Well, Did Obama Actually Lie Last Night?

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Last night, Rep. Joe Wilson yelled “you lie” when President Obama said his health care reform plan wouldn’t cover illegal immigrants. In fact, Obama was correct — it was Wilson who lied (and later apologized).

But how do the rest of Obama’s claims hold up? A fact check by non-partisan, Pulitzer-prize winning PolitiFact.com shows a mixed bag:

  • “The claim … that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to  kill off senior citizens … is a lie, plain and simple.” TRUE – Obama’s right: No one is creating death panels
  • “It’s a plan that incorporates ideas from many of the people in this room tonight – Democrats and Republicans.” BARELY TRUE – Most of the adopted Republican amendments were minor/technical
  • Preventive care “saves money” FALSE – Covering preventive care for everyone is a net cost
  • If you “already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” TRUE – Plan will not force immediate changes

Something else to recognise: fact-checking a speech for claims about future actions is always something of a folly. Things always have unintended consequences. Empowered regulators do things lawmakers didn’t expect them to do, and doctors/private insurers/employers may all behave in unexpected ways.

More here.

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