Felicia Muftic: Check the ‘truth-o-meter’ this election
Grand County, CO Colorado
In the next eight months we are going to see a barrage of advertising contaminate our TV-watching, and claims and counterclaims will be flying.
While many will concentrate on the soft issues – personalities, trustworthiness, leadership, character, ideology and economic theories – others will be about the hard facts of issues.
It is very difficult to be objective about facts, and it is particularly difficult when the issue is complex, such as health care reform. Distortions, misinterpretations, and out-right lies are even more likely.
There are non-partisan, independent sources that look behind the slogans, delve into the wonky details, and arrive at conclusions that separate the facts from fiction. I recommend three fact-checking websites. http://www.Factcheck.org is a nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which is housed at the University of Pennsylvania. Another is Politifact.com which is connected with the Tampa Bay Times and is a Pulitzer prize winner. They rate political claims with a truth-o-meter. The Washington Post sponsors one and awards Pinocchio noses based on the degree of truth distortion (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker).
Not all of these analyze the same claims and not all political talking points are scrutinized, but all of them give detailed reasons for arriving at their awards of the degrees of truthfulness. Both parties take their lumps from the fact checkers.
Here are some of the fact-checking conclusions about Obamacare. This is just a brief summary of the conclusions. To see any caveats and how the conclusions were reached, visit the websites.
One frequently heard claim by Rick Santorum is that Obamacare will cost trillions over the next 10 years. Per the Washington Post fact checker: “Santorum is only counting one side of the ledger – and overcounting it at that. Because the health care law raises some taxes and cuts Medicare spending, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that it slightly reduced the deficit in the first 10 years…..”
Another oft heard claim, especially made by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is that the health care reform law will be a job killer. Factcheck.org called that a” Republican Whopper.” The best economic analysis of the new health care law points to the loss of a ‘small’ number of low-paid jobs – starting in 2014. That’s when firms with 50 or more workers will be required either to provide health insurance coverage to their employees or pay a penalty….”
Politifact:.com: A close look at the studies cited by the Chamber of Commerce … as well as other independent analyses of the health care law, provide little, if any, evidence that the health care law will result in a significant net number of job losses. We rate the statement False.
Another claim mouthed by many Republican leaders and candidates is that Obamacare will cut $500 billion from Medicare, a claim geared to scare the old folks that benefits will be cut.
The Washington Post fact checker found that benefits were not “cut.” “The health bill will reduce projected Medicare spending by $575 billion over ten years, primarily by reducing projected fees to hospitals and other providers and by reducing payments to private Medicare Advantage insurance plans… ”
So true is a comment added by Factcheck.org: “It may be that the constant repetition of this false claim will make a lot of voters believe it. But repeating a whopper doesn’t make it true, it just makes it a bigger whopper.”
For more commentary, go to http://www.Mufticforum.com
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