It is very easy … we might say tempting, to believe and pass on, information received via email or website posts and sites. The Tea Party has been taken to task about some statements regarding what is found in “Mother Health” (the bill passed in Congress over much objection.) We have reported on the bogus claims before on more than one occasion, but it seems the bogus information continues.
There are several sites that attempt to set straight, the “malarkey,” sown by some, with refutations posted on the internet and distributed electronically to subscribers. One such organization is Fact Check.org. This informative site is a project funded by The Annenberg Public Policy Center. Lest you be concerned about the Annenberg family being shills for the left, you should know that they contribute almost exclusively to Republican and conservative causes and campaigns. In case you doubt the Annenberg’s political leaning you can check this website.
In a summary article appearing on Fact Check.org, presented as, ’More Malarkey About Health Care,” they share some examples of misinformation distributed and passed on by Tea Parties and other conservative groups. They begin by saying:
We’ve seldom seen a piece of legislation so widely misrepresented, and misunderstood, as the new health care law. We stopped counting the number of articles and items we turned out on the subject after the total reached 100.
They give examples in the summary that are far-ranging and seem pretty silly:
Requires patients to be implanted with microchips. (No, it doesn’t.) Cuts benefits for military families and retirees. (No. The TRICARE program isn’t affected.) Exempts Muslims from the requirement to obtain coverage. (Not specifically. It does have a religious exemption, but that is intended for Old Order Amish.) Allows insurance companies to continue denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. (Insurance companies have agreed not to exploit a loophole that might have allowed this.) Will require 16,500 armed IRS agents to enforce. (No. Criminal penalties are waived.) Gives President Obama a Nazi-like “private army.” (No. It provides a reserve corps of doctors and other health workers for emergencies.) “Exempts” House and Senate members. (No. Their coverage may not be as good as before, in fact.) Covers erectile-dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. (Just as it was before the new law, those no longer in jail can buy any insurance plan they choose. Provides federal funding for abortions. (Not directly. But neither side in the abortion debate is happy with the law.
There is a much expanded analysis to be found in the article just below the above bulleted items. You can study them here with a click
There is additional treatment to be found on a website known as PolitiFact.com of some of the false health bill claims. The site is operated by the St. Petersburg Times and a segment of the site is called the Truth-o-Meter. Here is some information from their site published on July 30, 2009. While the article is almost a year old, it holds close to the present bill:
It may be the longest chain e-mail we’ve ever received. A page-by-page analysis of the House health care bill argues that reform will end the health care system as we know it: “Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed! … Page 42: The ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. … Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services.”
After the folks at PolitiFact.com read the bill and other documents, they allowed folks employed at Kaiser Family Foundation to have a go at analyzing the information contained in the emails. Here’s what one lady at Kaiser had to say according to PolitiFact.com:
Finally, we consulted with Jennifer Tolbert, an independent health care analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan foundation that studies health care reform. Tolbert has read and analyzed all the major health proposals, including those of the Republicans, and the foundation provides point-by-point analyses of the plans on its Web site.
We’re hardened, battle-scarred fact-checkers, so false claims in e-mails don’t really surprise us anymore. But we sent Tolbert a copy of the latest from our in-box, and she was none too pleased.
“It’s awful,” she said. “It’s flat-out, blatant lies. It’s unbelievable to me how they can claim to reference the legislation and then make claims that are blatantly false.”
The claim that the bill provides free health care for illegal immigrants is particularly egregious, Tolbert said. “No one’s provided with free health care. That’s ridiculous,” she said.
PolitiFact.com continues with more information:
We looked for promises of free health care for immigrants and found nothing. So we’ve rated this claim Pants on Fire!
Another claim that’s Pants on Fire! is the following: “Page 42: The ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.”
Okay, there is more and you should read it to gauge for yourself how untruths spread about the health bill and passed on by Tea Party members and other conservatives make us look like the “Prevaricator Party,” or a flock of Chicken Littles, half-flying and half-walking while spreading bull butter in a panic mode.
What is the point of my posting this? Just that I am involved with Tea Party activities and I believe in the goals of the organization. I want and I want my fellow members in the Tea Party to have a passion for truth and common-sense when it comes to information originated or passed on by our members.
We all know by now that it is easy to be taken in by glib and seemingly organized material, “that just has to be true,” but we also know that we have been taken in more than once by detractors or those who are seeking to be, for lack of a better descriptor, “false prophets.”
This is not meant to be a sermon or a spanking. I hope it will be taken as constructive advice when I suggest that we fully investigate any information that is sensational or might, at first glance, seem a tad preposterous. There are several links below that might provide additional information that can be classified as useful.
Agree or disagree, comment away.
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