Debunking Conservative Health Reform Myths


Today, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold confirmation hearings for former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

In advance of the confirmation, conservatives have been actively filling the nation’s leading newspapers with editorials attacking Daschle and misrepresenting the consequences and implications of expanding access to affordable health care coverage.

In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, for instance, Karl Rove warned that Obama’s health care appointments suggested that he would “run to the extremes with government-run health care.” Other conservatives have falsely suggested that Obama’s health reforms would “build more federal bureaucracy, impose price controls, restrict medicines and technology, boost taxes, mandate the purchase of health insurance, and expand government health care.”

In a new report released today, the Wonk Room identifies and debunks the right-wing’s most widely circulated myths about reform. Here is a sampling:

– MYTH: “The Left’s idea of limiting Medicare spending is to have bureaucrats tell Mom she cannot have the cancer treatment she wants.” [Washington Times, 12/28/2008]

REALITY: Research into the comparative effectiveness of treatments can identify the procedures that provide the best results at the lowest cost. Currently, at least one-third of medical procedures have questionable benefits, according to the Rand Corporation. [Rand Corporation, 1998]

– MYTH: Affordable health reform would “cancel private coverage and care.” [Heritage Foundation, 12/04/2008]

REALITY: According to the Urban Institute, private insurers who “offer a superior product through high levels of efficiency, satisfaction in consumer preferences and ease of access to quality medical services” will thrive in a reformed market. The presence of a well-run and effective public plan will incentivize innovation in cost containment and service delivery. [Urban Institute, 10/03/2008]

Read the full report here.