by Mark Moore
” they (the people) more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” -Adolph Hitler in “Mine Kaumpf”
The establishment in Arkansas, which consists of the people who run the Democrat Party, more than half of the Republican legislators, and of course the Democrat-Gazette and establishment media, are telling you the people of Arkansas “the big lie.” They are making claims so outrageously untrue that the normal person will tend to accept it as true simply because they cannot imagine their leaders would say something so breath-takingly false. They think that their leaders would not have the nerve to lie so brazenly. The average person thinks there must be some reasonable explanation.
That’s how Big Lies work. That is, they work if they are repeated enough by people and institutions that citizens regards as “authorities.” Since the alternative is to believe that the majority of authority figures are to some extent complicit in propagating a colossal falsehood, it is easier just to shrug it off than face up to this unpleasant possibility.
I know this because I am one of those (mostly) normal people. One way I am not normal is that as a hobby I am a “policy wonk”. I like to look into details of proposed legislation and project how it would work (or not). Weird I know, but that is what makes the world go round, right? As I looked into the details of HB1143/SB1020 and compared it to the claims of legislators I know and in most cases like, I went through this process. The language of the bill did not match up with the claims being made by men like Speaker Davy Carter, Rep. John Burris, and many other Republican legislators. And when I say “did not match up” I mean that the truth was, if not 180 degrees the opposite of what they were claiming then it was close, maybe 170 degrees out.
Almost all of the Republicans who voted to fund the act falsely known as the “Private Option”, and several of those who voted against it, maintained these claims. At first I thought, as Hitler wrote, that “there must be some other explanation.” In the internet age, many of these people are reachable and so I interacted with a number of them. I asked them questions. I quoted their own words back to them and compared it to the language of the bill. They each, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, insisted that the “Private Option” in SB1020 was not an expansion of Medicaid, and not giving into Obamcare.
These claims are outrageously false. The are Big Lies. At first they claimed that the Private Option was fighting Obamacare. Towards the end, they modified their story on the latter question, saying that “Obamacare is here, we have it whether we do anything or not.” That was the opposite of what they said six months ago when they were campaigning . Back then they insisted that if you elected them they would fight the implementation of Obamacare. Either they were telling you the Big Lie then, or they are doing so now.
So if you compare what they said then to what the say now, it is clear that one thing they said at least must be untrue. But even if you choose to kid yourself that they are not lying now, then you must also erase your own memory of what they told you about the same subject six months ago in order to maintain the belief that they have been honest with you.
Like most authorities that use the Big Lie tactic, they are counting on your reluctance to accept that the authorities would attempt such brazen falsehoods to get you to shrug your shoulders and ignore the issue. They are counting on you being either too apathetic to care about finding out the truth or too cowardly to face an unpleasant truth. You don’t want to face the idea that those like-able gents who spoke at your meeting last year have foisted on you a colossal lie.
I have heard people who allege that they are activists spouting other non-sense too, all to avoid having to face the obvious conclusion that their champions are flat out lying to them. I have heard them say “it was too late for us to opt out.” That is wrong, as this article makes clear, there is no time limit on deciding when to opt out of expanding Medicaid. What is not so clear is whether states can un-expand Medicaid once they decide to expand it, as Arkansas has now voted to expand it- even though the men and women you campaigned for are not being honest enough to tell you that that is what it is.
Some legislators are saying that we can always get out of it if Washington does not do it they way we want it done. The prior link about whether states can un-expand Medicaid shows that these confident pronouncements are mostly gas. We don’t like the way the feds are doing education either. When is the last time the state totally dropped a major federal education program because we did not like they way it was being done?
Republicans claim that the “private option” will not be implemented unless it is done the way the Republicans want it to be implemented. Even assuming that their growth-of-government plan would be a good thing, their claims regarding this are also false. I linked to the text of the bill. Look at it yourself. It only says that the program will not be implemented if the (temporary) waivers are not in place at the start.
