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White House using social media to debunk 'myths' about healthcare reform


As right-wing pundits blanket the airwaves, relentlessly poking holes into every soft and squishy part of the Obama administration's healthcare reform program, the White House is picking up a different megaphone -- the Internet. And it's doing a bang-up job of getting that message out.

The administration has launched a Web page called Health Insurance Reform: Reality Check that disputes popular criticisms of the new policies. The media-rich, well-designed site contains video testimony from advisers and experts.

The White House blasted links to the package out to more than 300,000 fans on Facebook and more than 900,000 on Twitter today. It also sent an e-mail acknowledging "scare tactics" being used to bash the programs. A few hours later, users of the social news site Digg voted Reality Check to the site's homepage. That potentially exposes Reality Check to millions of eyeballs.

The Digg post carries a rather audacious headline -- "Real facts about health care reform from" We had to look twice to make sure this wasn't one of those newfangled "sponsored posts" that the company has been talking about. Nope, it's apparently a legitimate submission by a former Navy submarine sailor named Robert Schumacher.

Anyone who runs a website or blog knows it's a big deal to get "Dugg." But it's not exactly a significant victory for the Obama administration. The Digg audience generally leans pretty far to the left anyway.

Social media sites seem to be helping the White House's message reach a larger populace, but is it the one they need to reach? Our guess is that Rush Limbaugh's listeners aren't regularly surfing Digg's archive of tech news, oddball general interest stories and videos of cats playing musical instruments.

-- Mark Milian

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Comments () | Archives (16)

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You're right about the audience targeting, MM. For example, I have just now read about this supposedly wide effort not from the WH, but from the LAT. Because I follow you, and not them. Choir, meet preacher.

The People knew about Obama and Healthcare BEFORE they elected him. This is a democracy, there was a VOTE, replicans LOST, a private, monopolised and money-grabbing healthcare is NOT what the people wanted and hence Republicans lost. Breath in your loss, get over it and sit at the back. If the Replicans won you would have been happy with the result, well you didn't so suck it up. Work in healthcare for 20 years, then come back and tell me why you think it works, I will tell you why it doesn't. You must never get sick to like US healthcare, if you do get sick you will hate it.

The 'innovative' idea of a 'pay for value / outcome' pack will allow for Quality and affordability
. If you are a physician, and your pay is dependant upon your patient's outcome, you will most likely strive to
prescribe the best medicine earlier in the process, let alone skipping the wasteful, unnecessary risk-carrying
Young folks and advocates need to explain the notion of a pay for outcome agreement to the elderly misled by the

How can the White House debunk myths about Obama-care when it is obvious that no one in the White House has read the bill?

I have read some of the web-site's comments and they are pure lies. How can the American government do this to its citizens?

Obama says that Obama-care will not harm senior citizens. Read the section of the bill beginning on page 424, which goes into detail about forcing seniors into Medicare, then dramatically reducing Medicare's services.

Or the part on 427 that deals with FORCING seniors to attend End of Life counseling every five years, and more often if they are diagnosed with a potentially life threatening disease, and before they are permitted to apply for treatment.

Read the section that outlaws Medicare supplement insurance and makes it illegal for seniors to personally pay for medical procedures that have been declined by the health-care administrator. And, the section that makes it illegal for doctors to perform procedures for seniors that have been declined by the health-care administrator.

Or the part on page 430 that deals with the health-care administrator determining how, when and where seniors citizens will die.

Obama-care is detrimental to your health and your life. Don't rely on Obama's web-site - READ THE BILL!

The Obama administration is controlling and suppressing the truth about heath care! Change!!!

The political right are making progress because of ideas. To call them 'Un-American', as Pelosi did, is shameful and will backfire against her and her confederates. Sure, there's politics here. But, the main reason the president's health care reform plan is faltering is because the American people are getting wise to it and are more skeptical each day. Physicians, like me, have been wary from the start. See. www.MDWhistleblower.blogspot,com

I am so disgusted with the way the Republicans have been acting in this health-care debate. Screaming at people & not letting them speak should be the behavior of 5 year olds, not grown adults. And the lies coming from them are getting crazier & crazier. What amazes me is that some people actually believe these nutcases. Use your brains, America! The Republicans are now officially insane. Don't listen to them.

I don't necessary agree with everything inthe bill, but I do feel that some erroneous information and assumptions and floating about. So I decided to read the bill myself.

I'm detailing what the bill actually says at Come join the journey.

We are already drowing in spiked Kool-aid! Why would we look for more spiked Kool-aid!

MikeMca - There are multiple bills moving through different Congressional committees. Which version of which bill are you talking about? Would you please cite your source for the pages and information you reproduce above?

Do you believe the government can implement and run health care reform ? We have a perfect example of a government run health care system that people overlook...Native American Health Care. Why don't you research for yourself and see how substandard their healthcare is, this is proof that the government fails to deliver what is guaranteed.

Just because they're good at propaganda doesn't mean you have to be good at gullibility.

The lies and misinformation spread by the Republicans is digusting. I am from the U.K and have been listening to U.S commentators crucifying our healthcare sytem with lies. Do not believe wht these people tell you.
I know that these "people" don't represent the U.S public. However a lot of people over here are totally disgusted at the way our health care system is being destroyed by your political elite. Sure our NHS is not perfect but the World Health Organisation ranks Britain's healthcare as 18th in the world, while the US is in 37th place.

And US healthcare 15.3% GDP, 40m not covered
UK healthcare 8.3% GDP, 100% covered.

Enough said. I would wait for an apology from one of these Republican loonies however they are to arrogant to even consider being wrong.

This is the scary part. The baby boomers are getting old, and there are far too many of us to take care of medically. No matter what is done, the boomers are going to lose in healthcare. For those of us who have worked hard all of our lives, paid taxes, have good medical, we are worrying about giving it up. And we question why we should have to. Yes, it's not the greatest medical. But, there are worse alternatives.

We worry about diminished care for ourselves. We are hearing that the healthcare bill is worded so that checking legal status for healthcare applicants won't be a requirement, and told that efforts to incorporate this wording into the bill has been rejected, and voted down. Why won't they allow proof of citizenship for US taxpayer-paid medical?

There are so many issues here, and the truth of the matter is that we, the taxpayers are going to have to pay for everyone's insurance (40,000 million more), and possibly 20 million illegals, and their American born children (avg. 4 children per couple = 40,000 million US-born children of illegals (although these children could make up a large percent of the uninsured in states that don't have for instance "Healthy Families-CA"), plus their parents=60,000 million uninsured)? . As you can see, the "uninsured" figures can jump, with the passing of this bill. And the issue that if we allow the wording of the bill to not require checking legal status, then the incentive for those who come here illegally will be so great, that we will be flooded, more than we already are, with illegals. These numbers are so high, and would no doubt result in very diminished care for the rest of us.

We need answers, hard statistical data type answers. We cannot figure out to what extent we are going to suffer personally, in order to support the uninsured and illegals, without it. More frightening, is the urgency to "rush" this healthcare bill through, without first providing us with the answers.

A coalition of the DEM party Left is launching a 12million dollar TV add to support the OBAMA CARE HEALTH PLAN. Yesterday OBAMA said that AARP was on-board and backing his plan. I called AARP and was told that was a lie, AARP is not backing or promoting his health care plan.

This is just an example of the lies being told about this plan by the Chicago Gangsters, political terrorists and leftwing Socialists that are now running this country.


I really am against this bill thatwill tax me 2.5% if I choose no health care. It talks about health care I can afford, well who determines what I can and can not spend my money on. I already pay for medicare & medicade, and I get NOTHING. So you want me to pay more to still have NOTHING. WOW!!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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