One year ago, when PolitiFact called the GOP's death panel meme their "Lie Of The Year", our friends on the left chortled with glee. This year's lie of the year...
Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.
Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care "because Republicans voted to end Medicare."
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to "terminate Medicare." A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country "without Medicare" and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: "House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal."
After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables.
PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.
Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.
...well it has garnered a different reaction. Steve Benen, writing for Washington Monthly, laments "PolitiFact ought to be ashamed of itself" and Paul Krugman whines "Politifact, R.I.P.". Matthew Yglesias was puzzled by the ""bizarre" choice.
The FACT of the matter is that like the "death panel" lie of the year, there was a small kernel of truth to be had in each claim. In the ObamaCare bill, there are panels or bureaucrats (not doctors) that CAN decide if potentially life saving treatment is worth paying for...then again, most HMO's have that already. And the fact of the matter here is that the reforms in the GOP bill would change Medicare as we know it today. And those changes would have saved Medicare for future generations without pushing grandma over the cliff as the video claimed. However, those whose jobs it is to make political hay out of issues made political hay and got their followers whipped up into a partisan frenzy - thereby killing any chance at real discussion on the subject.
Medicare reform (and Social Security reform) are going to be necessary - SOONER RATHER THAN LATER - if we are going to stand a chance at saving either program for the future. That will mean going beyond the 30 second sound byte and web ad in order to foster real intelligent discussion on both subjects - something most of the swamp dwelling denizens of DC seem to shun like the plague. We need people in DC who can get beyond the sound byte and put forward real reforms that are intelligent and won't hurt the generations today that are on Medicare/Social Security and save it for generations to come. I fear that many in the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party will never allow that to happen. They would rather see it go bankrupt and to really throw grandma out to the wolves than to admit that their hero's pet project was, as implemented, an abject failure.