Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lie of the Year?

In general, I like Politifact.  They’re fairly objective in their analysis of talking points.  But occasionally they get wrapped up in details, rather than ideas.  Such is the case with their ”Lie of 2010”, that Obamacare was a “government takeover” of healthcare:

“Government takeover” conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

• Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

• The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.

As pointed out by others, France’s and Switzerland’s don’t constitute a takeover under this definition.  Buy by any reasonable definition, this constitutes at least a partial government takeover.  Consider:

1) The government will directly provide health insurance to more than half of Americans and provide subsidies to millions more.

2) The government will forbid insurance companies from pricing insurance based on likely use.  If you use more insurance because you’re sick or because you’re a woman, the insurance company can’t charge you for it.

3) The government has set a minimum standard of health insurance which all companies have to meet ... unless they are a politically powerful business that can get a special dispensation from the Administration.

4) The government has set medical loss ratios, mandating that companies spend a certain amount on actual healthcare costs.

5) The government will mandate that everyone purchase insurance.

Notice I haven’t even used any slippery slope arguments.  I’m going on just what’s in the bill.

This is a takeover in all but name.  We have created a heavily regulated micro-managed system that everyone is forced to participate in.  It may not be socialized medicine and may lack a public option (other than Medicaid.  And Medicare.) But the distinction is academic. 

Speaking of academics, Karl at Hot Air points out that Politifact’s analysis relies on three healthcare experts who are known to be hostile to the free market and are big supporters of single-payer healthcare.  On the other hand, they dismiss the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation as “conservative groups” even though both boast more knowledgeable experts on healthcare than the three hacks Politifact is quoting.  Things that Cato and Heritage predicted—the disappearance of child-only health insurance, the rise of insurance rates and the mad scramble to get waivers—have already happened.

This is simply bad journalism.  Of all the lies told this year, this is the best they can come up with?  Splitting hairs over a campaign slogan?  Just off the top of my head, without google, I can up with five bigger lies told this year:

1) The lie that GM has paid back its loan (it borrowed from one bailout fund to pay another).

2) The lie that the taxpayers may profit on TARP (on some banks, yes, not on all of them).

3) The lie that the stimulus “created or saved” 614 quadrillion jobs or whatever they are saying this week (based entirely on economic models—models that have failed to predict the unemployment rate).

4) Rand Paul and the Aqua Buddha.

5) Anything Christopher Monckton has to say.

This is weak from Politifact.  They should stay out of the business of weighing what people say about a subject and just stick to the facts.

Update: Yet another “conservatives are idiots” “fact check” comes from World Public Opinion, which claims that conservatives are “misinformed” about certain issues, including the idea that the stimulus created 2-5 million jobs.

A better translation: conservative are misinformed about our opinions, which we consider facts.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/18/10 at 08:54 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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