November 16, 2014

Here we go. It's Day One of the open enrollment period for Obamacare, and Fox News is doing its level best to make sure no one dares to get health insurance, reviving the old death panel cry alongside the new Gruber-gate whine.

Proving above everything else, that Tucker Carlson is nothing more than a right-wing propagandist whose primary interest is in himself and no one else.

What Jon Gruber did or did not say during the debate over the ACA is largely irrelevant. If he were a Senator or Representative or the President of the United States, perhaps it would matter. But it doesn't, because Gruber was hired to consult on structure, policy and economic issues. So let's just lay aside all the crap they're tossing about Gruber, even though we know it plays to the aggrieved voter profile of the typical Fox News viewer.

What's worse than Gruber-gate? Tucker Carlson pretending like he gives a damn about what health care people get.

Death Panel Zombie Lie Rising

Take, for example, his effort to revive the death panels trope by whining about recommended ages for mammograms and colonoscopies. Tucker concern-trolls as usual, whining, "No colonoscopies for men age 76-85." Of course, men in that particular age group are probably down on their knees thanking God for that exclusion, but for Tucker, it's just a terrible thing and it means death panels.

Colonoscopies involve anesthesia. If there's no indication that one is needed, why on earth would you routinely subject a 76-85 year old person to such a thing?

Beyond the facts of the thing, let's just think this through for a minute. On the one hand, the ACA is a terrible, horrible socialization of health care. On the other, it's terrible and horrible because it doesn't pay 100 percent for every procedure at every age? Which is it? Are we pimping services for mammography and colonoscopy or are we delivering effective health care?

Further, what makes Tucker think people who had NO access to health insurance before the Affordable Care Act would be worse off for having it now without mammography at age 30? If they really gave a damn about that, they wouldn't have given such full-throated support to de-funding Planned Parenthood, which routinely did mammograms for women who couldn't afford them elsewhere.

Premiums Are Gonna Kill Ya if Death Panels Don't

Tucker conveniently quoted the New York Times article this morning, saying that premiums are going up 20 percent. Of course, he left out two really important facts. One, that premium increase is on some plans, while others have gone down in cost. Two, the point of the article was to encourage people to shop plans rather than automatically renewing, because new companies have entered the marketplace and are less money than others.

Here's an example, right out of my own checkbook. Our (subsidized) premiums for 2014: $132 per month. If we stayed with that plan and Anthem Blue Cross, they were going up to around $145 per month. But, if we switched to Blue Shield -- same plan, same deductibles, same networks, same prescription coverage -- they would drop to $103 per month. That's what I did today. Made the switch, so I will be saving about $40 per month on our health insurance with no change to copayments or network doctors.

Had I switched to Kaiser, I would have paid even less, because their premiums dropped by 11 percent or so for 2015. But Kaiser facilities aren't close by for us, so we opted for the Blue Shield plan instead.

The point made by the New York Times is simple enough: Shop around, don't assume you're getting the best deal. It's going to take time for the markets to stabilize and a little more experience, too. It's hardly the end of civilization as we know it.

Fox News' ugly wish to kill people

Here's the bottom line from this segment and every other segment like this that Fox News runs. They don't want people to get health insurance by going and signing up. They want people to die rather than get affordable health insurance.

Their criminal cynicism will discourage people from being able to have affordable health insurance and by extension, health care.

I hope Roger Ailes and Tucker Carlson burn in hell for that.


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