Mitt says the media loves Obamacare. Oh, really?

U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses as he gives his reaction to the Supreme Court's upholding key parts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare overhaul law in Washington June 28, 2012.  Romney said on Thursday that the Amer

Totally full of it.

Mendacious Mitt strikes again. Check this out.

“The media in our nation is free, people are able to say what they want to say,” he said. “They don’t have a responsibility to slant things my way or the other way. They have the right to slant things any way they wish.”

Still, he said the mainstream media was “by and large” supportive of Obamacare.

Let’s review the record, just using the response of the traditional media to the various court rulings on the Affordable Care Act on its way to the Supreme Court. Steve Benen started tracking this when he was at the Washington Monthly, way back in February 2011. Here’s a compilation of his tracking from August 2011 showing the very clear trend in the nation’s leading papers for highlighting the stories of courts ruling against Obamacare, while burying those when the courts upheld it.

That’s five front page stories in the Washington Post and New York Times for unfavorable rulings, versus seven buried stories for rulings upholding the law, and one that’s entirely missing from WaPo. That’s right, it didn’t even report on one of the favorable rulings.

But it’s not just Benen’s back of the envelope tracking providing the evidence for the traditional media bias against Obamacare. The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism actually analyzed it and found: “Terms that were closely associated with opposition arguments, such as ‘government run,’ were far more present in media reports than terms associated with arguments supporting the bill, such as ‘pre-existing conditions.'”

There’s even a graph.

Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism chart showing conservative-themed media coverage of Obamacare

So, yeah, Mitt’s lying about that, too. Is there anything that this guy isn’t totally full of shit about?


AP: Romney’s pre-existing conditions health plan isn’t all that

U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses as he gives his reaction to the Supreme Court's upholding key parts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare overhaul law in Washington June 28, 2012.  Romney said on Thursday that the Amer

Romney defends the status quo in health care.

The AP’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar commits real journalism in this story on Mitt Romney’s sudden “moderation” when it comes to health care reform, pointing out that, no, he really doesn’t offer much in the way of protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Here’s the lede:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has a plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions get health insurance. But there’s a huge catch: You basically have to be covered in the first place.

He goes on to explain that Romney’s solution is only a solution for those people who have managed to keep their insurance coverage without any lapses. The majority of people—Kaiser Family Foundation estimates about 70 percent—who are uninsured are there because of major life upheaval like losing their job or getting divorced. Maintaining continuous coverage, the key to Romney’s pre-existing condition protections, is out of the reach of many because of the costs of trying to stay on a plan or getting new coverage on the individual market is just too high.

The reporter also goes on to explain the major difference between Romney’s plan and Obamacare: “[I]t’s the law of the land,” and insurance companies have to accept all comers. Period. And it makes getting that insurance more affordable. He also points out that while Romney has been “stressing his pre-existing conditions plan as he works to soften his public image in the homestretch of a campaign […] his campaign has only provided a bare-bones set of talking points.”

One part of the story that’s missing here it the real contradiction in Romney’s plan that already makes it unworkable. Romney says that “Regulation must prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage.” But his plan also hinges on allowing insurers to sell their plans across states, which would lead to a lowest common denominator of state regulation. Romney is going to leave it to the states, and the states are unlikely to impose much tougher regulations than neighboring states if the insurance market expands across their borders.

Romney’s plan wouldn’t prevent insurers from discriminating and it wouldn’t prevent them from charging higher rates based on medical status. It’s a sham, and good for the AP for exposing it as such.


Republicans torn between hating Obama and loving his socialism

Crying baby wearing a teabag hat and with a

Waaaaaaah. Voting for your “principles” is so hard!

What a quandary:

Perhaps no other election has posed such a difficult personal decision for some conservatives: How do you vote if you’re ideologically conservative, but you’re benefiting, or stand to benefit, from the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare”?

