Hannity falsely claimed Mayo Clinic "slam[med]" Obama's health proposal

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Mayo Clinic "slam[med]" President Obama's health care plan. In fact, the Mayo Clinic did not criticize Obama's health care proposal, and indeed applauded the administration's suggested revisions to the House bill to address Medicare payment rates.

During the July 21 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Mayo Clinic "slam[med]" President Obama's health care plan -- which Hannity referred to at one point as Obama's "nanny state, cradle to the grave, womb to the tomb, nationalized health care socialized system." In fact, the Mayo Clinic did not criticize Obama's health care proposal. In a June 16 statement, the clinic criticized the House bill for "fail[ing] to use a fundamental lever -- a change in Medicare payment policy -- to help drive necessary improvements in American health care," but subsequently applauded the administration's suggested revisions to the House bill to address Medicare payment rates.

Teasing a discussion of the Mayo Clinic's criticism, Hannity falsely claimed that the clinic "slams the president's proposal." In a subsequent tease, Hannity stated: "The president has been praising the Mayo Clinic's model of health care but wait until you hear what they have to say about his nanny state, cradle to the grave, womb to the tomb, nationalized health care socialized system." He then introduced the segment by asserting, "President Obama has made no secret of his admiration for the Mayo Clinic," then aired footage of Obama praising the clinic. Hannity concluded: "It turns out the feeling is not mutual," adding, "Mayo Clinic officials voiced fierce opposition to the health care scheme cooked up by Congress."

In fact, Obama shares the Mayo Clinic's concern about the need to address Medicare payment rates. In a June 2 letter to Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Max Baucus (D-MT), Obama listed several proposals to reform Medicare, including "reducing overpayments to Medicare Advantage private insurers; strengthening Medicare and Medicaid payment accuracy by cutting waste, fraud and abuse; improving care for Medicare patients after hospitalizations; and encouraging physicians to form 'accountable care organizations' to improve the quality of care for Medicare patients." Obama also proposed "giving special consideration" to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to "identify and achieve additional savings." Obama said the commission "could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way."

Subsequently, White House budget director Peter Orszag stated in a July 17 statement that "one of the most potent reforms is a change in the process of health care policymaking: empowering an independent, non-partisan body of doctors and other health experts to make recommendation about Medicare payment rates and other reforms." And in a July 17 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Orszag proposed creating a nonpartisan Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC), which would "have the authority to make recommendations to the President on annual Medicare payment rates as well as other reforms."

In a July 21 entry on its Health Policy blog, the Mayo Clinic wrote, "We applaud the direction" of the Obama administration's IMAC proposal, adding, "This, and other, bold concepts have the potential to 'bend the cost curve' in U.S. health spending without compromising health."

As Media Matters for America has noted, The Washington Times and Fox Nation previously advanced the falsehood that the Mayo Clinic had criticized Obama's health care proposal.

From the July 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

OBAMA [video clip]: The Mayo Clinic -- many of you have heard of -- provides outstanding care, some of the best in the world.

HANNITY: The feeling is not mutual. The Mayo Clinic slams the president's proposal.

[...]

HANNITY: And coming up: The president has been praising the Mayo Clinic's model of health care but wait until you hear what they have to say about his nanny state, cradle to the grave, womb to the tomb, nationalized health care socialized system.

[...]

HANNITY: President Obama has made no secret of his admiration for the Mayo Clinic. In fact, he's repeatedly voiced his enthusiasm for the quality of care provided by the Minnesota-based clinic.

OBAMA [video clip]: There are some places like the Mayo Clinic -- many of you have heard of -- provides outstanding care, some of the best in the world. ... People fly in from everywhere to go to Mayo Clinic. ... Turns out Mayo provides care much more cheaply than a lot of other health systems.

OBAMA [video clip]: Places like Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are able to provide some of the best health care services in the country.

HANNITY: All right. It turns out the feeling is not mutual. Mayo Clinic officials voiced fierce opposition to the health care scheme cooked up by Congress, writing, quote: "The proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. ... The real losers will be the citizens of the United States."

Now Mr. Obama would be wise to listen to the very professionals he has praised so highly.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform, Medicare
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
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