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The essential political BS detector

As we head into the election year, we’re going to be inundated with claims, counter-claims, accusations and puffery from candidates at all levels. To separate truth from fiction, I strongly recommend subscribing to
To date, some of the most outrageous claims have been about health care. Here’s a few examples pulled from FactCheck’s research.
— Pres. Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bills were based on his claims that the legislation would result in governmental funding of health care for kids in families making up to $83,000 a year. Not true. He also claimed SCHIP was for poor kids – it isn’t – Medicaid is.
–Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats were taking credit for a bill that they claimed would lower Medicare drug costs by allowing HHS to negotiate with drug companies. Yes, Sec. Leavitt could negotiate, but the bill gave him no leverage and prohibited exclusion of some drugs.
–Sen. Edwards claimed that he would force Congress to pass universal coverage or he would take away their health care. But he has no authority to do so, making his claim an empty threat.
–While Edwards was taking credit for what he would do (but can’t), Hillary was falsely taking credit for something she didn’t do – providing health care coverage to National Guardsmen and reservists. (To be fair, she did help expand their coverage and access to same, but her role, and the result, was not nearly as broad as she implied.)
–GOP candidates weren’t spared. Rudy Giuliani butchered statistics in his claim that prostate cancer victims in England had a survival rate of 44%, due to the country’s socialized medicine system. He not only conflated England with the UK, he also used completely false data to make his claim.
–Rudy G gets the award for most bizarre claim; if 50 or 60 million individuals bought their own health insurance, the price of health insurance would be cut in half. That’s just a stunner.
–Mitt Romney, he of the Massachusetts health care reform plan, claimed that “HillaryCare” would be socialized medicine, while his Mass plan is not. Leaving aside the question about what exactly is socialized medicine, what is clear is both plans share a lot more similarities than differences.
— (this isn’t specific to health care, but nonetheless telling) – The US Chamber of Commerce falsely claimed that abusive lawsuits cost the average family $3500 a year.
The net – be very suspicious of politicians bearing categorical statements.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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