Good To Know

It’s nice to get definitive proof that some bloggers really don’t bother to do basic research before posting something, and we got some today. Here’s a scary article from Investment Business Daily:

“It didn’t take long to run into an “uh-oh” moment when reading the House’s “health care for all Americans” bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal. (…)

Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:

“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.”

That sounds scary! It also sounds completely implausible. So I went and looked at the actual bill, and there that paragraph was, on p. 16, in a section defining the term “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”. The fact that it’s in a definition might lead readers to conclude that it doesn’t mean that you can’t buy individual insurance after the bill takes effect, but only that you can’t buy such insurance and have it meet the bill’s definition of “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”. There is a difference.

“Grandfathered Health Insurance” is mentioned in Sec. 102, Sec. 202, and Sec. 401. Unless my search engine has melted down, these are the only mentions of “Grandfathered Health Insurance” in the bill. None of them even comes close to banning private individual insurance. Check for yourselves.

Here are some bloggers who repeated IBD’s claims: Instapundit (he updated after a reader pointed out his mistake), Meredith Jessup at Townhall, No Sheeples Here! (sic), Patterico, Gateway Pundit, theblogprof (sic), Ed Morrissey (he updates with a correction, but completely doesn’t get why pooling individuals in an exchange lowers premiums. Hint: large risk pool), Say Anything, Michelle Malkin, Jules Crittenden, Right Wing News, Maggie’s Farm, The Astute Bloggers (sic).

Since those claims are so obviously false to anyone who reads the actual bill, or even skims the relevant sections, I conclude that these bloggers did not bother to check them out before they posted. Which is to say: they didn’t bother to do the most basic, rudimentary research that any blogger ought to do.

Tom Maguire, on the other hand, did, and spotted the mistake. Kudos.

This matters. One of the real mistakes many conservatives made, I think, was to dismiss people who disagreed with them. It’s an easy thing to do: by definition, people who disagree with you say things that you think are false, and it’s a short step from ‘false’ to ‘obviously mendacious’, ‘intellectually irresponsible’, ‘flat-out insane’, or something else that means that you just don’t have to take the person in question seriously any more. If you want to keep yourself honest, though, you should listen to the people who disagree with you. But since life is short, it’s nice to find an actual, objective test for things like intellectual irresponsibility, one that lets you just see that some people are, really and truly, intellectually irresponsible, and thus that you can dismiss them forever, and read them only for laughs, while saving your precious free time for others who deserve it more.

This is just such a test. Tom Maguire passed. The other bloggers I listed failed. That’s useful information.