USA Today published an AP fact-check yesterday that got a number of very basic things wrong. First, the AP debunks Sen. Jim DeMint's statement that "People are starting to figure out that the president is on record, Congressman (Charles) Rangel's on record, for wanting a single-payer government health care system in America." Quoth the AP: "Obama has said he does not support a single payer [system]." But Obama's also said (in 2003) that he favors a single-payer system:
"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we've got to take back the White House, we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to take back the House."
Shouldn't the AP note Obama's flip-flop? Next, the AP reports that it's "not yet clear" what the health-care bill's abortion guidelines are and that "Obama recently told CBS that the nation should continue a tradition of ''not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care.'" Ramesh Ponnuru explains here why that statement and "nearly everything" in the AP's fact-check on abortion and Obamacare is "false or misleading." Third, the AP writes:
Claim: Americans won't have to change doctors or insurance companies. "If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won't have to do a thing," Obama said on June 23. "You keep your plan; you keep your doctor." The facts: The proposed legislation would not require people to drop their doctor. But some tax provisions, depending on how they are written, might make it cheaper for some employers to pay a fee to end their health coverage. Their workers presumably would move to a public insurance plan that might not include their current doctors.
It's good to see the AP ever-so-reluctantly acknowledge that "some" people "might" lose their coverage, but might it not be helpful to cite some facts and studies that show how many people will lose their coverage? One study estimates that 83 million people will lose their current plans. Fourth, the AP writes: "the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the House bill lacks mechanisms to bring health care costs under control. In response, the White House and Democratic lawmakers are talking about creating a powerful new board to root out waste in government health programs. It's unclear how that would work." The AP fails to report that the CBO estimates that this "powerful new board" will be able to save--at most--0.2% of Obamacare's total cost. All of this makes you wonder: Why has White House flack Linda Douglass gone to the trouble of producing a propaganda video defending Obama against "deceiving" (translation: true) stories about his varying positions on health care? Couldn't the White House have saved taxpayers a few bucks by just using its blog to link the AP's report?
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