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    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Lies, Distortions, and Misrepresentations about Health Care (Updated)

    Neal Boortz is discussing the lies, distortions and misleading statements in Obama's Congressional Obamacare speech this week, and I think it is important enough that I will source the article that takes on these fabrications and quote it extensively here for you.  The original article was written by Michael F. Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru for National Review Online.  You should read the whole thing, it details 21 of these.  Biggest whoppers:

    • “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.” An outright falsehood, whether you use the president’s noncitizen-free estimate or the usual estimate of 46 million.  The 30 million includes those who CHOOSE not to get insurance (estimated to be about 15M).  The 46M adds the 16M illegals without insurance.  There is a further number of the remaining uininsured who are between insurance coverages (i.e. job changes).  
    • “And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage.” The paper that generated this estimate assumed that two months of severe job losses would continue forever. Applying that paper’s methodology to a broader period of rising unemployment (January 2008 through August 2009) produces a figure below 9,000 and it assumes these losses are permanent.
    • “One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy. . . . They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it.” He didn’t die because of it. The originator of this false claim, a writer for Slate named Timothy Noah, has admitted he got it wrong.

      Jake Tapper spreads even more light on these outright distortions.
    • Requiring insurers to cover preventive care “saves money.” Nope. According to a review in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not.”
    • “The [bogus] claim . . . that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens . . . is a lie, plain and simple.” Sarah Palin claimed that Obama’s “death panels” would deny people medical care, not actively kill them. If Palin believes her claim, it is not “a lie, plain and simple.” Most important, the substance of Palin’s claim is, in fact, true. Obama himself proposed a new Independent Medicare Advisory Council with the authority to deny life-extending care to the elderly and disabled.

    • “There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”For better or worse, the president’s plan would, in his words, insure illegal immigrants. Various federal agenciesimmigration critics, and the media all acknowledge that a small number of undocumented aliens obtain Medicaid benefits despite being ineligible. The president seeks to expand Medicaid, which would create greater opportunities for ineligible aliens to enroll.

      The House Democrats’ health-insurance exchange, which Obama supports, would “apply to” undocumented aliens. The CRS writes that the House legislation “does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens participating in the Exchange — whether the noncitizens are legally or illegally present.” Nor does it require that the legal status of people receiving subsidies be verified.  Finally, Obama supports granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, which would make them eligible for government benefits under his health plan.
    • “The middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes.” Obama would make health insurance compulsory for the middle class (and everyone else). If he thinks that isn’t a tax, he should listen to his own economic advisor, Larry Summers, or his nominee for assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS, Sherry Glied. Both liken the “individual mandate” to a tax, as do other prominent health economists like Uwe Reinhardt (Princeton) and Jonathan Gruber (MIT). The CBOaffirms that the penalties for non-compliance “would be equivalent to a tax or fine.”

      If Obama thinks the middle class wouldn’t pay the taxes he wants to impose on the “drug and insurance companies,” he should read this CBO report or talk to the junior senator from West Virginia, who accurately describes those levies as a “big, big tax” on middle-class coalminers.
    Finally, in a massive case of projection, Freshman Democrat Alan Grayson lies "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."  This from the party who wants to choose who dies.

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