Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where's The Press?

Why are all the stands taken by politicians based on lies and why doesn’t the press hold their feet to the fire?

Republicans claim the Health Care bill contains a $500 billion Medicare cut. The law calls for reducing future growth of Medicare spending over the next ten years by seven percent. The law guarantees benefits won’t be reduced and even improves coverage for pharmaceuticals.

The conservative 60 Plus Association spent more than $5 million on ads against 16 Democrats in House races saying they “betrayed their constituents by voting for the health care overhaul. Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision their identities don’t have to be disclosed.

The ads say the law threatens seniors’ ability to keep their own doctor. The new law has nothing to do with it. Some doctors have said they may stop accepting Medicare patients because of scheduled payment cuts set in motion by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.

In fact if you look at what lawmakers have done to scheduled cuts to doctors’ pay that were mandated by the 1997 law: "Congress has overridden all of the scheduled reductions for physicians from 2003 to November 2010. And for the hospitals and other providers covered by the new law: "Congress would presumably act to adjust Medicare payment rates as necessary" before the providers withdrew from the program.

The ads feature seniors saying the law will "hurt the quality of our care." But the law specifically forbids cuts in the basic package of Medicare benefits, and even adds some new features, such as wellness checkups. It also closes the "doughnut hole" gap in the prescription drug benefit.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders. Reid voted to table an amendment that would have barred convicted sex offenders from getting coverage for drugs like Viagra from health plans sold through state-based exchanges. That measure was one of a series of amendments that Republicans proposed in an effort to delay passage of the health care legislation.

There’s nothing in the legislation that even mentions such prescriptions. The Congressional Research Service said that nothing in the health care law would mandate that health plans "limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary’s prior criminal convictions." The new law will be just like the old one, convicts who are not in prison, including those convicted of sex offenses, will be able to buy any health plan they choose, some of which may cover drugs that treat erectile dysfunction.

Republicans continue to insist the economic stimulus has failed to create jobs. House Minority Leader John Boehner even said in an address that the stimulus had harmed the job situation, since "America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by stimulus spending and hamstrung by uncertainty."

In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus increased employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million people, compared with what employment would have been otherwise.

Spineless Democrats, who should be united against an onslaught of disinformation are bowing to public fears. Democratic House incumbents in nine states claimed that they voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program when in fact they weren’t yet in office when it was enacted. They voted against a later bill to allow release of the second half of TARP funds, a purely symbolic and futile vote. The Senate had already approved release and only disapproval by both houses could freeze the funds under terms set by the original bailout legislation.

You could fill a large book with the lies the American voting public take for granted. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the press?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


We are the press. The press as we have known it is quickly dying. The internet is driving newspapers into bankruptcy and squeezing the profits out of television and radio journalism. News teams have been reduced to skeleton crews. Investigative journalism and editorials that people respect are disappearing. But change is not altogether bad. People like you and I, with opinions that many would consider fringe (from both ends), have a voice. Blogs have exposed real scandals that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. The internet is still the Wild West. As traditional media continue to collapse, I predict that internet news and opinion sources will organize to fill the void. It's our job to be the press, call the weasels out. We can't depend on the traditional press to do that anymore.