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CBO: Trumpcare cuts Medicaid—Lying Kellyanne says it doesn’t



Over the weekend Kellyanne Conway trotted out her boss’s contention that the House’s and the Senate’s proposed Trumpcare bills don’t cut Medicaid. “These are not cuts,” she insisted, blithely ignoring virtually every analysis that says Medicaid will take an $800 billion hit under the House’s bill, while the Senate version “slashes Medicaid funding deeply over the next decade.”

So Kellyanne Conway has lied once again. But actually, her fast-and-loose playing with the word “cut” has deep roots in Republican Party spinning. It was back in the 1990s when various rightwing think tanks, funded by ultra-conservative plutocratic donors like the Koch Brothers, the Olins and the DeVos family (as in Betsy), developed a key strategy in their ongoing attempt to take over the government for their billionaire class: Change the meaning of the word “cut” to fool voters. As far back as 1995, Republican spinmeisters were advising their clients, “Don’t talk about ‘cuts’ in Medicare [and Medicaid] spending. Talk instead about reducing the rate of increase,” is how the New York Times portrayed the GOP talking point that year.

The article quoted Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster: When you say the four words — ‘cuts in projected growth’ — all Americans see is the word ‘cuts,’ “ he said, adding, “If it is phrased in those terms, Republicans lose the debate.” Luntz, a beneficiary of Koch Brothers secret money, who later worked for now-Speaker Paul Ryan, “used polls, focus groups and ‘instant response dial sessions’ to perfect the language” of Republican attacks on Democratic policies, according to Jane Mayer’s 2016 book, “Dark Money.”

That the House bill takes massive amounts of money away from Medicaid is, in any sane universe (i.e., one in which Kellyanne Conway does not live), obvious. Even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in scoring it last month, found that “The [House bill’s] largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid.” Then, late yesterday, the CBO issued its score of the Senate bill: “The largest savings,” CBO said, using language identical to its score of the House bill, “would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid—spending on the program would decline in 2026 by 26 percent…”. No wonder Repubs, like Susan Collins and Dean Heller, are running from this bill like rats from a sinking ship.

Obfuscation of language—its deliberate misuse—is notoriously the practice of Trump (and his surrogates like Kellyanne Conway), so much so that the noun “trumpism” elicits tens of thousands of hits on a Google search. Some people think that Trump’s problem using words honestly is peculiar to him, but the distortion of meaning, AKA lying, is merely Trump’s refinement of a rightwing tactic that’s been developed over decades. Why does this regime lie so much about so many things? Because it can.

  1. Rick Seguin says:

    Steve, I check in from time to time for a little wine inspiration but am getting 100% Trump OCD. I agree he’s an incompetent moron but I need some wine inspiration to help me deal with it. You know exactly how it is. Please help.

  2. Dear Rick, thanks for your comment. When I retired last September, I told my readers my blog was evolving from wine to–whatever. Since I no longer work in the wine industry, it’s no longer very interesting to me. So I hope you’ll forgive me, but this blog is likely to remain politically-oriented, at least as long as America is in danger from this lunatic trump.

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