By now you’ve probably seen the latest Senate Majority PAC ad attacking Rep. Bill Cassidy for being “against what he’s for” because of a 2007 bill the congressman put forth in the Louisiana Senate that the ad says was called “Obamacare Lite.”
We’d show you the ad, which started running on June 7, but the Senate Majority PAC, who’s responsible, hasn’t put it up on its YouTube page.
Instead, we can direct you to the link to FactCheck.org’s treatment of the ad; the vide0 can be found there.
As it happens, FactCheck.org is not impressed with the veracity of the Senate Majority PAC’s “against what he’s for” ad…
A Democratic TV ad makes some audaciously false claims about Rep. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s main Republican opponent:
It claims Cassidy once sponsored a bill to set up “government-run health care” in the state. That’s pure invention; Cassidy’s bill did nothing of the sort.
And it says he argued for “automatic Obamacare registration,” when he didn’t. Cassidy actually called for repealing the law — and enrolling the uninsured in a scaled-back GOP alternative.
FactCheck savages the “Cassidycare” claim by going through the 2007 bill he proposed when he was a state senator. It turns out what he was trying to do is to get the Louisiana Department of Insurance to set up a health insurance exchange where the state’s health insurers could list policies and consumers could buy them.
There is nothing inherently wrong or socialistic about a health insurance exchange, though we’ll admit it’s a lot better if those are done in the private sector. What Cassidy was going for was to have the state provide a service making health insurance more accessible for folks to buy it.
He wasn’t going for Obamacare, though…
But Cassidy’s state-run exchange would have been nothing like the ACA.
Cassidy’s proposal didn’t include subsidies for low-income people, wouldn’t have required individuals to obtain coverage or have required employers to provide coverage, didn’t set any requirements for what health insurance must cover, and didn’t include any new taxes or fees. And it didn’t include any new regulations on doctors, hospitals or patients, contrary to the ad’s claim that it amounted to “government-run health care.” The ACA, of course, isn’t “government-run health care” either, despite the many times Republicans have tried to brand it as such.
Instead, Cassidy’s proposed exchange would have been a “clearinghouse” for negotiations among parties in the insurance market. The actual language of the rather brief, 22-page billdescribed the “primary responsibility” of the new exchange as being “to promote and assist such an individual, person, business, state or local government, association and other juridical entity seeking health insurance coverage and any insurer to negotiate and transact a suitable contract or agreement between the parties to provide such coverage.”
It is conceivable — barely — that Cassidy’s bill could eventually have led to something in Louisiana resembling the Massachusetts health care law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney had signed into law the previous year, in 2006. The bill would have required state officials to come up with a set of “reform” proposals to present to the Legislature in 2008, designed to “provide health insurance coverage to each citizen of this state.”
But believing that Cassidy’s bill could have led even to “Romneycare lite” in Louisiana requires a heavy dose of speculation. The bill didn’t specify how the goal of universal coverage should be reached, and the possibility of a mandate for individuals to obtain coverage — the central element of both “Romneycare” and “Obamacare” — wasn’t even among the several ideas the bill would have required state officials to study and evaluate before coming up with their health care plan.
And FactCheck isn’t impressed with the ad’s other claim about how Cassidy wanted to automatically enroll everybody in Obamacare, either…
The Senate Majority PAC ad further claims that “Cassidy even said the government should automatically register us in Obamacare if we don’t sign up.” On screen appear the words “automatic Obamacare registration,” as though Cassidy favored dragooning everybody into the exchanges. But that isn’t true either.
The ad refers to remarks that Cassidy made March 20 to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. An audio recording of those remarks was obtained by the website Buzzfeed, which posted it March 26. In those remarks, Cassidy does indeed argue for automatically signing up uninsured people — for his own Republican alternative to the ACA.
The recording starts with Cassidy responding to a question, which he summarizes: “If you [Cassidy] don’t like the president’s law, what would you do differently?” And, “What would be my solution?” He answers that by describing an alternative plan in which everyone below a certain income level would receive a health savings account, a policy to cover “catastrophic” costs over a certain amount, and “a pharmacy program.” He adds, “It wouldn’t have all these benefits that we have to pay so much for” under the ACA.
