Conservatives For Patients Rights, the Swift Boat Health Attack Group funded by disgraced Columbia/HCA Healthcare CEO Richard Scott, is out with a new ad attacking Congress for financing health care reform in the budget:
Isn’t it amazing? Folks in Congress were shocked the plan they passed allowed those huge bonuses for AIG. Now some in Congress want to raise taxes and spend $634 billion dollars for the President’s healthcare overhaul without even seeing all the details of his plan. They just never seem to learn. Call Congress today. Tell them not to raise taxes to spend billions messing with your health care without knowing what they’re buying first.
The ad misunderstands the legislative process. The ad attacks Congress for spending money without “seeing all of the details of [Obama’s] plan.” But Obama doesn’t write legislation; Congress does. Obama has laid out his priorities for health care reform and has shared his principles with Congressional leaders and the different stakeholders. Moreover, the budget is not the place for policy specifics; it provides a framework for Congress to pay for reform. The Budget will allocate an unspecified amount to a health care reserve fund, allowing Congressional committees of jurisdiction to develop specific bipartisan reform legislation. Anything Congress produces must be — in accordance with Budget Committee instructions — fully paid for within 10 years.
Of course, if detailing the plan could stop the attacks, then Scott would simply click the ‘Plans’ tab on his own group’s website and download Obama’s proposal or Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) 98-page vision for reform.
But the details of the plan won’t matter. The Right will continue to box Obama’s proposal (which actually incorporates the values of competition and choice) into a familiar big-government narrative or attempt to confuse health reform with a Wall Street culture of greed. The goal here is to echo the same message of attack (over and over again) and hope it sticks. Define Obama’s proposal before he can define it himself.