Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EVERY STORY ABOUT ROMNEY AND WAWA MISSES THE POINT, INCLUDING THE DEBUNKINGS

As you may already know, Mitt Romney made a campaign appearance in which he talked about going to a branch of the convenience-store chain Wawa, where -- to Romney's amazement -- you can choose a sandwich using a touchscreen. An edited clip of Romney's Wawa remarks played on an MSNBC daytime show and made him appear as if he's out of touch with ordinary people's lives:





But it turns out that Romney wasn't calling this Wawa touchscreen service "amazing" because it was foreign to him -- he was making a point about innovation in the private sector and the lack thereof in the public sector. You see, if you want to do a change of address for your small business, you have to fill out 33 pages of forms -- repeatedly! Public sector sucks, private sector rules! MSNBC sucks, Romney rules! End of story!

Right?

Nope. There's more to talk about here. Romney is making a preposterous apples-to-oranges comparison. Here's the longer clip:





Notice what Romney says, starting at about 2:02. I'll highlight the point where he starts trying to pull the wool over your eyes:
I met an optometrist this morning ... and this optometrist wanted to change his billing address. He'd moved his office from one side of town to the other -- same zip code, same post office -- but he wanted to change his address. He got a form from the federal government -- this is so he can get reimbursement from the federal government for the services he provides for the poor and seniors.

The form he gets to change addresses is 33 pages long -- 33 pages long! He calls someone to ask how to fill it out -- he calls someone in government. They tell him what to do. He sends it in. They send it back -- wasn't done right, gotta do it again, another 33 pages. He calls another person. They tell him what to do. Doesn't get it right the second time. Third time's the charm, though.

This takes several months, during which time he's not getting the checks for the work he's doing for people who need his care. That's how government works.

Then I was at a Wawa's. I went to order a sandwich. You press the little touch-tone keypad, all right? You just touch that, and, you know, that sandwich comes, you just touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier, there's your sandwich. It's amazing! People in the private sector have learned how to compete! It's time to bring some competition to the federal government and get it smaller, and respond to the customers, which are you!
See what he did there?

He lulled you with words about the post office and the zip code and all that. He wants you to think you have to fill out a 33-page form to register a business change of address with the post office. (Nonsense -- you can do it online, and the form is no more onerous than a typical online shopping form.)

This optometrist had a lot of pages to fill out because he's providing Medicare and Medicaid services.

(Note what Romney says -- "this is so he can get reimbursement from the federal government for the services he provides for the poor and seniors.")

Do we not have Medicare and Medicaid fraud in this country? Do you think we might have a bit more Medicare and Medicaid fraud if we applied the same level of scrutiny to providers' records that we have for ordering a sandwich at a convenience store?

Oh, and does Romney seriously think that private-sector health care is a low-paperwork enterprise?

I think everyone in America with private-sector insurance could disabuse him of that notion.

****

There's a lot about this clip that infuriates me. In the first part of it, he brags about knowing how to innovate because when he was governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to poach Massachusetts companies and he tried to poach California companies. Why are we supposed to think that's a good thing? We're competing with other countries, but we're focused on stealing jobs from other states, which adds zero to the number of net jobs in America. The main benefit is to companies, which get bigger and bigger tax breaks, starving the state and local beast so potholes go unfilled and schools go underfunded. And many of those companies grab the tax breaks, stay a few years, then skip town anyway. That's a system Romney is proud of?

****

UPDATE: OK -- Tommy Christopher of Mediaite found the Medicaid service provider change of address form and it's (PDF) two pages long, plus two pages of instructions. Four -- not 33.

Maybe Romney's optometrist pal is confusing this with a form from, say, Aetna or United Health.

****

AND: Hmmm, maybe Romney really does want Medicare/Medicaid oversight to be at a convenience-store level.

12 comments:

Victor said...

Mitt:
“And you can pay for your grinder... hoagie, with something called a “Debit Card” instead of cash.

It’s like a “Credit Card,” am I right?
Amazing!

When did they start giving credit cards out to people who’d want to order a submarine sandwich... hoagie, anyway?
They only used to for the rich... “Job Creators,” am I right?

When did Diners Club start letting the riff-raff have a card to get sandwiches?"

Oh, and of course Mitt approves of that system.
He was an expert at it when he was with Bain.

After the company is stripped of many of its employees, it MUCH more portable!
It can be moved to another state, preferably a "Right to Work" one, and the one offering the best tax advantages.

Or, SE Asia's nice, too!
All year round.

New York Crank said...

