U.S. health care debate — Part 1: Debunking leftist rhetoric by Miguel A. Faria, MD

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Of a fallen tree all make kindling, says the old proverb, and like most refrains, it conveys an element of truth. The fact the Republicans are having difficulty agreeing on a winning GOP Health care reformalternative plan to ObamaCare makes both the Senate and House proposals looming targets for critics. The Left’s ultimate goal is to dismantle the American health care system and turn it into an instrument for people control — the government as single payer, in other words, fully socialized medicine “as in all other industrialized nations.” And they have not been unsuccessful in this arena. Aided by the mainstream media, the debate keeps shifting leftward, and the Republicans, despite majorities in both houses of Congress, do not seem to have a winning strategy.

Towards lending support to the Democrats, pundits and propagandists have spread more than the fair share of half-truths.

A recent writer for example lamented, “Millions of Americans who were able to purchase insurance since ObamaCare was enacted would lose coverage if either plan [the Senate or the House version] became law, and most of the savings from the tax cuts in their plans would be reaped by those with higher incomes.”

The first part of the statement is questionable and disingenuous. The vast majority, about 18 million out of the estimated 20 million in question, had only obtained health insurance by compulsion, to avoid the penalty imposed by ObamaCare for not having insurance. The rest have subsidized coverage paid by others saddled with higher premiums. The second part of the statement is even more disingenuous because those “reaping the savings” are merely the ones being allowed to save some of their own money, instead of subsidizing others. The GOP plans revoke these impositions and brings more freedom rather than wealth redistribution.

But the verbiage in the writer’s statement is typical Democrat rhetoric pushing the debate towards socialism rather than freedom. In another article in the same newspaper, we read, “reductions in spending are needed to pay for GOP proposed tax cuts.” How is that for turning ideas upon their heads and pervert their meanings? In liberal mantra, reduction of wasteful spending and returning money to those who earned it, is considered the government having to “pay” for the tax cuts. Whose money is it to begin with?

By sleight of progressive authoritarian hand and the naked force of sophistry over reason, suddenly, one’s money becomes the government’s, and those who want to keep their hard-earned money are accused of “reaping the savings” of tax cuts. And when the government returns their money, they call it “paying for tax cuts”!

Envy and class warfare are instigated to ignite passion in this rhetoric. Invariably, the liberal mantra elaborates that those “reaping the benefits” of tax cuts or those for whom the government “slashes benefits to the needy to pay for the tax cuts” are the wealthy. The reality is different: the majority, at least 53% or so of middle class Americans who most heavily carry the load of taxation, are those who would “reap the benefits” of less taxation and wasteful government spending. The super rich are too few to pull the wagon by themselves.

To the world at large, the 26 million presently uninsured Americans are misrepresented by the liberal media as being the most needy, “vulnerable,” and the poorest of Americans who still do not have access to medical care in the U.S. This of course is not true. One of the most vulnerable, our senior citizens, as we all know in America, are covered by the federal Medicare program, and the poorest Americans are covered by the state-run Medicaid programs. And the truth is that eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in some of those programs would go a long way to better cover even more of those in need.

But the liberal media, even when wanting to appear objective, is not only biased but demands the debate be limited to the points that fit their agenda. For example, as we have seen, they refuse to consider costs and the concept of wealth redistribution in expanding coverage. And their arguments soon degenerate to passionate rhetoric to push for their pre-planned agenda.

The liberal media also avoids reporting human interest stories of waste, fraud, and abuse, and shuns presenting sober and responsible analyses of projected costs (except to project downward) — much less report the burden those social and health programs impose on the middle class who pay for them; or the burden placed on small businesses that are saddled with exorbitant insurance premiums for their workers. Consider the verbiage of yet another unsigned editorial in my local newspaper, the Telegraph (Macon; July 2, 2017):

“Though it [the Senate version of the GOP plan] would only throw 22 million people out of the health insurance door — it would save the government, by cutting Medicaid, $772 billion over ten years and it would eliminate $408 billion in subsidies for low income people, those captured by opioids, pregnant mothers, the disabled and the most vulnerable in our society.... They have yet to put a human face on the issue.”

How is that for advocacy journalism! But despite the alleged good intentions, as declared in the above statement of looking out for the vulnerable and low-income people, these entitlement programs are not without serious unintended and harmful consequences. For example, numerous studies have shown that many Americans in their prime of life and able to work are dropping out of the labor force because of the expansion of the welfare state. They simply prefer not to work and collect benefits. Others malinger, faking illnesses and injuries, to obtain fraudulent disability. One can search the vast literature on the subject (avoided by the media) or just simply watch Judge Judy on TV to ascertain the reality of the statement. In both cases the government-dependent population continues to increase, and those sharing the burden have a heavier and heavier wagon to pull.

