Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spin Doctoring

While we wait for the Supreme Court to rule on federal health exchanges legality, now is a good time to go for a spin on spin doctors. A spin doctor, of course, is a politician who seeks to control the way a political event is described in order to influence how people think about it.

Take the top spin doctor, President Obama. Back in 2009, before the health law passed, Obama described physicians’ role in the health system this way.

“ You come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats,” President Obama explained .“The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out."

In other words, you can’t trust doctors. They are in it for the money. They perform unnecessary procedures. Medical professionals can’t be trusted without guidance from their moral superiors, Democratic politicians and government experts, who must supervise and monitor their medical practices.

Or take today’s news from Sylva Mathews Burwell, HHS Secretary, who announced there are now less 16.4 million uninsured because of ObamaCare, which passed five years ago on March 23, 2010. She said 14.3 million had been added to the government dependency rolls since October 2013, when the first healthexchange.gov was launched. Before that epic event, 2.3 million young people under 26 had been covered under their parents’ plans. The number of uninsured has declined among Hispanics by 12%, African Americans by 9%, and Whites by 5%. If the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare, 8 million federally subsidized people will be set adrift in a cruel Republican world, no longer able to pay for health insurance.

This is very effective spin doctoring, designed to influence Supreme Court justices to uphold federal subsidies. It is the moral imperative argument and assumes the GOP has no sustainable alternative plan.

The Republicans, adamantly opposed to ObamaCare, of course, spin things differently. Just yesterday, they presented a budget that repealed the health law, partially privatized Medicare, and gave the states Medicaid block grants. They will negatively spin ObamaCare, complaining of the bloated bureaucracy, the $500 billion in ObamaCare-related taxes, the $100 billion in Medicare-Medicaid fraud, the $125 billion in improper payments by federal agencies, cancelled health plans, rising premiums and deductible, disruptive effects of higher costs on small businesses and the middle-class. They will positively spin their approach , saying that rising economic tide will lift all boats, that the only path better care lies in free markets, choice, innovation, and entrepreneurship and distribution of the profits of prosperity.

The ObamaCare spin, positive and negative, will never stop, no matter what Bill O’Reilly says. It will lack context, and it will depend on one’s ideology. And it may never stop spinning . It will only make sense in the context of history. And maybe not even then, for by then, most of us will be spinning in our graves at the outcome.

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