A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Extras: Obama, Bush, Health Care and More

In this edition of Extras, we look at morphing presidents, a piece of health care pie chart and an ad that checks itself.
Mighty Morphin’ Presidents
In Sunday’s New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union took out a full page ad urging President Obama to try Sept. 11 defendants in criminal court, as opposed to military tribunals. The ad even included a stark graphic morphing Obama’s face with former President Bush’s:

But the ad cites a questionable statistic.

AHIP on the Attack: 50 Percent of What?

Almost immediately after releasing an incomplete report on the supposed increase in premiums that the Senate’s health care overhaul bill would trigger, the health insurers’ trade group took to the airwaves with a TV ad claiming the bill would shortchange millions of seniors.

This ad, which is sponsored by America’s Health Insurance Plans, screams for context.
As we’ve written previously, it’s true that about 10 million seniors are on Medicare Advantage, as the ad says, which means they’ve chosen to get their benefits from a private insurer instead of through the fee-for-service route that 78 percent of Medicare recipients use.

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.