Liars in control

Lawrence O’Donnell Is Spreading Misinformation About Health Care

Earlier this morning we linked to video of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, mother of two Katy Abram, who challenged Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) to abandon his support of Obamacare and start defending the Constitution. Hardball fill-in Lawrence O’Donnell took offense to Mrs. Abram’s arguments and had her on Hardball Wednesday night. We’ve transcribed the relevant portion of their exchange below:

O’Donnell: Do you and your family have health insurance?

Abram: Yeah we do have health insurance. We have a health savings account that we pay for ourselves. We have a $5 thousand plus deductible that basically in the course of a normal year we will pay for all our medical needs out of pocket, Doctor’s visits. This years been a little more difficult because my son has had surgery and it looks like we’re looking at a second one. We’re almost at our deductible so that is good thing. But that was a choice that we made. That is what we wanted to do. And I want to be able to keep that choice. I don’t want to be forced or slowly coaxed into a single payer system. I want to have my choice.

O’Donnell: Well do you believe the President when he says if you like the health care plan you have as you say you do you can keep that health care plan. Is that something when you hear it you simply don’t believe it.

Abram: I don’t believe because I heard him say on a quote on television that you know it may take five or ten years but we will move to a single payer health …

O’Donnell: Katy he has never said that. He has never said we will move to a single payer system.

Abram is 100% right and O’Donnell is 100% wrong. Here is a quote from a January 2008 Obama speech in Ames, Iowa, from Obama’s own website: “If I were designing a system from scratch I would probably set up a single-payer system. … So what I believe is we should set up a series of choices. … Over time it may be that we end up transitioning to such a system.”

But that direct quote from Barack Obama only begins to demonstrate how right Mrs. Abram is to be worried that Obamacare will take away her current health care choices. Abram says she currently secures health care through a health savings account, which Abram accurately described as a high deductible, low premium health plan that gives Americans direct control over how their health care dollars are spent. H.R. 3200 gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to make such plans illegal. In both the House Energy and Commerce Committee mark up and the House Ways and Means Committee mark up, Republicans offered amendments that would have guaranteed Abram’s right to keep her Health Saving’s account. All of these amendments were defeated by Democrats on their respective committees.

Abram, and thousands of Americans protesting Obamacare just like her, may not know all the details, but their instincts are dead on. They know that the likes of Lawrence O’Donnell are lying to them on a daily basis. They know that there is just no way President Obama can possibly insert a public option into our health care system without it inevitably leading to single payer health care.

And when O’Donnell’s liberal friends think they are all alone, they quietly admit the same thing. Don’t believe us? Then watch Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) admit as much earlier this year:

Schakowsky tells her Health Care for America Now audience: “And next to me was a guy from the insurance company who argued against the public health insurance option, saying it wouldn’t let private insurance compete. That a public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer. My single-payer friends, he was right. The man was right.”

Still don’t believe us? Then watch Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) admit it last month:

Frank tells a member of Single Payer Action: “I think that if we get a good public option it could lead to single-payer and that is the best way to reach single-payer. Saying you’ll do nothing till you get single-payer is a sure way never to get it. … I think the best way we’re going to get single-payer, the only way, is to have a public option and demonstrate the strength of its power.”

Still don’t believe us? Then watch Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein admit it at Netroots Nation last year:

Klein tells his netroots audience: “They have a sneaky strategy, the point of which is to put in place something that over time the natural incentives within its own market will move it to single-payer.”

Still don’t believe us? Then watch Paul Krugman admit it a forum in New Jersey earlier this year:

Krugmans tells his audience: “[T]he only reason not to do [single-payer] is that politically it’s hard to do in one step…You’d have to convince people to completely give up the insurance they have, whereas something that lets people keep the insurance they have but then offers the option of a public plan, that may evolve into single-payer, but you can do it politically…”

And finally here is video of Obama from 2003 explaining that not only is he for single payer health care, but that “we may not get there immediately.”


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