Medicaid spending has increased dramatically both under the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. In 2000, Medicaid spending was $209 billion. By 2016, it had more than double to $575 billion. Americans with the lowest incomes and the “disabled” are not falling through the cracks as claimed. The deficit accumulated from this program alone is in the trillions of dollars.

As intimated earlier some, if not the majority, of the 26 million uninsured Americans includes a large segment of the middle class that is not eligible for either of those programs, a population that chooses to remain uninsured. This admittedly is because health insurance coverage is expensive. These Americans make the conscious choice to spend their money elsewhere because they consider themselves in good health. They believe that were they to participate in the government-approved insurance cartel, they would be subsidizing others, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Wise decision or not, under ObamaCare, these Americans chose to pay the penalty for not having insurance. People look after their self-interest, and in a free society, they should be allowed to do so, rather than being forced to participate in wealth redistribution schemes dreamed up by pandering politicians or conceived by others to forge presidential legacies.

Despite the impression created by the progressive-liberal media and even Hollywood celebrities, the health care problem is more about waging partisan politics and inciting class warfare by the Democrats and about furthering government control over individual Americans than it is about “people dying in the streets for lack of medical care” — another hyperbolic mendacity.

We have already mentioned Medicare and Medicaid. Veterans are covered by the Veterans Administration hospital system. True, many people complain about the VA system’s inefficiencies and waiting lists, but that is exactly what they will get with the single payer system of socialized medicine that liberals, behind their partisan politics, are striving to implement through the back door.

Truth be told, no one is being left behind. And as falsely claimed, no one is dying in the streets of America because of lack of access to medical care. That is an outright lie, even if it is implied or stated by a Democrat or Republican president. By federal law, anyone who seeks medical care at an American hospital has to be treated despite ability to pay.

Just disclosing this fact, making an effort to decrease their bias, and toning down the rhetoric, the liberal mainstream media could go a long way to improve the quality of the debate — and regain a portion of their damaged credibility.

Read Part 2 of this article

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is a retired clinical professor of neurosurgery and long time medical editor. He is the author of “Vandals at the Gates of Medicine”; “Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine”; and “Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise.” His website is http://www.haciendapub.com.

This article may be cited as: Faria MA.  U.S. health care debate — Part 1: Debunking leftist rhetoric. HaciendaPublishing.com, July 4, 2017. Available from: http://www.haciendapublishing.com/articles/us-health-care-debate-%E2%80%94-part-1-debunking-leftist-rhetoric-miguel-faria-md

Similar versions of this article have appeared in the Telegraph (Macon), GOPUSA, and AIM. The AIM version was re-titled, "No Media… 26 Million People Won’t Die If ObamaCare is Repealed" and appeard July 21, 2017

Copyright ©2017 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Comments on this post

Single Payer would be disaster!

Health care Part 1 from AIM 7/21/17

Allagen: Excellent article, filled with the honest facts. The most glaring truth, evident for quite some time now, is that the largest loss, by far, of those being covered, if Obamacare goes, will be due to people choosing not to be covered. They won't be "kicked off" their plans as the lying, hateful left like to tell us, they will make a free choice. Free choice is what so disturbs the commie left because freedom is what they hate most.

Health care Part 2 from AIM 7/25/17

Bill W: Health care was affordable until the states and feds got involved to help us. Having insurers include gov't favorites raises costs. Get the gov't out of healthcare and back to free market to cut costs. Everyone involved in health care has become greedy with no competition to stem it. Even hospitals are giving millions in bonuses - non profit is only a term. Greed, when properly controlled by competition, is not a terrible thing. Single payer would be a disaster since there would be many restrictions - British officials are so proud of their National Health Service they are willing to concoct figures, not only to praise their system, but also to lie about the fact they ration health care by queues and waiting lists, restrictions to specialists and access to life-saving medical treatments, and even outright denial of medical care to the elderly.

Mark Midas: Obamacare is about Brave New World genetic engineering. The so-called affordable (that's a real joke) health care law uses "civil rights" quotas to force hospitals, research labs and medical schools to hire and train more people with sick minds who will let newborns die in stainless steel pans, kill elderly patients and probably dispense HIV virus to healthy patients.

