BY MATT BRUENIG
An activist organization asked me to speak on their conference call last night about the Mercatus Medicare-for-All study. After I finished my opening remarks, one of the callers, a retired physician, told me that she had read Sanders’s plan would cut payments to doctors by 40 percent in the Washington Post. I told her that the Post had already corrected that mistake, but now I realize the Post continues to disseminate this falsehood in new pieces across its website despite already issuing a correction on it.
The False Claim
The originator of this false claim in the Washington Post universe was, ironically enough, fact-checker Glenn Kessler. Kessler wrote on August 7 that:
In doing his research, Blahous decided to follow the text of the Sanders plan and assume that providers — doctors, hospitals, drug companies and the like — would face an immediate cut of 40 percent in their payments.
On that same day, I immediately pointed out that this was a false statement. The Mercatus study does not say that Sanders’s plan cuts provider payments by 40 percent because it doesn’t.
What the Mercatus study says is that Medicare provider rates are 40 percent below private insurance rates. This was cleverly worded to deceive readers into thinking Medicare for All would cut provider payments by 40 percent and Kessler was clearly so deceived. But the specific details of the report make it clear that the actual cut would be much less than 40 percent.