In an earlier post I posted a video of an interview with Betsy “McCoy” from the Keith Olberman show in which she goes on a health care reform rant. The video, unfortunately is no longer working. I’ve had hit after hit on the blog for Betsy McCoy and when I went looking for more information what I found is her name is pronounced McCoy but it is actually spelled McCaughey. I apologize for the confusion but I’m not really sure where I got the spelling McCoy. Looking at the Google hits I wasn’t the only one.
Who is Betsy McCaughey?
Betsy McCaughey, is the chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and former lieutenant governor of New York state. She has put herself on the front lines of the Health Care Reform debate. with commentaries and interviews.
Background on Betsy McCaughey
McCaughey is no stranger to the health care debate. In 1994, she wrote a scathing review of the Clinton administration’s health care plan in the New Republic, a left-leaning magazine, arguing that the proposal would lead to rationing of treatment and would prevent patients from choosing health insurance. Republicans seized on the key points of “No Exit,” forcing the Clintons to issue a response to the article.
She jumped back into the fray earlier this year while Congress was debating a $787 billion stimulus package. In a Feb. 9 Bloomberg op-ed column, McCaughey criticized the bill for including a plan to monitor health treatments to see which are most cost effective. The elderly, she said, would be denied treatment as a result.¹
McCaughey Health Care Claims
In an article entitled Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan McCaughey makes the claim that health care rules will allow your medical treatments to not only be tracked electronically by a federal system but also be monitored by the “new bureaucracy” National Coordinator of Health Information Technology to ensure your doctor is complying with what the government deems appropriate and cost effective care.
(The National Coordinator of Health Information Technology is NOT an evil bureaucracy thought up by the Democrats and Barack Obama. President Bush established the National Health Information Technology Coordinator position with an executive order in April 2004.)
The American College of Physicians counters that claim calling it wrong
The National Coordinator has absolutely no authority to require that physicians submit treatment data to the federal government. Instead, it will work with the private sector to make sure that electronic health records (EHRs) meet standards of usefulness and interoperability – something most physicians and patients should welcome.
The bill also gives physicians the opportunity to apply for Medicare payment subsidies – as much as $40,000 per physician – to help them buy a certified EHR.
Finally, there is nothing in the legislation that gives the federal government the authority to mandate plans of care. SOURCE
In an interview with Fred Thompson, McCoughey makes another outrageous claim:
On the radio show of former Sen. Fred Thompson on July 16, 2009, McCaughey said “Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner.” ²
That claim has been countered as well:
Jon Keyserling, general counsel and vice president of public policy for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which supports the provision, said the bill doesn’t encourage seniors to end their lives, it just allows some important counseling for decisions that take time and consideration.
“These are very serious conversations,” he said. “It needs to be an informative conversation from the medical side and it needs to be thought about carefully by the patient and their families.”
In no way would these sessions be designed to encourage patients to end their lives, said Jim Dau, national spokeman for AARP, a group that represents people over 50 that has lobbied in support of the advanced planning provision.
McCaughey’s comments are “not just wrong, they are cruel,” said Dau.³
Another journalist speaks out about Betsy McCaughey
In researching Ms. McCaughey and trying to figure out her agenda, I ran across an article by Conor Clarke of the Atlantic who had this to say about Betsy:
One of the wackier developments in the recent health care debate has been the sudden return of Betsy McCaughey. Fifteen years ago McCaughey wrote an error-laden piece for the New Republic, a piece the magazine later recanted, that became a rallying cry of the successful effort to kill Clintoncare, and that McCaughey parlayed into a short-lived career as the lieutenant governor of New York. McCaughey’s health-care shtick in 1994 was to brag about having read all 1,000-plus pages of the bill and cite, with Biblical certainty, obscure provisions that made the Clintons look like serial killers.
And now McCaughey is back. And her shtick, like a bug trapped in the amber of the Clinton years, is to brag about having read the entire bill, while pointing to obscure provisions that make all that Obama campaign stuff about hope and change look like an excuse to get into office and start knocking off the elderly. Here she is in the Wall Street Journal, citing page numbers in various bills to equate comparative effectiveness research with “limiting care based on the patient’s age.” Here she is on Fox News, dropping page numbers to claim that the congressional plan will force you out of your current insurance program. And here she is on Fred Thompson’s radio show, ostentatiously citing her reading of the bill to make the claim that “Congress would make it mandatory…that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner,”
From McCoughey’s Website
The following is taken from McCoughey’s website:
She has taught at Vassar College and Columbia University, and produced prize-winning studies while at two think tanks, the Manhattan Institute and later the Hudson Institute.4
I wonder if her time at the right wing think tanks had any influence on her agenda…..and have no doubt, she HAS an agenda.
Information on the Manhattan Institute
The Manhattan Institute received $19,470,416 in grants from 1985-2005, from foundations such as the Koch Family Foundations, the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Foundations, and the Smith Richardson Foundation. The Manhattan Institute does not disclose its corporate funding, but the Capital Research Center listed its contributors as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Exxon Mobil, Chase Manhattan, CIGNA, Sprint, Reliant Energy, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, and Merill Lynch. 5
No corporate influence there….sarcasm intended.
The Hudson Institute
The Hudson Institute is an American, conservative, non-profit think tank founded in 1961, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, by futurist, military strategist, and systems theorist Herman Kahn and his colleagues at the RAND Corporation. It moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1984 and to Washington, D.C., in 2004.
The Hudson Institute is supported by donations from companies and individuals. Corporate contributors include Eli Lilly and Company, Monsanto Company, DuPont, Dow-Elanco, Sandoz, Ciba-Geigy, ConAgra, Cargill, and Procter & Gamble. Other known funders listed in the institute’s 2002 annual report include:
* Ag Processing Inc
* American Crop Protection Association
* American Cyanamid
* Archer Daniels Midland
* ConAgra Foods
* Conrad Black
* CropLife International
* Eli Lilly and Company
* Exxon Mobil
* Fannie Mae
* General Electric Fund
* Lilly Endowment
* National Agricultural Chemical Association
* Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group
* Procter & Gamble
* Sunkist Growers
* Syngenta Crop Protection
* United Agri Products
* Westfield Corporation 6
Notice all the pharmaceutical companies that contribute to the two right wing think tanks?
Expert Claims or Opinion?
Ms. McCoughey is hailed as an expert, well, at least she calls herself an expert, but we have seen time and again that she’s just plain WRONG. She has repeatedly misrepresented sections of the Health Care Reform bill which makes me wonder if she is as expert as she thinks she is or if she just lies. While she is certainly entitled to her opinion she certainly is NOT entitled to her own facts.
Here is a video of Keith Olberman discussing Betsy McCaughey:
UPDATE: August 14, 2009
Another newspaper article picks up on this not being McCaughey’s first rodeo when it comes to spreading disinformation.
False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots
WASHINGTON — The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks.
Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party’s last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.
But the rumor — which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false — was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.
Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton’s health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York’s lieutenant governor).
There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure. REST OF ARTICLE