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.