Making sense of health reform rumors

The New York Times‘ Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn do their best to help regular folks understand the increasingly polarized and acrimonious debate over health care reform, in which “Each side hopes to win ground by boiling down one of the most complex policy discussions in history into digestible nuggets.”

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Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Pear and Herszenhorn offer a few nuggets of their own, including:

  • Despite what Democrats may say, it is not absolutely guaranteed that people will be able to keep their current coverage when reform passes.
  • With the public option far from assured and private insurers almost certainly having a role in any new health order, Republican claims of “socialized medicine” are overblown.
  • It’s tough to tell exactly what the fiscal impact of the legislation will be, especially in light of the fact that some spending increases fix Medicare problems that would have had to be fixed by any administration.
  • AARP says rumors that reform would limit end-of-life care and even encourage euthanasia are “flat-out lies.”
  • Abortion is a murkier issue, but it looks like most proposals would maintain the status quo in terms of federal funding of such procedures.

AHCJ president Trudy Lieberman, writing for CJR.org, offers her consumer protection primer to help reporters explain to their readers what the consumer protections President Obama promised will mean for them and for reform.

And, of course, the White House has launched a Web site dedicated to combatting all the claims and rumors floating around out there.

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