Monday, May 18, 2009

Right wing disinformation machine

About once a week I'll tune in to a little right wing talk radio on WSVA/550 out of Harrisonburg. We need to listen to the misinformation that callers to shows like "Candid Comment" often spread like chicken litter on fields in the spring. I admit it can be tough to stay tuned in to such one-sided idiocy, but the frequent distortions, lies, and slanders need to be answered before they become accepted as truth. A lot of locals, especially older folks, listen to that stuff religiously.
One afternoon late last week I listened in for a few minutes of Neal Boortz. A caller asked how small business could cut costs of health insurance for employees. Boortz launched into a "comparison" of health insurance and automobile insurance (which is pretty expensive, too). I won't relate his entire rant, but Boortz basically said, like car insurance, health policies should only cover for catastrophic losses and should not pay for oil changes, new wipers, and other routine maintenance. The caller, and I imagine many of his listeners, voiced agreement. More fodder for their grist mill of anti-Obama and anti-national health insurance propaganda.
I don't need to go into all the fundamental differences between the two types of insurance. Health is purchased for yourself (or family) while car insurance is mostly to protect someone else - either the person you run into or the bank that holds the car title. Good maintenance on your body and regular doctor checkups will have a direct impact on future health and costs. Failing to change the oil or waxing have virtually no impact on a future auto insurance claim. True, bald tires or burnt out bulbs could contribute to an accident, but most states have required inspections and there is the threat of flashing lights in the rear view mirror.
The list of differences is longer, but you get the point - Boortz's homespun analogy is fundamentally flawed and misleading, but it nevertheless influences the public dialogue. So next time you hear someone spreading BS, find a way to correct it. Perhaps just talk to the person in the room with you. Maybe by a letter to the editor or a blog post. If the show is in real time, call in. We can't let the lying liars have the last word - too many dumb clucks will believe it.

4 comments:

unionman said...

I use to listen to Neil years ago before I got XM radio and could tune into Air America. He's said in the past that if you weren't a millionare in this country it's your own fault. Same old bashing of poor people. What an idiot!

Truth-teller said...

This crazy analogy is now going to worm its way through the rightwing replicator and will be accepted as FACT by millions of morons who will never listen to this smart response, BR. Which is unfortunate. Maybe you need a talk show . . .

Robert said...

Bella,
I am trying to understand the disconnect you are experiencing between health and auto insurance. While it may be true that some people are trying to protect something that belongs to someone else when purchasing car insurance (personally I own all my vehicles) I don't look to insurance to pay for periodic maintenance items in either venue. As a business owner I have had to assume more personal liability for my company's health insurance premium by being self insured so I can continue to provide health insurance benefits to my employees. I think Neal Boortz was only repeating that which has been practiced by professionals and business owners who are responsible for paying for their own health coverage and I do agree with him that covering only catastrophic expenses would go a long way to decreasing premiums.
By the way, your inference that only dumb clucks will agree or believe Mr. Boortz is misguided and myopic in my opinion, can you turn your head to the right just a little? There is a whole other view you are missing. Have a great day

Belle Rose said...

Robert: a big part of your car insurance premium is for liability-that's covering someone else for your actions. A minimum amount is required by law as a condition of operating a vehicle on the streets. Perhaps we should have a law requiring a minimum amount of heath insurance as a condition of a business license.

"Routine maintenance" in health insurance can have a dramatic effect on future health costs. So, it is wise to have benefits for checkups, wellness, etc. because it will save money in the long run. Other than safety items which are required under other laws, maintenance items don't affect the future costs of insurance claims.

Would you cover only for accidental losses as basic car insurance does?

One final difference-one covers a car, the other a human being.