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During the run up to the Iraq war, although the Bush Administration never said that Iraq was responsible for 9-11, a majority of Americans believed that this was the case.  Most people don't read expecting to be mislead, so they accept the gist of the message from associations of concepts, giving greater weight to the parts that are most personally meaningful.  When speeches had these two phrases closely connected, "9-11 was an attack on all Americans" and "Iraq has ignored the UN mandates and is still our enemy" it was interpreted as "Iraq caused 9-11"

I oppose the current Health Care Reform legislation for reasons I've expressed in many diaries here, and on my personal web site, with extensively sourced essays for anyone to go to and explore. But, actually, I would write this, perhaps more avidly, if I were in favor of this bill.  

I wrote this diary, When words and pictures conflict-a HCR tale yesterday, that described a misleading article in the Washington Post on the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) report on health care premium costs in 2016.

Included in the article, by reporter Lori Montgomery was this:

"This report alleviates a major concern that has been raised -- that insurance costs will go up across the board as a result of this legislation," Bayh said in a statement. "This study indicates that for most Americans, the bill will have a modestly positive impact on their premium costs. For the remainder, more will see their costs go down than up."

Well, that's certainly reassuring, since those who buy their own insurance or who pay part of that supplied by their employer have gotten used to increases of around 5% a year, and more.  

Today the N.Y. Times opined on the same CBO report with their lead editorial Good News on Premiums :

In its long-awaited study, the C.B.O. estimates that most Americans would pay the same or less in premiums in 2016, after reforms have kicked in, than they would pay under current law. Those who work for large employers (more than 50 workers) would, on average, see their premiums hold steady or drop by up to 3 percent per person covered. Those who work for small employers would also not see much change — anywhere from a 1 percent increase to a 2 percent reduction.

Unlike the Washington Post where the article was written by the news department and there is a chance that they could have gotten it wrong, the Times was an editorial written by the highest level of political writers.  Whatever I have thought about the Times editorials throughout the years, these people know how to write.  They know how their words are going to be recieved.  

Since the major concern of most people is not abstract relationships on a balance sheet, but their own health care expense, this phrase from the quote is rightly in bold, (In 2016 because of this law)Those who work for large employers (more than 50 workers) would, on average, see their premiums hold steady or drop by up to 3 percent per person covered.
 So, this is the expected response from readers of this editorial and the Post's article:

Wow, so not only will there not be the 5% a year increase but the cost will go down.  What's holding up the passage of a bill that will increase coverage, and save money for those with insurance.  I can't afford these increases and this bill will end them.

This would be great if the bill would do this.  Actually, both the Times and the Post articles, happen to be misleading to the point of deceit.  The cost of all all health insurance is expected to continue to increase at the same rate from now until 2016, so even if the CBO report is accurate, the cost in 2016 will be at least 25% higher than now.  Or about 10-15% higher than the rate of inflation passed on past history.  

You see the bill will have no effect on the rate of increase of insurance about twice that of general inflation, as sources from Howard Dean (this bill does nothing to control costs) to the Chief Actuary of Medicare to the Dean of Harvard Medical School who wrote:

In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it.

Even the CBO makes no claim to the contrary.

If this bill is passed based on news articles like this, with misleading quotes from Democratic leaders, how will the public react when they continue to see their insurance go up?  While many on this site understand that the provisions of this bill is being phased in, the public does not, as described in this articlefrom the N.Y. Times.

If this bill is passed, and their insurance continues to go up, as expected, the public will feel deceived like they were in the case for the Iraq war.  Just as the Republican party is paying the price by drastic drop in party membership, so will we.

Health Reform if it is to occur will be painful to many groups.  If it can only be passed by deceiving the public, the cost will be too high for the party that promotes it, and for the additional cynicism by a public that will have lost faith in both parties of a two party system of government.

Originally posted to ARODB on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 11:15 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Neither the Times or the Post (4+ / 0-)

    make any effort to make the point that in absolute terms, insurance costs will be higher in 2016 and increase thereafter.  

