THEY’RE NOT ABOVE LYING…. The Senate’s health care reform plan is not without flaw. Indeed, the subsidy rates for low-income families remain a major point of concern.

But true to form, Republicans don’t want to talk about the legislation’s actual shortcomings; they prefer to make stuff up. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), for example, released an item yesterday insisting that the Senate plan “requires a monthly abortion fee.”

Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans in the government-run plan. […]

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan.

Offering another helpful case study in how the Right Wing Machine works, Boehner’s blisteringly stupid claim was quickly picked up and trumpeted by Drudge and Limbaugh. No doubt, many rank-and-file conservatives now think it’s true.

The claim might be alarming, if it weren’t so ridiculous. As Jeremy Schulman explained, “‘Monthly abortion fee’ implies there is some sort of extra charge assessed to consumers in order to pay for abortions. But this isn’t the case. Rather, the bill sets up requirements by which insurance plans segregate their funds so that federal dollars don’t pay for abortion coverage…. If you choose to purchase a plan that covers abortion, it’s completely expected that a portion of your premium pays for abortion coverage. Saying that this creates some sort of additional ‘abortion fee’ is like saying that there’s a ‘monthly heart attack fee’ because the plan covers heart attacks.”

Jodi Jacobson went line by line, picking apart Boehner’s vile attack.

The DNC, which jumped all over this, added in a statement, “With such clear evidence to the contrary, we’d like to believe that this is the last time we’ll hear this scare-tactic from Boehner and the Party of No… but since all Republicans have to offer are more lies, we’re not counting on it.”

To borrow a phrase, “I have given up hope for a loyal opposition. I’d settle for a sane one.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.