A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

When Philosophy Meets Politics

We’ll wager that, unless you happen to be a practicing bioethicist, you’d never heard of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel six weeks ago. But now Emanuel, the director of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, finds himself labeled a "deadly doctor" by Betsy McCaughey in an opinion piece in the New York Post. And controversial conservative pundit Ann Coulter recently proclaimed that "Zeke Emanuel is on my death list."
We debunked McCaughey’s charges in an Ask FactCheck item we posted today.

‘Deadly Doctor’?

Q: Does Ezekiel Emanuel advocate sacrificing medical care for senior citizens and disabled youths for the good of society?
A: No. Critics of health care legislation are distorting the meaning of Emanuel’s academic writings on medical ethics. And Emanuel tells us, "I am not advocating this."

Seven Falsehoods About Health Care

So much for a slow news month. August feels like campaign season, with claims on health care coming at us daily. Does the House bill call for mandatory counseling on how to end seniors’ lives sooner? Absolutely not. Will the government be dictating to doctors how to treat their patients? No. Do the bills propose …

August 14, 2009

In 2008, 6.5 percent of the U.S. population failed to obtain needed medical care due to cost at some time during the year.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Private Insurance Not Outlawed

Q: Will the House’s proposed health care plan outlaw private insurance?
A: No. Those who are claiming that the plan would get rid of private insurance or make it illegal are misinterpreting the bill.

August 13, 2009

For 2009, there are a reported 1,544 pharmaceutical and health products company lobbyists.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics

August 12, 2009

The Federal Employee Health Benefits program, which contracts with 111 health plans and offers 269 health plan options, covers approximately 8 million federal employees, retirees and their dependents.
Source: Office of Personnel Management

Obama Wrong on AARP Endorsement

At his town hall event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, President Obama went too far in claiming the support of AARP:

Obama: We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors. …
[A]nother myth that we’ve been hearing about is this notion that somehow we’re going to be cutting your Medicare benefits. We are not. AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare, okay?


Health Care Meets Shark Week!

Playing off Discovery Channel’s much-watched Shark Week, MoveOn.org Political Action launched a video likening health insurance companies to these predators of the sea.

[TET ]
Announcer: They are enormous and powerful. They prey on our weaknesses, trying to separate the healthy from the sick. Their strategy is to confuse and exhaust their victims. And they kill people each year by denying coverage while profiting billions. During shark week, let’s take on the real predators: health insurance companies.

There He Goes Again: Obama’s False $6,000 Claim

At a nationally televised "town hall meeting" in Portsmouth, N.H., today, President Obama repeated a claim about health care that we’ve disputed in the past.

Obama: So we want – if I’m a customer, if I’m a consumer and I know that I’m overpaying $6,000 for anything else, I would immediately want the best deal. But for some reason, in health care, we continue to put up with getting a bad deal. We’re paying $6,000 more than any other advanced country and we’re not healthier for it –