For reasons that are unclear to me it seems that it is easier to believe a lie than the truth. I was just reading through the list of whoppers for last year. We’ve heard them all. We’ve read the mom blogs. We’ve heard them over the water cooler at work. We’ve heard our friends and neighbors talk about these lies as if they were facts. We’ve all seen the “deer in the headlights” look when we point out that health-care reform was never going to be “a government takeover.”
In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to overhaul America’s health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a “government takeover.”
The phrase is simply not true.
Said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: “The label ‘government takeover” has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’ ”
An inaccurate claim
“Government takeover” conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:
• Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.
• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.
• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.
• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers. (more …)
Other honorable mentions for lie of the year:
“The president United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day” – Michele Bachmann.
“The stimulus is not created one private sector job.” – Governor elect Rick Scott.
The ethics report “exonerates me.” – Representative Charlie Rangel.
“Phoenix is the number two kidnapping capital of the world.” Senator John McCain.