Yegparian: Goebbels, Massachusetts, and Healthcare

Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, is famously noted to have said something to the effect of, “Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes the truth.”

That’s part of what happened in Massachusetts. The Republican candidate, and now Senator-elect, Scott Brown played to people’s fear. In this case, fear of the unknown. The Republican Party, for at least three decades now, has become expert at manipulating people through fear instead of hope. In this case, they created the source of fear, then used it to defeat the opponent—someone who, by all accounts, ran a poor campaign. Republicans made sure that healthcare legislation aiming for universal coverage (something which is already the law in Massachusetts and enjoys an 80 percent approval rating) became a hideously convoluted proposal. Then they started using that against Democrats. The “2,000-page bill” has become the right-wing wackos’ rallying cry. It does seem like a lot. But has anyone bothered to ask, or publicize, how long typical bills are? Most address smaller issues and are not the object of concerted partisan attack on a par with what “healthcare reform” has been subjected to. So Republicans created
a bogeyman, attached it to the Dems, made it stick (repeated the lie enough times), used their fear-mongering expertise, availed themselves of a weak candidate, and won an unprecedented victory in one of the most Democratic of states.

What next? Well, a better question is, “What else?” A deal cut by the Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, respectively, would have enabled the healthcare bill to pass without Republicans being able to game it, offering endless amendments to stave off its passage, as they did when Bill Clinton was in office. You see, Republicans are counting on its passage so they can campaign against Democrats on the grounds of repealing “Obamacare,” as they derogatorily refer to it. Please read Lawrence O’Donnell’s “Will Scott Brown Ruin Republicans’ (Secret) Plan to Pass Obamacare?” written before the election, for the details on this ploy (www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/will-scott-brown-ruin-rep_b_426604.html). The depth of cynicism is truly galling.

So what now? Now that the Democrats have lost their so-called filibuster-proof majority, the bill can’t pass the Senate. It’s only hope for passage is if the House votes for the Senate’s version of the bill with no changes. Then it goes to the president, he signs it, and we move on. But pulling this off means lots of Democratic Representatives would have to vote for legislation that is even more anathema to them then what they’ve stomached so far.

I say, call the Republicans out on the carpet. Expose their shenanigans. Let them vote healthcare down. In fact, ditch the current bills (the House and Senate versions) and put a single payer plan out there, specifically the gradually-age-expanding-Medicare approach (make it available to ever younger people over some length of time). Let them vote that proposal down. Some Democratic legislators will foolishly join their Republican colleagues. Let those guys go down in flames come November 2010, and use those same bonfires to cook the Republicans opposed to providing proper healthcare to everyone in the richest country in the world.

Let’s see who wins an election fought on that battlefield.

We as a community with issues before the federal government should learn from this. The arcane rules of the legislative bodies can trip us up—badly—if we don’t learn and know them. Interestingly, Bill Paparian writes analogously in his recent piece published by Armenian Life. Adam Schiff used these parliamentary tools to our benefit, almost three years ago. But more often, they have worked to our detriment. That’s why we need to master them, not least by having strong representation. Hopefully, that will be provided someday by a legislator who is truly a child of our community.

Let’s learn and train. That day can’t be too far off.

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Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
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5 Comments

  1. “Use Senate reconciliation and expand Medicare via the Senate’s buy-in provisions. The CBO has already signed off on this as a means of saving money.
     
    More importantly, if more Americans can do a buy-in with Medicare, it creates more cost control (because there’s a genuine “public option” competitor).
     
    It also helps to solve the problems of pre-existing conditions, because Medicare does not deny coverage on this basis.

    Allowing a Medicare buy-in to Americans under 65 would give people a genuine alternative to private insurance and thereby render the pre-existing question moot.
     
    It would also lower Medicare costs by expanding the risk pool of patients (the great bulk of medical expenses are accounted for by a small number of people, mostly the elderly, requiring very expensive treatment).
     
    And it would substantially enhance the global competitiveness of American corporations. After all, in what other country in the world is health care a marginal cost of production for business?” – Roosevelt Institute Marshall Auerback

  2. The people have spoken in three elections, sending a clear message to the Democrats to stop the back room deals on health care reform and listen to the peoples objections. Yegparian should take a dose of his own medicine.

  3. I agree with Arius.  The Democrats are not about to put a single-payer plan out there, because the American people clearly do not want that.  And, spare us the BS about universal coverage.  That only matters to about 15% of the population.  The cost-control issue is the most important thing to the other 85% and the Democrats have strongarmed the buying across state lines and tort reform ideas.  All of this in spite of Obama’s hollow “gestures” of good faith like his call for ideas in the healthcare speech in 2009.  He said something to the effect of, “If you have a good idea, tell me.”  The Republicans HAVE told him they want these two things.  And, by the way, these two Republican ideas would not cost the country a dime in deficit spending…unlike the mammoth waste of money that the public option would quickly become.

  4. Hey kool aid drinker, wake up.  We do not want government to run everything in our lives.
    Lower taxes
    Smaller government
    Strong Military

  5. “The Democrats are not about to put a single-payer plan out there, because the American people clearly do not want that.”
    Not true. Polls repeatedly confirmed that the American public favors a public health option to compete with private health plans. In any case there is no private option on the table, nor is there likely to be one.
    “And, spare us the BS about universal coverage.  That only matters to about 15% of the population.”
    An incomprehensible statement. About 17% of Americans – that’s about 50 million people –  currently lack health insurance. About the same number will lose their health insurance over the course of any given year.  When the uninsured fall ill, they  seek expensive emergency care they cannot pay for, ultimately driving up the cost for everyone. As anyone who has even a minimal understanding of health care economics can tell you, the lack of health insurance is one of the primary cost drivers in America’s health care system.
    “The cost-control issue is the most important thing to the other 85% and the Democrats have strongarmed the buying across state lines and tort reform ideas….And, by the way, these two Republican ideas would not cost the country a dime in deficit spending…unlike the mammoth waste of money that the public option would quickly become.”
    Yeah, just like the public option known as Medicare is a mammoth waste of money, right? In any case, see above for why universal coverage is the best way to control health care costs. As for the deficit, CBO confirms that both the  House and Senate plans will reduce the federal deficit by tens of billions in the next ten years, and hundreds of billions in the following decade. As for buying insurance across state lines, both Congressional plans would allow for this provided the insurance industry offers quality products (e.g. no rescission, no lifetime caps, etc.) and their current monopoly on state health markets is eliminated. Regarding tort reform:  Obama was open to this idea, but  Republicans, fearing they would actually have to negotiate, did what they usually do when faced with responsible policy: they ran.
    Try studying the issue before commenting. Otherwise you’re just part of the problem.

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