What’s most telling about the far-right running today’s Republican party is the lies. Whether it’s Sarah Palin claiming that health care form created “death panels” (it didn’t), or now GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) claiming that Obamacare includes a $1 abortion surcharge that every American has to pay (it doesn’t), Republicans learned long ago, sadly, that their best argument on any issue is a lie.
And you’d think that, in a normal person, a normal political party, the fact that your most effective way of winning over public opinion isn’t the truth of your convictions, and of your positions, but rather a lie, would give them pause. But you’d be wrong.
Ever since the demise of the Soviet Union, the Republican party has fallen and can’t get up. Hell, a lot of them even like Putin nowadays, at least since he’s anti-gay too.
But from issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), to education (the klan was a force for good), to global warming, to overall science (bicycles cause pollution) and abortion (masturbating fetuses come to mind), the Republicans have given up on the truth. That’s why GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) continues to lie about this bizarre assertion that Obamacare includes a $1 abortion surcharge, because Huelskamp has realized that his constituents are too smart for the truth. So he lies to them. Oh, and it is a lie. It’s such a lie that Politifact calls the claim “ridiculous”:
The claim that the Obama administration has issued rules for “$1 abortions in ObamaCare” is ridiculous; the administration has simply set a floor for how much money per month of the premiums paid by those who have chosen plans that include abortion must be placed in a segregated account in order to make sure that there’s enough money available to pay for abortion services incurred by people enrolled in that plan.
The bigger charge — that the Obama health care law “requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion” — is also incorrect.
The provision in question only affects people who purchase insurance plans that cover abortion and who do so on the exchanges — a much narrower group than the claim suggests. And people who make such purchases will be paying their private dollars into abortion coverage accounts voluntarily. Despite some puzzling wording, ultimately the law allows for full disclosure of its abortion rules at the most obvious time, when someone is signing up for coverage. On balance, we rate this claim False.
But keep in mind, we’re dealing with a political party that refuses to acknowledge the age of the earth, lest it affect their presidential chances with the flat-earth society that runs their party (Marco Rubio recently claimed that the age of the earth is “one of the great mysteries” – it’s really not, the earth is 4.5bn years old).
But health care reform is where the GOP’s lies shine brightest. Let’s revisit a few, from Politifact:
Claim:The national health care reform is “a government takeover of health care.”
Ruling: Pants On Fire
This claim was tapped as our 2010 Lie of the Year. The health care law gives the federal government a larger role in the health insurance industry, but it relies overwhelmingly on the private market. The reform is projected to increase the number of citizens with private health insurance.
Claim:The health care law constitutes the largest tax increase ever.
Ruling: Pants On Fire
The health care law might crack the Top 10. But tax increases approved by Ronald Reagan in 1982 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 were the largest in modern times and each was about twice the size. The largest increase, passed during World War II, was 10 times greater.
Claim:”Death panels” of bureaucrats will decide if seniors and the disabled are worthy of health care.
Ruling: Pants On Fire
This claim was tapped as our 2009 Lie of the Year. The amped-up falsehood started after an early draft of the bill sought to allow Medicare to pay for doctor visits in which patients discussed end-of-life care, such as living wills. No panels, no judgment on “worthiness,” no decisions on care.
Pat Boone sang this as the front man in ads from the 60 Plus Association. The law creates a 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board to suggest ways to limit Medicare’s spending growth. Congress can overrule the board, which makes no decisions about individual care. It is specifically forbidden from recommending rationing of care, reducing benefits, raising premiums or cost-sharing or alter eligibility for Medicare.
Merriam-Webster defines a “slush fund” as “an unregulated fund often used for illicit purposes.” The health care bill provides several pools of money that the secretary of health and human services can use for programs specifically defined by the law. And Congress has the power to oversee the bill’s implementation.
Claim: The health care law “slapped Ohio small businesses with a $500 billion tax increase.”
Ruling: Pants on Fire.
PolitiFact found that the $500 billion figure was a fair number for total revenue raised nationally by the 2010 health care law — including taxes and various other fees and revenue enhancements — as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office in December 2009. Applying the national number to just the tax share of one segment of one state was preposterous.
A simple point really says it all. The GOP’s most effective argument against health care reform has been the non-existent “death panels.” And who came up with that lie? Sarah Palin, who basically serves as the Republican party’s own in-house death panel – whatever she touches, loses.