I am a stay-at-home mom and semiretired attorney. Congressman Robert Dold called last week and asked me to stay on the line for his "telephone town hall." As I joined, Dold complained that the opposition is falsely claiming that Republicans would "end Medicare as we know it." This is such a blatant lie, according to Dold, that PolitiFact labeled it their "2011 Lie of the Year." Dold said we could look it up online. PolitiFact.com is an independent organization that fact-checks political claims, reserving a "pants-on-fire" rating for extreme falsehoods.
At Dold's urging, I looked it up. I found a PolitiFact article headed, "Want to Invoke Our Lie of the Year? Get It Right." Dold got it wrong. PolitiFact's Lie of the Year was the claim that Republicans voted to end Medicare entirely, not that their proposals would "end Medicare as we know it." PolitiFact concluded that Republican proposals would indeed "end Medicare as we know it." This is because they would preserve Medicare for people 55 and older, but give vouchers instead of benefits to those under 55.
Dold also complained that the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") would establish a panel of 15 bureaucrats who would "come between you and your doctor." Dold got that one wrong, too. PolitiFact also has found that this claim is false. The new law's Independent Payment Advisory Board, whose members will be subject to Senate confirmation, will focus on cost control recommendations, not micromanaging patient care.
Dold's talking points are not just wrong on their face. They are wrong according to PolitiFact, the very source he cited as authoritative. He could have looked it up, but obviously didn't. My personal Truth-O-Meter rating for Congressman's Dold's call? Pants on fire!