Facts don’t matter when it comes to the Graham-Cassidy ‘get rid of Obamacare’ scheme. But feelings do.
They had seven-plus years to come up with a plan. The best the Republicans could do earlier this year was to create underfunded versions of the Affordable Care Act. Facing a September 30th deadline for getting a bill passed using 51 votes, they have opted to blow up the law entirely.
Just about every organization having contact with humans needing healthcare services has come out against Graham-Cassidy. Multiple analyses have all reached the same conclusion, namely that this legislation will cause harm.
But in the end, it may turn out that an emotional plea by late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel will be the thing creating the wave stopping this diabolical nightmare.
There’s a lesson to be learned in all this. When facing a rapid-fire noise machine spewing fallacious arguments, another approach is required.
Facts don’t seem to matter. Dole out enough fear–the current flavor is the ‘Obamacare is collapsing’ meme–and logic goes out the window.
If Republicans proposed an act renaming a post office, but called it Obamacare Repeal, it would get an automatic 48 votes in the US Senate, as one wag on Twitter noted. They really don’t care about the details. It’s the”win” that counts, according to the Dear Leader.
It’s important to understand Republicans are backed into a corner on both Obamacare repeal and tax reform cuts for the wealthy. There’s $400 million in campaign contributions and lobbying waiting behind a door the Koch brothers and their donor network have locked up pending ‘results’ on these issues.
From a June 26 article by the Associated Press:
At a weekend donor retreat attended by at least 18 elected officials, the Koch brothers warned that time is running out to push their agenda, most notably healthcare and tax reform, through Congress.
One Texas-based donor warned Republican lawmakers that his “Dallas piggy bank” was now closed, until he saw legislative progress.
“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” said Doug Deason. “Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”
One can hardly expect Republican legislators to be rational with this kind of threat handing over their heads.
Linguist George Lakoff has been trying to tell people (there’s an interview with him at the link) how to counter false assumptions for decades now.
Former fact checker/researcher Jess Zimmerman had a terrific article in Slate earlier this year explaining how to counter lies with emotions:
But we know enough to know that fact-checks are not going to quell the zombie lies. Coming out of the gate with facts is like bringing a Wikipedia page to a gun fight; people have to be primed and ready if they’re going to question the appealing information that’s fed to them and helps reconfirm their worldview. Truth is not enough. It never has been.
So let the journalists continue to fact-check, harder than ever before. Let them pledge never to repeat the administration’s fabrications without the newspaper equivalent of an Arrested Development voice-over. But don’t carry those corrections wholesale to your GOP representative or your racist family members and think you’re going to win. What we need, first, is a way to unseat the lies—and whatever that winds up looking like, it’s going to mean swallowing your pride, asking the right questions, and listening to the answers. Look the zombie in the face, and then offer it your heart.
Jimmy Kimmel isn’t my favorite late night host. Given that I now exist in a ‘Senior Dimension,’ most of my post-9pm viewing comes via YouTube clips.
Here are the September 19 and 20 monologues, where Kimmel calls out Louisiana Senator Cassidy for lying about his approach to healthcare in an interview on the program earlier in the year and responds to the inevitable Faux news complaints about his comments.
From the Los Angeles Times write-up on the first monologue:
The “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host has become one of the most prominent celebrities to publicly advocate preserving Obamacare’s insurance protections — so much so that Republicans themselves have aspired to meet “the Jimmy Kimmel test.”
It says that patients like the child born with a congenital disease would get the care they need, with no caps on insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, regardless of costs.
On Monday night, Kimmel said the new bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) — a one-time guest on the show who coined the Kimmel test phrase — failed the standard.
A few words about monologue #2 from Vox:
Kimmel’s words earned plenty of blowback from both Cassidy and Graham, who essentially waved away his criticisms by scoffing that Kimmel couldn’t possibly be informed enough to understand the bill. (Analysts, for what it’s worth, disagree.)
But Kimmel was having none of it. “[Cassidy and Graham] spent the morning defending the indefensible,” Kimmel said in his follow-up, “…and pulled the ‘all comedians are dummies’ card.”
“Help me out,” Kimmel challenged, sarcastic and pissed. “Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having preexisting conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal spending disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where plans are no longer required to pay for essential benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits?”
Oh, and call the numbers at the end of the video. Here’s a toolkit from Indivisible showing Californians exactly what needs to be done. The facts are nice. But be sure to dish up a little (polite) emotion when you call.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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