We’ve seldom seen a piece of legislation so widely misrepresented, and misunderstood, as the new health care law. We stopped counting the number of articles and items we turned out on the subject after the total reached 100.
Some of that is understandable. The debate went on for more than a year, while the different House and Senate bills changed their shape constantly. The final law was the product of an awkward two-step legislative dance that first enacted the Senate’s version, then quickly amended it with a reconciliation "fix." No wonder people are confused.
And even now the misrepresentations continue. The new law is no longer a moving target, but some opponents persist in making false or exaggerated claims about it. Our inboxes are filled with messages asking about assertions that the new law:
- Requires patients to be implanted with microchips. (No, it doesn’t.)
- Cuts benefits for military families and retirees. (No. The TRICARE program isn’t affected.)
- Exempts Muslims from the requirement to obtain coverage. (Not specifically. It does have a religious exemption, but that is intended for Old Order Amish.)
- Allows insurance companies to continue denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. (Insurance companies have agreed not to exploit a loophole that might have allowed this.)
- Will require 16,500 armed IRS agents to enforce. (No. Criminal penalties are waived.)
- Gives President Obama a Nazi-like "private army." (No. It provides a reserve corps of doctors and other health workers for emergencies.)
- "Exempts" House and Senate members. (No. Their coverage may not be as good as before, in fact.)
- Covers erectile-dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. (Just as it was before the new law, those no longer in jail can buy any insurance plan they choose.)
- Provides federal funding for abortions. (Not directly. But neither side in the abortion debate is happy with the law.)
For details on these claims about the new law, please read our Analysis section.
I am sure none of this will satisfy those believing in conspiracies of the "Fact" that Obama is out to get them. This is another example of the need to "Read Widely". Listen to some right wing radio, read a liberal newspaper, watch Jon Stewart and Fox News. Look up source material on C-SPAN.org and Thomas.gov. Do your job as a citizen and educate yourself on the issues before you repeat some rumor.
Get the facts, and then help others find the facts too. We will all be better for it!