A striking lie-to-claim ratio

A STRIKING LIE-TO-CLAIM RATIO…. Rep. Sue Myrick (R) from North Carolina delivered the weekly Republican address this morning, and while these addresses are largely meaningless, I was struck by how many falsehoods she was able to fit into a 369-word speech.

” Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew something was wrong with my body — but it took six doctors, three mammograms and one ultrasound before they finally they found my cancer. This process took only a few weeks.

“Under the government-run healthcare system they have in Canada and the United Kingdom, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get those tests so quickly…. When it comes to life-threatening diseases like cancer, delay could mean death.”

In our reality, no one is proposing a Canadian or British-style system. Myrick, a member of Congress engaged in the debate, should probably be trying to keep up on these pesky details before delivering an address on health care policy on behalf of her party.

More importantly, Myrick’s argument is absurd to the point of insult. Her emphasis on breast cancer is admirable, but her regard for the facts is not — in our current system, millions of women without coverage are less likely to even receive mammograms. Those with breast cancer and no insurance receive late diagnoses, require more extensive treatment, and die sooner. There are lengthy delays for women without coverage, which, to borrow the congresswoman’s words, often means death.

As Harold Pollack recently explained, “Women in other industrial democracies do not go bankrupt because they have breast cancer. That’s an everyday occurrence across America — among both insured and uninsured citizens. Democratic health reform bills will not create ‘nationalized healthcare’ or a single-payer system. The current bills are surely imperfect. They would provide every woman the opportunity to buy affordable and decent insurance that covers diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.”

Myrick added:

“Replacing your current healthcare with a government-run system is not the answer.

“These so-called healthcare reform bills have different names: a public option, a co-op, a trigger. Make no mistake, these are all gateways to government-run healthcare.”

She keeps using the phrase “government-run,” but it doesn’t mean what she thinks it means. Until Myrick is prepared to denounce Medicare and the VA, this is just rhetorical nonsense. As for a public option and co-ops being the same thing, it’s good to be reminded that under no circumstances does the GOP want any competition for private insurers at all.

Myrick went on to say:

“For small business owners, these proposals mean higher taxes at a time when unemployment is nearing 10% and analysts are predicting that any kind of recovery will be a jobless one.

As a former small-business owner, I can tell you from experience, that this is the worst possible time to be imposing new, job-killing taxes.”

None of this makes any factual sense. Health care reform wouldn’t punish small businesses, and no one is talking about raising taxes during the recession. It’s as if Myrick has no idea what’s going on in this debate.

“And for seniors, expect massive cuts to Medicare; which is unacceptable under any circumstances.”

Really, “any circumstances”? Because Myrick was in Congress in 1995 and 1996, and she supported the proposed Gingrich cuts to Medicare. I guess she’s changed her mind.

“All of this comes at a price tag of roughly $1 trillion in the midst of a year in which the government continues to set new records for red ink.”

“In the midst of a year” makes it sound as if we’d spend $1 trillion in 2010. In reality, the costs would likely be less than $1 trillion, they’d be spread out over a decade, they wouldn’t start for quite a while, and they wouldn’t add to the deficit.

Sue Myrick, in other words, in a very brief weekly address, included several claims, all of which are completely wrong. Not kinda sorta wrong, but demonstrably false. They’re the kind of things someone who doesn’t know anything about health care reform might say.

It is, I’m afraid, the most frustrating aspect of the debate — one side keeps lying. We can’t get to a meaningful discussion of provisions and consequences, because we’re stuck arguing about manufactured nonsense.