The Washington Post “Fact Checker” squad threw a “Four Pinocchios” flag at a Democrat....so he probably said something liberals don't like. In fact, back-bench presidential candidate John Delaney hyperbolically stated in the first presidential debate that if a “Medicare For All” single-payer health-care system were installed and hospitals were paid at current Medicare rates, “to some extent, we’re supporting a bill that will have every hospital closing.”
One can see how a “fact checker” would dislike such an overstated prediction of doom. (Now try checking “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.") This underlines one of the serious deficiencies of the “fact checkers” in their arrogance: these are projections of future effects. No one has “facts” about the future.
Salvador Rizzo’s Delaney analysis on July 3 concluded:
It’s one thing to claim before millions of television viewers that Medicare-for-all would be a heavy lift on a path of uncertainties, or that some hospitals could close, or that Medicare rates could drain revenue and lead hospitals to cut staff or services.
Those claims are far apart from the full-throttle hyperbole Delaney reached for in the debate. He said all hospitals would close. No health-care expert on any side of the issue backs him up. We raised several factual counterpoints to Delaney’s campaign officials, but they were unmoved.
This is a Four Pinocchio claim.
And yet....if you look at the WashPost Fact Checker video that illustrates this blog post – from a June 3 “fact check” on socialist Bernie Sanders – around three minutes into it, Post staffer Meg Kelly admits “Doctors and hospitals could argue they can’t provide adequate care because they would no long have the funds to cover their costs.”
And she concluded at the 4:45 mark that “without reliable estimates, or consensus among experts, Sanders’ assurance that the average family of four could save somewhere between $12,000 and $28,000 is misleading at best. It only comes to fruition under the best possible circumstances...it could end up being a lot more expensive than he’s saying.”
So when the Post checked Sanders in June, did he also receive Four Pinocchios? No! There were no Pinocchios to be found in that article....Kelly’s points about Bernie “misleading” people weren’t even in the article by Atthar Mirza, which is pretty sneaky stuff. Mirza only concluded “There is really only one certainty when making big changes to the health-care industry: There will be unintended consequences.”
Hence, it’s a terribly imprecise thing to subject to a “fact check.” It’s fine to dig into policy wonkery and guesstimates as explanatory journalism, but not as a “factual” question.
PS: A conservative would argue that it's factually wrong to even advertise it as "Medicare for All," since inevitably that this humongous version of Medicare would deny care, just as the current Medicare system does. You won't feel like you're in the "All" if your claim gets denied.