POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 17, 2009

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Nita Chaudhary of MoveOn.org writes (8/12/09) …

(thanks to NIJOLE for sending this to me)

The health care fight has turned ugly, fast. And lies about reform are spreading via anonymous email chains. Here are the real facts that you need to know

  • Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!
    • The truth: These accusations—of “death panels” and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill.”1What’s the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.2
    • If you’d like to read the actual section of the legislation that spawned these outrageous claims (Section 1233 of H.R. 3200) for yourself, here it is. It’s pretty boring stuff, which is why the accusations that it creates “death panels” is so absurd. But don’t take our word for it, read it yourself.
  • Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!
    • The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama’s reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options.3 Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down.4 If you’re happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them.5 But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can’t afford health care now.
  • Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!
    • The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care.
    • And a big part of reform is to stop that. Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage.6 And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation.
  • Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens’ Medicare benefits!!!
    • The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits.7 Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care — in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.8
  • Lie #5: Obama’s health care plan will bankrupt America!!!
    • The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy. Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care.9 The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade10—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses.11 Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama’s reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.12

P.S. Want more? Check out this great new White House “Reality Check” website:http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/ or this excellent piece from Health Care for America Now on some of the most outrageous lies: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51729


1. “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill,” Associated Press, August 10, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51747

2. “Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care,” Huffington Post, July 24, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51730

3. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 11, 2009.http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#i1

4. “Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan,” Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51737

5. “Obama: ‘If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor,'” Wall Street Journal, 15, 2009. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51736

6. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#r1

7. “Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform,” CNN, July 28, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51748

8. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#s1

9. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#c1

10. “Premiums Run Amok,” Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51667

11. “Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies,” CNN, June 5, 2009. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51735

12. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#c1

Sources for the Five Lies:

#5: “Obama’s ‘Public’ Health Plan Will Bankrupt the Nation,” The National Review, May 13, 2009. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51744

#1: “A euthanasia mandate,” The Washington Times, July 29, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51732

#2: “It’s Not An Option,” Investor’s Business Daily, July 15, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51743

#3: “Rationing Health Care,” The Washington Times, April 21, 2009.http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51742

#4: “60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation,” Media Matters for America, August 8, 2009. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51734



4 Responses to “* Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back”

  1. Linda Bernstein said

    In yesterday’s Salon Magazine, Michael Lind posted an article titled, “Obama, You’re No Machiavelli.” He says that either the president never read the Florentine statesman/philosopher or, if he did, he didn’t heed the words of wisdom. The following quote from “The Prince” says it all:

    “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger.”

    The lessons of history never cease to amaze me! To read the article in full go to: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/08/18/machiavelli/


  2. Chris said

    I see all your information is based from Whitehouse.gov & moveon.org. Question are these the best places to get factual information or just your spin? Also if you reduce payments to hospitals doctors for procedures what is the effect it will have? Do you really think Surgeons, hospitals, are going to take a pay cut without an effect?

    • Lew Weinstein said

      Of course there will be an effect. We will finally begin to get the costs of healthcare under control. The payments provided by Medicare, which are less than those approved by private insurers, have not diminished the quality of service for senior citizens. There is a huge spread between costs for the same procedures in different parts of the U.S. and an even greater disparity between the U.S. and other countries. We are paying much more for healthcare than most other advanced countries but are not, according to all measures, receiving better health in return. The current healthcare insurance system is broken; continuing as is will bankrupt our country. Change will not be perfect. There will be mistakes and new problems will arise. Some will be hurt by the change, as happens in all change, whether instituted by government, the marketplace, or any other cause. But staying the way we are is a certain prescription for disaster. You are welcome to submit any other sources of information you wish to this blog, to be judged on their merit. Even Sarah Palin’s malicious and ignorant lies can be submitted and exposed for the rot that they are.

      • Chris said

        I would not base my conclusions on what Sara Palin or Keith Obernman had to say. To think that the group of people who are responsible for degrading America in the last 50 years is going to repair anything is laughable. To spend time going back and forth about left and right, demarcate and republican is exactly what is dividing this country. I have said it before and say it again. People of your generation should be ashamed of themselves for what you have left us. Ask yourself did you leave this country better than you found it?

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