Washingtonpost.com blogger Ed O'Keefe uncritically quoted Betsy McCaughey's false claim from her Bloomberg op-ed that provisions in the House-passed recovery bill would permit the government to “monitor [health] treatments” and restrict what “your doctor is doing” with regard to patient care. In fact, the provisions McCaughey referred to address establishing an electronic records system such that doctors would have complete, accurate information about their patients “to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care.”
In a February 11 entry on the washingtonpost.com Federal Eye blog, blogger Ed O'Keefe asserted that "[f]ormer New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey has caused a stir with a Bloomberg op-ed that raises questions about parts of the economic stimulus package concerning health care and the Department of Health and Human Services." O'Keefe proceeded to uncritically quote McCaughey's false claim that under provisions in the House-passed economic recovery bill, "[o]ne new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and 'guide' your doctor's decisions." In fact, the language in the House bill that McCaughey referred to does not establish authority to “monitor treatments” or restrict what “your doctor is doing” with regard to patient care but, rather, addresses establishing an electronic records system such that doctors would have complete, accurate information about their patients “to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care.”
Indeed, CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen reported during the February 11 edition of CNN Newsroom, “I had a PDF of the bill up on my computer. I said, 'Show me where in the bill it says that this bill is going to have the government telling your doctor what to do.' And [McCaughey] directed me to language -- it didn't actually say that.” Cohen added, “Now when we asked the folks who wrote this bill, 'Hey, is this bill going to allow the government to tell doctors what to do?' they used words like 'preposterous' and 'completely and wildly untrue.' ”
As Media Matters for America has documented, numerous media figures have advanced McCaughey's misrepresentations of the recovery bill's health care provisions, including nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, Internet gossip Matt Drudge, CNN host Lou Dobbs, Wall Street Journal senior economic writer Stephen Moore, Fox News host Glenn Beck, and Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly.