You're going to hear a lot in coming days about repealing the new health care reform law. Republicans who now control the U.S. House say it's their top priority. But chances are that much of what you'll hear or have heard about the law is wrong.
This is not to say there aren't flaws to be fixed. It doesn't do enough, for instance, to hold down medical costs. But a good bit of the opposition we're hearing is based on misinformation, such as:
Government takeover. The nonpartisan, nonprofit PolitiFact.com website declared the phrase "government takeover of health care" to be the 2010 Lie of the Year. The phrase was coined by a Republican soundbite strategist in spring 2009, and Republican operatives and pundits have used it to powerful effect. It's still a lie.
PolitiFact reporters read the whole 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. "The label 'government takeover' has no basis in reality," says UNC Chapel Hill health policy Professor Jonathan Oberlander.
The system will still rely mostly on private insurers and employer-provided coverage. The government won't seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors. Yes, it involves regulation. But think about it: Regulators tell electric utilities what they can charge, and the Federal Aviation Administration sets strict rules for airlines, but that isn't called a "government takeover."
Deficit, deficit. The anti-health-care deficit hawks are talking out of two sides of their mouths. The health care reforms are projected to shrink the deficit.
Repealing health care reform will add to the deficit by an estimated $230 billion over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The people spoke. You hear much rhetoric that voters' message was to repeal the changes. But polls don't support that.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has polled monthly about views on health reform and repeal. In six of the past nine months, more people supported health care reforms than didn't, although for five of the nine months the results were extremely close. (December's was 42 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed, 18 percent uncertain or not answering.)
We doubt many Americans want a repeal that would mean:
People with pre-existing conditions, including children and pregnant women, could once again be refused coverage.
Adults up to age 26 couldn't be covered on parents' health insurance policies.
Medicare Part D beneficiaries entering the coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole" would lose the new, 50 percent discount on eligible brand-name prescription drugs.
A small business tax credit - already spurring companies with fewer than 25 employees to offer insurance - would end.
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