Montana Politics The Media

Helena IR Publishes the Truth in Response to Will Deschamps, But Why Run the Original?

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Dave McLean, commander of the Anaconda American Legion Post 21, responded to one of the lies in GOP Chair Wil Deschamps’ recent hit piece about Max Baucus and health care reform today in the Independent Record.

The particular lie that McLean debunks is the idea that veterans will see increased taxes on their healthcare costs:

Mr. Deschamps claimed that the new health care law “taxes medical devices like wheelchairs, crutches, hospital beds, MRI machines, etc., with no exception for injured vets.” Well, that will get your attention. Taxing wounded vets! Hadn’t heard that one before — and that’s because what Mr. Deschamps writes isn’t true. The fact is that wounded veterans and active duty troops receive their health care and prosthetic devices from the VA or military health care systems (TRICARE) at no cost. In other words, free. It’s pretty hard to raise taxes on something that’s provided for free, don’t you think?

While I’m glad that the IR ran this response, I have to ask why the Lee Newspapers (I believe the Deschamps piece appeared in every daily) ran an opinion piece that contained falsehoods. Certainly, a newspaper should be a place for lively debate from both sides, but shouldn’t a newspaper fact check claims made my political hacks?

When a newspaper publishes a piece, it’s fair to assume that readers believe it’s at least been vetted for basic honesty. While this correction is great (though it only ran as a letter in the Montana Standard), it won’t change the opinions of those who only saw the original piece or those who now think there is some debate about this issue. There isn’t.

Newspaper should bring the debate to our doorsteps—or our monitors—but only when the facts are true. Shame on Wil Deschamps for lying to Montanans and shame on the newspapers that gave him the platform to do it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

3 Comments

  • Deschamps was stretching it a bit (as many do), but he is technically correct. All medical devices, including those used by injured vets, will be taxed. Period.

    Beginning in 2013, manufacturers will be assessed a 2.3% excise tax on sales of medical devices. This is expected to generate tax revenues of $20 billion over 10 years. The tax is based on revenues, not profits, therefore the lower the profit margins, the greater the impact.

  • Me and my family are receiving free health insurance and $460 dollars in food stamps.After i applied within 3 weeks we were eligible.This is a true story.I found out that they pay for all my medical bills and my prescriptions,MRI,and x-rays.I went to healthcare-provider.info and clicked the medicaid link and applied.

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