Sunday, March 11, 2012

Piquing PolitiFact: Who knew? Preventive care doesn't save money! (Updated)

The blogger with whom I share the PolitiFact Bias blog, Jeff Dyberg, discovered an apparent contradiction in PolitiFact's reporting on health care reform.

In 2009 and recently in 2012, PolitiFact ruled it "False" that preventive health care saves money.

Jeff discovered a 2008 story in which PolitiFact reported that preventive care saves money.

PolitiFact, 2008 (bold emphasis added):
Obama's plan essentially takes today's system and seeks to expand it to the uninsured. It creates national pools for individuals to buy their own cheaper insurance. It increases eligibility for the poor and children to enroll in initiatives like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. And it has several strategies to rein in costs for everyone, such as streamlining medical record-keeping and emphasizing preventive care. 
 In 2008, PolitiFact went along with the accepted wisdom that preventive care saves money.

Perhaps the 2008 story needs a correction?  The responsible thing would be to let PolitiFact know about the problem.  How can they fix the problem if they don't know about it?

March 8, 2012:
Dear Angie Drobnic Holan,
cc Amy Hollyfield

My friend Jeff Dyberg just found something interesting, and it has us wondering. 

Here's what he found in a 2008 PolitiFact article (yours):

"And it has several strategies to rein in costs for everyone, such as streamlining medical record-keeping and emphasizing preventive care."

As you're probably aware, PolitiFact has since ruled it "False" that preventive care saves money. 

The question, then, is how PolitiFact's process led it from reporting as a matter of fact that preventive care saves money to fact checking the same claim.  Did the news cycle generate the question or did somebody at PolitiFact suddenly question the prevailing assumption without external prompting?

The secondary question is whether the 2008 item will warrant a correction.  I think we both know the answer to that one.  ;-)
 It's still early.  We'll see what happens.


Update 1: 

Jeff Dyberg notes in the commentary section that The New York Times weighed in earlier this month with a story suggesting that PolitiFact's first example of a cost-saving measure, moving to electronic record-keeping, may not cut costs any more than does preventive care:
Computerized patient records are unlikely to cut health care costs and may actually encourage doctors to order expensive tests more often, a study published on Monday concludes.
It's a good thing for the health care overhaul that there are still other cost-saving measures like the CLASS Act and the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

4 comments:

  1. By the way, I hope the "streamlining medical record keeping" portion doesn't include EMR, because as those Tea Party Extremists over at the New York Times have noted:

    "Computerized patient records are unlikely to cut health care costs and may actually encourage doctors to order expensive tests more often..."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/business/digital-records-may-not-cut-health-costs-study-cautions.html?_r=2&hp

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  2. I'm blocking you, Jeff Dyberg, for your constant negativity, lack of substantiated claims and childish personal attacks on people.

    So there.

    Other than that, good point.

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  3. You forgot to tell me to troll my Ayn Rand garbage elsewhere:)

    ReplyDelete

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