozes disingenuousness out of every pore, 24/7/365.25.

  18. 18
    garyb50 says:

    This was a great segment from Countdown last night w/Howard Dean: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30.....4#32194714

  19. 19
    Beeb says:

    If I were inclined toward tin foil hats, I might think that the Graham family fortunes have taken a serious hit in this recession. The current prospects for any newspaper’s ability to redeem those fortunes are slim to none — unless the Post can find a buyer willing to pay a substantial premium over its “real” value based on capitalized earnings. Now who might be rich enough and vain enough to buy a paper just for its declining, but still potent, prestige? Hey, Rupert, yoo hoo, look over here! You like newspapers with a good news section and a batshit insane editorial page? We gotcher horse, I mean next addition to your portfolio, right here. Comes with a permanent seat at all the Village dinner parties. Didn’t get that from the WSJ, didja?

    Good thing I’m not inclined toward tin foil hats. I mean, that couldn’t possibly explain the WaPo’s editorial lurch from center right to nutzoid. I mean, that would be crazy….

  20. 20

    The only way it can end well is if the entire current crop of media whores (print, intertoobz, and the teevee machine) are eradicated and a new system is created in response.

    In order for that to happen, we’d have to restructure our entire society so that sound bites and screaming pundits aren’t the preferred method of news delivery.

    Then, we’d have to have a citizenry willing to engage the issues on multifaceted levels.

    Only then, could we possibly hope to get the country back on track.

    In other words, we’re fucked.

    P.S. Orly Taintz was on Colbert last night. What a fucking loony–and, an idiot to boot.

  21. 21
    valdivia says:

    @Lola:

    lots of ads are already running in the crucial states and there have been a few ads on the web and on cable. MoveOn I think has ads and FDL has links to them. If you are worried about this then give 5 or 10 bucks to one of these outfits and so that there is money for big buys.

    A few big labor unions are coming out with lots of ads too (saw this on TPM).

  22. 22
    Evinfuilt says:

    Watched Orly on Colbert, she really had no clue she was the butt of a giant joke the whole time. Was hard to watch, yet I couldn’t stop giggling.

  23. 23
    Ash Can says:

    @Demo Woman:

    Malkin on Today show ranting against diversity

    I didn’t see this segment myself. Was she really? Wouldn’t the people watching this program see an east-Asian-featured person bitch about diversity and just say “WTflying fucketyF is this wack-ass loon talking about??”

  24. 24
    valdivia says:

    one more thing–calling works, you just have to call your own representatives and senators. if everyone here just did that it would be more effective that hitting our heads on the desk. this is not so hard to do. also you can phone bank and gets your friends and neighbors involved, have them call their congress people.

  25. 25
    valdivia says:

    @John Cole:

    isn’t she promoting her book on how Obama and Michelle O are corrupt?

  26. 26
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Bob the weekend is still a couple of days away. Too early in the week to be mailing it in like this. You’re better than that and we expect more out of you.

  27. 27
    tgs says:

    EVERY STATE has passed tort reform in some manner. It does nothing to reduce medical costs and opens the dark door of limiting citizens’ access to the civil justice system just because it’s annoying to business.

  28. 28
    Skepticat says:

    And who might be this most prestigious media outlet of whom you speak? WaPo most assuredly is no longer in that list.

  29. 29
    Lee says:

    1. Defensive medicine and the associated costs of lawsuits against doctors. Solution: Cap damages at $250,000/incident.

    This is crap. I live in texas and they implemented this a few years back.

    Health Costs have not gone down, have not even slowed in the rate of increase. Malpractice insurance rates have not even been significantly reduced.

    The supporters like to point out that our number of doctors has increased. Well it has increased at a lower rate than our population, so we have fewer doctors per person.

    (yeah I know I’m pointing out factually inaccurate items to BoB, kinda like teaching a pig to sing).

  30. 30
    Tax Analyst says:

    BOB says:

    “Send in Sarah Palin to organize Obama’s Neighborhood.”

    Make sure to give her a clean sheet before she goes in with her talk about “Real Americans and their values”.

