Health Care Reality Check

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The health care debate has generated a lot of crazy talk (Obama wants to kill grandmas! And Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome baby!) So it’s not surprising that the president has launched a website to debunk the lies, dubbed “Health Insurance Reform Reality Check.”

When Obama unveiled a similar site, “Fight the Smears,” during the campaign, it was considered a smart political move. But it’s unclear how effective it actually was.

The problem is that once an idea enters the cable news/blogosphere ether, it’s nearly impossible to kill. One of the stories debunked on “Fight the Smears” was Obama’s birth record. We all know how that turned out. Nor has it stopped people from believing Obama is Muslim, unpatriotic, or tax-happy.

Still, clarification is never a bad thing—and the site could very well persuade members of the masses, if not the wacky fringe.

Currently, the site’s six busted myths range from the fear-mongering (the plan will require euthanasia for old people) to the reasonable (it will cut some Medicare benefits). At least one of the lies it discredits—that reform will lead to a government takeover of health care—has also been debunked by factcheck.org. Still, the site’s video rebuttals would carry more weight if they came from people outside the administration, and had a little less spin.

Only time will tell if this will actually help Obama push through his plan. But one thing’s for sure: When it comes to the paranoia-infused health care debate, a reality check is often in order.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate