I see Betsy McCaughey crawled out from her little rock to dish with Neil Cavuto over the Obama administration's latest attempt to create jobs, this time in the health care sector. I wonder whose payroll she's on these days. Her argument, however, is a little bizarre. Republicans have argued for a long time that the Affordable Care Act will mean people won't have access to care because there will be so many of us that health professionals will be overwhelmed. A rational person might think the answer to that is to assist in the training and education of more health professionals in order to meet the rising demand, right? And so it goes, that McCaughey proves once again that there are no rational Republicans.
MCCAUGHEY: Well, this agenda is spending money to spread the wealth and buy votes. If you look at the economy, the health care sector has been producing jobs, even while the rest of the economy is staggering.
So the White House doesn't have to spend money to produce health care jobs. The purpose of these jobs, and it was very clear as the law was written, was quite different. It's to spread the money around. They're cutting what doctors are paid under Medicare, cutting the care available to seniors under Medicare and at the same time they're handing out grants to “community organizations.” They are creating jobs called promotories to people who are well known in the community to sign people up for health plans...
Huh? That last little gem was classic McCaughey, right down to the gobbledegookish last word. Here's what the White House announcement today was about, right out of the horse's mouth:
Up to $1 billion dollars will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money. Launched today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers.
“We’ve taken incredible steps to reduce health care costs and improve care, but we can’t wait to do more,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Both public and private community organizations around the country are finding innovative solutions to improve our health care system and the Health Care Innovation Challenge will help jump start these efforts.”
Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will award grants in March to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, particularly those with the highest health care needs. The Challenge will support projects that can begin within six months. Additionally, projects that focus on rapid workforce development will be given priority when grants are awarded.
Awards will be expected to range from approximately $1 million to $30 million over three years. Applications are open to providers, payers, local government, community-based organizations and particularly to public-private partnerships and multi-payer approaches. Each grantee project will be evaluated and monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated.
Please, can someone tell me where in that announcement it says anything about "promotories...to sign people up for health care plans"? I'm having some difficulty finding it, but then, this is Betsy, and like her pals Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, she says whatever comes out of her stupid little mouth and says it with such authority that she actually sounds like she knows what's she's talking about. And when it comes to health care reform, she's done it for so long she's actually created her own special language, it seems.
But wait, there's more.
CAVUTO: Were these built in jobs that were going to come anyway or did they make them in this law?
MCCAUGHEY: No, they were built into the health care law. And thirdly, they're spending some eleven billion dollars on community organizations that serve illegal immigrants largely, so this is a spread the wealth and buy the votes program.
In this particular display of intellectual dishonesty, McCaughey shamelessly plays the immigrant card. Because you know, it's really wonderful to allow people in our society to go without any health care when they're sick simply because they lack the proper paperwork. It's such shameless fearmongering, but I note that Cavuto didn't have the courage to ask her whether she thought it was ok for a measles outbreak among immigrants to go untreated and possibly spread to other parts of the community, or vice versa. Evidently that possibility just shouldn't be considered or entertained because you know, they're (lean in and listen) "illegal." Now let's consider what she's really talking about.
Back when it was clear there would be no public option in the final law, Bernie Sanders stepped up and demanded that $11 billion be allocated to community health centers. These centers would be located in areas where the poor might not otherwise have access to health care, and are intended as a health hub. Not only would they be primary care access points, but also health education hubs. They are a model which, if implemented properly, would serve as a single-payer model of health care delivery on a community-based platform. This is why McCaughey and her masters hate it so much. It is entirely possible these community health centers will become the access point for many people, particularly the poor and underprivileged, to receive affordable health care. Fees are on a sliding scale and prescription prices are negotiated on the same basis as the Veterans' Administration drug prices. Conservatives hate it. Liberals should embrace it.
More nonsense ensues:
MCCAUGHEY: Well, a lot of it was enacted in September when the Department of Health and Human Services...
CAVUTO: So what was he talking about now?
MCCAUGHEY: ...announced a program to reduce racial disparities and more of it is being rolled out over time. But it's a move from high tech jobs to take care of grandma, to low tech jobs to spread money around in the communities, manufacturing jobs, to buy the vote jobs.
Um, which high-tech jobs to take care of grandma is she talking about? And the buy-the-vote thing is just crazy talk. In case she hasn't noticed, people need jobs. Lots of people need jobs. Our Republican House of Representatives is just too insane to do anything about it. So a President does what a President can.
Oh, wait. I guess this is what she's talking about:
As you read, there's a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices like stents and hip replacements and pacemakers. These are driving jobs out of the country. A report in September announced that 43 thousand jobs will be lost because of this tax in states like Indiana, Illinois, California and New Jersey. And at the same time they're creating these “community jobs.”
Only one problem with Betsy's logic here. The 2.3 percent tax isn't yet in effect. So if jobs are leaving, it's not because of a stupid tax. It's because medical manufacturers have decided they should move jobs out of the country. I know Betsy doesn't really care about the facts but someone ought to.
Betsy McCaughey only gets trotted out when conservatives are interested in scaring a sector of the voting population with a whole lot of lies that sort of sound legitimate until you look at what she's really saying. Neil Cavuto's complicity in just letting her go on and on with nothing but sound prompts for the next nonsense spew is equally bad, but then, they both have their masters to serve.
The only takeaway from this whole batch of nonsense is how desperate conservatives are to discredit a law that will benefit most citizens in this country. When they trot Betsy out, you realize how desperate they truly are.