Friday, January 07, 2011

A bit late but still relevant

Okay, I know you've heard about this but I wanted to throw my two farthings in.

When at least one version of the health insurance bill included a provision allowing for Medicare to pay for "end of life" counseling, the liars, wackos, and wingnuts screeched and spluttered about "death panels." It was ridiculous, of course, a case of the gullible being bamboozled by the snickering scammers, because all the provision did was to allow Medicare to pay for something it hadn't before because such a consultation was not considered "medical."

Never ones to avoid a chance for a one-way "compromise," the Dims dropped the provision from the bill as passed. However, it reappeared in the final regulations for Medicare rate-paying, which came out in late November; the regulation allowed “advance care planning” to be paid under Medicare as part of an “annual wellness visit.” It went into effect January 1.

Three days later, the Obama administration said it was pulling the plug on the rule. Why? According to the New York Times, it was because it
threatened to become a distraction to administration officials who were gearing up to defend the health law against attack by the new Republican majority in the House.
That is, the provision was withdrawn so the GOPpers (supposedly) couldn't make an issue of it. And I have to ask:

Just how stupid are these people?

What level of imbecility is required to be a White House political advisor? Do they really think this is going to make a difference? Do they really think this is going to diffuse the attack? At all? Do they really think that the best way to deal with loudmouths is to shut up, that the best way to deal with bullshit is to let it stand, that the best way to deal with lies is to essentially validate the claims of the liars?

That's like thinking you'll get rid of the bully by giving him your lunch money. It's like trying to calm someone clinically paranoid by telling them "they really are out to get you." It's like.... Just now stupid are these people?

I will note for the record and then let pass for now that one of my complaints about the health insurance bill was that, contrary to the claims of various supporters and sycophants, energy in the future would not go to "building on it" but to defending it against attack - put another way, it would not be seen as a floor but as a ceiling. That dynamic already seems to be in play.

But again, I will let that pass for now to get back to asking just how stupid are these people? I mean, they're "gearing up" for this big fight to "defend" their health insurance bill against a non-existent threat: Even the GOPpers admit the whole effort is symbolic (repeal won't even get to a vote in the Senate and Obama already pledged to veto it). They're running scared of shadows and starting their big fight by backing up.

And so it seems - yet again - that where they are not evil they are venal, where they are not venal they are moral and intellectual cowards, and where they are not moral and intellectual cowards they are just stupid. We are on our own and it's goddam well way past the time we realized that and started acting like it - and "acting like it" includes disabusing ourselves of the notion that the best way to deal with people who are not on our side is to focus on electing more of them.

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