You really have to wonder just how stupid a voter has to be to believe this is a difficult personal decision. Gosh, I sure hate that Obama fella, but I love his policies even though they’re the kind of big-government socialism I supposedly can’t stand. What should I do? Tough call. Very tough call. You almost have to feel sorry for someone who is so torn by wanting to vote against the black guy, but not wanting to lose all the goodies the black guy has made possible for you.

Like this guy:

[Jon] Campbell, 49, has voted Republican in nearly every presidential election since he cast his vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980, but this year might be different. For two years his 22-year-old stepdaughter, a self-employed dog trainer, didn’t have health insurance. Then Obamacare kicked in and she was allowed onto her father’s insurance. […]

The Olathe, Kansas, resident is leaning toward Obama, but not just because of his stepdaughter. Campbell’s wife, Barbara, has diabetes and is in the final stages of breast cancer treatment. She’s now on his insurance, but if he ever lost his job, his wife would be faced with trying to buy insurance on her own and would surely be rejected.

So does Jon Campbell stick a big Obama sign in his yard and then get down on his knees and thank the president for the very thing that is keeping both his wife and step-daughter insured and alive? Hell no, because socialism!

“I’m really torn,” he said. “Because of Obama, I now have a wife who can get covered. But really, at heart, I’m a limited-government kind of guy.”

Campbell said if the election were held today, he’d vote for Obama, but not without a lot of reservations.

“It’s really an intriguing conundrum,” he said.

You have to hope that Obamacare also covers treatment for the kind of severe cognitive dissonance from which this man suffers. He acknowledges that “because of Obama,” his sick wife gets the medical attention she needs that she would not otherwise get but for Obama. Yet, it’s a “conundrum” because, well, this astute political observer is a “limited-government kind of guy,” which apparently means he thinks it’s terrific that his family has health care, but he’d prefer the government stay small and limited and not help any other families get health care. So if he votes for the guy who wants to get rid of health care, he can really stick it to his fellow Americans. On the other hand, his wife might die.

What a conundrum!

At least he has his fellow Republicans to join him in this tough pickle of a decision—like Jill Thacker, who has a pre-existing condition that makes comprehensive insurance prohibitively expensive and is still paying off a $22,000 emergency room bill from a year ago. You know, that “free” emergency room health care Mitt Romney says is just fine for people who aren’t rich like him. Sure, Obamacare makes Jill Thacker’s life better. It allows her 25-year-old daughter to have insurance too. But, on the other hand, “she just doesn’t like Obama.”

So while some Republicans like Thacker and Powell are considering voting for the guy they don’t like, others know that no matter what, they won’t vote for him. Because nothing says “Suck it, Obama!” like voting for the guy who will let you and your loved ones die from lack of health care because freedom.


Feds charge 91 people in $430 million Medicare fraud scheme

Attorney General Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder

Here’s a big win for Eric Holder, Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama. It’s also evidence of how this administration really is protecting Medicare.

WASHINGTON — A federal strike force has charged 91 people, including a hospital president, doctors and nurses, with Medicare fraud schemes in seven cities involving $429 million in false billings. […]

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that that in addition to the newly announced criminal charges, her agency used new authority under the Obama administration’s health care law to stop future payments to many of the health care providers suspected of fraud.

Those charged include the president of a hospital in Houston along with six others who racked up $158 million in fraudulent billings, two doctors and two nurses in Dallas who for $103 million in fraudulent billings, and a doctor and four chiropractors in Brooklyn, who participated in a scheme netting $23 million. The other cases are in Baton Rouge, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. The charges include “billing the government for unnecessary ambulance rides in California, writing prescriptions for patients in Dallas who did not qualify for them and paying kickbacks like food and cigarettes to patients in Houston if they attended programs for which a hospital could bill.”

When politicians talk about waste, fraud and abuse, this is what they’re talking about. And the Obama administration is actually doing something about it, cracking down on the fraud, but using Obamacare to prevent providers caught in fraud from ever gaming the system again.