    And for those who may think that I'm wrong about what the average reader will think, print out, or send the link to the Times editorial and ask the recipient, "Based on this article, how much will you being paying for your current insurance in 2016?"

    Vince Lombardy may have been right when he said, "winning is everything"  But, what holds for football, doesn't hold for passing the most important domestic bill in a generation.  And if you win by misleading the public, it may turn out to be no win at all.

  •  Well, that's one person's opinion, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeepLooker, JesseCW

    and someone with a valuable opinion, no doubt.  I know lots of docs at Yale Medical who disagree.  I know lots of docs generally who disagree, and who are getting ready to march on Washington to make their opinions known.  I'm not an expert, or even close to one, so I defer to my doctor friends, all of whom think that healthcare reform is a great idea.  Oh, except that I have lived in two countries with "socialized healthcare," in one of which, my life was saved.  So there's that.

    Republicans want to take our country back; Democrats want to take it forward.

    by DrJeremy on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 11:23:21 PM PST

    •  I'm writing about he articles... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, thethinveil

      that conveyed the message that insurance rates would not go up.  It's wrong whether you support or oppose health insurance.

      It muddies the waters and demeans the public for starters.  

      •  What I read is that people don't care about (0+ / 0-)

        whether rates go up or not, because most people don't see the effect of it.  So there's that.

        Republicans want to take our country back; Democrats want to take it forward.

        by DrJeremy on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 11:30:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If rates go up for empoyers... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thethinveil

          the employee will pay more, or it could be dropped, and then they would be on the exchange.

          The Times editorial describes a 13% increase in 2016.  They call it "Good News" because they ignore the additional 25% plus for inflation that will be added to it.

          I'm a fan of the N.Y. Times and have defended it over the years more times than I can count.  The exaggerations in this HCR issue, not from the news department which is doing an honest comprehensive job, but from the Editorials embarrasses me.

          •  Well, the whole idea is that costs will (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            arodb, Youffraita

            go down overall, while people who don't have care will be covered now, so that's good.  I don't know about the details of the Times' analysis, but I do know that when I lived in a country with socialized medicine, I got fantastic care, way better than anything here, at a fraction of the cost, even if I had to pay for it out of pocket, which I didn't.  I am alive today because when I had a life-threatening diagnosis, with full medical insurance, I didn't live in America.  If I had lived here, I probably wouldn't be talking to you now.   So, go socialized medicine.

            Republicans want to take our country back; Democrats want to take it forward.

            by DrJeremy on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 11:46:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly, it's not about rates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DrJeremy

          but it's about getting care. If you can't afford it, you can't get it, sure. But right now too many have no chance. With reform, many will get Medicaid, and many others will be able to manage the subsidized premiums.

          Of course, it's all bad to the diarist, because it's all about money and cost to him and not about access.

        •  Well, you might look (0+ / 0-)

          to change what you read.  Or you may be proving the diarist's point that "most people don't read expecting to be mislead".

    •  Since you appear to be knowledgeable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arodb

      about countries with "socialized" health care (Canada, France, where ever . . .), I assume that you are well aware the costs are "out of control" over there as well.

      And - if the general consensus of DailyKos posters are incorporated into "reform" - any high cost procedure will be approved for anyone, surely exacerbating problems further. . . . (and totally obliterating the potential $400 billion in administrative savings).

  •  I very worried about this (5+ / 0-)

    Health Reform if it is to occur will be painful to many groups.  If it can only be passed by deceiving the public, the cost will be too high for the party that promotes it, and for the additional cynicism by a public that will have lost faith in both parties of a two party system of government.

    Indulge me as I go into my own personal experiences on this.

    It seems that they are content with another nineties - do you remember the nineties? For me, everyone around me didn't give a shit. No not like they do now, it was actually worse.

    People were fine with not voting, because no one really spoke to them.

