Fact-Checkers: Health Care Myths Range From Untrue To Open Questions

Business is good for fact-checkers. Various news organizations as well as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.org, have weeded through the rhetoric on both sides of the health reform debate.

CBS News asked Brooks Jackson, FactCheck.org's director, and Wall Street Journal reporter Alicia Mundy to address six top health care myths: (1) Does the bill encourage euthanasia? No. (2) Will health services be rationed? Not really, and besides, it happens already. (3) Will reform be "deficit neutral?" Probably not. (4) Will reform mean the government could pay for abortions? Possibly, the bills are neutral on the issue. (5) Will there be Medicare cuts? Democrats want to cut expenses, but not services. (6) Will people be able to keep their current insurance? You can keep your plan, but reform may mean your plan changes over time (Levi, 8/11).

NPR's All Things Considered spoke with PolitiFact staff writer Robert Farley yesterday about the topic of whether reforms would mean new government subsidies could pay for private insurance plans that cover abortion. None of the reform bills "even mentioned the word abortion until this latest version took on this issue last week," Farley said, referring to an amendment introduced by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif. The amendment would segregate "the money that would be used to cover abortions. It would specifically prohibit federal dollars from being used to subsidize abortions. Any of that money that would be used for abortion coverage would have to be paid through the premiums paid by an insured person" (Block, 8/11).

PolitiFact.org and FactCheck.org made a joint appearance in a memo by Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. The memo summarizes much of the research by the two fact-checkers, as well as the findings of some media organizations and progressive blogs. McClatchy notes that both fact-checkers are "widely respected for objective fact-checking on topics of political controversy." The news service ran Van Hollen and Miller's entire memo, with a brief introduction, under the headline, "Headed to a health care 'town brawl?' Read this first."

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