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How does one remain civil when talking about a party that is knowingly hurting millions of Americans? The Koch-Brothers-funded Americans For Progress ad featuring leukemia patient Julie Boonstra was probative. It is too easy to sit back and believe that Julie Boonstra is ignorant and stupid. She is simply like millions of Americans that have been fed misinformation and distortion for years.

Julie Boonstra’s monthly bill went from $1,100 per month to $571 per month, a savings of $6,348 per year. Her absolute maximum out-of-pocket cost including deductible is $6,350. Americans For Progress admits that unlike what she said in the ad, her doctor is on the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan she is privy to. Unlike all policies pre-Obamacare, her current policy cannot be rescinded and there is no cap. In other words, her costs are known and she cannot be bankrupted by medical bills.

Julie Boonstra was subsequently featured on Fox News, America’s bastion of misinformation. Steve Doocy was caught off guard. He believed her new rate was $1,100 and not $571. He had the opportunity to tell his listening audience that the savings from her current insurance rate was equivalent to her current deductible with the additional benefit of a secure policy. Sadly, that would have been journalism, something neither Fox News nor most traditional media are practicing any longer. This one broadcast of misinformation likely inoculated thousands from the ability to readily process truths about Obamacare.

Most people are not analytical. They depend on external assistance in order to make up their minds when coming into new ideas. They generally trust their leaders as people in positions of authority. They do not expect complete honesty. But neither do they expect blatant and continuous lying as a possibility.

Continue below the fold for more on misinformation about Obamacare.

While the democratic wing of the Democratic Party was fighting with corporate Democrats to salvage as progressive a plan as possible within a conservative health care reform bill, Republicans were busy demonizing the plan. Death panels, government takeover of health care, and throwing grandma over the cliff were the prevailing messages from Republican politicians. A derelict corporatist traditional media gave these messages a semblance of veracity. It is difficult then to put all the blame on the average American citizen for their ignorance.

Brian Beutler wrote a Salon piece worth reading titled “The right’s sociopathic new scam: Using Americans to harm their own health plans.” He acknowledged that Republicans continue to promote false horror stories after false horror stories that are all summarily debunked by a “handful of diligent reporters.”

Politicians must do this as well. The problem is that in doing so they find themselves in a no-win situation. If they challenge a constituent they are implicitly telling their constituents that another constituent is telling lies. This is then spun by the right as a politician intimidating a constituent. As the Salon piece points out, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) found that out when his lawyer challenged the TV stations playing the Julie Boonstra ads with a plethora of lies.

Brian Beutler provides what is in fact an irony.

But of course, we’re really just talking about Julie Boonstra here. If she and AFP get their way, she’ll be just as much a victim of Obamacare repeal as all the people who face health circumstances similar to hers. And the saddest part of that tragic irony is that Boonstra doesn’t even seem to understand what her circumstances are, or why it doesn’t make sense to devote her energies to repealing the law. Boonstra told the Dexter Leader, “People are asking me for the numbers and I don’t know those answers — that’s the heartbreak of all of this. It’s the uncertainty of not having those numbers that I have an issue with, because I always knew what I was paying and now I don’t, and I haven’t gone through the tests or seen my specialist yet.”

But that’s just not so. Anyone who’s studied the law knows it’s not so. Anyone who’s paid unexpected health bills in installments knows it’s not so. Well-heeled Affordable Care Act foes like Americans for Prosperity certainly know it’s not so. And in that sense AFP, and everyone else on the right “supporting” Julie Boonstra, are using her as a weapon in a war against herself.

Opponents of Obamacare seeking repeal and using fallacies to mislead Americans into supporting repeal can only be considered sociopaths. They are knowingly asking Americans to be "a weapon in a war against themselves."

What Republicans, the right, conservatives, and their friends are doing unbeknownst to them could be fatal for them if successful. If successful, there will be real stories of people losing their health care, losing something they had, and losing financial security they may not have realized they had.

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Comment Preferences

  •  unfortunately, like any shiny object (4+ / 0-)

    the Ukraine crisis may give the GOP a reprieve from self-inflicted destruction as they dust off their tired 20th Century analogies: Munich 1938, Prague 1968, Kuwait 1990...

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:09:41 PM PST

    •  OT, but there was a big letter in our Sunday paper (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, StrayCat

      from a representative of the local chapter of the John Birch society dusting off all that anti-Commie/Pinko/radical bullshit of yore (not realizing that Russia ain't Commie no more, of course), as if to illustrate your point.

      When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered -- MLK, Jr.

      by caul on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:08:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll make it easy (17+ / 0-)

    If a Republican politician mouth is open they are lying. I wonder how many of my fellow citizen's have died needlessly because of the GOP hate for anything that Obama has done! If they were decent people which they are not they would crawl back under the rocks from where they came and let the rest of us get on with the business of living our lives with health care.

    Dogs and Philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards (Diogenes)

    by Out There on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:10:20 PM PST

    •  You're right - it's all about being anti-Obama (11+ / 0-)

      And anti-anything supported by Democrats.

      The root cause is selfishness though, I believe. I think that, in general, conservatives/rightwingers are selfish and self-centered.

      And it's problem that causes most of the results we see - racism, for they want their race, and thereby themselves, to succeed. Greed - they want money for themselves, without regard to who might suffer. Shortsightedness - they want comfort for themselves today, and damned to the generation that might come later. Wars, created by people who selfishly want for themselves what other nations have.

      I could go on, but I won't.

      I believe that selfishness is the root cause of most of the world's problems, and it's that human fraility that makes Republicans be sociopaths.

  •  It's seems there's only one thing left to do: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annan, caul, anon004

    President Obama should come up with a proposal to immediately repeal all of Obamacare, and the Sen. Dems should burn the midnight oil to produce the legislation.
    Then of course the gop would be frantically trying to stop them.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:11:24 PM PST

  •  The reason (17+ / 0-)

    why the GOP has been able to send out so much misinformation is because people do not understand insurance. They don't understand what their deductible is. They don't understand what out of pocket maximums are. They do understand copays but that is about it.

    It's the policy stupid

    by Ga6thDem on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:19:23 PM PST

    •  Very true and... (7+ / 0-)

      throw in the complexity of our health care system and people are really flummoxed. So, in the vacuum of their lack of knowledge groups like the AFP and Faux News come rushing in to tell them they are getting screwed and they believe it.

      "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

      by VA6thDem on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:53:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed. (7+ / 0-)

      I did the insurance stuff for my small school, and brilliant people with multiple degrees didn't understand how it worked. One of the nicest notes I got when I retired was from someone who thanked me for explaining that she should not do one cataract in December and one in January because the new deductible started in January.  Saved her about $2,000.  

    •  Plus (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aratinga, Damaged262

      Republicans have been able to blame people's problems with insurance companies, job losses or hour reductions on ACA- whether true or not (in most cases, not).  All of these problems, of course, are not new, nor are they a direct result of anything ACA-related.  But some people don't know any better.

  •  OK but why aren't we seeing more proO-Care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, Hirodog

    ads? I would donate to MoveOn etc if they did this.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)! Follow on Twitter @dopper0189

    by dopper0189 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:32:23 PM PST

  •  Gary Peters committed big tactical blunder... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    This is then spun by the right as a politician intimidating a constituent. As the Salon piece points out, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) found that out when his lawyer challenged the TV stations playing the Julie Boonstra ads with a plethora of lies.
    Rep. Peters committed a huge tactical blunder by commissioning a law firm Perkins, Coie to write a letter explicitly on behalf of his campaign to a television station that had run the "Julie's story" ad with a challenge to the station's license.  It would have been far wiser for some third-party individual with no traceable affiliation with his campaign to have commissioned the letter from the law firm, because Peters' affiliation gave the right wing media and blogsphere a basis for creating a huge distraction - an alleged attempt by Peters to blackmail and intimidate both the station and Julie Boonstra into silence for speaking out on Obamacare in a manner Peters disapproved of.

    If you have doubts I'm right about this, Google "Gary Peters television station", and see the numerous hits on this from right-wing media and blogs blowing toxic smoke at Peters over trying to intimidate the station.

    DON'T GET ME WRONG: The ad is so deceptively misleading as to be fraudulent, but it is a political ad, not a business advertisement.  Peters did NOT get into trouble so much for criticizing the falsity of Boonstra's claims about her policy, as for seeming to try to intimidate her into silence by threatening media outlets not to accept any ads with her as spokesperson.  FAR FAR BETTER would have been to seek to run counter-ads pointing out that her insurance situation is not what she says it is; and outlining the truth in a way illustrating how people like Julie are in fact benefitting from Obamacare's reforms.

    As to confronting the stations about false advertisements, let third parties not affiliated with candidates or formally with the democratic party mount any legal challenges to the stations about false ads.  The publicity would no doubt still follow, but the attempt of the right wing to throw up a distraction to the issue of misrepresentation of Obamacare would be far less effective.

  •  None of the lies they tell will mean anything (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happyshadow, VPofKarma

    during the midterms if people really see a benefit to themselves.

     It will boil down to how much "Joe or Suzy Q Voter" is saving and/or receiving benefits of the ACA or if he or she is indeed paying more for what they perceive as less benefits. It is that simple.  No matter how many lies are told, each individual voter will determine if they approve or not by their own experiences.  We can spread the good news and so some might approve of the ACA simply because of the benefit to others, but in general Americans are selfish.  If they consider themselves a "loser" in the deal, they might vote in hopes that someone might get rid of it.  If they see themselves or their kids or grand kids as a "winner" in the deal, they will support whomever supports it.   We have to make sure there are way more winners than losers.  But the lies will do nothing when each one of us can be our own judge in how the ACA is working for us and our families.  

  •  Misinformation, outright lies are all they've got (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, happyshadow, 1Nic Ven, nocynicism

    The GOP is as morally bankrupt as it is intellectually bankrupt. They have an elaborate belief structure that totally fails to deliver on its promises, or at least the promises they make for public consumption. If you're in favor of wealth concentration, corporatism, racism, and sanctimony, then the GOP is your party.

    The GOP promises to deliver to the average person a living wage, affordable healthcare, a secure retirement, clean air and water, a safe place to work, justice and good government, and all the other things that make life worth living - but their track record has been a consistent failure.

    Of course, somehow it seems as though it's never their fault - it's always those people, or Big Government, or freedom-hating liberals, who keep the magic of conservatism from happening.

    And really, they don't promise to deliver any of that. What they tell you is that if you don't have any of those things, well that proves you're a loser and it's not worth investing anything in you or your prospects. You're on your own.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:30:51 PM PST

  •  Actually, it's amazing there aren't more glitches (4+ / 0-)

    in such a massive overhaul of a previously horrible system. After the website problems were mostly corrected, there have been very few major issues that I'm aware of.

    The biggest issue I can think are the families who earn slightly over the threshold for a subsidy and have to pay full freight.

    When you live in a wealthy area of the country, as we do- Fairfield County, Ct.- and make $100,000 per year for a family of 4- believe me, you just get by. When its considered a good deal to buy a small 1200 square foot cape with 1 bath on 1/8 acre lot for $500,000, that's a lot different than living in Ohio or Alabama.

    What burns my friend's ass the most is that so many Red State people who earn below the threshold, will get the subsidy and still bitch about Obamacare. Yet they live in such cheaper areas of the country, so their income goes a far longer way. Just another case of the Blue States bailing out those leechlike Red States, without a Thank You!

    The price of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it.

    by theslinger on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 08:13:50 PM PST

  •  Here's the money quote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    AFP, and everyone else on the right “supporting” Julie Boonstra, are using her as a weapon in a war against herself.
    That sums up the sickness of it.
  •  they have help (0+ / 0-)

    They the koch brothers have plenty of help from the  religious right and the repubs.

    Mix together some  society's worship at the altar of individualism and competition, lots of deregulated capitalism, corrupt gov on the take for money,    corrupt lobbyists, corrupt supreme court on the take, military aggression, spying on all Americans, a divided nation, huge debt, corrupt mass media on the take from corp America, wars for Corp profits, intelligence and military complex, and you have all the ingredients for the decline of an empire.

  •  Balanced Reporting In The Corporate Media (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will just do a he said/she said on these issues and not report that one side defending the ACA is factual and the other attacking it is spreading lies. The "old some say the moon landing was faked while NASA claims it was real. I guess we will never know."

  •  Health Care "Hooey" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ha! "Hooey" is a bad word in Russian. (It means penis, but not for polite company) I made that mistake when I was visiting Russia. I was watching some political speech on television and said "It's all hooey to me". I got a shocked look from everyone in the room. But after it was explained to me, I sort of thought I had it right in the first place.

    So, Health Care Hooey for sure!

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:48:30 AM PST

  •  And that's how the term "Sheeple" was born..... (0+ / 0-)

    I think it sad that many Americans cannot critically think anymore and act as one big flock of sheep blindly marching to their very own slaughter...

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:27:39 AM PST

  •  There are no perfect ways to handle this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hadrons, Matt James, ValkyrieValjean

    I say throw people like Julie Boonstra under the bus--metaphorically. Expose the lies that she's been telling or that have been told on her behalf. Do so civilly, but strongly. She'll be fine. Obamacare might not cover wounded feelings, but it does cover the stuff that matters. Stop treating voters like delicate children who need coddling and maybe they'll stop acting like it. The GOP has been infantilizing the public for decades with its sweet and sour lies and "welfare queens", "death panels" and "morning in America", waving the flag, latching onto football and NASCAR and country music and playing dog whistle McCarthyism. Enough of that. Fight back, with truth, strength and conviction, and maybe voters will stop believing them and stop viewing Dems as "soft" on anything. Stop falling for the GOP's setup.

    You'll be fine, Julie, once you read the not so fine print.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:32:18 AM PST

    •  Just one small problem there, as i see it. You (0+ / 0-)

      seem to be saying that the "Julies", can both READ and UNDERSTAND something more basic than the, "See Jane run.", level currently the height of "education" in many Republican States.  And that is exactly where the Republicans find their big advantage, using the boob tube, and boob tube clowns to peddle their idiotology and lies.
      And of course, for those witlings, dolts, and simpletons out in the boondocks, there's always that good old standby, radio.  Folks there don't even have to watch the "moom pichers" to "get the message".  
      How else does one explain the likes of O'Reilly, Fox News, and Limbaugh?

      •  We're never going to get everyone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Especially those too stupid, lazy or likely to identify with the party of stupid, lazy and racist white people, and it's a waste of resources to even try. We have to focus on the gettables--and they're gettable.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:54:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Most people are not analytical." (0+ / 0-)


  •  socio-paths Obama care (0+ / 0-)

    We can not talk about race without talking about privilege. And when people start talking about privilege they get paralyzed by shame.
    this Ted Talk by a Phd. social worker will shed some light on dealing with this issue and we need to deal with it because it's effecting the entire country. She's available for Lectures and I volunteer to do work shops, I'm a psychiaytic social worker

  •  Getting it Correct (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    "How does one remain civil when talking about a party that is knowingly hurting millions of Americans?"

    That is exactly why I started posting real information here: to get the supporters of the Party that hurts people to realize what they are supporting.

    "The Koch-Brothers-funded Americans For Progress ad featuring leukemia patient Julie Boonstra was probative. "

    Only to the tragically misinformed.  The complaint is the she got lower premiums and higher deductible that evens out.  Never mind that she would have to pay the deductible first.   I can look at her and say, "so, surely she has $6000 socked away."  But I do not know that and neither does anyone else in this discussion.  But some assume that she has the money so she is a liar.

    And, while focusing on this one case because of the Koch Bros. involvement, don't forget that there are about 6 million other Americans who had insurance and saw that coverage disappear due to ACA and that those who are getting insured under the government requirements are paying much more than they were before.  The ACA is nothing to be proud of.

  •  Sociopaths? Look to Washington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Opponents of Obamacare seeking repeal and using fallacies to mislead Americans into supporting repeal can only be considered sociopaths."

    Wouldn't it be labeled sociopathic to blindly support a program that you can actually see hurting people?  Wouldn't it be sociopathic to see the harm and then deny it?

    "They are knowingly asking Americans to be "a weapon in a war against themselves."

    That would be a good point if it were true.  Here are some other considerations for the "Americans harming themselves' label.

    Allowing government free reign to selectively comply with the law.  To allow their friends and supporters a waiver for government programs they know are super expensive, such as ACA.

    How about encouraging our government in reduce our military strength in a time when the world is becoming more dangerous?  We have 11 aircraft carriers and only two at sea.  We have none to send to help the Ukraine as a bargaining chip.  The fact is we have no chips.

    You might enjoy this one.  When the government bailed out the Wall Street Fat-cats, those fat-cats kept their homes, their savings and their jobs - some even got bonuses, while millions of your neighbors lost their homes, their jobs, and their savings.  To add insult to injury, the government gave those same fat-cats those homes to sell again while allowing them to keep all equity and payments made by the families that were paying for them.   And while we're being insulted, the government is actually borrowing money from China and printing money to pay the those same fat-cats when they agree to refinance a home in foreclosure.  

    Question" How much money can the Obama Administration possibly give to the 1% at our expense?

  •  Nothing New Here (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives have always been known for their disinformation, misinformation, outright lies and dirty tricks. The difference between then and now is that the vast majority of Americans are now aware of it and can see past the conservatives' smoke and mirrors. I think these extremist conservative politicians will pay dearly in future elections, or at least I hope they do.

  •  Federal fix for narrow networks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ValkyrieValjean, aratinga, Damaged262

    One real problem is that the insurance vultures like Anthem have narrowed their networks so drastically for policies on the Exchange that we are paying the usual obscene premiums (affordable only with subsidies) but will have to travel for hours to get to an in-network hospital. There was no way to know this before enrollment- I checked Anthem's web site and they had our large regional hospital and affiliated doctors in-network on other policies but not on any plan available on the Exchange. So Anthem is grabbing the usual fistfuls of cash every month ($813 in my case, mostly paid as an advance tax credit) but reducing us to only emergency care for the price. Some state governments are fighting it but I know mine won't. We need federal legislation to prevent the greedy insurance vultures from doing this. This is a real problem that will keep people from properly benefitting from the reforms. Which of course is why Anthem and other companies are doing it- they are preventing people from actually getting routine medical care because it is unaffordable out of network. So my policy looked miraculous onscreen, but in reality- not actually. At least if I get dragged in unconscious to the local hospital I have a chance of getting out without financial disaster, which is more than I've had for several years since the Celtic insurance vultures made me give up (they wanted 53% of my income plus a $5000 deductible, and I wanted to keep eating and having heat in winter). But the ACA was intended to make routine care also affordable.

  •  Out of pocket max (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm a proponent of Obamacare, but I'd prefer single payer, as I believe would most of us liberals.  Unfortunately, the statement "she cannot be bankrupted by medical bills" is incorrect.  Out of pocket maximums apply to covered services.  Sometimes patients are provided services that are not covered on their insurance policies alongside services that are covered.  There are various ways this can happen.  The agreements patients sign with health care providers state that the patient is responsible for all costs, including those that are not covered.  Most of the time, patients won't encounter costs outside of the out-of-pocket maximum in a year.  However, if a patient has an illness or injury requiring treatments or medications that aren't covered on his/her insurance policy, those are expenses incurred above the out-of-pocket maximum for which the patient is still responsible.  The trick is to ensure that patients insist on agreeing only to covered services, and that can be difficult.  Sadly, a lot of people don't understand how insurance works.  The non-millionaire is still subject to bankruptcy as a result of medical bills.  Obamacare is insurance, after all.    

    •  Sad, but true (0+ / 0-)

      especially this sentence:

      Sadly, a lot of people don't understand how insurance works.
      There's a lot that still needs to be fixed, but at least we are now on the path toward fixing it, rather than denying that it is a problem.


      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 07:41:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  GOP will blame the democrats (0+ / 0-)

    I don't see how this will be fatal to the GOP.  They'll just blame the democrats, convince enough people to vote THEM into power and then be able to convince people as dumb as Julie Boonstra that they have the best health care possible.  Most people like Boonstra don't question anything unless they're used by people like the tea party folks.

  •  "It is difficult ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... to put all the blame on the average American citizen for their ignorance."

    Is it REALLY that difficult, Egberto?  When, by and large, that ignorance is willfully and stubbornly maintained?  When any and all contrary evidence is dismissed as "anuther librul LIE!"?

    I don't know, maybe I'm just vindictive, but hate-flavored news only exists because it has an audience, and the members of that audience have become utterly fact-resistant.  There ARE other news sources available, so taking it from Fox, Rush, et al, is a CHOICE, and I have no problem laying blame on the individual who makes that choice.

    OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new RIGHT!

    by mstaggerlee on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:27:12 AM PST

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