Lies, Damn Lies, and Healthcare Lies

As ironclad and inevitable as my logic seems to me when sealing the deal on an argument, I often find I have critics.  In this case, I’ve been accused of “lying” about some of the arguments I’ve made, particularly in my blogs about the Public Option and Rationing.  But, because I’m so fair minded I am more than happy to answer my critics and confront the accusation of lies.  To me the accusation of lying breaks down immediately and it seems like the “lies” are really just disagreements of opinion, not a conflict over the facts, although sometimes that comes up too:  In this case, my argument was the problem, not the facts:


the argument that we don’t want to be like Canada or Britain..
Because it’s the classic lie coming from the GOP…

what, is the lie?

That we will suffer the same consequences of these systems.. even tho this is NOT the system the Dems are trying to pass..



Well I would think that we can all agree that we don’t want to have the type of system that they have in the UK, but Canada has been held up as the gold standard of government healthcare by the American left for years.  But the problems that Canada has now were not evident immediately after they switched to their current system; it took years to outgrow the infrastructure that they had to reach the current position of having too few medical facilities and too few providers, resulting in long wait and appointment times.  We have the current medical infrastructure that we have, hospitals, urgent cares, outpatient surgery centers, even walk in clinics in Wal-Mart, because there is money in it.  Take the financial incentive out of the system and you are stuck with the infrastructure you have. 


The system the Democrats want to pass is one in which the germ of a government public option is available to eventually swamp over the current private insurance system.  The long term goal and result is to eliminate private health insurance, as The President and Democrats have been saying for years.  That would give us a system very much like Canada’s, with all that comes with it; shortages, long lines, months long wait for specialists and surgeries… no lie there.




Phrasing.. seriously.. I had to read it twice.. the placement of the word ‘uninsured’ makes it almost seem like you mean one those kinds of ppl getting breast or protate or any other cancer has a better survival rate here than anywhere else.. .. but thats simply not true is it.. because the survival rate you are quoting is only for those with insurance… those without of course, fare much worse than any other country don’t they..



I suspected that this wasn’t a valid issue to begin with, since counting only covered people would make the data fairly useless in determining actual survival rates worldwide.  That might be an interesting study in its own right, but there was nothing I could find in this study, regarding long term survival rates for cancer, that limited the pool to only covered people in the United States.  But I wanted to be sure so I went back to the original study, published in The Lancet Oncology, to review the methodology that was used in the study, and, as I suspected, health insurance coverage was not mentioned.  For an international study, that might not have even been a consideration when developing the data points for producing the study.  The NCPA’s analysis of the same study said that, “These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage.”


Another “lie” seemed to be an interpretation of President Obama’s ABC Townhall on health care.  President Obama, in response to a question, said:


But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anybody’s mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help.  Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.

To me, this sounds like an implicit support for rationing care to the elderly.   Of course we should eliminate waste in the system, but the President could do that now, without having a healthcare bill.  Medicare is losing 60 billion a year to waste, fraud, and abuse.  That is a worthwhile target to go after regardless of what happens to health reform.  It shouldn’t be held hostage to health reform.  In any case, there is nothing in the current HR 3200 that would attack this massive problem.  Instead, they use the example of trading off care. 


But President Obama, has made it clear, at least until the past few months, that he very much sees rationing as a method for cutting costs.  As recently as April in an interview with the New York Times Magazine, President Obama brought up the now infamous red and blue pill analogy:


So when Peter Orszag and I talk about the importance of using comparative-effectiveness studies as a way of reining in costs, that’s not an attempt to micromanage the doctor-patient relationship. It is an attempt to say to patients, you know what, we’ve looked at some objective studies out here, people who know about this stuff, concluding that the blue pill, which costs half as much as the red pill, is just as effective, and you might want to go ahead and get the blue one. And if a provider is pushing the red one on you, then you should at least ask some important questions.


That’s fine as far as it goes, everyone, from insurance companies on down, would prefer that you use generics if there are no specific medical reasons to use the “retail” pill.   But the President, who famously said last week that he did not want to kill our grandparents, seemed to have mixed feelings on his own:


I mean, I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible.

And she elected to get the hip replacement and was fine for about two weeks after the hip replacement, and then suddenly just — you know, things fell apart.

I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost. I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother. Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question.

