Political Correction

Rick Scott's Ad Is The Real Joke

June 16, 2009 6:46 pm ET

On June 16, 2009, Rick Scott and his group, Conservatives for Patients Rights, released a new ad titled "Old Joke."  The only joke in the ad is how few facts are included in the 32-second spot.

Scott Didn't Get The Joke Right

Rick Scott: "It's an old joke: 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.' But applied to health care, it could mean taking away your choice." [CPR Ad, "Old Joke," via YouTube.com, accessed 6/16/09]

Scott Only Quoted Part Of The Joke - Omitting The Context That Actually Makes It A Joke

The Joke Was Originally Told By Ronald Reagan.  Ronald Reagan said: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" [QuotationsPage.com, accessed 6/16/09]

Scott Didn't Quote A Reliable Study

Narrator: "Some want the government to offer a health insurance plan, but experts say a government plan could result in 119 million Americans coming off their existing coverage. They'd end up on a government run plan, leaving no choice, and that's no joke." [CPR Ad, "Old Joke," via YouTube.com, accessed 6/16/09]

The "119 Million" Figure Is Gleaned From One Part Of A Report Conducted By An Organization Funded By The Insurance Industry

NPR: Lewin Number Quoted "Hardly Represents The Entirety Of The Report."  According to NPR, the 119 million figure "hardly represents the entirety of the report [Lewin Group Vice President John] Sheils and colleague Randy Haught put out in April. The point of the study was to show that the number of people who would eventually join a government-sponsored public insurance plan would vary - dramatically - depending on how that plan is designed." [NPR, All Things Considered, 6/10/09]

Lewin Study Shows That As Few As 10.4 Million People Could Move To The Public Plan.  According to NPR, the Lewin Group's study shows that "if the public plan is limited to fewer people (perhaps only those in small businesses and individuals), or if the plan pays higher rates to doctors and hospitals, fewer people would join, both because fewer would be allowed and because the plan would be less financially attractive. According to the study, the number of people dropping private coverage could be as low as 10.4 million." [NPR, All Things Considered, 6/10/09]

The Lewin Group Is Owned By Ingenix, A Subsidiary Of A Prominent Health Insurance Company.  NPR reported that the Lewin Group is "a number-crunching consulting group owned by Ingenix, which is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group." [NPR, All Things Considered, 6/10/09]

Scott Didn't Tell The Truth About Health Care Choices

Rick Scott: "Tell Congress any plan that takes away your choice in health care is not an option." [CPR Ad, "Old Joke," via YouTube.com, accessed 6/16/09]

The Inclusion Of A Public Option Would Not Deny Americans Any Choice In Their Health Coverage

Health Expert: "A Public Plan Would Provide An Essential Option" For Americans.  Harold Pollack, public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies, wrote in an op-ed: "A public plan would provide an essential option--and an equally essential backup--for millions of Americans living with chronic illnesses or disabilities." [The New Republic, 3/10/09, emphasis added]

President Obama: "This Is For People Who Aren't Happy With Their Current Plan... Nobody Is Forcing You" To Leave Your Plan.  In a speech to the American Medical Association, President Obama said: "Again, this is for people who aren't happy with their current plan. If you like what you're getting, keep it. Nobody is forcing you to shift. But if you're not, this gives you some new options. And I believe one of these options needs to be a public option that will give people a broader range of choices -- (applause) -- and inject competition into the health care market so that force -- so that we can force waste out of the system and keep the insurance companies honest." [Remarks by the President, 6/15/09; emphasis added]

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