That's why Ted "woman-killer and illegal immigration" Kennedy and 60 Minutes so hated HMOs (health maintenance organizations). Did 60 Minutes ever do even one story about how Democrats were largely responsible for the injustices and horrors of sterilization, selective breeding, racial purification and more? Of course not! But 60 Minutes did produce a lot of segments on supposed problems with HMOs, which had faults, but which were an emerging and better -- but private -- solution to health care costs and services. HMOs held promise, but Democrats couldn't have any of that because they wanted only to serve the Marxist-Darwinist agenda, not people, and that means health care must be state-controlled.

Dems outwitted Republicans!

Personally, I think the Dems outwitted the republicans: they created the monster socialistic Obamacare— which I think is unconstitutional— and are voicing “REPEAL AND REPLACE!— thus in reality fulfilling the Dems’ skullduggery after all if
replacement occurs.

I’d opt for Repeal or implode— and go back to free enterprise. Only a socialistic government takes care of society’s health—and look at Europe, Canada, and Venezuela!--- Don Horacio

Moderate sheep at lunch with Democrat wolves?

Senator Mitch McConnell faces a hard road ahead. He gets criticized for lack of leadership and for not selling the GOP health care plan more aggressively to the American people, but how is he to do that when the Republicans in Congress do not agree themselves on what to include and how to proceed? What GOP plan?

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to go ahead and repeal ObamaCare— and then work on a new replacement plan. The way to go and President Trump now seems to agree with that option. But then you have some back stabbing some Republicans complain. An article in the Washington Times, states: “Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said over the recess that there is “a real feeling” that Mr. Cruz’s plan could amount to “subterfuge” to get around regulations that protect people with pre-existing medical conditions.” With friends like that…

And then we have the usual suspect moderate Republicans, to contend with. The same article stated: ”Mr. Cruz acknowledged that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a 'rocky path' in avoiding more than two defections from their 52-seat majority, with Vice President Mike Pence serving as a tie-breaking vote. Moderates such as Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, say they would prefer bipartisan talks on health care, while conservatives, including Mr. Cruz, say Senate Republicans should move to repeal Obamacare now and work on a replacement later on if they cannot come to an agreement in the coming weeks.”

How can you proceed like that when the moderate Republican sheep like Susan Collins and Charles Grassley want to sit down, discuss lunch and be devoured by the socialist Democrat wolves, like Bernie Sanders and Charles Schumer?

Ignorant Sheep!

I think, MAF, this is the eternal problem that Republicans never understand. You can try anything, and Republican representatives remain blind. The notion is simple:

They think that if they extend a hand out to the Democrats, that they will gain their approval and acceptance. Not once has that ever worked, and furthermore, those Democrats who took their hand and laughed while shaking it will still destroy them, no matter how much the Republicans who reached out think they have made new friends.

It is hard to believe, but Republicans (and there are still way too many of them) care what Democrats think or say about them. They may even believe at least some of it, and decide that they must try to be a bit more accommodating and "nicer." How many more times do they have to see the result of this?

You see so many turning against Trump, I am sure. But do you really think that Democrats did not know what kind of person Obama really was? No, of course they did, but they know this game better than any Republican politician does. They stood by Obama, and that is why even now he is treated as the most benevolent emperor who ever lived and they give us a list of his endless accomplishments that are in reality absolutely ludicrous, but many people truly believe most, if not all of them.

That old saying, "My country right or wrong"? Democrats understand this perfectly, but Republicans have a huge chunk missing somewhere in their brains, as I sometimes think none of them do.--ARB

PS. We can look to Soviet Russia here as well for a good example. The Reds ultimately won the civil in 1920 because the Whites had no idea what kind of enemy they were dealing with. Many of the White Russians loyal to the Tsar still had some notions of how to fairly fight a war. They had no idea that Bolsheviks had none, and ultimately, if you tie your hands like that when the enemy doesn't, you will always lose. In wartime, we have also had our hands tied by the left since Vietnam, and you know the results of that. But I digress...
Brilliant comment, Adam. When you dissect what Obama has truly accomplished, whether in Cuba, Libya, Syria, etc., in foreign policy; or domestically, the number of people in food stamps, government dependency, etc., we find the emperor has no clothes, but the Democrats stick by him. Loyalty and intoxication with their own virtue," justifying ruthlessness and that the end justifies the means— go a long way to keep collectivism and socialism alive, despite its failures, lies, and deception. The media is with them, and they manipulate the sheep at large (i.e., the fickle independents and fence-sitters who at the last moment tilt elections), so the Republicans are cowed!---MAF