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Columnist not horrible, but surely not good

By Dr. Christopher Hughes
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An email was going around last year, warning voters of yet another unbelievably atrocious component of ObamaCare which, of course, was untrue. I had received the same email from my sister-in-law last November, courtesy of her family, and posted the debunking, courtesy of FactCheck, on my blog. Since these things never die, largely because the right wing noise machine does not want even discredited, bogus charges to die, it came around again to one of our DFA members.

 

The gist of the charge is here, in the original language:

 

The per person Medicare insurance premium will increase from the present monthly fee of $96.40, rising to: $104.20 in 2012; $120.20 in 2013;                                   And $247.00 in 2014. These are provisions incorporated in the Obamacare legislation, purposely delayed so as not to 'confuse' the 2012 re-election campaigns. Send this to all seniors that you know, so they will know who's throwing them under the bus.

 

REMEMBER THIS IN NOVEMBER 2012 & VOTE ACCORDINGLY

 

I actually cut and pasted this into my original blog post, just so people Googling for information would find it, and my post still comes up second when you do this. I've gotten almost 1400 hits on it, so at least some people know the power of The Google in fighting disinformation.

 

As a comedian once said, I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

 

We picked up the local conservative newspaper this Sunday (short version: my niece and her adorable puppy were supposed to be in it -they weren't), Richard Mellon Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune Review. On the front page of the business section, was this article,

"Obamacare not horrible, but surely not good." by Jack Markowitz.

 

OK, so it's not a new 3.5 percent "sales tax" on your house to pay for Obamacare. It's still bad tax policy.

 

A number of readers have pointed out a misstatement in last Sunday's column that possibly scared people. It said the new Affordable Care Act will pay for insuring millions more people by slapping a new tax on the sale of houses.

 

That was too loose a way of stating it. Most sellers will never have to fork over. They're not rich enough.

 

So apparently this seasoned journalist got this in his email:

 

UNDER THE NEW HEALTH CARE BILL – DID YOU KNOW THAT ALL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO A 3.8% “SALES TAX”?

 

YOU CAN THANK NANCY, HARRY & BARACK (AND YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN) FOR THIS ONE.

 

IF YOU SELL YOUR $400,000 HOME, THIS WILL BE A $15,200 TAX.

 

Verified

 

Higher taxes on real estate investments. The 3.8% Medicare surtax would hit average, middle-class investors in real estate. A middle-class taxpayer who happens to sell real estate for a gain in a particular year would be liable for this new tax, regardless of how low her income might be in other, more typical years.

 

Of course, it is BS, and the debunking is here, again courtesy of FactCheck. But did you notice the inscrutable trick that fooled our Trib journalist? It said, "Verified," which seems to be short for "Verified bySnopes,"  which means that this information has been checked and verified by a trusted, independent organization. No need to check for yourself, or for that matter, subject the assertion being promulgated to the "is this so stupid that it burns?" test.

 

Apparently, the reporter and "The Trib" are embarrassed about this little faux pas, as I searched a number of ways and cannot find the original column from just last week on the web site. Good for them, I guess.

 

One of the recurring conversations at our Second Annual Doctors for America Meeting last week was the massive amounts of misinformation and downright scandalous lying that takes place about the Affordable Care Act. We get emails from relatives, or in conversations at family gatherings with some of the most outrageous stuff. Patients, sometimes thinking we will be kindred ideological spirits, share some of it with us.

 

It is good that they ask, for otherwise we can't set them straight. And it's good for you to ask, too, if you're not sure, because we all need to be the educators so that we can keep this train moving forward.

 

Tired of all the myths, misinformation and lies?  Check out the truth about the affordable care act, and then sign up to educate your community as we aim to educate one million Americans about the benefits of health reform. 

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