Kevin Drum says that Paul Ryan is “just flatly lying” when he claims that his plan would give seniors the same sort of health coverage Members of Congress have.

This seems like an unnecessarily rude way to make the point. True, there is a difference. Under the Congressional plan the government pays 75% of the tab, leaving 25% for the employee. Those proportions are fixed even as health care costs rise. Under the Ryan plan the government will pay a pre-determined amount, which will grow more slowly than premiums, so
in 2030 the government will be paying only 32%, leaving 68% for the insured.

In other words, the people covered under the Ryan play would pay two and a half times as large a share of their costs as Members of Congress pays.

But is it really fair or civil to call the claim that a plan under which people pay 68% of the tab is “just like” a plan under which they pay 25% of the tab a “lie”? When Kevin says “flatly lying,” or the WaPo awards Two Pinocchios, they’re contributing to the incivility that plagues American political life. As Ryan’s spokesman points out, it’s all a matter of what “just like” means.
Ryan wasn’t lying. He was … that is … he was just … ummm … you see, it’s a matter of interpretation … and if the CBO number … he was …

To Hell with it. He was, and is, lying. Like a rug. And any news story that reports his assertion without adding [This is not so.] is helping him lie.

[Cross-posted at SameFacts]

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Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.