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Andy Schmookler: Goodlatte misleads on ObamaCare

Bob Goodlatte sent a grossly misleading email to Sixth District voters following the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

With leaders – or misleaders – like Goodlatte telling lie after lie about “Obamacare,” it’s no wonder that half the American people tell pollsters they’re confused about that important piece of legislation.  The deception from Bob Goodlatte and his Republican buddies started with phrases like “death panels” and “government takeover” of  health care, and this fear-mongering dishonesty continues.

No wonder so many people tell pollsters they’re against this health care reform law, yet if told what’s in it, they say they strongly favor most of those measures. The demonization of “ObamaCare” has worked.

How about the truth, for a change?

No, ObamaCare does not add to the national debt.  It pays for itself, according to numerous experts.  Indeed, the well-respected nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – whose job is to tell the American people how much laws and spending will cost them - has said that over its first decade, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit not raise it.

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No, ObamaCare is not a job-killer. That’s something Goodlatte and his Republican buddies have made up, shamelessly, while they’ve systematically blocked every effort in Congress to put Americans back to work.

No, this law does not make “massive cuts to Medicare,” as Goodlatte claims, trying to scare people who depend upon Medicare. In reality, the law slows the growth in Medicare spending by encouraging greater efficiency and eliminating waste and fraud in the program, taking nothing from the people who rely on it. The law actually enhances Medicare, closing the donut hole and adding new preventive benefits.  You’d never know that from Goodlatte’s scare-tactics and misinformation.

It’s blatant hypocrisy for Bob Goodlatte to lecture us about protecting Medicare and reducing the deficit when he has twice voted for the Ryan budget, which would gut Medicare in order to fund yet another big tax cut for the wealthiest Americans while ensuring huge deficits for decades to come.

Instead of accepting the Supreme Court’s decision and moving on, Goodlatte promises to fight to repeal the only health care reform measure Congress has been able to enact for generations – even though we Americans pay twice as much for our medical care as the citizens of any other advanced country and get a health care system that doesn’t even rank in the top twenty.

It’s an imperfect law, but one that we need our legislators to improve and build upon, not demonize it for partisan advantage.

Goodlatte concedes that we have to bring our health care costs under control. When Goodlatte claims he has an approach that could help, his constituents should ask him:  “So, why have you and your party done nothing about this for the past twenty years –nothing but obstruct– while you’ve been collecting your salary as our representative, as well as receiving federal health care benefits that are denied to many of us?”

Perhaps we should also ask Bob Goodlatte who exactly he’s representing up there on Capitol Hill.  It surely isn’t the citizens, families, farmers, workers, and small-business owners of the Sixth District, who are burdened by rising health care costs and increasing insecurity about getting proper medical care.

Maybe Bob Goodlatte’s latest message is good politics since the Republican lie machine has convinced so many people that they will be hurt, and not helped, by the Affordable Care Act.

But we need members of Congress who are about more than “good politics.”  We need them to look out for their citizens, and not peddle fear-mongering lies to trick people into voting against their own self-interest.

We need leaders dedicated to telling people the truth, for a change. I’m promising to do just that, and I keep my promises.

Andy Schmookler is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.


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