Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2) offers a case study of what is wrong with the pathetic Republican anti-Obamacare crusade. Wagner has had this request posted on her congressional Webpage for some time:
Have you had your health insurance plan cancelled as a result of ObamaCare? Have your premiums increased or even doubled? Have you had to switch doctors? Have you lost your job or had your hours cut?
You are not alone and the American people need to hear your story. Give Obamacare a face and share your story with me at ObamaCare.Wagner@mail.house.gov
Notice that Wagner makes it clear that she’s only interested in hearing from those who’ve got a beef with Obamacare – or think they have; she has no interest in learning what’s working or how any of her constituents may be benefiting from Obamacare. So much for unbiased fact-finding.
A few days ago I learned from a video embedded in Rep. Wagner’s constituent email newsletter (which I have included over the fold) that her call for ammunition against Obamacare has been fruitful to some extent; she wants us to know that she has heard “far too many heart-wrenching stories” about the ravages of Obamacare from the folks in her district.
If you bother to play the video, you’ll be struck by how few details she offers as she recounts a few sketchy anecdotes that meet the criteria she specified in her Website invitation. As is the norm for the GOP’s anti-Obamacare “real-life” stories, she doesn’t tell us what her informants’ old coverage offered as compared to the new policies they can get through the exchange, or if they’ve even gone to the exchange. Nor does she tell us if any of these folks are eligible for subsidies. Neither, apart from her angsty evocation of “far too many,” does she quantify the complaints she received, or tell us how that number compares with the 31,474 Missourians, seeking coverage for 62,964 individuals who have completed applications for healthcare through the federal Website. But hey! Who cares about folks getting healthcare coverage, many probably for the first time, when you can get a few folks to grouse about maybe having to change their coverage plan or their doctor?
There’s lots more about Obamacare implementation that Wagner doesn’t seem to want folks to know. For instance, she doesn’t drop a hint about state Republicans’ all-out efforts to hobble the process in Missouri in order to keep people from signing up. Nor does she have a single word to waste on Missourians who will be caught in the “Medicaid gap,” those whom Obamacare intended to cover by exending Medicaid coverage, an extension that Wagner’s fellow partisans in the state legislature refused to enact after the Supreme Court gave them an out. Individuals in the gap make too much for Missouri’s current Medicaid eligibility rules, but not enough to qualify for subsidies through the Obamacare healthcare exchange. Wagner evidently isn’t interested in the “heart-wrenching” stories these victims of what Kevin Drum has called “one of most sordid acts in recent American history” will have to tell.
And then finally there’s all the misleading or just flat out dishonest assertions that Wagner stuffs into her performance, most of it the usual drivel that has long been discounted – as in this Factcheck.org report on Obamacare myths or this Bill Moyers’ piece on the failures of Obamacare media coverage. Rep. Wagner – and the hysterical rightwing media – to the contrary, 80 million people aren’t going to lose their insurance – this number is just one more example of the type of “bait and switch” logic that the demonstrably dishonest conservative economist Avik Roy employed when he came up with a similar extravagant figure in Forbes earlier this year. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill knows what she’s talking about when she observes that when it comes to Obamacare, Missourians “are being told that it’s something that it isn’t.”
But that what’s last ditch warfare is like – just before defeat, the losers will latch on to any weapon that comes to hand, even if they have to lob slime from the bottom of the trench. Fortunately, the muck Wagner and her GOP pals are tossing makes a poor weapon; eventually all this hyperventilating will have come to an end. The Website is improving, folks will get insurance, those who have been terrified by GOP fear-mongering will emerge into the light of a new day, at least as far as health care goes. As Michael Tomasky argued yesterday, it’s looking more and more likely that HealthCare.gov is going to be a plus for Democrats in 2014 – and even further:
… in two more years’ time, and indeed less than that, many millions of Americans will see that what they thought was decent health insurance before the Affordable Care Act was like gaslight before electricity.
Step over the fold if you want to watch the expensively dressed and groomed Rep. Ann Wagner, who will no doubt get gold-plated insurance through her wealthy husbands’ employer – she has declined the coverage offered to congress – emote about how middle class and poor folks are going to suffer because of Obamacare: