Oct 19, 2010
Fact checking the lies of Rob Steele
The latest victim of U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, - extremist teabagger Republican Rob Steele - continues to lie about his positions and the historic health insurance reform bill.
His latest lie, according to his Facebook page, is that “Congress being too busy to include necessary Tort Reform in the Dingell-Pelosi Health Care bill.”
Ah, the favorite Republican false talking point. As a physician, paying for malpractice insurance may cut into Steele’s already huge profits, but it has almost zero effect on health care costs.
The health economists and independent legal experts who study the issue say that malpractice liability costs are a small fraction of the spiraling costs of the U.S. health care system, and that the medical errors that malpractice liability tries to prevent are themselves the real cost; both to the injured patients and to the health care system as a whole. In fact, alleged “tort reform” ads less than one-half of 1 percent to health care costs.
Tom Baker, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and author of “The Medical Malpractice Myth” said alleged “tort reform” is really just a distraction.
“So we’re not talking about real money,” he told the Washington Independent. “It’s small relative to the out-of-control cost of health care.”
Republicans like to point out that doctors do extra or defensive medical tests to protect themselves from malpractice and lawsuits, but I’m at a loss as to why that’s a bad thing. Don’t we want doctors to be more careful? That’s why they get sued; because they were careless.
Baker also says that’s not a bad thing.
“Like defensive driving, some defensive medicine is good,” he said. “To change behavior. When you drill down those studies, you see that what it means is, doctors are more careful with patient records. They spend more time with the patient. They’re more careful to say hello and goodbye to the patient. That’s good.”
Steele also continues to try and fool people into believing he has the support of labor and the United Steel Workers (USW) union by calling his volunteers “SteeleWorkers” despite the USW sending him a letter earlier this month asking him to cease and desist from misrepresenting them, adding Steele "is not a friend to working families,” and is “only trying to deceive voters.”
Just on Saturday he posted photos on his FB page saying, “My SteeleWorkers were out again working hard at Homecoming, Saturday.”
When Steele was busted, and the Detroit Free Press ran a brief on Steele trying to misrepresent himself, his campaign manager blamed the volunteers; claiming it was “coined by volunteers spontaneously and isn't meant to mislead anyone,” even though Steele made up a logo and asked them to use it. This latest use of it proves he is continuing to lie.
Don’t forget the debate between Dingell and Steele at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow October 20 at the La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theater on the campus of Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd. Steele has already chickened out of one debate, but he should be shamed into showing up this time.
Speaking of events, former Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Rivers is co-hosting a fundraiser for Dingell from 2-5 p.m. Sunday Oct. 24 in Ypsilanti. Call (202) 347-3042 for further information.
You will recall that when Michigan lost a congressional seat after the 2000 Census, Republicans gerrymandered the districts to pit the incumbents Rivers and Dingell together in the new 15th District in 2002. Republicans knew then and now that the only way to beat Dingell was with another Democrat.
Dingell won that race, and it was the closest race Dingell has had in many years. But Rivers thinks enough of him to host a fundraiser for the man who retired her.