Commentary: Scare tactics in health care debate are wrong

Alaskans are beginning to see television ads meant to frighten Americans into opposing reform of our health care system. The ads, from "Americans for Prosperity," a national special interest group that lobbies for limited government, are misleading, at best.

Sen.Mark Begich, D-Alaska, debunked an anti-reform ad airing on local television that warns: "Tens of millions will lose their current insurance and wind up on the government health plan." "Those claims are just not true," Begich said in a written statement. "No one who's paying attention to the discussion in Congress thinks that will happen." Reform plans being considered in Congress build upon the system of private health insurance that is already in place.

A video on YouTube shows another wrong-headed ad paid for by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, featuring a woman identified as a Canadian citizen. The woman says, "I survived a brain tumor. But if I relied on my government for health care, I would be dead."

The idea behind the ad is that you're more likely to die in Canada than the United States for lack of timely medical care. But exactly the opposite is true, according to a 2007 study by the Commonwealth Fund.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.