Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The Atlantic's Philip Bump notes that Rand Paul got big laughs in a recent speech joking about the large number of diagnostic codes that will be used under Obamacare. It won't shock you to learn that there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for the new codes, but this is the right doing what it does best -- killing good ideas it doesn't like by making them seem ridiculous to the rubes -- and Senator Paul seems quite good at it:
At a Republican Party event in Iowa earlier this month, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky did a bit about the scale of Obamacare's diagnostic coding. It killed. The only problem was that Paul's critique of the new codes are a critique of codes that aren't new and aren't Obamacare. A lot of them aren't even American.

Paul delivered the bit as a small part of a long speech, but -- given the solid punchlines -- the routine has at last been picked up by the conservative media. An article at Glenn Beck's The Blaze walks through the jokes....

An excerpt:
I'm a physician, and when you come in to see me, I put down a little diagnostic code and there was 18,000 of these. But under Obamacare, they're going to keep you healthier, because now there's going to be 140,000 codes. Included among these codes will be 312 new codes for injuries from animals. 72 new codes for injuries just from birds. Nine new codes for injuries from the macaw. The macaw? I've asked physicians all over the country: Have you ever seen an injury from the macaw?
It turns out that these all come from a set of codes used worldwide, and developed by the World Health Organization. The specific codes cited by Paul have all been in the International Classification of Diseases since the 1990s. And as Bump explains, the switchover to this expanded set of codes is the result of a law that precedes the Obama presidency by more than a decade: "The new, expanded code set [ICD-10] is the intended replacement for ICD-9, as mandated by 1996's Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act."

But conservatism thrives in America by making people ignorant. Obama will be blamed for this the same way he's blamed for the "Obamaphone" program for the poor (which in reality is the current version of a program started in the Reagan years).

By the way, please note that Rand Paul -- once a regular on Alex Jones's show -- passed up the opportunity to say that these codes are a UN plot. (The World Health Organization is, of course, part of the UN.) That suggests to me that Paul is professionalizing his act, and getting his talking points from the mainstream right-wing noise machine rather than the Jones fringe. I'd say that makes Paul more dangerous -- if he's breaking with the lunatics, he's going to be a serious candidate in 2016. And please note that he made this speech in, um, Iowa. So watch out for him.


pygalgia said...

Actually, I know a lady who needed 8 stitches after a Macaw bit her. It is a bird that eats Brazil Nuts, after all, and they can have a nasty bite. Cool birds, otherwise.

Ten Bears said...

Folks wonder why I don't "do" doctors.

In many way's a lack of health "insurance" can be beneficial, forced those capable to accept responsibility for their own care, their own "medicine". Diet, exersise, attention to what kind of crap you put into your bodies. [note to white christian nationalists (nazis), if you don't eat shit you don't smell like shit] I figure I've got another fifty-eight in me, and the Oregon Health Plan Dr. I recently met with agrees. [well, except for that little infrastructure, the collapsing back, problem]

Heal yourself.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Why is an ambitious clod with no idea when "there are" is called for or why presuming to mock a global effort of medical professionals to modernize, make uniform, and make much more precise their diagnostic coding?

What the fuck does a clown like him know about diagnostic coding?

Or the jerk-offs who think he's funny?

Victor said...

Here's Charles Pierce's 'Paul Family 5 Minute Rule:"

"The Five Minute Rule states that you can listen to any politician from the Paul family for precisely five minutes and agree with pretty much everything that person says.

But that at exactly the 5:00:01 mark, the conversation will be Raptured up into the Izonkosphere and the CAPITAL LETTERS will starT to Come OUT."

If he makes it to become the Republican Parties Presidential nominee - which I doubt, but which is only possible because most of the others probably couldn't even make it to the 2 minute mark - if I was the Democratic nominee, I'd say before every debate, that I'd be willing to forego some of my response time to Rand, and let him speak alone for, oh, say, I don't know - 11 minutes.
And I'd feel confident that he can't maintain sanity for much longer that 6 minutes, before something snapped, and he went into "Paulian Whack-a-doodle Critical Mass."