PolitiFact: Lie of the Year | Dec. 17
Takeover isn't same as U.S.-run
PolitiFact appears to confuse "government takeover of health care" with "government-run health care." Critics of the legislation have never said that the government will run the health services of the country. PolitiFact's evidence for this lie of "government takeover" seems to be that health care stays in the hands of private insurers.
Of course it does. But when the government tells private companies who will be their customers, how they will conduct business with those customers, how their income is to be derived and all of the other stunningly detailed regulations, it would seem to me that this bill would, in fact, qualify to be reasonably defined as "government takeover."
It makes me wonder if PolitiFact has actually read the bill. What's in this bill goes much further with government intrusion than other heavily regulated industries. Washington doesn't tell airlines or broadcasters who their customers must be or how they must bill them.
Edward Austin, St. Petersburg
Congratulations on the Lie of the Year. It's time the deception on the health care bill by the Republicans is exposed. Men who use distortion and lies are not the kind of people I want representing me in Washington. Unfortunately this article should have been published months ago, so thinking individuals would know the truth of the bill.
Katharine Diehl, Palm Harbor
The Times can give front-page play and huge amounts of newsprint to the idea that Obamacare is not a government takeover of the health care system, but the bottom line is this: When the government makes you buy this insurance or be punished, that to me is as close to a government takeover as I want to get.
Perry J. Dahl, Tampa
Didn't belong on front page
Your front page "news" basically calling the Republicans liars confirmed your liberal bias. This was an editorial comment and did not belong on the front page. We have yet to know how this bill will actually play out, so your comments are very premature.
Donald Vera, Dunedin
Too little, too late
I agree with PolitiFact's Lie of the Year. It's a shame more media outlets including the Times did not speak out more about this lie when it mattered most, which was before and during the vote on this issue. Maybe if there were enough news organizations countering the loudmouths of the right, this inane talking point could have been drowned out and we could be now enjoying a public option plan that would have helped eliminate the overpriced, underachieving medical system we have today.
Scott McKown, Palm Harbor
It's already happening
I read with dismay the "editorial" denouncing as a lie the "government takeover of health care." I then read the Wall Street Journal editorial on the Food and Drug Administration decision to bar Avastin for approved use for metastatic breast cancer even though oncologists and patients support its use.
I hope the Times recognizes that the denial of this treatment is but one first example of a government takeover of health care. What happened to the talking point that "the government will never come between the decisions of you and your doctor"?
Frank N. Yurasko, Redington Beach
Imposing on liberties
There must be some truth to the so-called lie of the government takeover of health care when Florida's attorney general, along with 19 other states, is suing the government over the mandate that forces people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. If this is not takeover by the government, what is?
According to U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, there are many other ways to provide health care to the needy without imposing on the liberties and freedom of choice of the individual citizen.
Jim Cordea, Largo
Stop the deceptions
I am appalled by the Lie of the Year and disgusted that politicians will knowingly lie to constituents just to assure their own agenda takes precedence. Any politician who knowingly lies to the American public is a threat to our nation and to democracy.
We must insist on holding our elected officials to high standard. If I go to work and knowingly lie to my boss or customers, I would certainly be facing unemployment. Our politicians owe it to us to be forthright in explaining bills to us.
Connie Bruce, Pinellas Park
While it's true that Democrats' response to the big lie was uncoordinated, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., made the best effort to expose Republican hypocrisy on the issue of "government takeover" of health care. As a member of the health subcommittee, he responded to the chorus of Republicans decrying the notion of government-run health care by offering an amendment to the bill that would eliminate the Medicare program. No one voted for it.
If Republicans are serious about getting rid of "socialized" medicine, then they should work to eliminate Medicare, Medicaid and VA hospitals. They could call it "government rejection of health care."
Joseph H. Brown, Tampa
Will they deny treatment?
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is a strong believer that the individual mandate provision of the new health care law is unconstitutional since everyone will be required to have health insurance or pay a fine. One way to eliminate this provision is to do away with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA.
Since 1986, hospitals and ambulance services are required to provide assistance to anyone needing emergency medical treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status, insurance or ability to pay.
Without EMTALA, those who decided to toss the dice on their health care would suffer their own consequences. This idea should appeal to Republicans who expound personal responsibility.
There may be a few who oppose this on moral grounds, including myself, for denying emergency treatment to those who may need it, but this is probably not a concern for the attorney general.
Rick France, Tampa
In the health care debate, President Barack Obama wanted to limit some of the spending that went to Medicare Advantage insurance companies. It was pointed out that Medicare Advantage costs the government significantly more than regular Medicare. Opponents said that Obama was promoting his health care plan on the backs of seniors.
One only has to note the incessant advertising on television and in print, the 30-minute infomercials and, if you are of Medicare age, the dozens and dozens of mailings from Medicare Advantage companies, to see that there must be a very large profit in this insurance segment. It is nearly as bad as the political campaign season was.
Competition can be a good thing, but when this amount of money is spent on advertising, the profit margin must be excessive. In the movement to reduce health care costs, reining in Medicare Advantage companies must be high on the list.
Leonard C. Silva, St. Petersburg