"The Scream" by Edvard PolitiFact Munch. (photo: mrdorkesq)

Apparently, if I blow up your Ferrari but I replace it with an old Honda Civic, I haven’t actually destroyed your car; at least according to the bizarre logic used by PolitiFact.

PolitiFact is claiming that the DCCC lied when it stated that the Paul Ryan Budget recently passed by House Republicans would end Medicare. From PolitiFact:

Yes, the Republican plan would be a huge change to the current program, and seniors would have to pay more for their health plans if it becomes law. Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have said they are strongly opposed to the plan.

But to say the Republicans voted to end Medicare, as the ad does, is a major exaggeration. All seniors would continue to be offered coverage under the proposal, and the program’s budget would increase every year.


Democrats, including Obama, have said the plan would end Medicare “as we know it,” a critical qualifier. But the 30-second ad from the DCCC makes a sweeping claim without that important qualifier .

Medicare is a defined benefits, universal, government-run health insurance program. The Republican budget would end it and replace it with a very different program, one that provides seniors with just a voucher to buy private insurance.

Yes, the Republican proposals would also technically provide some form of health insurance, but just because you replace what you eliminate with something vaguely similar doesn’t change the fact that you destroyed the original. Just because Republicans would call their new program “Medicare” does not make it Medicare. Yet, it appears PolitiFact, with their demand for the qualifier “as we know it,” has decided words have whatever meaning the Republican Party says they do.

This is a truly absurd standard. According to this logic, if I stripped the paint off the canvas of The Scream and had my four-year-old nephew paint a new picture on it that I called “The Scream,” you can’t say I destroyed “The Scream.” You can only say I ended The Scream “as we know it.”

I assume if the Conservative government in the UK replaced their socialized National Health Service with a voucher to buy private insurance, everyone would agree that constitutes ending the NHS, regardless of political PR spin. The way we, the press, the nation, treat the Republican proposal for Medicare should be no different.