Rebuttals to right-wing fake talking points and misinformation that I want to have at the forefront of my brain--for when I am surprised, as I will be, by an unexpected question from an unexpected direction while talking to reporters, phone callers, passers-by, radio interviewers, cable TV interviewers, etc....
A baker's dozen:
Tort reform is the way to control health-care costs: Aaron Carroll: "How much does the malpractice system really cost in the U.S.?... $55.6 billion in 2008 dollars, or about 2.4 percent of all U.S. health-care spending.... So yes, that is real money, and it theoretically could be reduced.... [W]e could look at Texas, where non-economic damages on malpractice lawsuits were capped at $250,000 about eight years ago... Medicare spending seems to have gone up faster than the nation’s since 2003. Hardly a persuasive argument for tort reform = cost control.... [T]ort reform, which might lead to a 10 percent reduction in malpractice premiums (not small), which might translate into a health-care spending reduction of 0.1 percent..."
The RomneyCare that so many Republicans used to support is very different from ObamaCare: Rudi Giuliani: "The reality is that Obamacare and Romneycare are almost exactly the same. It’s not very helpful trying to distinguish them. I would think the best way to handle it is to say: 'It was a terrible mistake and if I could do it over again, I wouldn’t do it'..."
Doctors are all leaving Canada to practice in the U.S.: Aaron Carroll: Except for Austria and Germany, fewer doctors were satisfied practicing medicine in the United States in 2009 than in any other surveyed country. That includes Canada. And it was before health care reform, so you can’t blame any dissatisfaction on the PPACA.... Except for Germany, more physicians in the United Sates felt that the system needed to be completely rebuilt than physicians in any other country.... So let’s stop pretending that doctors in outer countries are miserable, and practicing in the Unites States is paradise.... The meme is that physicians are leaving Canada in droves and moving here. Is that true?... In the mid-1990s, the number leaving for the U.S. spiked at about 400 to 500 a year. However, in recent years, this number has declined, with only 169 physicians leaving for the States in 2003; 138 in 2004; and 122 in each of 2005 and 2006. These numbers represent less than half a percent of all doctors working in Canada..."
RERUN: Paul Ryan's Claim that "Obamacare Ends Medicare As We Know It... creates this 15 panel board of unelected, unaccountable, bureaucrats starting next year to price control and ration Medicare": Igor Volsky: "It does no such thing. The ACA reduced annual increases in payments to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and other institutions to spur productivity and cut overpayments to private insurers that are not delivering value for Medicare dollars.... The “15 panel board,” as Ryan calls it, is actually the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).... Ryan himself proposed a very similar commission in 2009 and maintains many of the ACA’s Medicare cuts in his plan. In fact, Ryan’s Patients’ Choice Act (PCA) sought to establish 'two governmental bodies to broadly apply cost effectiveness research' and had more teeth than the ACA, including provisions to allow for penalties for physicians who did not follow the guidelines..."
RERUN: John Taylor (and 149 other) Republican economists: "An increase in the national debt limit that is not accompanied by significant spending cuts and budget reforms to address our government’s spending addiction will harm private-sector job creation in America": Rebutted by John Taylor (and Robert Hall), Macroeconomics, 5th ed.: "We now know that an increase in government spending... increases the interest rate and increases income.... [T]he increase in government demand increases GDP through the multiplier.... [But] interest rates must [also] rise to offset the increase in money demand.... This increase in interest rates will reduce investment demand and net exports and thus offset some of the stimulus to GDP caused by government spending. The offsetting negative effect is crowding out.... An expansionary fiscal policy will have a relatively strong effect on aggregate demand if interest rates don't rise by much [when government spending increases]..."
RERUN: Mitt Romney's claim that we are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy: Buce: "[W]hen Mitt Romney says that we are 'only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy', you'd just have to write it up as an arrogant, insolent, baldfaced lie. Which is pretty much what they are calling it over at Politifact, the Poynter journalistic fact-checker (sourced, ironically, in large measure, to those bomb-throwing insurrectionists at the Heritage Foundation).... [T]he US ranks ninth from the top "freest") out of 179.... None of this is surprising to anyone of even mildly wonky sentiments, a group which clearly includes Romney himself. But here's an extra irony I hadn't noticed before: health care. Namely that every one of those top eight has some kind of universal public health care. And they virtually all get better results than the US has, and at substantially less cost.... I dunno, maybe Romney (who can clearly say anything with the same schoolboy grin) will soon be telling us that Singapore and Hong Kong (and Switzerland, and Denmark, and Canada, and Ireland, and New Zealand, and Australia) are just mired in post-Leninist purgatory. Others might say otherwise: they might say it shows that freedom can be enhanced (even on a Heritage definition) by the right kind of government intervention. Like, say, in Massachusetts..."
