Monday, February 24, 2020

Nothing To See Here: Sanders blasts health insurance "profiteering"

While researching PolitiFact's false accusation that Democratic presidential candidate used "bad math" to criticize the budget gap created by fellow candidate Bernie Sanders' spending proposals, we stumbled over a claim from Sen. Sanders that was ripe for fact-checking.

Sanders said his proposed health care plan would end profiteering practices from insurance and drug companies that result in $100 billion or so in annual profits (bold emphasis added):
Just the other day, a major study came out from Yale epidemiologist in Lancet, one of the leading medical publications in the world. What they said, my friends, is Medicare for all will save $450 billion a year, because we are eliminating the absurdity of thousands of separate plans that require hundreds of billions of dollars of administration and, by the way, ending the $100 billion a year in profiteering from the drug companies and the insurance companies.
PolitiFact claims to use an "Is that true?" standard as one of its main criteria for choosing which claims to check.

We have to wonder if that's true, or else how could a fact checker pass over the claim that profiteering netted $100 billion in profits for those companies? Do fact checkers think "profit" and "profiteering" are the same thing?

Is a fact checker who thinks that worthy of the name?

Sanders' claim directly implies that the Affordable Care Act passed by Democrats in 2010 was ineffective with its efforts to circumscribe insurance company profits. The ACA set limits on profits and overhead ("medical loss ratios"). Excess profits, by law, get refunded to the insured.

Sanders said it's not working. And the fact checkers don't care enough to do a fact check?

Of course PolitiFact went through the motions of checking a similar claim, as we pointed out. But using "profiteering" in the claim changes things.

Or should.

Ultimately, it depends on whether PolitiFact has the same interest in finding falsehoods from Democrats as it does for Republicans.

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