Reasonable people can argue over the seriousness of the “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” assurances. But it’s been curious, to put it mildly, to hear President Obama’s Republican critics spend the last two weeks insisting that an unreliable claim related to health care is the single greatest threat to the fabric of our democracy they’ve ever seen.
These are, of course, the same group of lawmakers who’ve taken dishonesty about health care to almost unimaginable levels.
One could write a book – a fairly long one, at that – about the scope of Republican mendacity on the “Obamacare” law they love to hate. Indeed, the lies have been so numerous and so sustained for so long, it’s hard to even know where to start.
Jon Stewart, who’s criticized the Affordable Care Act many times in recent years, told viewers this week, “Yes, the president was somewhat dishonest about the promise of his healthcare program, but here’s the weird part: his opponents have been lying like motherf***ers about its effects.”
Brian Beutler picked up on the theme yesterday, noting a handful of the more dramatic health care lies touted by conservatives in recent years, including the still-common notion that “Obamacare” is a stalking horse for a socialized health care system.
Personally, I think that kind of “socialism” would be a pretty good idea. But it is emphatically not what Obamacare is. “If you like your plan, you can keep it” was in its own bungled way an answer to this kind of sophistry.If you imagine a spectrum between the pre-Obamacare status quo, and the kind of job-destroying “socialism” that the rest of the first world somehow endures, Obamacare is probably about 80 or 90 percent of the way toward the former.
At Brian’s suggestion, I started imagining exactly that and came up with an image that I hope drives the point home:
This, by the way, doesn’t even include uninsured consumers who’ll now be able to get converage.
Brian added, “Lying is bad. People shouldn’t lie. But on this score, just ask yourself whose descriptions of Obamacare were closer to reality: Obama’s or the Republican Party’s? It’s not even a close call.”
Agreed. I find the notion that the president “lied” about the health care law pretty silly – at worst, he oversimplified a complex issue in a way the right is now exploiting because conservatives have nothing better to do – but even if we take the claims at face value, there’s no question as to which side of the political divide has been more honest about the basics in this debate.