    Getting excited by Clinton? Bah, I am not sure anyone of my friends did, they just learned to defend him. They never really got excited about him.

    Here we have people who could get people excited, a person who does get people excited. And the Democratic leadership is ready to piss all over the American people and Democratic voters with a plan for higher premiums and mandates or maybe a co-op or some other shit.

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 11:43:52 PM PST

    •  Sadly the Democrats feel they (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thethinveil

      are controlling the media that counts, such as the Times, the Post and the AP.  And they are going along looking at this reform effort like a sporting event.

      I have to say the news section of the N.Y. Times is extraordinary.  One writer David Leonhardt does incisevive articles.  He came out in opposition to the house bill that was passed.

      It's the Editorial page that ignores the news section, and keeps beating the drum with misleading articles like this.  

      You may be interested in the lead articleon my blog, it really goes into this in depth.

      •  I don't really agree with that either, and it is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        a discussion, the issue of eternal life that is, can come at a later time.

        But thanks for sharing, I really appreciate it.  

        "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

        by thethinveil on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:22:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The pushback will force the Dems to make it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thethinveil

      more affordable for more people, inevitably, or lose elections.

      •  Let us hope for the first, maybe the second (0+ / 0-)

        for blue dogs exclusively in primaries.

        "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

        by thethinveil on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:23:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  By the time it hits, Democrats will have had (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilK, thethinveil

        four years to fix it.

        Republicans will own the "We'll get rid of this mandate they sat on for four years while the clock ticked down"

        The mandate will seriously fuck 5-10 million people.  However, the Estate Tax impacts something like one half of one percent and the Republicans have almost everyone with a small house or business convinced it will hit them...

        They fix it before it goes into effect, or they get to wear the albatross for a generation.

        The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. After they become harmful the reactionary defends them.

        by JesseCW on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:55:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Several things about this analysis (4+ / 0-)
    1. Premiums have been going up by double digit rates over the past 10 years. The statement that premiums will increase up to 2016 is true with or without reform.
    1. The public option will change the equation. For many small businesses, having it available to its employees will be beneficial because a robust public option will be far cheaper that plans available to individuals and small groups.
    1. A bill that does not substantially regulate overhead charged by insurance companies will not have much immediate impact.
    1. I agree with you that if the Dems water down reform to appease the worthless Blue Dogs and what passes as a moderate Republican in these strange times, there will be trouble. With watered down reform, particularly gutting the public option, the costs will outweigh the benefits which is the game the insurance lackeys like Baucus, Conrad, Snowe, and Lieberman are playing. Watered down reform will be perceived as something sold deceitfully.
    1. If you want healthcare costs in line with the rest of the developed nations, we need to behead the insurance industry and regulate to them to the margins. Their stockholder driven lust for profits will never contribute to lower costs or better care.

    The uninsured keep dying. Death to AHIP!

    by DWG on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:58:46 AM PST

  •  The diarist is spot on. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arodb, thethinveil

    People are expecting health care reform to save them money.  When it does't, people are going  PISSED and the Republicans are going to have a field day with it.

    Single payer or a robust public option that pays Medicare rates are the only things that will really save money people.

    Fascism is capitalism in decay. -- Vladimir Lenin

    by GiveNoQuarter on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 02:08:33 AM PST

  •  Please do some research on some these (0+ / 0-)

    individuals who have an agenda. The Chief Actuary of Havard is a republican who's been promoting a libertarian version of health care reform.

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

    by Micheline on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 04:37:56 AM PST

    •  I suppose you mean dean of Harvard... (0+ / 0-)

      Medical School as there is no chief actuary of Harvard, but there is one of MSC, or Medicare.  His name is Richard Foster and he is reticent on his own political ideology, except he was appointed by Bill Clinton and has been a civil service employee for 13 years.

      And since we are using ideology to question those who see defects in this bill, what do you have to say about Howard Dean, (linked above) who is now a severe critic.

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