American Spectator magazine taken to task

The Loch Ness Monster

The American Spectator also supposedly found the Loch Ness Monster. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The American Spectator, a conservative political journal, has been taken to task in the media over a story it ran about the health care reform bill. The American Spectator reported a Health and Human Services report indicated the health care reform bill would be economically harmful, and the HHS report was quashed by the staff of Kathleen Sebelius. The journal seemed to indicate the White House willfully disregarded the idea the bill would run up huge tax debt to pay for health care.  The American Spectator report was taken to task for being completely unfounded.

American Spectator blasted for spurious source

The article in question ran Monday, April 26, on the American Spectator website. It asserted that an anonymous source revealed that the Department of Health and Human Services had a report that was stifled before the vote on the health care reform bill in March. The claim is that Sebelius’ staff refused to review it and intentionally neglected to do so.

Putting words in anonymous mouths

The anonymous HHS source said “The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote” and that publishing the report before the vote was “actually the point of having a review like this, you would think.” The source wasn’t named, but the American Spectator mentioned the report was conducted by the actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid office.

Medicare and Medicaid Chief Actuary sounds off

According to ABC News, the chief actuary for Medicare and Medicaid indeed had something to say.  Richard Foster, Chief Actuary for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, blasted the report by the American Spectator as being completely bogus.  “I don’t know how that rumor got started,” he said, “but it’s completely unfounded.”

Richard Foster and the real report

The Spectator failed to mention that Richard Foster received the bill three days before it was voted on, nowhere near enough time to study it, or for the alleged report to have been compiled. Foster did submit a report that indicated the bill would be unsustainable due to costs. However, the report wasn’t published until the April 22, a month after the Office of the Chief Actuary actually received the bill for analysis.

Shock and awful reporting

There was enough inflammatory rhetoric about the health care reform bill without making anything up.  (The death panels thing was a real gem.) What is certainly troubling is that the government would pass such legislation before an economic analysis could be completed before voting on it.  It is also troubling that the bill would mandate purchasing insurance, which would be delivered by private insurers being paid with subsidized funds.  Wait a minute – wasn’t the insurance industry supposed to lose money?

Other recent posts by bryanh