The N&O’s John Frank: ObamaCare’s Gunga Din

gunga din

Gunga Din was immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in literature — and later in movies.  He was a poor, hapless, shuffling, kowtowing, water-carrying man-servant to some British soldiers in India.   The character has become synonymous with people and institutions that dutifully ask how high when someone else screams “JUMP.”

John Frank started off with such promise with The McClatchy Gang.  He recorded Boss Bev’s “suspend the elections” remarks that ignited a national firestorm.  His attempts to report them at his employing paper were spiked.  The recording of the events went national and kicked off Bev’s downward political spiral.

Frank has apparently decided that he doesn’t want any more of what he got for embarrassing our lefty lady (now-ex) governor.  His coverage of the “conservative revolution” in Raleigh has pretty much been dictation from the communications staffat NC Democrat Party HQ.

Mr. Frank’s latest crusade involves trying to put the brakes on the legislature’s efforts to block ObamaCare implementation in North Carolina.    His latest hit piece suggests that Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is lying about The One’s gift to the American people:

Months after the U.S. Supreme Court settled the debate about much of the federal health care law, Senate leader Phil Berger is circulating an online petition to “Stop Obamacare in North Carolina.”

The petition appears on the Eden Republican’s campaign website. And its language perpetuates one of the bigger myths about the Affordable Care Act, said Mark Hall, a health policy expert at Wake Forest University’s law school.

“These arguments have been rejected – it is the law of the land,” said Hall.

Law of the land?  Slavery was once law of the land.  It was once “the law of the land” that only white land-owning men could vote.  Prohibition was also ONCE the law of the land.  That’s the great thing about living in a democratic republic.  When the people don’t like something their government is doing, they can change it.

Frank leaves out some important information we need to know about Hall.  According to Wake Forest University’s web site, Hall was a leader in the effort to defend ObamaCare before the U.S. Supreme Court.  A web site called “The Attack Democrat — Nothing Conservative Here” cites Hall as a recommended source of reading on ObamaCare and the individual mandate.
Let’s Read On:

[…] On his website Berger says the Senate bill “protects us from: the government turning our health records over to the IRS; government-forced insurance; billions in new taxes on businesses and the people of North Carolina” and ask those who agree to him to sign the petition.

The premise that the Senate is protecting the state is misleading, policy experts said. Even with the legislation now awaiting House action, the state is subject to most of the federal health care law. If North Carolina doesn’t set up a marketplace for purchasing insurance, called an exchange, the federal government will establish one for the state.

Hall and Gunga Din neglect to mention some important pieces of information regarding that subject:

[…]The central implementing mechanisms for ObamaCare are the American Benefits Health Exchanges, and many states are refusing to set them up.  This means that the federal government will come into the states to set up and run them. […]

[…]Kathleen Sebelius, the HHS administrator, has admitted that there isn’t enough money to set up the mandated health care exchanges and has gone back to Congress with a request for another billion dollars to get them rolling.  This money may not be forthcoming.[…]

[…]One of the main objections to ObamaCare is that it will disrupt excellent health care coverage that is already enjoyed by the majority of Americans.  Those with good jobs will receive poorer and more expensive health care benefits as a result of the ACA.  Another objection is that ObamaCare exchanges will be very expensive, costing the states hundreds of millions of dollars to set up and many millions annually to operate.  No one knows how much ObamaCare will degrade health care or cost the states, especially after the initial implementing federal dollars dry up.

In a letter to HHS, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said 90% of residents in his state already have insurance coverage without the help of an exchange.  Choosing a state option would subject residents to “a federal mandate lacking long-term guaranteed funding,” he wrote.

The states will find more objections to ObamaCare as it is implemented over the next few years.  The pushback might prove sufficient to seriously impede the program. […]

[…] The Medicaid Expansion provisions of the ACA are a bureaucratic nightmare and a budget-killer for the states.  The Supreme Court threw a monkey wrench into the expansion provisions by disallowing Congress’s ability to revoke Medicaid funding to states that choose not to participate in the budget-busting expansion. […]

* Boy, that’s inconvenient.*  Read On:

As for the claim that the law will require the government to turn over health records to the IRS, Hall said that is simply not true.

The IRS is the agency charged with determining whether individuals get health insurance or pay a penalty, as the law mandates. But the IRS is not going to ask for health records. The agency has told Congress that it expects taxpayers to get a form from their health insurance company certifying coverage and attach it to their federal return.

Such suggestions, in various forms, have been debunked by independent fact-checkers and the IRS. PolitiFact gave a similar claim – it referred to “private medical records” – made by the Association of Mature American Citizens a “pants on fire” rating in December. “It’s just one of those absurd lies,” Hall said. “It’s simply similar to the information you give the IRS to get a deduction for paying your home mortgage interest.” […]

Let’s look at Politifact’s credibility as a fact-checker.  One analysis  found that Politifact determines Republicans to be lying NINE TIMES AS MUCH AS DEMOCRATS.  Really?  I know all politicians lie.  But can you really say, with a straight face, that there is that much of a partisan disparity?  Analysis results like that have spawned great alternative sources, like THIS ONE, which fact-check Politifact.

Politifact also roasted Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign — even going as far as bestowing upon him the “honor” of “Lie of The Year.”  Unfortunately  — for Politifact — what they called “the lie of the year” turned out to be absolutely TRUE.   Let’s read more from Gunga Din, himself:

Hall said the government isn’t forcing anyone to buy insurance either, but will impose a tax on those who don’t – a provision upheld by the high court.

Hmm.  Telling people they need to either (a) buy health insurance or (b) pay a fine isn’t force?   To me, and,I think, to most people — the concept of force involves telling people,not asking them nicely, that they have  one or more unpleasant or unwanted courses of action to consider.     Read On:

The final point about taxes is based in the law. The measure raises $525 billion in revenue over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan division, to pay for health care for an estimated 32 million people by 2019. The taxes range from a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for high-income earners to an excise tax on indoor tanning services. Hall said it is safe to assume more than $1 billion likely will hit North Carolina payers on whole.

Wow.  So Mr. Berger’s claim that ObamaCare includes billions in new taxes IS TRUE.    Thanks for clearing that up for us, Gunga Din. (Your bosses are NOT going to be happy, though.  This one ranks right there with taping Bev talking about suspending elections.  )

Let’s not forget a detail that Mr. Hall and Gunga Din neglected to mention:  The cheapest option under ObamaCare will cost $20,000 per year.