Well waddya know? A majority of Americans believe “myths” about health care reform. The story frequently puts the word “myth” in scare quotes and is careful to qualify it as “assertions the White House has called myths” and arguments that are “considered a myth by the White House.” As well they should, because many of them are just debatable points. They should have gone one better and quoted experts arguing that the some of these myths have at least some factual basis.
For example, I’ve argued at length (both in the post itself and in the comments thread) that if the final health care bill does not expressly prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion, it will fund abortions over time. This is acknowleged by some Democratic supporters of the bill and is implicit in the one amendment to clear a major House committee that even nominally restricts the flow of taxpayer funds to abortion.
The House bill sets up funding streams that are not clearly covered by the Hyde Amendment. It is not subject to the same restrictions as abortion coverage for federal civilian employees or military personnel. The distinction between taxpayer funds and government-collected premiums that the “myth” claim hangs upon is at the very least debatable. And the Senate bill is less cagy about abortion than the House bill.
Most of the “myths” are similar — they describe debatable effects of the health care bill. And in some cases, I think the facts are more clearly on the side of the supposed “myth” makers. I was recently on a radio talk show where the liberal guests were in high dugeon over people calling Obamacare a “federal government takeover of health care.” But this is at worst a hyperbolic claim. By creating a public option, imposing an individual mandate, expanding regulations of who and what insurers must cover, expanding Medicaid, and offering new subsidies, this approach to health care reform at the very least enlarges the federal government’s role in health care. Would straight single payer not qualify as a “federal government takeover” because there are even more socialistic approaches?
Myths, they explained.