There's yet another amazing invention. It's a big porcelain bowl. You put Republican political BS in it and you pull a handle. Amazingly, all the BS disappears!

Did I mention political advertising that actually fries brains?

Crankily yours,
The New York Crank

PurpleGirl said...

Re the Update: I was thinking myself that the 33-page form was more likely from one of the insurance companies the doctor deals with.

And as to the touch-tone screen being used by the federal government: I didn't know that the feds operate convenience food stores. Most of the (state level) government agencies I've dealt with over the last few years have all gone computerized with on-line sites for almost everything.

J Neo Marvin said...

Good analysis. I'll only add, though, that as a former medical biller, I've had to deal with those Medicare forms, and they're considerably longer and more confusing than the Medicaid ones. But I blame that more on the fact that California's Medicare program is now contracted out to a PRIVATE contractor from South Carolina, who have done a terrible job at administering the program.

Samuel Gonzalez said...

No More Mister Nice Blog

You’re missing the whole point of the story. MSNBC purposely showed an edited tape to ridicule Mitt Romney as being out of touch. It’s only because somebody at the event with a video of the whole event, MSNBC was exposed as biased frauds. This is supposed to be a news organization and this is the second time they got caught editing a tape (Zimmerman 911 tape) to suit an agenda of misinforming the public.

Steve M. said...

Don't tell me what to blog about. You want to read about MSNBC's editing, you can go to a thousand right-wing blogs (and mainstream news sources). I reviewed the basic facts; if you don't like the way I chose to approach this story, the door's that way.

Victor said...

Mr. Gonzalez,
FOX has made an ENTIRE NETWORK out of selective editing.

And no one except Stewart and Colbert seen to notice or care.

Howie Kurtz lets them slide on this all of the time, and always had.

But, hack and shill that he is, I'm sure Howie will be on this this weekend like stink on poop.

So will PolitiFact.

And meanwhile, FOX will continue to blithely selectively edit to their, and their mis/un/under-informed viewers, content.

Anonymous said...

Twisted Truth And Half The News, Can’t Hide It In Your Eyes | My Ready Room

Steve M. gets to the real point about Hoagiegate: (h/t BooMan for the reference)

surfric said...

I think you are spinning it a bit here as well. You say

"He wants you to think you have to fill out a 33-page form to register a business change of address with the post office. (Nonsense -- you can do it online, and the form is no more onerous than a typical online shopping form.)"

He never said it was for the post office. Everybody knows that routine change of address at the PO is trivial

"This optometrist had a lot of pages to fill out because he's providing Medicare and Medicaid services."

Yah, that's why he specified he was talking about getting paid for work with the aged (Medicare), and poor (Medicaid). Pretty much everyone can catch that reference as well. So it is you who are shading the truth, much more than Romney about these specific issues.

Sure Romney is a lying scum, but here it is MSNBC that was caught with its pants down.

Steve M. said...

He never said it was for the post office.

Go read around the Internet. That's what practically everyone (across the political spectrum) thought he said. You don't have to say something outright to plant the thought in people's minds. Bush never said Saddam was responsible for 9/11, but he linked the two so deliberately that the connection was made, and much of America believed what wasn't true.

Everybody knows that routine change of address at the PO is trivial.

Wingnuts believe everything they're told about liberal/government/media evil.

Steve M. said...

Sure Romney is a lying scum, but here it is MSNBC that was caught with its pants down.

Is there a moral seesaw -- if MSNBC handled this story poorly, Romney gets a pass? The hell with that. There's enough of an MSNBC pile-on. Romney needs to be called out for this deception.

surfric said...

Sorry Steve M. I have read around on this story, and have found others saying the same thing as I am. That Romney specifically was talking about change of address, actually business location, with the federal government for purposes of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. YOU are the one implying (actually saying) he was misrepresenting it as a simple change of address with the post office. Now you claim innocence because other people read it (wrongly) that way? Not sure if that is more red herring or straw man, but it sure is dishonest.

Sure Romney needs to be called out, but it should be done honestly. You lose all credibility when you accuse him of doing something quite the opposite of what he was doing. Similar to how MSNBC loses respect when they indulge in disingenuous edits to make Romney look like a boob. BTW, not only did they omit the main part of the story, but they also edited it to have him say WAWA about four times in quick succession, which he didn't actually do. Why? Because it makes him sound like an idiot, of course.

I also didn't like how you handled the poster who said you are missing the point. It's like, "I'm taking my ball and going home".

In other words, grow up Steve M.