Newsmax.com, a very busy propaganda machine, recently issued another “urgent” survey… Should Obamacare Be Repealed?. The poll consists of several “yes or no” questions one of which is this… “Should Congress restore $500 billion in Medicare benefits for seniors that the Obama plan cut?” The problem with this question is that the Obama plan doesn’t cut $500 billion in Medicare benefits. So, neither answer is appropriate; “Yes, Congress should restore the $500 billion that was never taken in the first place”, or “No, Congress should not restore the $500 billion that was never taken in the first place.”
There can only be two possible explanations for this giant lie, which I have yet to discern, either Newsmax is staffed with complete morons, or they are intentionally trying to mislead their readers. The question itself is based on a lie propagated by several conservative leaders including Mitt Romney, in which $500 billion in estimated cost savings achieved by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), (or “Obamacare” for those conservatives who refuse to utter the official name of the law) is intentionally misrepresented as a $500 cut in benefits. Perhaps the so-called fiscal conservatives who typically cut budgets to save money don’t actually understand the concept of saving money through cost-effective improvements?
ABC News explains that the lie stems from a memo written by Richard Foster, chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) that claims the ACA will “cut Medicare by more than $500 billion” but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also make it clear that spending on these programs will continue to increase. What the ignored context of Richard Fosters memo was making clear was that the provisions of the ACA will slow that growth down by an estimated $500 billion.
According to the CMS and the Kaiser Family Foundation that estimated $500 billion in savings will come from crackdowns on the insurance industry, specifically, over-payments and fraud, over the next ten years. So it’s misleading when Newsmax polls it’s readers, asking if they think $500 billion in Medicare cuts should be restored. In light of the truth, what that question is really asking is if we should overrule the ACA and let the insurance companies rip us off for another $500 billion.