“Oh what a tangled web we weave,When first we practice to deceive!”
I was reminded of these words of Sir Walter Scott when I received in the mail a solicitation for support from an organization called American Action Network (AAN). AAN is a super-PAC supporting Republican efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly derided as “Obamacare”). This super-PAC gets much of its funding from the pharmaceutical industry. The mass mailing from this super-PAC asks us to support Congressman Charlie Bass, who, it claims, “is leading the fight to repeal Obamacare.”
My first reaction to this mailing was anger. I could see the chain of money and power working to oppose the ACA: drug industry to super-PAC to Republican congressman. Could not my fellow citizens see it too? Would they be equally angered by this distortion of the democratic process? Why would anyone be opposed to a program whose goal is to get everyone covered by health insurance? The only way they can get us to oppose the ACA is to demonize the program. And that was the aim of this piece of mail---not to inform, but to disinform, to mislead us. The mailing was full of distortions, lies, and insinuations that have been demolished repeatedly by others. (See “Seniors Are Asking... What’s Next for Medicare?” by Linda Bergthold, The Huffington Post, July 11, 2012.)
Then I read the mailing again and had to suppress the urge to laugh. I could see Mr. Bass dangling in his self-constructed web. One sentence urges, “Repeal the President’s government takeover of your healthcare.” Another shouts, “Urge him [Mr. Bass] to vote to save Medicare by Repealing Obamacare!” Wait! Isn’t Medicare a government program? (Dangling in his own trap, Mr. Bass, his face flushed with passion, shouts, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”)
If you think Medicare would be safer in the hands of the Republican Party, you have not been paying attention to their words and actions for the past half century. Medicare is a government-run, single-payer health care insurance program. Republicans hate that kind of stuff. If Mr. Bass has really become a convert to Medicare, I suggest he demonstrate his new-found love by using Medicare to destroy Obamacare. Repeal and replace the ACA with Medicare for All. (Why should only us seniors get decent health care?) He would even get my vote for that.