Once the program is implemented, there is no automatic trigger to stop the program even if all of the waivers the Republicans want are done away with. At any rate, it will be Mike Beebe’s people who will determine whether or not the original waivers that the feds grant are sufficient to comply with the provisions of the act and “implement” the program. What do you suppose they will say?
This is like a repeat of the decision in 2011 on how to stop the Democrats from building a Health Care exchange. They thought they had a deal with the Democrats then too. Read about how that worked out for us (hint, we have a partnership exchange even though there was no legislative authorization for it). Look at page 9 lines 12-14 of the bill. Not only did it expand Medicaid, but it also obligated the legislature to set up some kind of exchange, which Beebe had no legislative authorization to do until now.
In other words, there were two major things states had to do in order to help implement Obamacare. One was to sign up everybody under 138% of poverty level in some sort of Medicaid program and the other was to set up a state Health Insurance Exchange (which is for people up to 400% of poverty level). The Republicans in the legislature have caved on both major parts of the plan, unlike many other states who are resisting Obamacare by holding the line on growth of socialized medicine and forcing the feds to own the exchange rather than make the state and its taxpayers responsible for it.
The Democrat Gazette, as usual, is spinning it for the establishment by repeating every untruth at face value. This report by John Lyon goes right down the list…
“Last week, the state House and Senate gave final passage to a package of bills encompassing Arkansas’ alternative to Medicaid expansion, the so-called “private option.” The plan is expected to save the state $670 million over 10 years and shrink the Medicaid rolls by 35 percent.”
First of all, the so-called “Private Option” is not an “alternative to Medicaid expansion.” It’s Medicaid Expansion. It is an alternative program under Medicaid which will result in a massive increase in the number of persons enrolled in some sort of Medicaid program. It will not “shrink the Medicaid rolls by 35 percent.” It will only shrink the rolls of one Medicaid program, by adding another program that is paying for even more people.
Do you remember when Blue Cross and other health insurers started adding high-deductible HSA plans? Maybe a third of their customers went to some sort of HSA plan, and the others stayed with their traditional plans. Would it be honest to claim that “Blue cross had their customer base shrink by 35%” just because some of their customers went to another Blue Cross product? Of course not, but that is what Lyon is doing here with Medicaid.
The so-called “Private Option” is a Medicaid Program, run under Medicaid Guidelines, any waivers granted will be Medicaid waivers which are temporary in any case. The program will be administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services and funded with taxpayer dollars. What is “private” about an option like that? It is corporate welfare for insurance companies and hospitals. It is cronyism being sold as “free market” by Big Lie proponents.
The claim that the plan is “expected to save the state $670 million over 10 years” is also highly misleading. It only saves money if their “private” reforms work as expected and only compared to expanding government to the max while making no reforms at all. De-linking from Obamacare, refusing to expand Medicaid and refusing to participate in a health care exchange (putting all the cost on the federal government) is the option that would have saved the state billions of dollars over the next ten years.
Here is a chart based on numbers put out by Beebe’s own people. He was trying to make the so-called “private option” work, so he had every incentive to make it look good compared to traditional expansion, but one glance at the chart shows it is obvious that the plan only “saves” money compared to a plan that spends even more money! De-linking, which they call “doing nothing” actually saves money.
John Lyon quotes Gov. Beebe as saying, ““If there is a message about this, the message is, ‘Washington: Republicans and Democrats can work together. ”
Yes they can. When they are implementing what the Democrats want done. Because that is all that happened here, except that the Republicans got the insurance companies and the hospitals a cut of taxpayer money too.
Seeing is not an act of the eyes, but an act of the will. Men do not see according to the facts in front of them, but rather the heart within them. I urge us all to pray for hearts willing to see truth.
Mark Moore is an advocate of the philosophy of government known as “Localism” as described in the book “Localism, A Philosophy of Government.” (and yes, you should look into it)
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