The GOP Playbook – ‘Whine Fest 2014’


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

For the third election cycle in a row, the GOP has decided that it will run against "ObamaCare." It is now a single-issue party fixated on denying millions of needy Americans access to affordable health care. In fact, the GOP would kick millions of Americans off of health insurance who now have it as a result of "ObamaCare" and return to the status quo of the old broken health care system. The only health care alternative offered by the GOP is "perhaps you should die, and decrease the surplus population."

The modern-day Tea-Publican Party has become a sociopathic political party that lacks empathy, compassion and humanity for their fellow human beings, and rejects The Social Contract embodied in the Constitution ("to promote the general welfare") on which this country has collectively advanced for over 200 years. It has devolved into “post-policy nihilism,” in which Tea-Publicans are no longer guided by any real policy, but instead are chronically positioning themselves only in opposition to President Obama.

The New York Times reported on Thursday, G.O.P. Maps Out Waves of Attacks Over Health Law:

The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.

The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law — through social media, letters from constituents, or meetings during visits back home — and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic.

First it was the malfunctioning website,, then millions of insurance policy cancellation notices sent to individuals with plans that did not meet the requirements of the health law. Earlier this week, the House aired allegations that personal data is insecure on the Internet-based insurance exchanges.

At a congressional field hearing set for Friday in Gastonia, N.C., the line of attack will shift to rate shocks expected to jolt the insurance markets in the next two years. Coming soon: a push to highlight people losing access to their longtime physicians and changes in Medicare Advantage programs for older people.

You should take note how readily the complicit "lamestream" corporate media has aided and abetted these GOP talking points and created an echo chamber for this GOPropaganda — the hysterical media villagers were in a near feeding frenzy this month. The success stories of "ObamaCare" got lost in all the noise from the "nattering nabobs of negativity."

To Democrats, especially in the White House, the power of the effort stems from using anecdotes to paint a fundamentally misleading picture.

“There’s been so much noise and so much misinformation, and this incredible organized effort to block the notion that everybody should have affordable health care in this country,” President Obama told supporters of the health care law this month, “that I think it’s important for us to step back and take a look at what’s already been accomplished, because a lot of times it doesn’t make news. Controversies make news.”

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[O]n Wednesday, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report showing that health care spending had grown by 1.3 percent since 2010, the year the health care law passed. That is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than a third of the average since 1965, according to the White House.

Jason Furman, the council’s chairman, said much of that slowdown was attributable to structural changes in the health care economy ushered in by the health law, such as accountable care organizations, which band general practitioners, specialists and hospitals together to plan out a patient’s care, not play off one another to raise their billing. And insurance premiums on plans offered through the exchanges are lower than expected.

Congressional Democrats are trying to use such information and their own anecdotes to counter Republican attacks. Under the rubric of “This Is Obamacare” — with its own website of the same name, created by the Democratic National Committee — Democrats have been sharing “Affordable Care Act success stories” of ailing constituents getting health coverage for the first time, people being allowed to keep their adult children on their insurance, or consumers finding markedly cheaper insurance plans on the exchanges.

Steve Benen harshes the GOP's mellow in 'A multilayered, sequenced assault':

New And ImprovedRemember shortly after the 2012 elections, when Republicans were reeling after national defeats and stressing the need for “rebranding”? When House Speaker John Boehner told a national television audience, “Obamacare is the law of the land”?

Looking over the memo, literally called the “House Republican Playbook,” it’s hard not to notice there are no credible policy goals anywhere on the horizon. Indeed, GOP lawmakers have no intention of even trying to improve the health care system. They don’t expect to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They don’t intend to unveil a health care plan of their own. They don’t actually intend to do any substantive work on the issue at all.

Rather, what the House Republican majority has in mind is an “assault” featuring nothing but complaints and anecdotes.

In other words, for the party that admits to prioritizing “messaging” above all, the point isn’t to govern; the point is to host Whine Fest 2014.

Sorry, proponents of immigration reform, the GOP majority has a party planned and your issue isn’t invited.

For what it’s worth, some of the criticisms may have merit – apparently there’s some kind of trouble with the health care website? – but the “House Republican Playbook” is filled with a lot of nonsense. “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance”? The number of Americans who will go from being covered to being uncovered by the Affordable Care Act is zero.

“Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs”? Reality shows literally the exact opposite.

Of course, when it comes to “keeping Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault,” facts are irrelevant.

There is, however, one thing the “Playbook” doesn’t account for: what happens if the website gets fixed and people start liking “Obamacare”?

Oh, and About those canceled plans… 

As we’ve discussed, we’re talking about a very small percentage of the population that has coverage through the individual, non-group market and are now finding that their plans are being scrapped. When the House Republican “playbook” looks for people saying, “Because of Obamacare, I lost my insurance,” these are the folks they’re talking about.

But the story about these “victims” of reform is coming into sharper focus all the time.

Only a small sliver of the Americans who buy their own health insurance plans and may be seeing them canceled under Obamacare will pay higher premiums, according to an analysis released Thursday.

More than seven in 10 Americans who purchase health plans directly will get subsidies to help pay for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to the report by Families USA, a Washington-based organization that supports the health care reform law.

“It is important to keep a perspective about the small portion of the population that might be adversely affected,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “That number is a tiny fraction of the 65 million non-elderly people with pre-existing health conditions who will gain new protections through the Affordable Care Act. It is also a small fraction of the tens of millions of uninsured Americans who can also get help.”

Let’s put this another way. A tiny percentage of consumers will receive cancellation notices, and of them, more than 70% will get new, more secure coverage that ends up costing them less.

They’re not, in other words, victims. They’re beneficiaries.

* * *

[F]or all the talk about the cancelations, by a 2-to-1 margin, these folks are going to be better off, including receiving subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

In reference to the remaining folks who’ll pay more, Pollack told the Huffington Post, “That’s approximately 1.5 million people, and that’s not trivial and I don’t in any way suggest that we shouldn’t be concerned about that group. But … the number of people at risk of this becoming a problem is considerably smaller than the tens of millions of people who are going to get substantial help.”

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I’m starting to get the sense that there’s an approved narrative – the Affordable Care Act is failing and is in deep trouble – and developments that point in the opposite direction are filtered out, while developments that reinforce the thesis are trumpeted.

As I said, the complicit "lamestream" corporate media has aided and abetted these GOP talking points and created an echo chamber for this GOPropaganda. The success stories of "ObamaCare" get lost in all the noise from the "nattering nabobs of negativity."