Myths, Controversy Surround Health Reform Law
News outlets are following the politics and rhetoric surrounding the new health law.
NPR reports on six myths perpetuated by some critics of the law. They include: the law helps President Barack Obama raise a private army and that those who want public coverage have to have a microchip implanted. That began with a provision in House-passed bill, which was not in the final bill. "It called for the Food and Drug Administration to create a registry of medical devices that could be implanted in people. 'We're talking about things like pacemakers, hip implants - things like that,' [Washington and Lee University Professor Timothy Jost] says. So 'that when they fail, we know what's going on, we know the incidence of it and we know how serious the failures are.'" Other myths: the law will require 16,500 new, "armed" IRS agents, thatyou will have to pay taxes on your health insurance next year, that it dictates what you can and can't eat and that hospitals must fire obese employees (Rovner, 9/3).
PolitiFact Florida rates as "False" charges by Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott that "his opponent Alex Sink wants to cut Medicare benefits for the country's seniors. Sink says Scott is making that up. Scott's basis for claiming that Sink supports cuts is that she supported the 2010 federal health care legislation that implemented a number of changes to the Medicare program. There are potential cuts coming to the extra benefits received by Medicare Advantage enrollees. But the law does not alter basic Medicare benefits, and actually increases some prescription drug benefits. Because she was not a member of Congress, Sink did not cast a vote for or against the new health law" (9/1).
National Journal reports that "some Democrats" would like President Obama to be more vocal on the health law. "At the very least, they would like to hear Obama talk about health care as part of the larger case that he makes for himself and fellow Democrats. Still, some Democrats argue that a little high-powered help from the president would be useful in framing the health care debate with the GOP. 'Those who are adamantly opposed to health care reform are not going to be voting for Democrats no matter what we do,' said targeting expert Ken Strasma. For their part, many Democratic candidates [worried about ties to the establishment in Washington] are simply not interested in linking themselves to any national message" (Barnes, 9/3).
The Associated Press: "An anti-abortion group plans to air radio ads in three congressional races calling for the defeat of Democratic incumbents, among the first ads to capitalize on a Supreme Court ruling this year that freed corporations to directly influence elections. ... The group, [Americans United for Life] AUL Action, is targeting Democratic Reps. John Boccieri of Ohio, Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania and Baron Hill of Indiana. They criticize Boccieri, Hill and Carney for voting for President Barack Obama's health care law. In a statement, AUL Action President Charmaine Yoest said the vote amounted to 'the largest expansion of federal funding of abortion ever'" (Kuhnhenn, 9/2).
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, considered a possible 2012 Republican presidential contender, is "likening the federal government to a drug dealer," The Associated Press reports in a separate story. "In an interview Thursday with Fox News' 'Your World With Neil Cavuto,' Pawlenty defended his order that seeks to limit his state's participation in the new health care overhaul law that makes available funds for states to try new medical models. 'The federal government is basically a drug dealer trying to give out free samples, or give people a taste, get them further addicted,' Pawlenty said" (Elliot, 9/3).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.