Saturday, August 27, 2011

File Under Old News: Walker Administration Lying Again

Dennis Smith, Scott Walker's Secretary of Health Services, took great pains to try to cherry pick the worst parts of a report about the Affordable Care Act, in an effort to make it look like it was a bad thing for Wisconsin.

But the thing is, what Smith presented in his release was far from the reality of the conclusions of the report.  And it's not me saying this. It's the author of the report, Jonathan Gruber, who is a bona fide economist, and not a hired hack with a history of trying to sabotage public health care plans like Smith:
But that's not the conclusion Gruber came to at all. "They picked out the most negative aspects of the report to highlight," Gruber told me in an interview. "Overall I think health care reform is a great thing for Wisconsin."

A key finding of the analysis -- that 340,000 uninsured people in Wisconsin will gain coverage by 2016 -- was not even mentioned in the press release issued by the state's Office of Free Market Health Care, which is the new department created by Walker to replace Doyle's Office of Health Care Reform, created barely a year earlier to carry out the federal Affordable Care Act.

Instead lists of "key findings" presented in the press release and a slide presentation prepared for reporters details a bunch of negatives using expressions that have become hot buttons in the health care debate: the law will "drastically shrink" the numbers of people in the private insurance market; it will cause "significant disruption" to employer-sponsored insurance; and it will force "working families" to pay a "hidden tax" that will "subsidize" the purchase of health insurance for families earning up to $89,000, a "forced redistribution of wealth."
Sadly, the lies aren't even the most egregious thing.

The worst part is the way they're trying to control the flow of information and trying to control the press:
Kraig is still fuming after being ejected from the tightly orchestrated press briefing about the report Wednesday. Among the strict ground rules: reporters could not use any quotes provided by Smith and other state officials during the course of an hourlong briefing and PowerPoint presentation (which didn't get to the good news about the increase in coverage for 340,000 people until the last of 16 slides.) Reporters could use only comments provided in the press release or afterwards in one-in-one interviews with Smith. (I was not among the seven or so reporters there; however someone at the meeting filled me in. Here is an AP report with further details of the study's findings.)
Remember the days when people were still trying to kid themselves that Walker was serious about having a transparent government?

This is just another aspect of the Orwellian fascist state that they are trying to create for themselves. Fortunately, with the Internet, it's not as easy for them as they would like.  It also shows why we cannot stop fighting until they are out of power. And this includes dismantling the corporate news sources that spread these lies, like MacIver Institute, Media Trackers and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Our future as a free land and a free people demands it.

H/T: Jake and his Economic TA Funhouse

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