Politics & Elections
True or False health care questions
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (WABC) -- Certainly if anger yielded answers, we'd have plenty by now when it comes to health care reform.
In terms of answers, the most we have so far, is a number of "plans".
In Washington, President Obama is fighting off what he considers misconceptions and confusion, much of it, involving what's called the public option for health care. It is a big part of the democratic bill currently in the house and it means giving people a new choice. They could forgo their private health insurance company if the government was offering a better plan.
But is this a form of socialized medicine? Most experts say false, because in theory it's designed to increase competition, and drive down all health insurance costs.
"True socialized medicine, means that the government not only finances, but it owns and operates the hospitals. That is not gonna happen in this country," said Dr. Tim Johnson of ABC News.
President Obama goes further to calm fears saying, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
But is this true or false? Experts, Eyewitness News talked to say it's true, in theory.
"We rated that one half-true on our truth-o-meter, he's kind of glossing over the details here," said Bill Adair, with politifact.com.
Details about how the free market could also backfire.
"Let's say, the federal government decides to open a hardware store in your town, and then decides to use the buying power of the pentagon to get the lowest cost, hammers and nails. They're just gonna drive everyone else out of business, that's the concern," said Paul Howard, with the Manhattan Institute.
Now there's also concern when it comes to things like Medicare. For instance protesters and some republicans referring to death panels, suggesting that the democratic plan would dictate whether people live or die.
Is this true or false? Experts say, extremely false...
"We gave that one a 'pants on fire' on our truth-o-meter," adds Adair.
What there is, is a provision for Medicare counseling sessions so patients could make plans for their end-of-life care. As for other big questions, one involves subsidized abortions. Is it true or false that government money would pay for them? Our experts say mostly false. Your premium would supposedly pay for the procedure, but again, without a definitive plan, there is concern. "And even with private plans, that might be subsidized, by the government, maybe abortion would be allowed, so, I have to answer this one as uncertain at this point," adds Dr. Tim Johnson.
Perhaps the toughest question that still remains to be answered involves cost. Is the main plan for healthcare reform really deficit neutral, as the president and some democrats - like to call it? True or false? Our experts say false, because projected costs range from hundreds of billions to a trillion dollars in the next decade. Nevertheless, advocates for the plan insist that if good ideas exist on both sides of the fence, Americans need to hear them now.
"You know, as my friends down south have an expression, they always say, it takes a great man to build a barn, but any jackass can kick it down," says Rep. Anthony Weirner. He adds, " Well that's what we have here. The president and congress are trying to fix health care, our opponents are just trying to stop it."
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