Yes that is a difficult question.  And that’s exactly what is bringing the oldsters out to townhalls.  They are afraid, and not because of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or whatever boogie man lefties have, it’s because of the President himself.  The great communicator, if he is not in favor of rationed healthcare, sure likes to bring it up a lot.




I think my favorite “lie” is this one:


take for instance the argument of “It costs too much”.. well it costs more to do nothing.. But this truth is flatly rejected because there is no arguing it.. so it goes on the shelf labeled “Ignore at all costs”



I’m not sure how exactly this is categorized as a lie, but it’s a strawman argument.  There is no advocacy for “doing nothing.”  Neither Republicans, “villain” insurance companies, nor blue dog Democrats are arguing that it’s Obamacare or nothing.  There are multiple proposals for reform, and I’ve made a few myself for years.  But  arguing that Obamacare is actually going to cut costs is ridiculous.  The CBO is not buying it, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence, other than President Obama’s say so, that his plan would cut costs, either in the short or long term.  It’s a money pit.  I wonder how in the tank to Obama you have to be to think that creating a major new entitlement program will reduce costs.



Anyway, I’m always open to respond to more “lies.”  Maybe someday I will actually get some.






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5 responses to “Lies, Damn Lies, and Healthcare Lies

  • ekg

    I should put this in blog I won’t… HA! I have something else in mind for a blog..

    anyway.. my reply

    ~Try telling the thousands of people who lined up in front of the Forum out in LA,who started lining up the night before..that ‘we don’t want to have the type of system they have in the UK” or Canada for that matter. Tell the Remote Area Medical, a company started 2 decades ago to try and bring basic health care to 3rd world countries, and the reason those ppl lined up at the Forum, that the Democrats want to pass “the germ of a government public option is available to eventually swamp over the current private insurance system”

    you keep forgetting the most important part in your scare-tactic..

    we already have the long lines and shortages for simple things such as eye glasses and rotten tooth extraction.. and more importantly, at least after a month long wait for a specialist and/or surgery.. EVERYONE s get their treatment in the UK or Canada..

    don’t you get that yet.. even if someone had to wait.. THEY’RE STILL BEING TREATED FOR THEIR DISEASE/ILLNESS/COMPLAINT..

    If they want to want for that boob job, they buy a into a private plan to supplement their public one and bypass all that…

    how you can make that into something evil I still can’t comprehend..

    besides, this idea of rationing… it’s folk lore, myth.. lies.. the gov’t option is what everyone will have to start with.. have more money to buy better options, like your own policy? then buy more, or keep your own.. but atleast everyone will be covered if they fall and break their arm, need a rotten tooth removed, are diagnosed with cervical cancer.. the idea of doing nothing and scaring ppl into doin nothing with lies, yes.. lies.. is beyond reprehensible.. but still not as bad as the video you linked that’s been proven to be chopped and edited.. if you wanted to know what Obama has said on those subject, why not read the actual transcript of it instead of publishing a video made with copy/paste… seriously Mike, that was so low it’s almost inexcusable.. but atleast I know where you stand on this.. anything to further your agenda, anything.. truth be damned..

    ~you always complain about others links.. and yet, you use some of the more skewered links out there. and I’m not just talking about the video..

    your NCPA study that you keep quoting.. when you went to their website, did you go to their “About” page to see who they were?.. did you happen to notice…

    ““The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA’s goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.”


    seriously, their mission statement is right there in front of you and you still consider them some kind of non-partisan entity that wouldn’t convoluted something as easily skewered as statistics? Their goal is to kill gov’t regulation and promote private plans.. Mike, do you expect them to say anything other than.. “Private plans good… gov’t plans bad”

    maybe they would tho… maybe they would go against what they were founded for for truth,justice and the American way..

    and why are you using webmd’s description of the Lancet report.. why not use the actual report and read it for yourself..

    especially since the 1st line in the webmd article left off some pretty important details..

    the webmd artcle

    July 16, 2008 — Where you live plays a role in cancer survival, according to a new study that shows the U.S., Japan, and France recorded the highest survival rates among 31 nations for four types of cancer. Algeria had the lowest survival rates for all four cancers.

    VS the real data

    Global variation in cancer survival was very wide. 5-year relative survival for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer was
    generally higher in North America, Australia, Japan, and northern, western, and southern Europe

    , and lower in Algeria, Brazil, and eastern Europe.

    look at that.. western europe.. as in the United Kingdom..oooo that kinda hurts the argument against NICE./ NHS huh? yeah well I can see why you’d leave that off..

    let’s look more at the webmd findings that you ignore.. and hell, this one goes against your entire ‘skewered’ idea that the US is the end all be all w hen it comes to survival..