  31. 31
    Egilsson says:

    BOB the traitor is lying again.

    There are studies conclusively proving the med-mal stuff is garbage. Hell, I just read about one this morning. I need to find that cite…

    Plus, maybe he hasn’t encountered doctors / medical staff who make mistakes, but they sure do. Their mistakes kill people, so there needs to be incentives to avoid mistakes, because some of us are pro-life in practice, not just with lip-service.

    In fact, fear of med-mal suits has vastly improved our medical care in all kinds of ways – not the least of which is simple hand-washing and availability of sinks with soap. And counting sponges used in a surgery isn’t hard.

  32. 32
    PaulW says:

    I can’t think of anything that troubles me more than the fact that there is no consequence, no correction for outrageous lies and that our most prestigious media outlets sanction these lies. It’s hard for me to see how this all ends well for American civilization.

    It’s gonna take a lie so outrageous, so libelous that someone will finally *have* to sue to set the record straight. If it were me, I’d sue for ownership of the paper/news outlet and then get the Poynter institute to come in with ethics guidelines and get everyone to fact-check properly.

  33. 33
    Napoleon says:

    Ezra was on PBS News Hour last night and the clown they had on with him from the National Review got a few whoppers by Ezra without him pointing it out.

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Solution: Send in Sarah Palin to organize Obama’s Neighborhood.

    Hey, now, that’s a hell of an idea! I bet it would look a lot like this.

    I love that idea. Do you think you could call her and talk her into doing it? She’d hang up on us DFH’s (unless we could fake a French accent well enough), but she’d listen to a Real American like you for sure. Keep us posted.

  35. 35
    Ash Can says:

    Yes, in my excitement I committed formatting fail with the italics. But the idea of Sarah Palin in Hyde Park has me all aflutter.

  36. 36
    neff says:

    @Beeb: As I understand it, the Washington Post Company’s real profit center these days is the Kaplan test-prep business that it acquired a while ago rather than its media holdings.

  37. 37
    The Sphynx says:

    @neff: Neff- yes that is completely true. Spin-off probably coming

  38. 38
    R. Porrofatto says:

    One of the problems is that writers like Jonathan Chait, even while calling these people out, laments that they are only “unaware of the basic facts.” If he continues to think hacks like Kristol (and even Goldberg!) argue in good faith then he will never bring himself to call them what they are: liars.

  39. 39
    Catsy says:

    HOwever, going suddenly to [single payer] would cause convulsions in the economy which would be politically unpalatable and unwise. While it would immediately squeeze out the 30 percent fat in the system, that 30 percent currently means millions of jobs to mostly count beans, sometimes the same bean more than once.

    While there are plenty of good arguments against an abrupt change to a single payer system, losing “millions of jobs” isn’t one of them.

    Aetna, one of the largest national health insurance providers, only employs 35,000 people. I would be very surprised if the total number of people working for these companies passed half a million, let alone millions.

    Now, that’s not small potatoes, but it’s a shock that the system can and would absorb. These are not, for the most part, low-skill workers.

  40. 40
    Svensker says:

    Speaking of health care and lies, I just got this e-mail from an older friend — who is a New Jersey Democrat!

    SENIOR DEATH WARRANTS
    In England anyone over 59 cannot receive heart repairs or stents or bypass because it is not covered as being too expensive and not needed. Obama wants to have a healthcare system just like Canada ‘s and England ‘s.
    I got this today and am sending it on. If Obama’s plans in other areas don’t scare you, this should. Please do not let Obama sign senior death warrants. Everybody that is on this mailing list is either a senior citizen, is getting close or knows somebody that is.
    Most of you know by now that the Senate version (at least) of the Healthcare Bill includes provisions for extensive rationing of health care for senior citizens. The author of this part of the bill, former senator and tax evader, Tom Daschle was credited today by Bloomberg with the following statement: Bloomberg: Daschle says “health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting [my underline] of the conditions that
    come with age instead of treating them.”If this does not sufficiently raise your ire, just remember that our
    esteemed Senators and Congressmen have their own healthcare plan that is first dollar or very low co-pay which they are guaranteed the remainder of their
    lives and are not subject to this new law if it passes.
    Please use the power of the Internet to get this message out. Talk it up at the grassroots level. We have an election coming up in one year and nine months. And we have the ability to address and reverse the dangerous
    direction the Obama administration and its allies have begun and in the interim, we can make their lives miserable. Let’s do this! If you disagree, do nothing.

