About that Tea-Publican boycott (sabotage) of health insurance: practice what you preach

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Reuters reported last week that Tea-Publican economic terrorists and a phalanx of "Kochtopus" organizations are mobilizing a counter-offensive against "ObamaCare" including town hall meetings, protests and media promotions to dissuade uninsured Americans from obtaining health coverage through the health insurance exchanges. Republicans prepare for 'Obamacare' showdown, with eye to 2014 elections:

"The best way to get the juices of that
right-wing electorate and activist group going is to attack Obamacare –
make everything that happens look awful and voters will rebel against
it," said Norman Ornstein, an expert on congressional politics at the
conservative American Enterprise Institute.

"It's
a belief that if they highlight this, and sabotage it as much as they
can
, and if it's disruptive, that that will work for them in the
mid-terms."

The White House and Department of Health and Human Services are well aware of their opponents' political maneuvers.

"There
are folks out there who are actively working to make this law fail,"
Obama said in a speech on Wednesday, condemning the opponents' effort as
"a politically motivated misinformation campaign."

A new political playbook for Republicans in
the House
encourages lawmakers who have voted nearly 40 times to repeal
or defund the law to showcase their concerns at town hall meetings and
special forums with like-minded young adults, healthcare providers and
employers.

"Make sure the
participants will be 100 percent on message," the House Republican
Conference's August planning kit advises for events with businesses.
"While they do not have to be Republicans, they need to be able to
discuss the negative effects of Obamacare on their employees."

Obama's
2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is also due for public
attack at town halls featuring Democratic lawmakers, where Tea Party
activists plan to air their opposition under an initiative by
FreedomWorks, the Washington-based grassroots lobby that helped found
the movement.

* * *

KochBrothersFreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a
conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and
Charles Koch
, known for funding conservative causes, are planning
separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and
30s – the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare
coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to
succeed.

"We're trying to make it
socially acceptable to skip the exchange," said Dean Clancy, vice
president for public policy at FreedomWorks, which boasts 6 million
supporters. The group is designing a symbolic "Obamacare card" that
college students can burn during campus protests.

Americans
for Prosperity launched a $1 million TV ad campaign against the
healthcare law this summer to test its message in swing states of
Virginia and Ohio. The 30-second ad presents a young pregnant mother who
asks questions that suggest the law will raise premiums, reduce
paychecks, prevent people from picking their own doctors and leave her
family's healthcare to "the folks in Washington."

The
group plans a bigger push on TV and social media to persuade young
people, especially men under 30, to see the healthcare law as a
high-cost liability directed at them.

"This is a good time to be out there explaining what the law means to people," said the group's president, Tim Phillips.

Steve Benen writes today, The 'Refuse to Enroll' campaign gets to work:

[W]hat kind of people would invest time and energy into convincing struggling families to turn down
access to affordable health care? Who would be so callous as to put
partisan spite over the basic health care needs of their community?

Well, now we know. The Dayton Daily News has hidden the story behind a paywall, but the paper reported yesterday on groups like the "Citizens' Council for Health Freedom," which is rallying behind the "Refuse to Enroll" campaign.

With time running out, opponents of the Affordable Care Act have
taken to the airwaves in Ohio and elsewhere with ad campaigns not only
attacking the bill's merits but also actively encouraging uninsured
Americans not to sign up for coverage under the health care law.

The Obama administration has acknowledged the success of the law,
commonly referred to as Obamacare, depends in large part on broad-based
participation in federal and state-run health exchanges that will begin
selling government-subsidized health plans to the uninsured on Oct. 1.

The anti-enrollment campaigns reflect the resignation and desperation
of many Obamacare opponents who have given up hope of a government
repeal or court-ordered injunction to stop full implementation of the
law beginning next year.

This is clearly an important stage in the larger fight.
Desperate right-wing activists know the law won't be repealed; they know
it can't be stopped in the courts; and they know there's a limit to
Republican efforts to sabotage the federal health care system. So
they've been reduced to one last-ditch effort: convince people with no
health care coverage to voluntarily turn down affordable insurance so as
to advance their ideological cause.

And why do conservative activists want this? It's not altogether clear,
exactly, but apparently their hatred for President Obama has overwhelmed
their judgment and basic sense of morality to a degree that can only be
considered alarming.

Twila Brase, for example, is putting the "Refuse to Enroll" campaign
on her radio show, which is "broadcast on more than 350 stations
nationwide, including the American Family Radio Network with stations
throughout Ohio." And she'll have lots of company, including support
from her Koch brothers allies.

The conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which has a chapter
in Ohio, has launched another campaign attacking Obamacare with
television and online ads that began airing in Ohio last week.

Joan McCarter summarized
this nicely: conservatives "have to convince people that either paying
through the nose for insurance or going without, all to make a political
point, makes sense. Because 'Freedom' means never being able to go to
the doctor. Seriously. They are spending millions of dollars to try to
con people out of getting affordable health insurance
."

Greg Sargent throws down the gauntlet in The conservative (led) boycott of (some) health insurance:

You know, it’s one thing to oppose a policy; that, of course, is
perfectly legitimate. It’s another to undermine it’s implementation by
using whatever legislative or legal maneuvers are available to keep it
from working, even if it imposes widespread costs in the meantime. Oh,
and it’s even worse to do that when you have no alternative policy.

* * *

We can try to think this through a bit. We actually can put a label
on what’s happening here; conservatives are trying to organize a boycott
of Obamacare. Note that boycotts are not about convincing people that
they won’t be getting good value if they purchase a product; instead,
boycotts are about putting pressure on those offering the product for
sale, even at the cost to the consumer of passing up something she would
ordinarily be happy to purchase.

Except … that’s not what’s actually going on here, is it? After all,
it’s not just the exchanges which are governed by the Affordable Care
Act. It’s true that the exchanges are the most visible part of the law,
but ACA radically changes the regulation regime of all private health
insurance, as well as making significant changes in Medicare and
Medicaid. Boycotting ACA at this point really means boycotting all
health insurance.

So that’s my question: Are those conservatives who are urging people
to boycott health insurance actually practicing what they preach? Have
they dropped their health insurance, too?

* * *

I really can’t imagine the case for telling others to boycott signing up
— especially those who, thanks to the subsidies that are an important
part of the law, really will be getting a great deal — while continuing
to participate in the system themselves. Or for enjoying the benefits of
some government regulations of insurance companies and taking one kind
of government subsidy (the tax treatment of employer-linked health care)
while urging others, as some sort of principle, to reject another.

Practice what you preach you morally depraved assholes.

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