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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

September 16, 2007


Why John Stossel is Still a Liar
(or why telling half-truth and lies makes us call "2020" "1010")

Some of you might remember Note From a Madman reporting that John Stossel lied about outsourcing, and his sources, in January 2005. If not, allow me to refresh your memories:

"John Stossel Says:
"A Dartmouth study found that outsourcers actually create jobs in America at a faster rate than companies that don't outsource. The same study found that companies that outsourced abroad ended up hiring twice as many workers at home.
"And now, the Truth:
"The “Dartmouth Study” wasn’t commissioned by Dartmouth University. It was a study by Associate Professor, Matthew Slaughter of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. And guess who actually DID commission the study? The Coalition for Fair International Taxation (C-FIT) commissioned it. And who are the members of C-FIT? There are 26 members of the C-FIT including Hewlett-Packard, Dow Chemical and Electronic Data Systems. Just ask the citizens of Houston, Texas what happened to their city when Hewlett-Packard outsourced their jobs. The 26-member coalition is lobbying for tax breaks, provided by Rep. Bill Thomas, the Republican Ways and Means Committee Chairman’s Bill, to keep jobs and money outside of the USA. Paying taxes outside of the USA does the USA and its citizens no good.
"By the way, this wasn’t a Dartmouth Study. This was a study by a Dartmouth Associate Professor paid for by twenty-six interested third parties. Think of it like this: I’m a network engineer and I work for 123 Company in New Jersey. If a XYZ Company asks me to perform an evaluation of their computer network on my own time, that company couldn’t claim that 123 Company did the evaluation, even though I am an employee of 123 Company. What’s more, if the evaluation that I performed turns out to be incorrect, 123 Company can’t be held responsible for the work I performed at XYZ Company. Who would be held responsible if the report by Associate Professor Matthew Slaughter turns out to be wrong, or even worse, was based on misleading date provided by the 26-member coalition? Will it be Dartmouth University? I don’t think they’d take the rap for that one, but Professor Slaughter would be, and should be looking for a new job. Much like I would be if my computer network evaluation was wrong."

Much in the same way he sought to confuse the issue of outsourcing by muddying the waters with partisan information, Stossel tries to do the same here. In his report on health care, Stossel allow the statement of a health care industry spokesperson to go unchallenged:

"Insurance industry spokeswoman Karen Ignani is eager to report that... Polls show that while people dislike the insurance industry in general, 87 percent of people with health insurance are happy with their coverage. Only 3 percent of health insurance claims are denied, she says."

But what Stossel fails to mention are all of the other polls out there which tell us a different story. Stossel fails to even mention a Washington Post/ ABC poll which tells us a completely different story:

"In an extensive ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll, Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system."

That's right - ABC's own poll shows just what a liar Stossel really is, assuming that omitting the truth is still lying, of course. Doesn't Stossel work for ABC? And other polls tell us a different story relating to claim denials:

"Hospital executives reported that one in five claims submitted, on average, is delayed or denied and 96 percent of all claims must be submitted more than once."
-http://www.healthcareitnews.com/story.cms?id=6726, from a poll by the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey, an independent research firm

Stossel makes many assumptions regarding health care. Without examining any of the 2008 Presidential Candidate's health care plans - and more to the point, the Democratic Candidates - Stossel says that "rationing" will occur if the government is put in charge of health care. In other words, Stossel is putting the health care debate in either "black or white" terms, not allowing for those in the industry to come up with a plan which would allow for a plan which would benefit all Americans, not just the very healthy and the very rich.

"If it's decided that health care should be paid for with tax dollars, then it's up to the government to decide how that money should be spent. There's only so much money to go around, so the inevitable result is rationing."

Stossel says that by "lowering the price to nothing pushes (health care) demand through the roof." But what he doesn't mention is how a lack of health care for those without insurance really taxes the whole heath care system in the US, not to mention our treasury. When someone "waits" or simply doesn't see a doctor because they can't afford it, eventually, their illness will get worse and worse and we're not treating the disease at inception, but when it's too late. We lose valuable resources, beginning with tax dollars, because it's more expensive to treat illness at the later stages than when it might be too late; the doctors, nurses and care facilities which now have to devote their time and efforts to providing for the more seriously ill at these later stages; and ending with the eventual loss of a life which might have been saved had they been able to see a doctor earlier.

What Stossel fails to mention is that we do provide for those with great health care insurance and those who can afford to purchase whatever they need. We also, albeit many times far too late, health care for the indigent, at US taxpayer (a.k.a. the Middle Class) cost. But the Middle Class - those of us paying the lion's share of our incomes into "the system" - are paying more and more out of our own pockets to supplement a system that is geared to provide for those at the top. And we shouldn't have to.

Stossel found the one Canadian woman who, against her doctor's advice, went to the US to get an operation she says saved her life. In actuality, her doctor recommended waiting because Canada makes you wait for elective surgery. Stossel says these operations are considered "elective", when the truth is HER operation was elective. Emergencies are treated immediately in Canadian medicine. This women felt that she needed to be at the head of the line., ahead of others, and she wasn't ashamed of taking her money and spending it here in the US. One has to wonder if, perhaps, that doctor, those nurses and the American facility where her operation was preformed might have had needed that OR for an emergency, or maybe they originally had it scheduled for a pro-bono operation - a last chance for someone with a real life-threatening illness to have a chance at life.

The woman would have had her operation, in the time frame that her doctor says she should have. Funny how Stossel never bothered to interview her Canadian doctor for the piece, huh?

With so many Americans suffering under our current health care system, one might think that a program such as 2020 would offer real advice, other than to say "stay the course". But when Big health care Insurance is buying ad time, what can you do?

Right John?

-Noah Greenberg

King George?

The idea of a "Unitary Executive" is scary. How easily we are sliding into a dictatorship. All it would take is a few more, or even one more, terrorist attack (orchestrated by the Bush team?). I would like to see a nine person Executive branch, similar to the Supreme Court -- 5 -4 decisions. It wouldn't hurt if there were both parties, or more represented. It could include people like Kucinich, who couldn't get elected alone, and I would like to see Gore, Kerry, Edwards, Clinton, Biden, Dodd and Obama, with even McCain, or Romney. They could spend their time reviewing intelligence, etc. discussing possibilities, and then voting on a course of action. No unitary executive vetoes! Not a chance in hell that we would see this change, but a single man shouldn't have this much power -- this is not a monarchy.

-Pat Thompson

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-Noah Greenberg