Health Care Retort: You’re Lying! No, You Are!

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It seems as if the partisan squabbling over health care reform is ratcheting up. On Wednesday, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party each accused the other side of lying about what’s in the health care reform package under construction in Congress. It began with a conference call for reporters held by the RNC, in which Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry claimed President Barack Obama has been prevaricating about his plan. Within moments, the DNC zapped out a retort.

Here’s how the DNC chronicled this spat:

On an RNC conference call today, Congressman Patrick McHenry accused the President of lying about the details of his health insurance reform plan. The only person lying on that call, however, was Rep. McHenry, and you don’t have to take our word for it. Multiple independent fact checkers have debunked the claims McHenry and his fellow Republicans continue to make about health insurance reform. With the cost of premiums soaring for so many families and small businesses, it’s disgusting that Republicans are willing to lie and use the same old Washington scare tactics to try to “kill” health insurance reform on behalf of their insurance company friends.

The DNC explained further:

RHETORIC: REP. MCHENRY CLAIMED THAT THE PRESIDENT IS LYING WHEN HE SAYS PEOPLE CAN KEEP THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN UNDER PROPOSED REFORMS

REALITY: THE HOUSE BILL DOES NOT OUTLAW PRIVATE INSURANCE AND INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY IS WRONG ABOUT THE PROVISION ON PAGE 16 OF THE BILL

Politifact: The House Health Care Bill Doesn’t Outlaw Private Insurance And The Provision On Page 16 Was Taken Out Of Context. “We got several e-mails from readers asking if new health care legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives bans private health insurance for individuals. We tracked the statement back to its source, an editorial from Investor’s Business Daily. ‘It didn’t take long to run into an ‘uh-oh’ moment when reading the House’s ‘health care for all Americans’ bill,” the editorial says. “Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.’ … Since then, the allegation about Page 16 has been repeated in many blogs and by at least one member of Congress. We read the section of the bill to which Investor’s Business Daily referred, as well as a summary of the legislation provided by the House Ways and Means committee. While the quotation is correct, it’s taken out of context. … To be sure we were reading the bill correctly, we turned to an independent health care analyst at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The foundation has analyzed the major health care proposals, including those of the Republicans, providing point-by-point analysis. Jennifer Tolbert, the foundation’s principal policy analyst, told us that Page 16 doesn’t outlaw private insurance. ‘There will be individual policies available, but people will buy those policies through the national health insurance exchange,’ she said.” [St. Petersburg Times Politifact]

So that’s settled. But will the Republicans–some of whom are claiming that Obama’s health care plan will lead to early deaths for seniors–give up this particular talking point? I’m waiting for the next RNC email.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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