Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 23, 2011

RON JOHNSON'S WRONG -- AND OFFENSIVE -- HEALTH CARE ATTACK.... It stood to reason that the Wall Street Journal op-ed page would run something scathing about the Affordable Care Act on its first anniversary, but I'd hoped the paper could do better than this nonsense.

To criticize the reform law, the WSJ turned to Sen. Ron Johnson (R), the often-confused freshman senator from Wisconsin, who argues that his adult daughter, born with a heart defect, would have died had the Affordable Care Act been in place at the time.

I don't even want to think what might have happened if she had been born at a time and place where government defined the limits for most insurance policies and set precedents on what would be covered. Would the life-saving procedures that saved her have been deemed cost-effective by policy makers deciding where to spend increasingly scarce tax dollars?

Carey's story sounds like a miracle, but America has always been a place where medical miracles happen.

I hesitate to even call this garbage an "argument," since it isn't even that. The dim-witted rookie senator isn't actually criticizing the law so much as he's imagining a fabricated nightmare based on nothing but his own ignorance.

Does he point to any provisions in the law -- literally, anything at all -- that might have prevented treatment for his ailing daughter? No, of course not. Because if he tried to address the law with some shred of intellectual seriousness, Johnson would know (a) death panels that deny care to ailing children don't exist; (b) the law offers strong protections that protect children with pre-existing conditions; and (c) he'd have much more to worry about when it came to penny-pinching private insurers turning down procedures they don't want to pay for.

Indeed, in Johnson's bizarre fantasy world, does he think families in Massachusetts -- where the state has had an ACA-style system for several years -- are routinely denying care to children with heart defects?

As Jon Chait explained, "Indeed, one of the reasons for the law is that private health insurance often contains lifetime caps on coverage, or arbitrarily throws people who develop expensive conditions off their plans, and therefore keeps people from getting procedures like the one Johnson's daughter received. But asking someone like him to actually take into consideration the actual needs of the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance, as against the completely imaginary threat to his only family, is asking far too much of Johnson's intellect or moral reasoning."

Igor Volsky dug a little deeper into the WSJ piece, and concludes, "Johnson gets it wrong. The ACA wouldn't have killed Johnson's daughter, but thousands of other uninsured babies would have died without it."

Honestly, Ron Johnson really ought to be ashamed of himself for peddling such twaddle. If he doesn't know anything about health care policy -- and he clearly does not -- the senator should have just kept his mouth shut and wrote an op-ed about something else. Instead, he penned a piece that's as wrong as it is offensive.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

Well I certainly expect Ron Johnson to apologize and the WSJ to publish a retraction any day now ;)

Posted by: golack on March 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

that this scumbag replaced Russ Feingold was easily the most painful part of the 2010 elections. and i live 1500 miles from wisconsin.

Posted by: ahoy polloi on March 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

To publish such sophistry says more about the WSJ than anything else! Foisting opaque and limited perspectives upon the reader is more than an injustice - it's a reprehensible act of editorial malpractice!

Obfuscation, flak, dissembling, bread and circuses - call it as you may, but the right has no defensible argument against Americans trying to take care of themselves through smart government, so it is relying on emotional distraction! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 23, 2011 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad there aren't certain standards set by publications regarding their editorial content. If he had claimed that his daughter had abducted by aliens and received better care by them than she would have under the new health care bill would they have printed that too?

Posted by: SaintZak on March 23, 2011 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Johnson is just following the wishes of fascist government loving KOCH BROS/Corporations who helped to get Johnson elected. Keep it up Mr. Johnson so you can be tried for TREASON for not upholding the US CONSTITUTION; for destroying American DEMOCRACY for a one party fascist government you swore to follow.

Posted by: ML Johnston on March 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

And when she was little, Carey also wasn't ritually sacrificed, and her blood used to make matzo's, which I heard the ACA mandates in one of their death panels.

"Carey's story sounds like a miracle, but America has always been a place where medical miracles happen" - and childred aren't sacrificed to appease the Jewish God Yahweh.

What an asshole!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently his concern for children's welfare isn't all encompassing, since according to Wikipedia, his major public policy activity before deciding to buy himself a Senate seat was to oppose state legislation which would have made it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers, arguing that it would prevent a severe hardship to the 'employers' of the abusers (i.e., the Catholic Church, for which he served on the Finance Council.)

Posted by: dcsusie on March 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt johnson is that stupid. The wsj found someone who was willing to lie for them - pure and simple. The cons are the past, present, and future lying champs. I think we can safely retire the trophy in their display case.

Posted by: CDW on March 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, Ron Johnson really ought to be ashamed of himself for peddling such twaddle. If he doesn't know anything about health care policy -- and he clearly does not -- the senator should have just kept his mouth shut and wrote an op-ed about something else. Instead, he penned a piece that's as wrong as it is offensive.

—Steve Benen 12:35 PM

And just who is going to tell America he is dead wrong?

Posted by: ronbyers on March 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

As a former Senate staffer, I should probably point out that this was, in all likelihood, written by Johnson's health policy Legislative Assistant -- who's obviously an ignoramus. Johnson probably signed off on it before submitting it, which makes 2 ignorami.

