Political Correction

60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation

August 08, 2009 11:30 am ET

On Friday August 7, 2009, the conservative 60 Plus organization released an ad meant to encourage senior citizens to oppose health insurance reform.  However, lacking any factual support for their argument, 60 Plus relies entirely on misinformation and scare tactics in order to activate seniors into opposing reform.

60 Plus Ad, "Sacrifice"

"Seniors have sacrificed: surviving the Great Depression, landing at Normandy on D-Day, raising strong families, and protecting our freedom in a dangerous world.  Now in their most vulnerable period, seniors are being asked to sacrifice again." ["Sacrifice" via YouTube, accessed 8/8/09]

President Obama Has Said Medicare Cuts Are Not On The Table

60 Plus Ad, "Sacrifice": "Congress plans to pay for health care reform by cutting $500 billion from Medicare. For seniors this will mean long waits for care, cuts to MRI's, CAT scans and other vital tests." ["Sacrifice" via YouTube, accessed 8/8/09]

President Obama: "Nobody Is Talking About Cutting Medicare Benefits."  During a health care tele-town hall with AARP members, President Obama said:"'Nobody's trying to change what does work in the system...We are trying to change what doesn't work in the system...Nobody is talking about cutting Medicare benefits. I just want to make that absolutely clear,' he said emphatically." [AARP.org, 7/29/09]

And Why Would They Cut Medicare?

Medicare Recipients Report "Higher Overall Satisfaction" Than Those Receiving Private Insurance.  As reported by Health Affairs: "Compared with the employer-coverage group, people in the Medicare group report fewer problems obtaining medical care, less financial hardship due to medical bills, and higher overall satisfaction with their coverage." [Health Affairs, 5/12/09]

Government-Administered Medicare Is Actually More Efficient Than Private Insurance. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance, "a research and advocacy association of insurance carriers," published a report stating: "Administrative costs are lower under Medicare than for private health insurance." The report added, "our best estimates indicate Medicare at slightly above 5% of total Medicare cost in 2003, whereas the government currently reports about 2%... The private market administrative costs are expected to remain at about 9% of total private insurance cost, excluding premium taxes, commissions, and profit. With such items, private costs would be slightly under 17%." [CAHI, Medicare versus Private Health Insurace: The Cost of Administration, 1/6/06]

Congress Does Not Want Seniors To Lose Their Current Physicians

60 Plus Ad, "Sacrifice": "Seniors may lose their own doctors." ["Sacrifice" via YouTube, accessed 8/8/09]

The Most Complete Version Of Health Insurance Reform Legislation Clearly Allows Americans To Keep Their Current Doctors

House Bill Allows For Continuation Of Current Coverage.  According to PolitiFact.com: "The House bill allows for existing policies to be grandfathered in, so that people who currently have individual health insurance policies will not lose coverage." [PolitiFact.com, 7/22/09]

There Is No Government Entity That Will Determine Treatment Based On Cost

60 Plus Ad, "Sacrifice": "The government, not doctors, will decide if older patients are worth the cost."  ["Sacrifice" via YouTube, accessed 8/8/09]

There Is A Federal Council, But It Will Manage Treatment Research, NOT Dictate What Treatments A Patient May Receive.

Council "Will Not Recommend Clinical Guidelines."  The published guidelines for the Council are very clear about the decisions its members will make: The Federal Coordinating Council For Comparative Effectiveness Research "will not recommend clinical guidelines for payment, coverage or treatment." [HHS.gov, 3/19/09, emphasis added]

Comparative Effectiveness Research Is The Comparison Of Medical Treatments.  According to the Washington Post's Business Columnist, Steven Pearlstein, "comparative effectiveness research" refers to "research done by doctors and statisticians who troll through large number of patient records to determine, for any particular disease, which treatments work best." [Washington Post, 2/13/09]

Congress Has ALREADY Voted To Enroll In The Public Option

60 Plus Ad, "Sacrifice": "And the cruel joke here is that many of our politicians are designing a health care plan for the country that they don't want to apply to themselves.  So Congress could get better health care than the rest of us.  Tell Congress, 'don't pay for health care reform on the backs of our seniors - they've sacrificed enough.'" ["Sacrifice" via YouTube, accessed 8/8/09]

Senate HELP Committee Passed Amendment To "Require Members Of Congress To Enroll In The Government-Run Public Plan."  According to Congressional Quarterly, "the panel adopted by 12-11 an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would require members of Congress to enroll in the government-run public plan created by the legislation. 'We should take the lead, sacrifice and demonstrate our faith on how good we think this will be, Coburn said." [Congressional Quarterly, 7/14/09, subscription required]


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