RERUN: Douglas Holtz-Eakin's claim that it would be reckless to pass a clean increase in the debt ceiling: Let's quote right-leaning Clive Crook again: "Tea Party true believers may be salivating.... Shutting down the government [by blocking the debt-ceiling increase is a button [Republicans] dare not press.... To do it in 2011, with the economy laid low and financial markets still twitchy, would be the limit of irresponsibility. It would be betting the recovery to make a point. This time, political annihilation might follow, and the party would deserve it..."
RERUN: Robert Lucas's claim that Barack Obama's election has permanently depressed U.S. real GDP by 8%: Matthew Yglesias: "What’s happened, according to Lucas, is that Obama’s policies have caused us to deviate permanently to a lower, European-style growth path. The initiation of Social Security didn’t do that. Nor did its expansion in the 1950s. Nor did the creation of Medicare, Medicaid, Title I federal aid to schools or the War On Poverty. The Clean Air Act didn’t do it. Nor did the Clean Water Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act. George W Bush’s expansion of Medicare didn’t do it. Nothing about the growth of the welfare state in postwar America was able to jar America off the American-style growth path and put it on the European path. And then along came Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act and a few other bills, and like magic we’re Sweden..... A leading economic scholar thinks Obama’s domestic agenda has been far-and-away the most consequential in American history. It’s kind of a big deal..."
RERUN: Ruth Marcus's claim that Democrats refuse to acknowledge the need for any changes in the path of Medicare spending: Matthew Yglesias: When Will DC Pundits Acknowledge That The Affordable Care Act Contains Cost Control Efforts?: "[T]he vast majority of House Democrats... voted “yes” and... the Senate Democrats... all voted for [the Affordable Care Act]. The story about Republicans backing savage cuts while Democrats are in denial about the need for restraint is a comfortable one, but it bears no relationship to reality. Not only did the Affordable Care Act include specific cuts in Medicare subsidies to private insurers, it establishes a wide array of mechanisms that its authors believe will reduce the growth rate of health care spending, including in public sector programs. Hospitals were squealing about this just yesterday on the front page of The New York Times.... [Marcus is] just pretending that Obama forgot to address the issue..."
RERUN: Stephen Moore's 62% top marginal tax rate again: Ryan Chittum: "Zombie Lie Laboratory Creates 62 Percent Tax Rate Plan: CJR: Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal editorial board hacks out an instant classic on how to mislead people with numbers. The question-as-headline is your second red flag that this just might be a deeply disingenuous op-ed (the first is that it’s on The Wall Street Journal op-ed page): "A 62% Top Tax Rate?" The top marginal tax rate is just 35 percent now, of course. So how does Moore come up with the idea that Obama and the Democrats are pitching a 62 percent tax rate for the rich? Disingenuously..."
RERUN: Tim Pawlenty's claim that President Obama is setting up this false choice between default and raising the debt ceiling: Pawlenty claims "you can take away that false choice by ordering the Treasury to pay the obligations to outside creditors first..." Failing to pay people inside the United States to whom the U.S. government owes money has a name, Tim. It's name is "default." It's not an alternative to default, it's a type of default.
RERUN: Glenn Hubbard's claim that Obama has "ruled out long-term entitlement spending restraint": Nancy Ann Min De Parle: "[T]he tools in the Affordable Care Act and other steps... already taken will save nearly $120 billion for Medicare over the next five years.... While we’ve made real and significant progress, there is more work to do... the President’s framework... includes reforms that would save at least an additional $200 billion for Medicare over the next decade. The framework would: (i) Bend the long-term cost curve by setting a more ambitious target of holding Medicare cost growth per beneficiary to GDP per capita plus 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, through strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). (ii) Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare..."
SPEAKS FOR ITSELF: Rick Santorum: "America was a great country because it was founded great. Our founders, calling upon in the Declaration of Independence, the supreme judge, calling upon divine providence, said what was at the heart of American exceptionalism.... 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.'" It doesn't make you great to proclaim high ideals: it makes you great to fulfill them. It's a question whether America was great before 1865--or 1965.