A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 4-Aug. 10

This week, readers sent us comments on Canadian Shona Holmes, employer health care and Nazi symbols.
In the FactCheck Mailbag we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

How to Not Prove a Point

The United Kingdom’s Department of Health may not have expected to face such harsh criticism during debate of overhauling the health care system here in the United States. As we’ve repeatedly said, neither President Obama nor the major health care bills in Congress call for replicating the U.K.’s government-run and government-provided system. But our neighbors across the pond would have to smile – or perhaps laugh out loud – at this claim, courtesy of the conservative Investor’s Business Daily:

IBD editorial,

Broken Record on Record-Breaking Profits

Last week we posted an item on President Obama’s recent claim that health insurance companies were logging record profits. Not true, we discovered, at least not for the largest publicly traded companies. Some of them weren’t even close.
Expect to keep hearing the assertion, however, in a series of seven cookie-cutter radio ads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is airing around the country this month, targeting Republican House members. Here’s one of them:

In each ad,

August 11, 2009

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly and the disabled, covers 46 million Americans. Medicare spending totaled $455 billion in 2008.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Nazi Symbols at Town Halls: The Real Story

Recent comments by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that swastikas and other Nazi imagery had been appearing at lawmakers’  town hall meetings on health care set off furious rounds of tweeting and blogging by outraged conservatives.
The episode began when the California Democrat was asked by a reporter whether she thought there was "legitimate grassroots opposition" at the meetings to congressional health care overhaul plans. She replied:

 Pelosi: I think they are Astroturf. You be the judge …

Cash for Clunkers

Q: Fox News’ Glenn Beck said that the government will get complete access to your computer and all of your files when you log on to Cars.gov for the Cash for Clunkers program. Is there any truth to this?

A: This claim is false. Beck quoted from a security message on the site for dealers, not the site for the general public.

August 10, 2009

In 2008, U.S. health care spending is estimated to have been $2.4 trillion. It is projected to nearly double to $4.4 trillion in 2018.
Source: Health Affairs/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

August 9, 2009

There were 2.6 million children who lived with both a grandmother and a grandfather in the U.S. in 2008.

Source: Census Bureau

August 8, 2009

There were 6.6 million children living with a grandparent in the U.S. in 2008. That’s 9 percent of all children in the country.

Source: Census Bureau

August 7, 2009

In 2007, 2.5 million grandparents were responsible for most of the basic needs of one or more of the grandchildren living with them.

Source: Census Bureau