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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Dec. 15-Dec. 21

This week, readers sent us comments on climate change, dire health care predictions and private insurance in a single-payer system.

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.


Climate Counterpoints

One point that has been totally missed in this discussion ["Palin vs. Gore Climate Showdown," Dec. 18] is why does anybody care? Of course the answer to that question is money. The control of the billions of dollars is at stake. If we decide as a nation that global warming is a natural phenomenon and that human activity plays only a small roll in determining our climate, then all that money will stay right in our pockets. If, on the other hand, we are convinced that the world as we know it is coming to an end, and that there is a chance that we can buy our way out of this impending disaster, then all those carbon offset dollars will begin to flow. And all those scientists will get their share as we ask them to save us. And the government will get their cut because they always do. When in doubt, follow the money.

Jim Chism
Bakersfield, Calif.

I am amazed at how many educated people believe that climate change is just a conspiracy to make money. They tell me that Al Gore and others already own the companies that will benefit financially from climate change provisions. These educated people, some even doctors, believe this fully and are angry they are being duped! Who started these rumors?

William Gerson
Miami, Fla.

I believe that almost everyone agrees that global warming is a fact. I see pictures of glaciers disappearing leaving land where walls of ice existed only a year ago. Looking back in history earth had global warming before. The big difference as I see it, it will now cause major problems throughout the world. So why don’t we agree to help stop it any way possible and quit blaming each other?

Marvin Wineman
Monmouth, Ore.

I can accept that there is climate warming. However, nobody has convinced me that the warming is caused by man. I bet the residents of Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo are greatly pleased that there is warming. Otherwise they would be living in igloos, driving dog sleds and people in Detroit would be building snowmobiles instead of cars.

Charles Kurtz
Greeley, Colo.


Health Care Endangers Freedom

As I have been referring to your Web site lately about the entire health care debacle over the past few months, I have been surprised at your complete inability to note the main problem with this bill. Namely, forcing the American people to purchase something simply because they are alive. In the weak attempts of the left to justify this LOSS OF FREEDOM, they keep using the example of auto insurance. You people have used this yourselves. There is one weakness with this argument, of course. A weakness you are unwilling to highlight. Thousands of people in New York City, Chicago and other cities don’t have auto insurance, as well as millions across the country because they DON"T HAVE CARS!!!!! Purchasing auto insurance is contingent upon owning a car and having a driver’s license. Being forced to buy health is contingent on merely existing. How anyone can not see that this is wrong in a country where freedom is supposed to be above all scares me. Freedom will die in this country, and this will merely be the first step.

Finally, I have a question for FactCheck. When the rationing does kick in, and taxes do go through the roof, and doctors quit by the thousands without replacements, and lines get longer, and illegals get free health care, and all the other things that most of think [sic] will happen, will you apologize to the American people for lying to them, or will you do what all liberal apologists do and just change the subject??

Bill Walker
Fresno, Calif.

FactCheck.org responds: Our reader may be interested in our Oct. 2 article, "Health Care Overhaul: Constitutional?," in which we address the question of whether it’s constitutional to require people to buy insurance "simply because they are alive" and living in the United States.


Single-Payer Semantics

In your article comparing a public option with a single-payer system ["Public Option vs. Single Payer," Dec. 18], you said that under single payer a plan would be created by the government and private insurance would cease to exist. I think this may be inaccurate. I know people living in Canada and Australia and according to them, they have a government insurance plan but they also have the option of buying a supplemental or substitute plan from private insurance. So apparently private insurance would still continue to exist. Am I wrong on this?

Ron Coleman
Oakridge, Ore.

FactCheck.org responds: Our reader is correct, but he misquotes our article slightly. We said "private insurance largely would cease to exist." In many single-payer systems, there is still an option of buying supplemental private insurance, which would cover health care that’s not included in the national plan. Physicians for a National Health Program, however, has advocated for "a comprehensive benefit package for the single-payer program that would eliminate the need (and most demand) for supplemental coverage."


FactCheck Beacon

You are a beacon of light and sanity in an atmosphere mired in distortion and detritus. My Fox News family and friends keep sending the worst crap imaginable demonizing Obama on virtually every topic from late-term abortion to health care and the military. Thank you, for sorting through the issues and affording me a resource for referral and rebuttal.

Dolores Du Bois
New York, N.Y.