This press release by the AARP, in response to ongoing Republican mischaracterizations and fear-mongering about health reform, particularly a recent diatribe by RNC Chairman Michael Steele, is a masterpiece of snarky fact-checking. See below for the full text, with the particularly relevant juicy bits bolded by myself for your enjoyment:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2009
AARP Media Relations
AARP Glad to Have GOP on the Side of Older Americans
WASHINGTON-AARP Executive Vice President John Rother issued the following statement in response to the Republican National Committee’s proposal for a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights.”
“AARP agrees with Chairman Michael Steele’s goals for reforming our health care system, and we are pleased nothing in the bills that have been proposed would bring about the scenarios the RNC is concerned about. Older Americans should not be unfairly burdened by the costs of fixing our broken health care system. Medicare should not be cut arbitrarily to fund health care reforms that do nothing to help older Americans. And no one-whether a government bureaucrat or a private health insurer-should come between you and your doctor when making important health care decisions.
“That’s why we’re supporting provisions in the health care bills that would improve Medicare benefits, including closing the prescription drug program’s dreaded doughnut hole-a gap in coverage that forces millions of older Americans to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs on top of their monthly premiums. Other smart provisions would add needed preventive benefits to Medicare so older Americans can get the screenings and tests they need without worrying about costly bills. We also support plans to increase pay for doctors with Medicare patients and encourage medical students to go into primary care so that everyone in Medicare can continue to see their own doctor.
“We can pay for these improvements without adding to our deficit by rooting out the waste, fraud and abuse that are driving up older Americans’ Medicare premiums and other health care bills. That means cutting subsidies for private insurers, rewarding hospitals and doctors for providing follow-up care to prevent unnecessary readmissions to the hospital and lowering the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs that are straining the federal budget and our own wallets.
“AARP will not support a health care bill that cuts Medicare benefits or puts bureaucracy between you and your doctor. We’re glad to have Chairman Steele and his colleagues voice their support for older Americans and we look forward to their support of health care legislation that improves the health care system for Americans of all ages.”
via Kevin Drum, who nicely summarizes Steele’s argument. Incidentally, the same Republican tactics of obstruction and political opportunism are also the reason why smart solutions for reducing the national debt probably won’t even be put on the table; economic recovery proposals from President Obama are going to get the same knee-jerk reaction as the health reform proposals did, even though in both cases the Administration is bending backwards to try and offer ideological compromise and pragmatic solutions in the name of bipartisanship.