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Politifact Names Mediscare the Lie of the Year

John on December 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

Politifact is pretty transparent. A year ago they claimed a government takeover of health care was the lie of the year because having government assume control of regulating every plan and indeed create all the categories of plans and regulate the entire market for insurance is not a government takeover. It’s just…who the hell knows. But it’s not a takeover because it’s not single payer. Only single payer counts as a takeover according to Politifact.

So now, in what looks like a desperate attempt to claim they are balanced and unbiased, Politifact has turned the tables and labeled Mediscare their new lie of the year:

After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables.

PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.

Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.

It’s the third year in a row that a health care claim has won the dubious honor. In 2009, the winner was the Republicans’ charge that the Democrats’ health care plan included “death panels.” In 2010, it was that the plan was a “government takeover of health care.”

There are two issues here. Do Democrats use Mediscare unfairly? Yes, and as the Poltifact article notes they have been since at least 1952. That’s a fact and we didn’t need Politifact’s help in seeing it. As for the lie of the year, I’m not convinced. I think Democrats have a good case that Paul Ryan’s plan did end Medicare as we know it. It certainly was a major change to Medicare, though Democrats may have accidentally forgotten to point out that Medicare wasn’t actually going to end.

And here’s the thing…we need to end Medicare as we know it because it’s bankrupting the country. Democrats continue to pretend that’s not the case but it is. We’ve got less than a decade before Medicare is broke, maybe much less. We need to end it as we know it or we’re all screwed.

What I think the last couple years really shows is that some of these issues can’t be settled as black and white and Politifact does more harm than good by lending credence to one side of the argument or the other. Did government take over health care in 2010. Yes it did. Was it a complete, single payer takeover of every aspect. No it wasn’t. The same is true this year. Did Republicans vote to end Medicare? No, of course not. Did they vote to end Medicare as we know it, i.e. to actually deal with entitlement reform in a serious way that could balance the budget? Yes they did and that’s something to be proud of.

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