Dewey Beats Truman, again –Wrong predictions on health care


2012 wrong predictions on health care

“Surely, as there are mountebanks for the natural body, so are there mountebanks for the politic body; men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky, in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out. . . So these men, when they have promised great matters, and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness) they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado.”

Francis Bacon, “Of Boldness”


George Will

The list of wrong predictions about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ‘Obamacare’ would be a long, long one. This post will hardly scratch the surface. Still, it is worth pointing out that some of the preeminent newspapers in the United States got it wrong; some cable television channels got the prediction wrong and even went so far as to get the ruling wrong after it came down; and virtually every member of the rightwing noise machine got it wrong.

Erroneous headlines went up first

A few main points:

1)      They said what they were paid to say, of course. Rush-Limbaugh-Land would not have reacted kindly had George F. Will or Charles Krauthammer, for example, suggested that the high court might well uphold much or most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Koch brothers retreats, the speaker circuits, the book-buying in bulk, even the television appearances designed to reinforce a safe predictability–what David Brock referred to as six-figure speaking fees and seven-figure book contracts—all might threaten to dry up or at least to diminish, if any significant right-wing voices had taken a balanced line with regard to health insurance reform.

2)      This is health care they were talking about. Not predicting the horse race of presidential elections, not the outcome of a senate race. Health care, which in one way or another touches every American.

3)      Not one of them is financially in need of help with regard to health care.

4)      There is no suggestion whatsoever that any editor or producer or othre member of so-called management, at their respective media outlets, will provide guidance or correction, for even the most egregiously ridiculous predictions and bogus arguments about ‘Obamacare’. Far from it.


Admittedly not everyone went so far as Forbes, with a blanket prediction that the Supreme Court will strike down all of Obamacare.

But some notable prognosticators spent months overtly campaigning against, and predicting the downfall of, health care reform and/or health insurance reform. (The same experts likewise campaigned, for weeks and months on end, in favor of invading Iraq, and for much the same reasons.) That includes—of course–George F. Will, who used to be referred to as a constitutional scholar, and Charles Krauthammer, who at least once on air advanced his training as a psychiatrist to argue in favor of torture. Krauthammer is a Fox contributor, but Will is employed by ABC. They are both syndicated through the Washington Post Co., through which Colman McCarthy—the noted peace author—used to be syndicated, until both the Washington Post and the Washington Post Writers Group fired him on the same day.

In the wake of the high court’s ruling on health care, both Will and Krauthammer brought out columns this morning spinning the high court’s ruling on health care. Taking Bacon’s impudent fellow as their model, neither columnist volunteers the fact that he himself was wrong, let alone repeatedly wrong, on the question of whether the law would be upheld.

Let’s keep this short. Krauthammer and Will have both predicted the downfall of the law too many times to catalog. For Krauthammer, a few reminders here and here and here and here and above all the 180-degree-wrong prediction here.

For Will, offerings here and here and here, among many others. Will predicted on air that the law would be struck down, and “should be.”


The problem is that, as go the big-money columnists, so too often go the journalists—at least in political reporting. Chris Cilizza and Dan Balz of the WashPost may use a different idiom from Will and Krauthammer, but their line of thought is all too similar. Like God, they are always on the side of the big battalions, or what they perceive as the big battalions.


One result is that some of the biggest papers in the country have gone for decades as though insurance abuses are among the topics nice people don’t mention, at least in print. A corporate insurance practice of denying claims, whether denial was colorable or not, got outed in fiction by John Grisham, not in reporting by the Times.

Btw I heard about this as ‘company policy’ at one insurance company, anecdotally, myself. It is improbable that no Washington journalist, NYC journalist or Chicago journalist ever heard of it.



I thought, ‘Dewey beats Truman’, swear I did. THEN I saw this blog, minutes after posting. It includes the related video: Stranger, go read it.

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