In the recording, Cassidy then turns to “other things I would do,” and argues that the uninsured tend to be unable to grasp the complexities of choosing insurance coverage. Democrats have said this insults uninsured Louisianans, so we’ll quote the relevant portion in full:
Cassidy, March 20: Insurance people they will tell you that they will go to a company and the employer will pay for everything, and there are some people who will not sign up. Turns out, those are my patients. They’re illiterate. I’m not saying that to be mean. I say that in compassion. They cannot read. The idea they’re going to go on the Internet and work through a 16-page document to put in their data and sign up does not reflect an understanding of who is having the hardest time in our economy.
And he concludes, “Instead of saying, listen, you’ve got to log-on, you just make it an opt-out. Everybody’s in, unless you say you don’t want to be.” But “in” to what? Not the ACA, whichhe would repeal. He went on in the next breath to refer to the “catastrophic” coverage he had mentioned earlier as his alternative.
FactCheck closes with a blistering shot at the Democrats for the ad…
Democrats can ill afford to lose Landrieu’s seat as they struggle to retain control of the Senate. Cassidy currently holds a slight lead over Landrieu in the polls, according to averages compiled by Real Clear Politics and the Huffington Post Pollster site. And the 538 Blog’s Nate Silver lists Cassidy’s odds of winning in November at 55 percent.
But being behind in the polls is no excuse for making false claims about an opponent’s record. That’s what voters should really find insulting.
Did we mention that the Senate Majority PAC is Harry Reid’s PAC? Or that this isn’t even the first time the fact-checkers have taken Reid to the woodshed for attacks he’s made on Cassidy?
Our complaint is with Cassidy, a little. We’d like to see him start to make Harry Reid the issue in this race, and to be aggressive about it.
Because the fact is, Reid is the issue.
Mary Landrieu is a joke, everybody knows that. Even Democrats know it. The only thing Landrieu seems to have to run on is her “clout” in the Senate, but she can’t show any deliverables in particular that can be ascribed to that “clout” – as specified by her chairmanship of the Senate Energy Committee. Landrieu didn’t stop the nomination of environmentalist kook and anti-oil and gas activist Rhea Suh to the Department of Fish and Wildlife secretary position, and she’s done nothing effective to get the Keystone XL pipeline built.
And the reason why Mary Landrieu is a joke is that nothing she does is at contretemps with Reid. She bows to his wishes. And she’s endorsed him to remain as the Senate Majority Leader if the Dems hold the Senate.
So a vote for Landrieu, which seems as likely as not to keep the Democrats in control of the Senate, is a vote for Reid to remain as the most corrupt, ineffective, dishonest, partisan and incompetent Senate Majority Leader in American history. A vote for Cassidy is a vote to fire Harry Reid.
We’d like to see Cassidy call Reid out for the lying scumbag he is, make note of the fact that Harry Reid is spending millions of dollars on blatant lies attacking his reputation and remind the voters that Harry Reid took to the Senate floor to accuse Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes with absolutely no evidence thereof – and since then Reid has taken to the Senate floor to savage the Koch Brothers, who employ thousands of Louisianans at places like the Georgia Pacific plant in Port Hudson, as “un-American” because they happen to disagree with Reid’s politics. Oh, and by the way, we now know that Harry Reid uses his campaign funds to stake his grand-daughter’s ballet company, so that’s how much integrity Harry Reid has.
We’d like to see Cassidy say that Harry Reid is the single biggest problem in American politics which can be fixed this year, and that if the voters will join him the odds are Reid will get fired as majority leader thanks to a GOP takeover in the Senate. And that nobody in the Senate deserves firing more than Harry Reid. Other than Mary Landrieu, his paid stooge, that is. But the good news is, the voters can get a two-fer this year – run her off and the scum-sucking jackass she works for goes out the door along with her.
That’s a great deal for the people in this state, and it needs to be sold. Faster, please.