  41. 41
    flounder says:

    Doug, you read Pearlstein’s chat today? I think he is getting sick of getting the exact same questions from the GOP trolls every week:

    Steven Pearlstein: You’ll pardon me if I say that Jim DeMint’s idea of health reform is thin gruel. It will do little toward moving toward universal coverage, little to bend the cost curve on health care expenditures and little to improve the quality of care and the efficiency of the system. It will also be regressive in its effect. As a health reform, Jim DeMint is a fraud, and for the last 10 years he and his party have done exactly zero about this huge problem for the economy and for the American people. Nothing. Nada. His ideas also are not supported by a majority of the elected people in Congress, so in addition to being inadequate in a policy sense, they have no political viability. Other than that, though, they’re swell.

  42. 42
    Zach says:

    In the same interview, Kristol also knocked the VA:

    I’m not sure the VA, for example, which is another government agency has the best health care. I’m not sure Medicade and Medicare which are government programs provide the absolute best health care.

    Basically, the VA is what American would be like with a single-payer system. The VA pays 25% less per patient, is experiencing less inflation than medicare and medicaid and far less than private insurance, and gets better patient outcomes on every possible metric than randomly selected insured Americans. I went into this in more detail here – http://alchemytoday.com/2009/0.....alth-care/

  43. 43
    Napoleon says:

    @Catsy:

    Catsy said: “While there are plenty of good arguments against an abrupt change to a single payer system, losing “millions of jobs” isn’t one of them.”

    And even if it were true so what. Take the money you save and put those people to work doing something that is actually productive, like building wind turbines or building roads, instead of stamping medical bills with “denied”.

  44. 44
    Napoleon says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    “P.S. Orly Taintz was on Colbert last night. What a fucking loony—and, an idiot to boot.”

    I can’t wait to watch my DVD-R when I get home to see it!

  45. 45
    slippytoad says:

    Doug we’re already seeing how this shit ends.

    A whole generation of Americans are growing up seeing that lying, bullying, cheating, murdering, and fucking stealing are totally OK if you can get away with it because that’s what the rich cocksuckers in this country are doing with all their time.

    So those Americans are going to think the law is for sissies and we’re going to reach a point in our social arc where naked refusal to obey the law is standard and casually accepted, and fucking idiots do whatever they want and get away with it.

    And people who work hard and are honest are going to LEAVE this shithole of a country to the useless rich fuckoffs who have created it and let them watch as our 230+ year heritage of Democracy and civilization swirl down the toilet and we turn into something more resembling Pinochet’s Argentina.

    Sorry, I’m very negative today. Watching Max Baucus viciously shiv the Democratic Party in the back with his fucking sellout bill has made me a bit angry.

  46. 46
    steve s says:

    @garyb50:

    that was a great segment. Everyone should watch that.

  47. 47
    Rick Taylor says:

    If conservatives have real arguments against health care reform, then why do they have to lie about it so much?

    That doesn’t mean anything. If the best sound arguments favored the case against health care reform, they’d still make stuff up out of habit.

  48. 48
    Athena says:

    Aetna, one of the largest national health insurance providers, only employs 35,000 people. I would be very surprised if the total number of people working for these companies passed half a million, let alone millions.>

    What makes anyone think Big Insurance hasn’t already laid off millions of workers?

  49. 49
    Brachiator says:

    @Ash Can:

    I didn’t see this segment myself. Was she really? Wouldn’t the people watching this program see an east-Asian-featured person bitch about diversity and just say “WTflying fucketyF is this wack-ass loon talking about??”

    She sounds like a variation of the Oblivious Dog Walker sketch from the Smack the Pony TV show.

