Health Care Reality Check

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The health care debate has generated a lot of crazy talk (Obama wants to kill grandmas! And Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome baby!) So it’s not surprising that the president has launched a website to debunk the lies, dubbed “Health Insurance Reform Reality Check.”

When Obama unveiled a similar site, “Fight the Smears,” during the campaign, it was considered a smart political move. But it’s unclear how effective it actually was.

The problem is that once an idea enters the cable news/blogosphere ether, it’s nearly impossible to kill. One of the stories debunked on “Fight the Smears” was Obama’s birth record. We all know how that turned out. Nor has it stopped people from believing Obama is Muslim, unpatriotic, or tax-happy.

Still, clarification is never a bad thing—and the site could very well persuade members of the masses, if not the wacky fringe.

Currently, the site’s six busted myths range from the fear-mongering (the plan will require euthanasia for old people) to the reasonable (it will cut some Medicare benefits). At least one of the lies it discredits—that reform will lead to a government takeover of health care—has also been debunked by factcheck.org. Still, the site’s video rebuttals would carry more weight if they came from people outside the administration, and had a little less spin.

Only time will tell if this will actually help Obama push through his plan. But one thing’s for sure: When it comes to the paranoia-infused health care debate, a reality check is often in order.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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