Steven Pearlstein on the food chain of health care misinformation:
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From Pearlstein's Washington Post column:
" 'Stimulus' bill may change health care forever," blared the headline in the Washington Times over a commentary written by Amy Menefee, communications director for the Galen Institute, a nonprofit think tank that aims to bring free-market ideas to the health-care debate.
"Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan," warned Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and adjunct senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, in a commentary distributed by Bloomberg News several days later.
No sooner had the McCaughey commentary hit the tape then -- what a coincidence! -- radio bloviator Rush Limbaugh was quoting it on his syndicated show, warning that under the world envisioned by the Obama stimulus bill, old people would be denied all costly medical treatments under a new "duty to die" regime meant to save taxpayer money. The McCaughey commentary also got a prominent mention by uber-blogger Matt Drudge.
The next day, the Wall Street Journal's senior economics writer, Stephen Moore, was on Fox News warning that the stimulus bill would put the government in control of what medical treatments you and your family would be allowed to receive. That set the stage for Megyn Kelly's interview with Sen. Arlen Specter, who was virtually browbeat by the anchor until he promised that "we are not going to let the federal government monitor what doctors do."
The Journal's editorial page picked up the campaign the next day, drawing the line of causation from electronic health records -- another beneficiary of the stimulus bill -- to comparative health records to government price controls and then a government-run "health tech monopoly."