Dueling Health Care Flow Charts: Reality Vs. GOP Propaganda

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(Reality flow chart) (GOP propaganda chart)

As Media Matters points out, today's GOP is trying the same old tricks of yesteryear, when they set out to destroy the Clinton health care plan in 1994. They've released a confusing and misleading flow chart (pictured above, right) to show how awful a public option would be -- and it's already being picked up by the right wing media.

On July 15, the Drudge Report, Fox News, and CNBC's The Kudlow Report provided a forum for a chart released by congressional Republicans that day -- a day after House Democrats introduced their health care reform bill -- that purported to show "the complex health care reform proposal by Democratic congressional leaders." The release from Rep. Kevin Brady (TX) about the chart, titled "BAFFLING FLOW CHART; Public Gets Peek at Complicated Bureaucracy in Democratic Health Care Plan," stated that the chart "depicts how the health care system would be organized at the national level if the Democrats' plan became law. These new levels of bureaucracy, agencies, organization and programs will all be put directly between the patient and their health care."

In response, TNR's Jonathan Cohn has come up with his own flow chart (pictured above, left) that describes the incredibly confusing private system most Americans are currently trying to understand and forced to endure:

But these charts--and, more important, the Republicans who use them as propoganda--tend to ignore one inconvenient fact: American health care is already complex. Ridiculously complex. Thanks to decades of haphazard, disorganized growth, it's evolved into a mind-numbing web of institutions, agencies, businesses, and individual actors. And while that may be self-evident to anybody who's ever had to deal with, say, a billing dispute between an insurer and hospital, it's easy to lose sight of that when the discussion is all about what reform might do--rather than what health care would be like without it.

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