Friday, August 28, 2009

Scare tactics are nothing new when it comes to health care reform

Via Kaiser Health News:

Just like in earlier attempts to overhaul the American health system, opponents have turned to scare tactics, a strategy with a success rate in the history of blocking health reform, NPR reports. "It's really a case of deja vu," political scientist Jonathan Oberlander tells NPR. "You hear in today's debate echoes of the past that extend all the way to the early part of the 20th century."

Back in 1915, as the First World War loomed, opponents linked health reformers to the German emperor, saying it was a plot to take over the United States, he said. In the 1940s, the American Medical Association said reform efforts would pave the way for the communist Red Army. When the Clinton administration attempted reform, insurance companies brought out the Harry and Louise ads to "sow seeds of doubt in the public" (Rovner, 8/28).

CQ Politics has a video fact-checking "some of the claims made by both sides in the health overhaul debate" (Wayne and Satter, 8/28). 

"As Congress considers multiple versions of health reform, misunderstanding and falsehoods have crept into the national debate," The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer reports. While President Obama has rejected the "phony claims" that illegal immigrants would receive health coverage, that the federal government would pay for abortions and that the overhaul was a government takeover, more than half of people in a recent poll said they believed each of those claims. A panel of experts (including NPR's Rovner) rebut the claims (Suarez, 8/28). 


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