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.