Political Animal


July 24, 2012 3:37 PM Fighting the Third Biggest Lie About ObamaCare

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t think there’s much question the biggest lie that’s been widely told about the Affordable Care Act is the McCaughey/Bachmann/Palin “death panel” meme. I mean, it’s just a total fabrication. And the second biggest lie is probably the “government takeover of health care” bit.

But number three is likely the claim, asserted against all the available evidence, that “ObamaCare” will involve a monstrous expansion of the federal budget deficit. So today’s news via Jonathan Cohn is worth repeating and emphasizing:

The Congressional Budget Office just published a newly updated estimate of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the budget. The estimate largely tells us what we already knew: The law, when fully implemented, will dramatically reduce the number of Americans without health insurance. It will also reduce the deficit.
This last part remains a big deal, if only because so many conservatives—and, yes, so many members of the public—refuse to believe it. Over and over again, you hear people saying that Obamacare will run up the deficit. The CBO, which is our most reliable guide on such matters, begs to differ….
But this latest CBO estimate comes with an asterisk previous ones lacked. Thanks to the Supreme Court, states are more likely to opt out of the law’s expansion of Medicaid. The non-participation of some states won’t worsen the budget picture: If anything, the federal deficit should come down even more if some states keep their Medicaid programs as they exist today, with more limited enrollment. But if states don’t participate int he expansion, more Americans will end without health insurance.

The whole idea behind the ACA was to expand coverage and begin reducing the health care cost spiral associated with inefficient cross-subsidies, insurance abuses, and archaic ways of practicing medicine—ultimately getting control of both public and private costs, without just shifting them to other levels of government or to Americans as consumers. That should happen if ACA is allowed to be fully implemented. Rejecting the Medicaid expansion just adds injustice to an already screwed up system.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Lance on July 24, 2012 4:14 PM:

    To be honest, sometimes conservatives simply say that the PP ACA will increase government spending by more than a Trillion over ten years, and they just don't like the government spending any more money, even when it's paid for.

    What you say to them then is that the money would have been spent by SOMEONE, but by spending it through the Federal government we will actually save money.

    Not that they will believe that, but at least your replying truth to truth.

  • c u n d gulag on July 24, 2012 4:19 PM:

    Maybe when Cousin Zeke and his family in MD finally have great coverage, they'll call or write Cousin Zeb and his family in FL, and ask how THEIR "Obamacare" is working out for them?

    And Cousin Zeb will rail on an on in FOX and Rush talking points about the evils of Obamacare, and how, mercifully, it's not available in FL.

    Then, Cousin Zeke will calmly explain how it's working for his family in MD, and ask why doesn't Cousin Zeb have it in FL?

    And Cousin Zeb will tell him that Gov. Rick Scott refuses to have anything to do with Obamacare.

    And Cousin Zeke will ask, why doesn't Gov. Scott care about the health and welfare of Cousin Zeb and his family, since MD's Governor has almost his whole state covered at lower cost?

    Maybe THEN, some of the people in the Red states, like Cousin Zeb, will call their Governors and State Legislators, and ream them a new Proctologist's hole.

    Until then, the little tin-pot dictator wannabe's like Jindall, Scott, and others, will strut their stupidity and lack of concern for the people who voted them into the office they occupy.

    And yeah - I'm BACK on that Southern and Red State "mentality" - or lack thereof.

  • sick-n-effin-tired on July 24, 2012 4:22 PM:

    It is highly unlikely these facts will penetrate the Faux Nooze bubble.
    You will hear lots on Faux about "You didn't build it"
    Actual facts on actual subjects...not so much.
    It will be dismissed as liberal lies even though it is a neutral body.
    They believe what they want to believe

  • T2 on July 24, 2012 4:37 PM:

    these "lies" only exist because the Media wants them to. Because the Media is pretty much a subsidiary of the Conservative Republican Party. FOX is easy to blame, but they are all in on it.

  • Ron Byers on July 24, 2012 5:04 PM:

    I think T2 is right. If the rest of the media (outside MSNBC) didn't repeat Fox News/Rush Limbaugh memes or perhaps even challenged them to gain a competitive advantage Fox would start losing "fans." As it is they quietly repeat their claims without comment and in doing so enable the Republican message machine.

    I want media that tells the truth, warts and all, but tells the truth. I am sick of the spinning talk we see everywhere.

  • Peter C on July 24, 2012 5:05 PM:

    It is really stunning to step back and realize just how extensively the Republican Party depends upon bald-faced lies. I think if the Democratic Party had better leaders, they would attack the Republicans about their lies relentlessly. By this point, "Republican Lies" should be a stock phrase as common and accepted as "White Bread" or "Passing Lane". Lord knows we've got plenty of footage for the highlights reel.

    Even Cousin Zeb and Cousin Zeke don't like being lied to.

    We've got to stop playing rugby with our croquet outfit on.

  • T2 on July 24, 2012 5:11 PM:

    @Peter C "it is really stunning to step back and realize just how extensively the Republican Party depends upon bald-faced lies."
    That is why they have to have the cooperation of the MEDIA, and the way to ensure that is to OWN IT. Combine Citizens United (thanks to Conservative Supreme Court) and Conservative Corporate ownership of a huge chunk of the Print and Broadcast media, and you have the ability to control the message and then send it out. Our government is literally being bought out from under us.

  • schtick on July 24, 2012 5:30 PM:

    Want to drive a teapub crazy? Ask them how the media can be liberal when it's all owned by the tealiban.

  • terraformer on July 25, 2012 8:10 AM:

    Sadly, it really doesn't matter what anyone says.

    At this point in our national history, those of us who operate via reason and nuance have within our midst a very vocal minority who refuse to believe anything contradicting either 1) what they've been told to say, or 2) what they believe in their heart.

    And they are funded very well by those who benefit greatly from the current system to yell against reason and fact to obfuscate the truth and inculcate doubt amongst those who generally don't have the time - as most of us on this site do - to wade into the cesspool of misinformation, and yet who are receptive to argument.

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