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White House Fact-Checking

We welcome competition – or rather, colleagues – in the fact-checking business. But the latest entrant to our line of work is an entity we’ve actually fact-checked, and will continue to fact-check. Regularly. 
The White House, according to its official blog, is encouraging people to send along any health care rumors or claims, mainly of the "scary" chain e-mail variety, that seem "fishy." In its first installment of these debunking efforts, Linda Douglass, the communications director for the Health Reform Office,

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.

CPR Administers Bad Facts, Again

The latest ad from the group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights claims that “new rules could hike your health insurance premiums 95 percent.” That’s misleading. The claim in the ad refers to only 5 percent of Americans who have health insurance – those who buy it on their own. The claim comes from an analysis by a group that advocates for …

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.

Canadian Straw Man

Two ads from related independent groups make claims about an overhaul of the health care system, saying Congress wants a government-run health care system. One ad claims that “Washington wants to bring Canadian-style health care to the U.S.” But the health care bills moving through Congress don’t call for a single-payer system like Canada’s …

Readers Talk Back on Insurance Costs

We received a number of e-mails after we said, in our article "Pushing for a Public Plan," that "the average monthly payment for workers with employer-sponsored coverage is … $280 for a family policy." It seems that a lot of you weren’t satisfied with the finding, which is from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
A sampling:
My Family policy with BCBS had a $500 [deductible] for all 3 members and my bill was $800 a month. We now have a group policy for all 5 members of our 2 optical shops,

The ‘Real’ Uninsured

Former Sen. Fred Thompson said on “Meet the Press” that “the 45 million … figure of uninsured is probably about twice the real number of people who can’t afford insurance or don’t have access to it really.” He’s not the only one saying that the number is inflated. We find …

Pushing for a Public Plan

Liberal groups have hit TV and radio with ads praising the idea of a public health insurance plan, an option that President Obama and other Democrats support as part of changes to the health care system. But the ads lack context and could well mislead the public: A TV ad …

Obama’s Health Care Claims

We found several claims in Obama’s recent health-care sales pitches that could use some explanation or qualification. He said “the average family pays a thousand dollars in extra premiums to pay for people going to the emergency room who don’t have health insurance.” That’s from a recent report by …

Uninsured U.S. Citizens

Q: How many of the uninsured are U.S. citizens?
A: The vast majority of the uninsured are citizens from working families.