Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Republican Errors on Health Care

by Richard Crews
There have been claims and counterclaims about whether the Republicans have distorted the facts about health-care legislation.

Setting aside irresponsible statements by such absurd characters as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin (whose distortions and errors are too numerous to chronicle), there have been quite a few erroneous claims about health-care legislation by "responsible" Republicans such as the Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

Representative John Boehner of Ohio who is the leader of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives said of the Senate health-care legislation that "forcing Americans off of their current health coverage and onto a government-run plan isn't the answer, but that's exactly what the Democrats' plan would do."
In fact, nothing in the proposals would force people off their current coverage into a government-run plan; if they prefer and can pay for private coverage.

Boehner also commented that the health-care bill's plan for comparative effectiveness research "would be used by the government to ration care."
The facts: some insurers may decide to use the government's research findings to determine what kinds of medical services they will cover first, but given specific language in the bill to the contrary, it is outright wrong for Boehner to claim the research findings would be used by the government to ration care.

Boehner claimed that the Democrat-backed health-care reform plan "will require [Americans] to subsidize abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars." At another time he claimed it will "levy a new 'abortion premium' fee on Americans."
Nothing in the plans would require taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions. In fact, in a key version of the bill--the one passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee--members went to great pains to include an amendment to ensure that federal money is not used for abortion coverage.

Boehner warned that a provision that would permit end-of-life counseling sessions for seniors "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia." Another Republican leader echoed this end-of-life distortion: on July 23, Boehner released a statement along with Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan saying that the health-care bill would encourage euthanasia.
In truth, the pertinent section of the health-care bill would require Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling sessions helping seniors to plan for end-of-life medical care, including designating a health-care proxy, choosing a hospice, and making decisions about life-sustaining treatment. It would not be mandatory, and it certainly would not require doctors--or anyone--to counsel patients to refuse medical intervention.

What about Mitch McConnell, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky and the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate? He claimed that a public option for health-care would end private insurance "because the private insurance people will not be able to compete with a government option."
McConnell is incorrect. The Democratic plan does not do away with private insurance. His statement that private insurance "will not be able to compete with a government option" is challenged by nonpartisan health-care experts who disagree.

You can find these and other fact-check assessments of Republican's (and others' ) statements on a wide variety of topics at the following two Websites--