Here's a list compiled of disinformation from both the left and right. Enjoy, and feel free to discuss. If you copy and paste the link you can examine factcheck.org's sources.
Conservatives: Pulling the Plug on Grandma
* "Death Panels" The "pulling the plug on grandma" falsehood really took off once former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin coined the term "Death Panel," but this falsehood got its first push from former New York lieutenant governor and health care overhaul opponent Betsy McCaughey.
* She misrepresented a provision (since dropped) that merely called for Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling sessions to help seniors make end-of-life care decisions, such as designating a health care proxy, choosing a hospice or writing a living will. McCaughey twisted that into "a required counseling session" that would "tell them how to end their life sooner." Palin later wrote on her Facebook page that she doesn’t want government bureaucrats to decide whether her parents or child with Down Syndrome are "worthy of health care." Who would? Certainly not legislators, who didn’t call for the creation of any such "Death Panel" in the health care bills. "False Euthanasia Claims," July 29; "Palin vs. Obama: Death Panels," Aug. 14; " ‘SpotCheck.org’? We Disagree." Aug. 25
* Socialized Medicine: Several groups and politicians claimed that the major health care bills in Congress called for a single-payer system like Canada’s, under which all citizens have health insurance provided by the government, or even a system like Britain’s, where doctors and hospitals are employed by the government. The truth is that none of the major bills that were debated in Congress called for such a drastic change to the U.S. system, much to the chagrin of single-payer advocates. "Government-Run Health Care?" April 30; "Canadian Straw Man," July 17; "The Government-Run Mantra," Nov. 6
* Dictating to Doctors: McCaughey falsely claimed that the stimulus bill (passed in February) required that doctors follow government orders on which medical procedures can and can’t be performed. It didn’t. All the bill really did was create a council on "comparative effectiveness research," which examines which treatments or drugs work best or are most cost-effective. It said none of the council’s reports or recommendations "shall be construed as mandates or clinical guidelines for payment, coverage, or treatment." "Doctor’s Orders?" Feb. 20.
* Breast Cancer Massacre: One TV spot claimed that "300,000 American women with breast cancer might have died" if our health care system was like England’s. The ad’s conservative sponsor cited the American Cancer Society as a source, but the cancer society never used such a number and an ACS epidemiologist called the ad sponsor’s calculations "really faulty." "A False Appeal to Women’s Fears," Sept. 4
* "26 Lies" E-mail: Judging from our editor inbox, one of the most widely circulated chain e-mails of 2009 was a lengthy list of 48 claims about specific sections of the House health care bill, complete with page numbers. We combed through every item and found that only four were true, 26 were false and the rest were misleading. At one point the author, a conservative blogger, claimed that the bill contained "more payoffs for ACORN." But ACORN has nothing to do with the medical home services funded by the bill. The author also claimed that illegal aliens "will be provided with free healthcare services," misrepresenting a provision that simply prohibits discrimination in health care based on "personal characteristics." "Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200," Aug. 28
Liberals: Killer Insurance Companies
The more colorful claims about health care may have come from the right, but the left made false and misleading statements, too, in touting the legislation. The highlights, so to speak:
* False Fingerpointing: Obama falsely claimed that an insurance company was responsible for the death of an Illinois cancer patient whose coverage was canceled because he hadn’t reported gallstones. "They delayed his treatment," Obama said, "and he died because of it." Not true. As the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet reported, Otto Raddatz of Downers Grove, Ill., did have his insurance canceled by Fortis Insurance Co., but the coverage was reinstated in April 2005 and his chemotherapy went forward after only a brief delay. Raddatz lived for nearly another four years and died early this year. Obama got this whopper from an online magazine article; the author later admitted jumping to a wrong conclusion. "Sweet: Another Stretch by Obama," Sept. 13; "Too Good to Check?" Sept. 18
* Double Trouble: Obama exaggerated by at least a factor of two when he said that health care "causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds." And we’ve noticed the claim popping up elsewhere, such as, believe it or not, in a new iPhone app. But data from the U.S. Courts showed about 934,000 total personal bankruptcies in the 12-month period ending June 2008. Even if we accept a Harvard study’s conclusion that half of bankruptcies are related to medical expenses — and some have criticized that study — that would still be only one health care bankruptcy every minute. "Fact-Checking Obama’s Speech," Feb. 25.
* Puffed-up Premiums: We twice caught Obama saying that the "average American family is paying thousands" or "a thousand dollars" in health insurance premiums to pay for uncompensated care for the uninsured. But he used a figure from a group that lobbies for expanded coverage. Nonpartisan experts at the Kaiser Family Foundation put the figure much lower — about $200. "Obama’s Health Care Claims," June 16 and "Obama’s Health Care News Conference," July 23
* Saving $2,500: Obama repeated his claim that the average family could save $2,500 a year under health care overhaul legislation. We picked apart his optimistic calculations during the 2008 presidential campaign, but he repeated the claim as recently as May 17, saying that "comprehensive reform" and some other private sector measures could save "$2,500 per family every year." Since then we haven’t heard much about this. His claim is not supported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that under the Senate bill (as introduced), there wouldn’t be much of a reduction at all. Those with coverage from large employers would see premium reductions of 0 percent to 3 percent, with the average family premium costing $20,300 in 2016, CBO said. And for those buying their own insurance in the nongroup market, CBO estimated that nongroup premiums actually would go up. That increase would be more than offset by new taxpayer subsidies for most policyholders — but not for all. "Seven Falsehoods About Health Care," Aug. 14