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Monday, November 04, 2013

Griper Blade: Getting Healthcare News from People Who Told You Second Hand Smoke was Harmless

Baby doll smoking a cigarette
Back in the '90s, one of Rush Limbaugh's big issues was the "junk science" that held that second hand tobacco smoke was bad for you. Never mind the obvious; that if first hand smoke was bad for you, the idea that second hand smoke was not is absurd. But Limbaugh was and is an expert in making endless gullible people believe patently ridiculous things, which made him the perfect propagandist to rile up dopes into thinking you had some sort of a right to smoke around the baby and that the liberal nanny state was taking that right away -- not because of health concerns, but because they're all commies who hate big business. Limbaugh continued the fight long after the battle was lost, insisting as recently as 2010 that "second hand smoke is harmless."

This campaign wasn't exactly Limbaugh's idea. Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds enlisted him and others in a big PR push that included the arguments that nicotine was "NOT addictive,"  to "point out 'victimhood' of smokers--outside in wind and cold--as pariahs." The idea was to "create fear of loss of liberty" and to "incite smokers to rebel and spread that rebellion to nonsmokers now!" Who would be more perfect than Limbaugh's audience of "dittoheads"  -- a group of constantly whining conservatives completely convinced of their perpetual victimhood? Always quick to reactionary rage and never prone to deep thinking, the far right talk radio base has always been a herd of buffalo that corporations could panic into a stampede and send to trample (or try to anyway) anyone they wanted. They became the "town hall mobs," which in turn became the Tea Party.

This, I believe, is essential background in understand the furor around this:

Talking Points Memo: Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they'd identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she'd be covered.

A 56-year-old Seattle resident with a 57-year-old husband and 15-year-old daughter, Donna had been looking forward to the savings that the Affordable Care Act had to offer.

But that's not what she found. Instead, she'd be paying an additional $300 a month for coverage. The letter made no mention of the health insurance marketplace that would soon open in Washington, where she could shop for competitive plans, and only an oblique reference to financial help that she might qualify for, if she made the effort to call and find out...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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