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FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Oct. 6-Oct. 12

This week, readers sent us comments on gas prices, insurance costs, and FactCheck.org’s liberal and conservative biases.

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.


Gas Explosion

That’s quite a spread on the “nonpartisan” “expert’s” opinion ["77-Cent Increase Per Gallon of Gas?," Oct. 9]. So if there is 55 cent spread, then does the idea of 77 cents really appear to be that far off? There is less of a spread between the 77 and the 67(10 cents) than there is between what the “experts” say, a 55 cent spread. Either way, THE PRICE OF GAS GOES UP!

Charles G.
Atlanta, Ga.


Reader Vs. Reader

I would REALLY like to respond to Robert Hollowell’s assumption that the Americans who do not have insurance because they cannot afford it is really that they "choose not to afford it" [FactCheck Mailbag, Sept. 15]. I’d like to explain something to him that apparently is not part of his reality. In my experience in the last 10 years or so, the people with affordable insurance policies with low premiums, low deductibles and great coverage are in management. The general workforce at any given company is offered a completely different plan. The insurance policy I was offered, if I chose medical and dental, would have cost me $1,040 a month, leaving me grossing a whopping $120 for the month. You telling me you could manage mortgage/rent, utilities, gas, FOOD, auto insurance, etc. on $120 a month? If I or one of my children got the flu or some other illness and I had to take a week off, I would actually OWE my company money. Not to mention that coverage was awful, with a $1,000 deductible.

Let’s do a little comparison. An office visit to the doctor will cost $57-72, depending on the reason for the visit. A prescription for antibiotics at Walmart will cost anywhere from $5-20, depending on which type is prescribed. Let’s say each member of my family of four goes for one office visit and gets one prescription each. Let’s also say that we each went in for yearly exams. I have also had to bring my son to the ER twice in the last 4 years for allergic reactions, the bills for those were around $1,200 each, so let’s say we had to do that again. Going by the average costs my total medical expenses for the year would be around $1,780. That’s less than what two months of coverage would cost me.

But please, please tell me again I "choose not to afford insurance," it wasn’t laughable enough the first time.

Amber Rhyner
Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Diluting the Brand?

Are you concerned that yesterday Fox News used "Fact Check" as a header on a video (I did not bother to view it) of Karl Rove discussing health care reform?

Paul Trainor
Grand Blanc, Mich.

FactCheck.org responds: We don’t have a copyright on the phrase "fact check." So as long as Fox News isn’t implying that we did the checking, there’s no problem there.


Health Care Claims in Perspective

I just read your report on health care claims ["Obama’s Health Care Claims," June 16] and had the reaction that I was only let in on the "gotchas." I realize that I’ve exaggerated but that is the general sense of what I read. Perhaps a thumbnail sketch of what was right would help put perspective on what was wrong. Also, there is a matter of scale. Saying that Obama was off with regard to our spending not being 50 percent higher than the next nation is a little misleading when further along I find that the next nation is that world giant Luxembourg. I don’t have handy statistics but would gamble that Dubuque, Iowa, is probably as big as Luxembourg.

David Perelman
Lafayette Hill, Pa.

FactCheck.org responds: That’s health care costs per person, not total costs. (And Luxembourg has about 8.5 times as many people as Dubuque.)


Tort Reform Rejection

It is beyond me why anyone would want to give away one of the basic rights of Americans, to seek redress for their ills, to save 0.5 percent or to just possibly pick up a couple of Republican votes ["Malpractice: Savings Reconsidered," Oct. 14]. We can probably save a bundle by doing away with trials altogether. As the Red Queen said, “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.”

Len Charlap
Princeton, N.J.


Great Taste! Less Filling!

It is so refreshing to see that only Republicans lie in Washington according to you. Of course you will pointedly deny the accusation and say that you are just reporting the way it is. Too bad that you have abdicated your role. If you want to see how a truly unbiased system could work, please look at politifact.org. That is where you will find people that are actually interested in an element of truth and not just "left wing" spin.

Gene Dorn
Bellevue, Neb.


On October 4 the Sunday Oregonian printed a FactCheck story, attributed to Jess Henig of FactCheck.org, claiming that a Florida member of Congress was wrong in saying that the Republicans have "no plan" for reforming health care ["Grayson’s Iffy Claims," Oct.1]. Republican members of Congress admit as much, but why does Jessica Henig claim they have a plan? It seems to me that if you claim to be representing the truth about public issues you would not make this mistake (or was it deliberate falsehood?). I usually trust such groups and I see that you have some distinguished members aboard, but this one makes me wonder.

The GOP proposals are obviously below the standard for a reform plan. I am not going to give FactCheck much credibility if that is the way you do things.

Mary A. Delsman
Ashland, Ore.

FactCheck.org responds: We linked to the bill in question in the body of the story. Opponents may find it insufficient, but it does exist. And it’s inaccurate to say that there is no proposal.


Great Taste AND Less Filling

I love FactCheck!

Where else in the universe of public discourse do you get this devotion to fair investigation?

I’ve been reading FactCheck for years, but the e-mail that prompted this gush was today’s daily e-mail regarding the CBO changing its outlook on how much money would be saved through malpractice reform ["Malpractice: Savings Reconsidered," Oct. 14]. Not a huge story, but I love that not only have you followed this issue for so long, but you told the story of how you did it – why you wrote what you did before, why your perspective has changed, and how it relates to the stream of political dialog then and now.

You, my dear FactCheck, are a force for good!

Peter A. Jones
Hudson, Wisc.


The service you provide is immeasurable and most welcome.

Because my schedule is erratic, I would request that you include posting date right in the headline of your articles.

Thanks for all the help you give me.

Mary Fox
Green Valley, Ariz.