    Guaranteed hilarity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bym68WSrWeY

  50. 50
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Egilsson:

    Plus, maybe he hasn’t encountered doctors / medical staff who make mistakes, but they sure do. Their mistakes kill people, so there needs to be incentives to avoid mistakes, because some of us are pro-life in practice, not just with lip-service.

    Even the best doctors and staff make mistakes; that’s unavoidable. What needs to be attacked is negligence, which is a different animal.

  51. 51
    Egilsson says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    No, there isn’t really a difference legally.

    Negligence = a combination of duty, breach, causation, and harm. A doctor’s mistake will generally meet these criteria.

  52. 52
    DougJ says:

    @flounder

    Thanks.

    I’ll check it out. I like Pearlstein a lot. (I don’t always agree with him but he doesn’t bullshit.)

  53. 53
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Catsy:

    The jobs lost would not only be with insurance companies. It would mean lost jobs throughout the system, CPA’s, hospitals, doc offices etc….. Aetna is big but there are a lot of other big
    insurance companies out there. Going to a single payer system suddenly for a country this large would be a shock to the system, though it would recover an equilibrium with time and the savings would go to creating other kinds of jobs. Still better to do it slowly, imo.

  54. 54
    RememberNovember says:

    A doctor’s mistake is often the result of poor judgement, arrogance overworked staff and a lot of influence by hospital admin ( management) who kowtow to drug companies and vendors.
    so negligence is the restult not the cause

  55. 55
    mattsmom says:

    just trying to get a cookie.

  56. 56
    Vince says:

    test

  57. 57
    D0n Camillo says:

    Cookie!

  58. 58
  59. 59
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Egilsson:

    A doctor prescribes a medication to a patient, the patient has an adverse reaction and dies. Is this negligence? If the doctor didn’t bother to check the patient’s medical history for potential drug allergies before filling out the prescription, then yes, that’s negligence. If the doctor didn’t check that the patient was taking other drugs that might be toxic in combination with this drug, or if he didn’t bother to look up potential adverse effects of the combination, then that’s negligence.

    However, if the doctor checked the patient’s medical history for potential allergies and didn’t find any, verified that the drug would not be toxic in combination with other drugs, then he wasn’t negligent. The patient may not have provided an adequate history (knowingly or unknowingly), or may have developed a sensitivity since the last time he was checked. There could have been a problem with the drug itself.

    The point I’m trying to make is that good doctors can have bad outcomes even if they act diligently and conscientiously. Those doctors should not be punished the same way as doctors who are lazy or incompetent.

    Even the best and the brightest doctors make mistakes; it’s why they make the mistakes that’s important.

  60. 60
    benintn says:

    Feldstein was a key adviser to CBO director and “nonpartisan” Doug Elmendorf, if memory serves…
    http://ideas.repec.org/e/pel79.html

  61. 61
    GoSarah says:

    In the words of the late, great governer of Alaska: “You represent what could and should be a respected, honest profession that could and should be a cornerstone of our democracy. Democracy depends on you, and that is why, that’s why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin’ things up?” Take that, media!

  62. 62
  63. 63
    tanstaafl says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey

    It is very rare that patients (or their families) who suffered a bad outcome due to circumstances the doctor and hospital could not be expected to foresee will sue. In fact, it is far more common that patients, even in the middle of dealing with horrendous complications, will assume the doctor did all they could and not sue after there was negligence. Even when patients want to sue, it is frequently difficult to get representation if the patient was not permanently and severely enough disable to produce a sizeable award or if pre-existing conditions would make it difficult to prove that a disability was due to the malpractice.

    Several studies have shown that when doctors or hospitals do make mistakes, there best option is usually to admit it voluntarily and make a reasonable settlement offer. Even though this admission will hurt their case if they do end up at trial, it is far more likely to de-rail a case before trial by defusing the anger and sense of betrayal that frequently drives malpractice victims into court.

  64. 64
    JC says:

    It never fails. I read some liberal blog post claiming intellectual superiority, and the first approving comment contains the “F-word.”

    What is the practical difference between a single payer system and government ownership?

    In both cases, the government pays the bills.

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