I heard a new political radio ad (station 540 WDBO) while on my way to work last Friday morning. The one-minute ad, called “Reform Now”, can also be heard on the “Institute for America’s Future” website, at least for the time being.
In case you can’t access the audio version of the ad, there is also a text version that can be found on the Behavioral Health Center website. I encourage you to read /listen to the ad before progressing further by clicking the highlighted links provided at the bottom.
Where to begin?
The ad starts by making the claim that when the Republicans controlled the White House and Congress, they failed to reform health care. Because of this failure, our “insurance premiums skyrocketed” and “millions of families were left uninsured”. As a result, “thousands of hard working Americans died from treatable illnesses”.
Typical of most political ads, it offers no proof or suggestions on what the Republicans did or didn’t do that were a direct result of these tragedies. It just says “the Republicans were in charge” and leaves it to your imagination. Naturally, the ad’s targeted audiences are those who believe that Republicans are just wealthy, cold-hearted people who care more about profits than they do people.
As for the claim that “thousands of Americans died from treatable illnesses”, I suspect that this statement is yet another variation of Florida Congressman Alan Grayson’s (among other politicians) claim that “44,000 people die each year due to lack of health insurance”.
Thanks to the efforts of the likes of Michelle Malkin, who researched this claim, and Neal Boortz, who addressed her research on his show, that number has been proven to be highly inflated.
Here is the quick and dirty version of this research:
The two co-authors of this study, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, used data from a survey conducted from 1988 to 1994, in which 9,000 participants were given a questionnaire asking if they were insured. These people were then tracked until the year 2000. If any of those participants who had stated that did not have health insurance died during that time, it was immediately presumed by Himmelstein and Woolhandler that they died due to lack of health insurance.
Those people could have died from any number of causes. They could have been shot to death, run over by a car, fallen off a cliff or torn apart by a rabid squirrel… all were counted as “dying due to lack of health insurance”. It was also presumed that not one single participant of the survey ever bought insurance between 1988 to 2000, unlikely as that may seem. It’s also important to know that Himmelstein and Woolhandler are also co-founders of the “Physicians for a National Health Program” organization.
A more thorough breakdown of this research can be found on Michelle Malkin’s and Neal Boortz’s websites.
The ad goes on to claim that now that we’re close to a reform bill, Republicans are doing everything they can to stop it. It then asks “100% of Republican Senators say that they will vote “no” – doesn’t that make you suspicious? What do they really care about; the health of American families, or the health of insurance companies’ profits?”
If there’s anything suspicious here, it should be the fact that the ad is asking you why you should be suspicious, then providing the answer for you in the same breath, rather than encouraging the listener to look up for themselves exactly why 100% of Republicans have stated they would vote against it.
The ad then makes the claim that if the reform isn’t passed right now, our premiums will continue to go up while our coverage will keep going down (which actually isn’t true, if the bill is passed, the premiums will definitely go up, since the insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, thus the risk factor is raised), then it finally urges it’s listeners to support the President and those in Congress who “care about us”.
Look folks, if Obama and the Democrats really cared about you and your health insurance, then they would actually be taking the private sector solutions presented by the Republicans seriously, and not obsessing over how much of the health care industry they can place under government control.
And don’t give me this nonsense about Obama’s “bipartisan” health care summit, or his willingness to accept three or four of the GOP’s ideas. It was a dog and pony show, and the Republican’s amendments would be little more than window dressing on a bad bill. I also couldn’t help but notice Obama’s willingness to accept some bone-headed Republican’s idea of government agents posing as “mystery patients” to scrutinize doctors. Anyone really surprised that he liked that suggestion?
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by claiming that Republican politicians really give a damn more about your health insurance coverage than the Democrat politicians do. If there’s one thing that both parties’ politicians have in common, it’s that they crave power. They’ll cater to voters who have the same set of beliefs that they do, but the endgame is the same… obtaining and retaining power. Politicians don’t wake up in the morning and ask themselves “how can I best serve the people?” The real question they ask is “how can I keep them happy so that I can stay in power?”
It just so happens that the Republican’s views on how to improve health care fall in line with mine, so I’ll support them… for now.
I have a quote on my homepage by John Corry… “Beware of people who moralize great issues; moralizing is easier than facing facts.”
Something that the creators of the “Reform Now” ad know very, very well.
“Reform Now” Radio Ad (you may need QuickTime to listen)
Institute for America’s Future (Ad is also found here, QuickTime not necessary to listen. It can also be downloaded to your hard drive)
Behavioral Health Center (Text version of ad)
Health Insurance and Mortality in Adults (Adobe file): David Himmelstein & Steffie Woolhandler, American Journal of Public Health, Dec. 2009 issue, vol. 99, No. 12
“The Bogus Death Statistic that Won’t Die”: Michelle Malkin, Michelle Malkin website 10/23/09
“Figures Lie and Liars Figure”: Neal Boortz, The Neal Boortz Show website, 12/15/09
Obama vs. Republicans on Healthcare: David Hudson, Associated Content, 01/17/10