The right wing media fear machine was hard at work trying to derail healthcare reform this week. Last night on his Fox News program, Sean Hannity claimed that healthcare reform will deny treatment to women with breast cancer. Neal Boortz claimed that Obama’s healthcare reform will kill people, and Rush Limbaugh denied the very existence of a healthcare crisis.
Here is the video from Friday’s Hannity:
Hannity said, “There is not one person who can walk into a medical facilty that can legally be denied because of their inability to pay, so we already have a system in place…and we’re going to have a government rationing body that tells women with breast cancer, you’re dead.” (Hannity is referring to Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which does not cover all medical treatment, only minimum emergency care. However part of the escalating cost of healthcare is that people without insurance head to the emergency for minimal care at maximum cost).
Here is the audio of Neal Boortz on Tuesday:
Boortz said, “Obama’s healthcare plan is going to end up killing people. You can call it his healthcare plan. Ted Kennedy’s healthcare plan, whatever, especially among the ranks of the elderly there’s going to be people who die, there’s going to be people who die…” (What Boortz neglects to mention is that most of the elderly are on Medicare, and that won’t be changing).
Here is the audio of Rush Limbaugh:
Limbaugh said, “The crisis in healthcare is like the crisis in everything else, manufactured…There is no crisis. The crisis in healthcare is in the U.K. The crisis in healthcare is in Canada. The crisis in healthcare is in Cuba…The crisis in healthcare is in a lot of other places. The crisis in healthcare here has been manufactured.” (Limbaugh went back to the tried and true Republican tactic of head in the sand denial).
As you can see and hear, the Republican strategy is first to deny that there is a healthcare crisis, then to move to scare tactics in order to distract people away from the problem. All three of these hosts claimed or inferred that Obama is promoting government run healthcare. This is a tactic that won’t work because Obama has been consistently telling people that if they have insurance, they can keep it.
The right wing is trying to pull from the same playbook that they used to defeat the Clinton attempt to reform healthcare. The problem is that times and attitudes have changed. As the number of uninsured has grown, and costs have skyrocketed, support for healthcare reform has increased. Obama has learned from Clinton’s mistakes, and the Republicans need to update their arguments, because they seem old and outdated today.