By Doug Porter
The future is now for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It’s survived a Supreme Court challenge, forty attempts at repeal or de-funding in the House of Representatives and another twenty or so in the US Senate.
In October of this year, people can start signing up for coverage. By January 1, 2014, Obamacare, as it’s popularly referred to, will be a done deal.
Although the plan signed by the President in March, 2010 is essentially the same as health care reforms advocated by conservatives for many years, the fact that the word Obama is associated with this legislation (either that or because he’s black) has made the ACA a third rail for the GOP.
The Tea Party’s Freedom Works, the Heritage Foundation’s advocacy arm, the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and a slew of other groups are mounting a furious effort to kill the implementation of the bill.
Even though most observers consider it to be a political death sentence, Capital Hill Republicans are threatening to shut down the operations of the federal government in late September.
Now the cherry on top of this toxic propaganda sundae has appeared: the return of the Death Panel. And nobody deserves the role of soda jerk in this circus parlor more than Sarah Palin.
Dean’s critique centered on the IPAB, which would set limits on fees paid under Medicare, as an element of the health care law enabling the continuance of fee-for-service medicine, saying “The IPAB has no possibility of helping to solve this major problem and will almost certainly make the system more bureaucratic and therefore drive up administrative costs.”
In a smoke filled room somewhere, Dean (who now is a lobbyist) must be regretting the fact that he’s supplied ammunition for assholes.
From Media Matters, tracing Palin’s history promoting this meme:
Palin’s first deployment of “death panel” in August 2009 was in reference to the Advanced Care Planning provision of the House health care bill, and she said it would “decide” whether senior citizens and the disabled were “worthy of health care.” This was a lie, and Palin got called out on it, earning herself Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” award.
In December of 2009, Palin switched it up and tried claiming that IPAB (which originated in the Senate’s health care bill) was what she was talking about all along and that “this type of rationing” was “precisely what I meant when I used that metaphor.” This was also a lie; the law does not allow for the IPAB to make “any recommendation to ration health care… or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.”
Now it just so happens that a bi-partisan group of Representatives is trying to revive the advanced care planning provisions of Obamacare, giving Palin and her ilk even more reason to act like clowns with their hair on fire.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Among the most egregious distortions to cloud the healthcare debate in 2009 was the false notion that thePatient Protection and Affordable Care Act called for “death panels,” through which the government would determine whether seniors and the disabled should receive care. So dishonest was this characterization, popularized by Alaska‘s then-Gov. Sarah Palin, that PolitiFact named it the “Lie of the Year.”
In truth, one of the provisions of the act that gave rise to Palin’s critique would have done just the opposite: help patients make their own decisions about their treatment at the end of life. But it was removed from the bill in the heat of the death panel rhetoric. Now it is back as part of HR 1173, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) with 17 bipartisan cosponsors.
Obamacare did stir a substantive conversation about end-of-life care, but it didn’t make it past 2009, let alone into the final health reform law. As Congress worked on drafting the Affordable Care Act, discussions about how to deal with the dying were filed under the politicized heading “death panels.”
President Obama had wanted end-of-life counseling to stand as a separate, billable service, giving families and doctors a clear route to make decisions about when to forgo treatment. The idea was scrapped because of concern the benefit might pressure families and incentivize doctors to pull the plug.
But there is language in the final law that moves the discussion forward a bit. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare regulation says “voluntary advance care planning” can be included in covered annual wellness appointments. The planning would involve creating an advance directive, a legal document that dictates how aggressively a patient can be treated once he or she loses the ability to make decisions.
The Westgate Plaza Hotel and #Filnergate
As we move into the second month of Filner’s follies, the news media continues figuratively shooting into a barrel full of fish and calling it reportage.
Liam Dillon over at Voice of San Diego is up with The Mayor’s Summer of Distortion, which has already garnered criticism in the twitterverse for not going back further in time.
CNN is up with a report that the Mayor is locked out of his office, citing KFMB as as a source.
The Filner recall effort is getting loads of free coverage from UT-San Diego. And 10News is busy touting it’s acquisition of mayoral credit card statements showing he spent $511.06 at the Westgate hotel in 2013.
