Jon Stewart had on Betsy McCaughey last night. McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York, who made her career and reputation in 1993 by speaking out against President Clinton’s health reform effort with arguments that often ranged from slightly misleading to outright fiction. (See here for the Atlantic’s Jim Fallows on one of her biggest whoppers–the claim that ClintonCare would restrict patients from seeking care outside the government sponsored system.)
This year she is much in the news because she is leading the charge against President Obama’s health reform bill, arguing with misleading evidence that presidential adviser Ezekial Emanuel is a “deadly doctor” and claiming that the House bill will make it “mandatory” for Medicare patients to be counseled every five years on “how to end their life sooner.” (In truth, the House bill provides reimbursement for optional counseling sessions that lack predetermined outcomes. For a fuller discussion of this, and the Republican-roots of the counseling ideas, see here and here.)
There are complex and difficult issues raised by both Emanuel’s scholarship and the end-of-life counseling–see Joe’s disagreement below with Charles Krauthammer. But McCaughey’s approach to the health care debate tends to be less engaging than combative, stripped of nuance, and diverting. All of which makes her appearance last night on the Daily Show quite a ride to watch.
There are two other segments of the same interview posted online. They can be seen here.