That’s the instruction the Democratic Party has given its spokesmen with regard to the health care debate, in particular the CBO’s recent report. It’s easy to see why: the Democrats’ claims about their health care takeover fall apart if you look at it carefully.
Yesterday, the Democrats sent the memo that is reproduced below to their “health and communications staff.” It instructs them in the “key points health staff and communications staff should make in the next 48 to 72 hours in the media ahead of Sunday’s vote.” The memo admits that the Democrats’ claims about their government takeover plan are disingenuous and that it is therefore imperative that they not discuss the plan’s details. For example:
Quote from today’s CBO letter: “CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation–[the Senate-passed bill] and the reconciliation proposal–would produce a net reduction in deficits of $138 billion over the 2010-2019 period as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues.”
Sure. This results from the childishly simple fraud that the Democrats are using the CBO to perpetrate. The CBO will only estimate costs ten years out. So the Democrats’ plan increases taxes right away, but waits four or five years to implement its most expensive provisions. So the Dems are comparing ten years of taxes against five years of spending. What a great way to reduce the deficit! Actually, if you compare revenues against expenditures in any given year after the plan is up and running, the plan hemorrhages money.
So Democrats are warned not to venture into substantive debate with their Republican opponents:
We cannot emphasize enough: do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of the CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and the number of Americans covered. … These anti-reform extremists [Ed.: That would be the American people.] are making a last-ditch effort to derail reform. Do not give them ground by debating details.
That explains why Republicans like Paul Ryan, who are always ready to debate details, are feeling so lonely these days.
One of the many dishonest features of the Democrats’ effort to conceal the fact that their plan is a budget-buster is the assumption that reimbursements to physicians under Medicare will decline. This accounts for a large chunk of the Democrats’ “savings.” In fact, all knowledgeable observers understand that this alleged savings will be illusory because Congress will, in separate legislation, raise those reimbursement levels as in the past. The Democrats’ memo acknowledges the party’s dishonesty on this point, and urges its staffers to continue misleading the public:
Second, most health staff are already aware that our health proposal does not contain a “doc fix.” Some Republicans have repeated CBO’s November 18 letter that says “the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism governing Medicare’s payments to physicians has frequently been modified … to avoid reduction in those payments, and legislation to do so again is currently under consideration in the Congress.” The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality. So, again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. …
As most health staff knows, Leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians support for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest it complicate the last critical push to health care reform.
It couldn’t be clearer: the Democrats’ strategy is to mislead the American people about the nature, contents and fiscal consequences of their health care takeover. Toward that end, they are trying to cover up the details of the plan, at least until Sunday’s vote. Here is the Democrats’ memo; click to enlarge:
UPDATE: Bill Otis writes:
Knowing whether the healthcare bill merits support is actually easy. If the proponents of X tell you not to be concerned with the details of X, and not to be concerned about the process used to bring about X, then you should oppose X.
It doesn’t matter what X is or who the proponents are. If this is what they are telling you, you would be a fool to do what they want. And everyone over the age of ten knows this.
FURTHER UPDATE: Democrats are disputing the memo’s authenticity. That will give media outlets cover if they decline to report on it, at least until Sunday.
ANOTHER UPDATE: No one seems willing or able to authenticate the memo. It is being widely circulated by Republican sources who say they’re convinced it’s genuine, but we haven’t gotten a straight answer as to the original source, except that an unnamed lobbyist emailed it, apparently inadvertently, to a Republican staffer. We haven’t been able to get anyone to identify either the lobbyist or the staffer. So, take it for what it’s worth–which is nothing if it isn’t genuine. The discussion of the “doc fix” issue is of course correct, but that’s another issue.