Team 10 has also obtained some of the mayor’s credit statements that beg the question, was he wining and dining women on the taxpayer’s dime?…
After some digging, Team 10 obtained some of the mayor’s corporate credit card statements from parts of January, February and May of this year, detailing 6 different transactions at the Westgate Plaza Hotel between January 21 and February 7, then two more on May 10 and May 12 for a grand total of $511.06.
Still unclear: what was purchased or who it was purchased for.
Given that the room rate for a basic 400 sq. ft. room at the Westgate on Orbitz is $224.00, there is likely little truth to the speculation rampant in the media that Filner was bedding down his conquests at the hotel.
Still, there are reports that the Westgate is part of a burgeoning series of investigations involving hizzoner. Given the paucity of facts being reported about the Westgate/Filner connections, I feel obligated to suggest another possible scenario.
On Friday I received a call from a reliable source alerting me to reports about the changing of locks at the mayor’s offices.
The twitter feeds of local reporters and observers were going nuts on this latest tidbit… was there some sort of palace coup in progress?…was the Mayor’s chief of staff in cahoots with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith?…would Filner be allowed back in his office?
‘None of the above’ said Lee Burdick in response to numerous inquiries, who said locks were being changed as a precaution to protect ‘evidence’ from being removed or tampered with while the Mayor was away.
Don Bauder over at the SD Reader came up with a similar story to what I’d heard and reported it as rumor. My source swears they didn’t talk to him, for what it’s worth.
One of the rumors making the Twitter circles today (Aug. 9) is that Homeland Security has caught a person or persons eavesdropping on the mayor’s office with a directional microphone from a room at the Westgate Hotel.
Blogger Pat Flannery chimed in, responding to Bauder’s report:
That malicious rumor was started by somebody who is not on Twitter and who knows very little about it. It was an awkward attempt to intimidate Lee Burdick by making her believe that she is being stalked. I suspect you got your information from Donna Frye because I know of one other person who was fed the same false rumor by that source.
My source wasn’t Donna Frye. As bizarre as the whole scenario seems, changing the locks due to a listening device makes more sense that protecting the evidence. Try as I might, however, I could not come up with another human being to confirm the story.
An Analysis from the Right
Over at SDRostra there’s a blogger posting under the name North Pole who’s had some interesting observations about the situation at City Hall. They posit that Filner will not resign “unless he has to negotiate away his office to avoid prison time for the other financial scandals that are roiling him.”
And this is the interesting part:
There are at least three real polls floating around taken in the last couple weeks. By real I mean not Survey USA. As part of my day job I’ve seen two. Here is what I can or will say: I’m not sure who should carry the Democrat banner. Nathan Fletcher starts ok but shrivels up after message testing. Toni Atkins, Todd Gloria and Christine Kehoe cannibalize each other if they run at once or even a couple run at once. Lori Saldana and Lorena Gonzalez are kind of wild cards that were only tossed in one poll. I’m going to toss a shocker in there: Marti Emerald. Lotta people know who she is.
Back in the glory days of San Diego when we had two newspapers (right wing and more right wing) the morning Union weighed in on the North Koreans seizure of the USS Pueblo and its crew by running a daily box reminding readers how long it had been since the heinous act took place and by implication what a weenie President Johnson was for not dropping nukes on them.
Now the UT-San Diego is running it’s daily box of shame reminding us all how long the Filner scandal has been going on without the Labor Council calling on the Mayor to resign. Reminding us that unions are bad. Because unions must support sexual harassment. Because anybody who hasn’t called for the mayor to resign is a bad citizen. Because the gears of the Lynchester propaganda machine demand it…
Except that the UT-San Diego hasn’t made that call either. So I’ve created this handy-dandy box to remind everybody just what hypocrites they are…
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltrán, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: email@example.com
On This Day 1867 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him when he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. 1981 – IBM unveiled its first PC. 1994 – Woodstock ’94 opened in Saugerties, NY. The opening was on the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@