    The highest survival rates were found in the U.S. for breast and prostate cancer, in Japan for colon and rectal cancers in men, and in France for colon and rectal cancers in women, Coleman’s team reports.

    In Canada and Australia, survival was also high for most cancers.

    Canada crappy system that we surely don’t want here, is high survivial for most cancers.. France with their evil socialized medicine is just as high as the US.. Japan, again with socialized medicine is also in there ranking right up there with us..

    but wait? I thought Canada was what we could all agree on that we didn’t want? I thought the UK was what we really didn’t want?

    I know you’re using this as some kind of proof that we don’t need a public option because we already have a high survival rate without it.. but there’s something here that you might not have noticed.. your own link dispels the myth of rationed care as evil and deadly-since the places you give examples of that “Rationed Care” rank right up there with us… so if the gov’t public policy that is being debated in this country, which is NOT single payer.. even if you think it will eventually it is not now, if that is such a detriment to our health care.. then why all the single-payer and gov’t funded health care systems ranked just as high as we are?

    and the whole we’ll lose our innovation, or creativity in medicine side of the argument– well, since all the countries who are on par with us have some kind of gov’t option..they must be pretty innovated and creative when it comes to treatments that either the gov’t option will kill our “Best health care in the world” or it won’t.. your link proves that it won’t..

    ~There is no rationing.. Jesus Christ will you stop with that fear already… if the Blue pill is better, then it’s better.. why do I need a $400 per pill antibiotic that works just as good as the $3 per 25 pills antibiotic? I would give my insurance company a ration of shit for paying for the outrageously priced med myself.. but you call it ‘rationing’ when a doctor uses his common sense instead of taking the Pharma sales reps bait of a 3 day Bahamanian cruise if he’ll just write X amount of RX for their new drug this month.. and hey, if he writes X amount for the year, they’ll send him a bonus at the end of year.. you prefer bribery over common fiscal sense.. that’s good to know..

    and Obama is right.. if his grandmother only had 3 months to live.. and had a bad heart..then is a hip replacement really high on the priority list? is it really rationing? ppl don’t want abortions paid for by their taxes, but they would be OK with paying for a woman who might not survive the surgery and only 3 months to live getting a hip replaced? I think not..

    see, the abortion thing always negates your side.. you don’t want rationing.. well, unless it’s for abortion.. and Hell Yeah, Ration that shit right now!

    but lets say denying the cancer-stricken woman her new hip is rationing…. you still have yet to address that this is exactly what goes on every fucking minute of the day in this country with private insurances.. why is that do you think? Are you just OK with with the private sector deciding who lives and who dies? who gets treated for what and how?

    why are you pro-rationing for the ‘for profit’ companies who are making billions on the lives of the ppl in this country?

    ~~The GOP aren’t advocating a ‘do nothing’ policy? OK..where is the GOP’s alternate bill.. I’d like to read it please..

    ~let’s move on to cost.. 2/3 of the cost of Obama’s idea will be paid thru reform of the system.. so if the plan is going to cost $900 billion a year, we’re talking about what? $300 billion a year..

    really? …. really? all this over $300 billion a year? Oh c’mon.. we spend more than that on toilet paper and hand soap for all of the gov’tmental offices in the country in a year..

    $300 billion divided by 300 million ppl.. ? $80 a week is what this about?

    by the way do you have VA benefits? you probably do huh? so I’ll ask you real quick.. have you canceled them, told them you want to opt out of their single-payer, gov’t controlled system?

    The VA is a 1st class healthcare system that we give to those who fight and die for this country.. just ask BIll Kristol

    “KRISTOL: One of the ways we make it up to the soldiers, since they’re risking their lives, we give them first-class health care.”

    See, we already know that the gov’t can run a 1st class health system.. so what in the hell is the problem.. if the gov’t single-payer system is so bad.. why are we giving it to those who fight and die for this country and why aren’t you demanding that your congressmen vote to stop funding such a horrible system?..

    btw, don’t forget to sign that form to cancel those VA bennies…

  • Howey

    The National Center for Policy Analysis, Mike?

    The conservative think tank run by McCain’s former health care advisor, John Goodman? The guy McCain ran from like a hot potato after he said “anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance”?

