For those of you who’ve been savoring the excesses of GOP rhetoric in the wake of the Supremes’ decision that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare) is indeed constitutional, Billy Long (R-7) provides a special example of the GOP herd mentality. His official statement carefully regurgitates some of the golden oldies that have served his GOP partisans so well in their war against anything Obama, especially the healthcare reform legislation:
I, along with the overwhelming majority of Missourians who voted against Obamacare in August of 2010, believe this is a harmful law that destroys the quality of health care in this country. This law enacts drastic cuts to the Medicare program and institutes a board of bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to deny care to seniors. This law is wrong for the country and it is certainly wrong for Missourians.
Ooooh! – bureaucrats who want to deny care to seniors! Could Long be talking about death panels! I’d be scared to death if this whopper hadn’t been laid to rest eons ago – it was PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2009 and it hasn’t gotten any truer in the interim.
As for the “Medicare cuts,” I think Long must mean cuts to the subsidies and overpayments now handed out to private insurers and healthcare providers – because the ACA absolutely does not cut Medicare benefits in any way. Somebody ought to tell Billy that his own party voted overwhelmingly to support the Ryan budget which would make the very same cuts – while also privatizing and diminishing the entire Medicare program. Billy must have been wool-gathering when that vote was taken.
Long claims that Americans don’t support Obamacare. And a recent poll showed that a sizeable number don’t – as long as you’re talking about the legislation in the collective abstract. Most of the individual provisions, however, get very high approval marks. You could say that Americans overwhelmingly approve of Obamacare, but they just don’t know it. Do you maybe think that GOP lies like those about death panels and Medicare cuts might have something to do with this bizarre situation?
Of course Billy follows the lead of his betters and tries to jump on the whole mandate-as-a-tax finding of the Supreme Court – and he makes an interestng point:
However, the Court also ruled the states can refuse to participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program without losing all of their funding.
The result is that beginning in 2014 many people who cannot afford health insurance will experience a tax increase. …
That, of will only be the case if Missouri’s GOP-controlled legislature chooses to refuse the billions in federal dollars that will be made available to support that Medicaid expansion over the next several years – and even then, the situation will be mitigated somewhat by the fact that the ACA mandated insurance exchanges will make subsidized insurance more widely available.
If Long is really concerned about this possibility, perhaps he should be talking to some of his recalcitrant state-level GOP colleagues instead of railing against Obamacare. We know from sad experience (think Jim Lembke and his filibuster of federally-funded unemployment benefit dollars), that if there is an opportunity to posture in front of a chanting crowd of Tea Partiers, there are plenty of pols in Jefferson City who’ll gladly sacrifice the uninsured poor of Missouri.