A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

RNC’s “Bill of Rights”

The Republican National Committee this week posted a “Health Care Bill of Rights for Seniors,” which RNC Chairman Michael Steele and others have taken to the airwaves to publicize. It contains a number of claims we’ve seen and criticized before, but also contains one new one that has some truth to it, and another fresh one …

More ‘Senior Scare’

The conservative 60 Plus Association is running a TV ad saying Congress plans to pay for overhauling health care “by cutting $500 billion from Medicare.” It claims that this “will mean long waits for care” and cuts to MRIs and other imaging services, that “seniors may lose their own doctors” and that “government, not doctors, will decide …

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,

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 …

Insurance Co. Profits: Good, But Not Breaking Records

When President Obama said at his July 22 news conference that health insurance companies were making record profits "right now," we thought he might have insider access to corporate earnings data. After all, most of the top publicly traded companies were on the verge of filing their reports, but only one had done so at the time Obama spoke.

Obama, July 22: Now, you know, there had been reports just over the last couple of days of insurance companies making record profits.

Abortion and the Health Care Bills

If you don’t keep your eye on the health care overhaul bills making their way through Congress, it’s easy to find your knowledge quickly outdated. We posted an article Friday dealing with accusations by some conservative groups that the bills would mandate government-funded abortions (they wouldn’t). That very evening, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a new bill. Government-funded abortions still wouldn’t be possible under this version – in fact, it’s the only bill that explicitly prohibits the use of taxpayer money to pay for the procedure,

Surgery for Seniors vs. Abortions?

A new TV ad sponsored by an anti-abortion group shows a white-haired man fretting that under a federal health plan, “They won’t pay for my surgery, but we’re forced to pay for abortions.”

“Will this be our future?” the ad asks, merging the fears of seniors …

Misleading GOP Health Care Claims

Republicans in Washington seem to be shifting into overdrive to keep a health system overhaul from passing Congress before the August recess. Yesterday, July 22, brought two more deceptive assaults (that we know of) on the pending bills, one from Minority Whip Eric Cantor and the other from the top GOP member of the House Immigration Subcommittee, Steve King of Iowa.
Cantor’s is in the form of a video that accuses Obama and the Democrats of being in a “reckless rush”

Insurance Industry: Spinning the Polls

Harry and Louise may have switched sides, but that’s no excuse, in our book, for the health insurance industry to resort to misrepresenting polls as it argues against inclusion of a public plan in health care overhaul proposals on Capitol Hill.
Karen Ignani, the head of industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), told lawmakers that “77 percent of Americans are satisfied with their existing health insurance coverage,” according to today’s Washington Post.

Selling Out the Public Option?

Sometimes, “follow the money” is great advice if you’re trying to figure out how Washington works.
Often, though, it’s not that simple.
A case in point is the new ad from Democracy for America, the netroots group founded by Howard Dean, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The spot, which is on the Internet and which the groups have promoted with e-mails to their supporters, implies that some Democratic senators have been paid not to do the right thing.