    Jesus fucking Christ, you’d been better off using the Lewin group as a source.

    More on Goodman:

    On counting the uninsured:

    “So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

    “So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

    ya know…Mike. yesterday I told Astro’s Woody that I would discuss health care reform with him after he quit blindly following and listening to the same crap you do. I did so after he cited a fucking untrue chain email as a source.

    That’s no better or worse than what you do. Grow up. Think for yourself.

    Kelly: Yeah, dammit, I lied. 🙂

  • ekg

    Kelly: Yeah, dammit, I lied.

    LOL.. it’s like a drug isn’t it… 🙂

  • lil mike

    Believe me, I’m quite aware of the Remote Area Medical Foundation. How could I not be? It was covered twice on NBC News last week, on the Today show, and again on the NBC News again on Saturday, and I was so bored with it I switched to ABC and yep, there it was again! So don’t you worry, the media is stumping hard for Obamacare with stories like this. In fact, expect to see more medical nightmare type stories or evil insurance company stories as we get further into the process. One of the things I’ve noticed was that the Foundation does not check for need or coverage or anything else. Naturally, to me, a story like that brings up more questions than NBC is going to answer. Why are the old people there? What about Medicare? Same thing for the very poor; no Medicaid? Several people were employed. Did they have insurance at work, or were just not getting it? How many were there for medical treatment and how many for dental and vision? Every close up of someone in the chair was someone getting dental work done? Will the public option cover dental care as well? In any case, it has nothing with the “lies” you’ve accused me of spreading.

    How about a lie of yours? “the gov’t option is what everyone will have to start with…” Where did you get that from? Is that in the bill? You are the first person I’ve heard make that claim, that we will all have the public option and then can we purchase optional care if we like. I think the size of the bill feeds into disinformation and people seeing whatever they want to see or fear into the bill. For some people, it’s death panels, for others, it’s a public option that is cheap or free.

    I see you are adding a new “lie” to your list. The video. Are you seriously arguing that Obama has never supported single payer? I mean really. I want you to state that plainly, “Obama has never supported single payer.” Then I will have a lie to sling back at you. I think you are to cagey for that though. Anyway, tell me, what is deceptive about that video? If you feel it’s edited and altered to mask the real statements, then prove it.

    Another new lie: The NCPA. I got a kick out of your accusation: “Their GOAL is to develop and promote PRIVATE ALTERNATIVES TO GOV’T REGULATION AND CONTROL…” Oh no! And organization in support of alternatives to government control! How evil! Of course to you, that is the very definition of evil: private alternatives. But this source was used for one single point: “These figures reflect the care available to all Americans, not just those with private health coverage.”
    Now, you said the study on cancer outcomes was a lie because it only listed people who were covered by health insurance in the study. I think that was a lie. You keep mentioning that, but you have failed to bring the proof. Put up or shut up.
    Also in that study, you seem to think that because Western Europe’s survival rates were higher than Algeria, that proves NICE is …pretty NICE. Ha! Go back to the UK rates. They are the lowest in Western Europe. Now what does that prove? If you want to defend NICE, I welcome you to it. I’m amazed that the you think because technologically advanced countries are higher than poor ones, that means there socialist systems trump ours, even though our survival rates are higher than theirs? How does that work exactly? That is a totally nonsensical argument, and I’m a little stunned that you are trying to make it. So are you saying that you are pro government rationed care? Go ahead, if that’s what you mean, say it.

    Obama is right about his grandmother? He said he would pay for the hip operation regardless, even though he thinks it’s worth talking about denying it to others. Please, have that conversation. I knew you guys were all pro rationing anyway, you are just avoiding the issue now, but when the bill is passed…

    Cost: Obama is going to pay for 2/3 of the cost through “reform” of the system. I’ve already told you where the “reforms” are. So now it’s your turn, tell me what the reforms are. Go ahead.

    As for the VA issue, no I don’t have VA medical benefits, so I don’t have the option to cancel them. Luckily I have other private options. But the people who do have VA benefits earned them. It wasn’t a handout. But I don’t agree that it’s a first class health system. I have my own horror stories of it, and most people who have dealt with them do, except for Howey.

    And speaking of Howey, you addressed nothing of what I wrote. Good going!

  • Howey

    Mike…when ya going to join my LOST Forum?

    lol…spam alert!!!

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