Posted by: Arlington BigFish on March 23, 2011 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Push Back

Well, the Shamestream Media is going to be quoting this one ad infinitum, without question UNLESS they get some viewer pushback.

Write, call, and email the Wall St. Journal to let them know you don't appreciate this kind of shameless lying in their esteemed pages. Send a note to Senator Johnson, deploring his stupidity or mendacity (politely - use big words; he may not understand the level of the insults then). If any network that you're viewing picks up on this editorial and repeats the allegations, hit them, too. Threaten to write to their sponsors (and note down a few big names). On second thought, don't just threaten - do it.

When enough people make it clear that They Are Not Amused, and that it means $$$$, the for-profits will eventually listen.

Posted by: zandru on March 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Please People: Refer to it by it's correct name MST not WST. The Murdoch Street Journal, because its editorial policy is filtered though Murdoch

Posted by: John R on March 23, 2011 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Need I point out that the WSJ is published by Rupert Murdoch? Expect bullshit, that's what he likes to sell.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 23, 2011 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

...(a) death panels that deny care to ailing children don't exist...

Wrong! Steve. Wrong! The death panels do exist!

Not in the ACA, but they definitely have found a place near & dear to the hearts of conservatives in at least Arizona & Indiana! But then again, real death panels are ok if republican governors create them. Johnson is probably ok with those; it is those make believe ones that he is fighting against.

Posted by: SadOldVet on March 23, 2011 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't even want to think what might have happened if she had been born at a time and place where government defined the limits for most insurance policies and set precedents on what would be covered.

As the Repubs just voted to have the gov't define limits on what insurance can cover (ie: Abortion),I the good Senator doesn't have to think what it is like.

Posted by: martin on March 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Color me stupid, but does private insurance horde its premium and investment income and provide services with taxpayer dollars? And don't states (the federal government prior to 2011 didn't possess much regulatory authority over insurance providers) have a hand in defining benefit limits? Moreover, don't private insurers [death] panels set policy coverage limits? Please enlighten me?

Posted by: tec619 on March 23, 2011 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't his daughters procedure covered by either (a) a private insurance plan which he and all others will still be free to purchase (assuming the insurer doesn't nix the policy, which of course is outside the scope of what the ACA or similar legislation can influence), or (b) a health care plan provided for elected officials by taxpayers? I suppose my point is that it seems literally impossible for the ACA to play any role in this or similar situations, except for providing care when option a or b above is unavailable?

Posted by: cholm on March 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Just wow. "...as wrong as it is offensive," indeed.

I can almost see Jon Lovitz, made up to look like Feingold, reading this column, grimacing, and saying "I can't believe I lost to this guy!"

Posted by: Turgidson on March 23, 2011 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Did Sen. Ron Johnson not consider his brain defect for the "opinion" piece? That will never get fixed either! Damn that O-scary-bama-black-guy-care! Tyranny!! Despot!! Insipid stupidity! Panic!! Hatred! RLR...

Posted by: Trollop on March 23, 2011 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, Doc Johnson here should stick to the dildo business..

Posted by: Trollop on March 23, 2011 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you continually give these guys the benefit of the doubt by claiming they just are confused or aren't informed. But, why blame their ignorance, when it is clearly good old fashioned mendacity. To the degree that they are ignorant, it is of the intentional variety. After all, the party practically revels in it's stupidity. It is a badge of honor to be dumb as nails in the modern Republican party. But, again, you have to go out of your way to be as dumb as these guys come across virtually every time they open their mouth.

Posted by: Vince on March 23, 2011 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

What @zandru said.

Posted by: June on March 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty ironic that the medical procedure that saved his daughter's life was developed and perfected in Canada and Brazil. Guess universal healthcare in those countries didn't "stifle" the innovation that saved his little girl's life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jatene_procedure

Posted by: Al Swearengen on March 23, 2011 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

I seem to remember that liberals were telling us repeatedly that 47 million Americans did not have access to healthcare. With the passage of ObamaCareless, they repeatedly crowed that now 30 million Americans have access to healthcare. What happened to the other 17 million? Nobody knows and nobody will say.

Back on 21 December 2009, Harry Reid proclaimed that two people die every ten minutes because they don't have access to healthcare. Since ObamaCareless won't be fully implemented until 2014, doesn't that mean that 423,936 will die waiting on the benevolence of Uncle Sugar?

Posted by: Rob S on March 23, 2011 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Rob S, dumb fuck, whats your point? You obviously don't think that we should do any of it, so save your phony fucking concern. There's still a lot of people who won't die. No thanks to heartless shitheels like you and your type.

So take your phony fuck statistics and shove them where they belong, right up your smarmy ass.

Posted by: Al Swearengen on March 23, 2011 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Jews DO sacrifice Christian children and use their blood for matzo. But nowadays just the Orthodox. Reform and Conservative Jews gave it up in return for John XXIII's declaration that we didn't kill Jesus (which in fact we totally did. We even left a note: "We did it" signed Mel and Jeffrey).

Posted by: Chaim Rosemarin on March 23, 2011 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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