A new test for Fred Hiatt and the Washington Post

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Jonathan Chait points out that today's Washington Post includes an op-ed in which Martin Feldstein claims President "Obama has said that he would favor a British-style 'single payer' system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry."

That, as Chait and Paul Krugman note, is altogether untrue. False. Wrong.

Chait explains:

Obama has never said that he favors a British-style health care system. Britain does not have a single-payer system. It has a socialized system, where the government directly employs all health care providers. Indeed, if you follow the link in Feldstein's own column, it says, "A single-payer system would eliminate private insurance companies and put a Medicare-like system into place where the government pays all health-care bills with tax dollars." Does Medicare own hospitals and pay doctors government salaries? No. Professor Feldstein, please stop writing about topics you know nothing about.

And Krugman:
Single-payer, as anyone who has paid the least bit of attention to the health care debate knows, means a system like Medicare, in which the government pays the bills. It absolutely does not mean a British-style system — and Obama definitely didn't advocate anything of the sort.
[I[f I misstated the facts like this in the Times, I'd be required to publish a correction. Will the Post require that Feldstein retract his claim?
When they write up that correction, the Post should include an explanation of how such a glaring falsehood made it into the paper in the first place.
Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
The Washington Post
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