Monday, October 25, 2010

Rejection Rejected

On Monday, Rush Limbaugh repeated the myth that the American people are just aching for less health care, claiming

That's why you are part of the over 60% of the American people who did not want this health care bill passed and signed into law. That's why you and I are part of the over 60% of the people who want it repealed.

Fortunately, that 60% is, if we may be so generous, inflated. A poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications asked (p. 49) (results following options):

What would you prefer Congress do with the new health care law:

- Leave it as is: 18%

- Change it so that it does MORE to change the health care system: 39%

- Change it so that it does LESS to change the health care system: 9%

- Repeal it completely: 32%

- Don't know: 4%

- Refused: *

"More than 60%," apparently, is Limbaughese for 32%. And an overwhelming minority of 41% of respondents believe that "Obamacare" goes too far while 57% believe it does not. Still, it's easy to rail against the "government health care" that doesn't exist and wasn't legislated; it's much more difficult for conservatives to get specific and say what they specifically don't like about reform. Apparently, though, Rick Waugh, running in Virginia against House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, does understand:

Of course, Rush doesn't want health care reform repealed because he (pretends to) believes that most people want it rescinded. He couldn't be clearer:

So when I say, "The express purpose of Obama's health care reform bill is not to fix insurance but to break it," people say, "Come on, Rush. (laughing) He'd be the first person in the history of the country to try to break an American industry! I mean he's not going to try to do that," and then months later, "You know what, Rush? You were right."

It's all about protecting the private health insurance industry, which doesn't appear to need Limbaugh's help. As Health Care for America Now noted in February

The five largest U.S. health insurance companies sailed through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression to set new industry profit records in 2009, a feat accomplished by leaving behind 2.7 million Americans who had been in private health plans. For customers who kept their benefits, the insurers raised rates and cost-sharing, and cut the share of premiums spent on medical care. Executives and shareholders of the five biggest for-profit health insurers, UnitedHealthGroup Inc., WellPoint Inc., Aetna Inc., Humana Inc., and Cigna Corp., enjoyed combined profit of $12.2 billion in 2009, up 56 percent from the previous year. It was the best year ever for Big Insurance.

Barack Obama has a long ways to go if he is to destroy the private health insurance industry, as Limbaugh contends is the President's goal. Record-breaking profits one year, then a health care bill which grants the industry 30+ million more clients without competition: President Obama better start moving!

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