Are we about to overhaul our entire health care system based on…fibs? Health care expert Michael F. Cannon and National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru contend in a piece this morning that we are. The duo point out 20 examples of the president’s being less than candid in his health care speech before Congress.
Indeed some of the president’s most compelling rhetoric in support of drastic change doesn’t pass the truth test. This includes matters involving cost and employer-supported health insurance, the number of uninsured, and what reform will do to our competitiveness in the world. One of the most common bogus reasons for Obamacare is that we are already supposedly paying huge sums for medical care of the uninsured.
That isn’t true, say Cannon and Ponnuru (the president’s claim is in italics, the debunking in roman):
Those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it — about $1,000 per year that pays for somebody else’s emergency room and charitable care.” That number comes from a left-wing advocacy group. A Kaiser Family Foundation study debunked the group’s analysis, reaching an estimate closer to $200 per year for a family. The CBO report mentioned above reached the same conclusion. At this point, Obama said, “These are the facts. Nobody disputes them.” This comment continues Obama’s already long tradition of trying to curtail debate by denying that anyone disagrees with him.
Another compelling claim by the president is that many citizens can’t get coverage. Not true:
“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 standard, questionable estimate of 46 million uninsured residents.
A study prepared for the federal government estimates that 9 million people counted as “uninsured” in the standard estimate are in fact enrolled in Medicaid. The left-leaning Urban Institute estimates that 12 million are eligible but not enrolled, meaning they could get coverage at any time. Health economists Mark Pauly of the University of Pennsylvania and Kate Bundorf of Stanford estimate that one quarter to three quarters of the uninsured can afford to purchase coverage, but choose not to do so.
And my own personal favorite:
“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.
These are just the highlights.