I understand how difficult it is to try to figure out fact from fiction in our world of political hyperbole. Almost nobody plays it straight anymore. Almost everybody is trying to twist the facts to their own advantage. Then, in order to get the “appropriate” media exposure you really need to say something outrageous. Michele Bachmann is/was the queen of outrageous. She has made a career out of saying the most outlandish and fact-challenging statements and has lived in the land of confusion and lies for most of her political career. Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter are just a few of the politicians/commentators who stretch the truth so far that it is unrecognizable. So, multiple websites have cropped up whose sole purpose is to correct the facts. PolitiFact is one such website. In order to get publicity and drive traffic to their website, they’ve come up with the “Lie of the Year.” This year, they’ve decided that the lie of the year was that Paul Ryan’s budget plan was going to end Medicare.

As I see it, Medicare is about seniors getting healthcare. Basically, once you become a senior you qualify for Medicare and you can therefore get healthcare. It is that simple. This plan, under Paul Ryan, would have been changed to a voucher system in which seniors would be given vouchers to use to pay for their healthcare. Once they spent a voucher, seniors were out of luck. To me, this is a fundamental change in Medicare and how the system works. Now, no longer would seniors have the security of knowing that all of their bills would be paid. In my mind, this would be fundamentally changing Medicare so that it looks nothing like the Medicare that we know today. You can call it Obama Care. You can call it an elephant or you can call it Medicare but it is not the Medicare that we know today. For some reason, PolitiFact misses this fundamental distinction. Paul Krugman and Steve Benen have more.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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