Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican who is touring the country as he considers running for President said he would follow President Obama’s lead and “call out” people who spread lies or try to distort the facts in the health care debate.
A few minutes later, Governor Pawlenty repeated a right-wing talking point about long waits for health care in Britain as reason for not going to a single-payer system because it would ration health care.
Is that a lie? No… but it could be considered a distortion. According to British Parliament member Maria Eagle the story about long waits was true at one point, but no longer.
“We’ve eliminated them” says Eagle.
“We’ve done that by putting a lot of extra money in. By getting more doctors and nurses working for the health service and by focusing and targeting waiting lists to get rid of them.”
The British National Health Service (NHS) says that in 1997 it wasn’t uncommon to wait 18 months for some procedures. Now more than 95% of all patients see a doctor and are treated in 18 weeks.
The NHS says the wait for key diagnostic test appointments is 15.4 days. A recent study from Merritt Hawkins & Associates found that the average wait to get an specialist appointment in the largest 15 US cities was 20.5 days. While not exactly apples to apples comparisons (there are no regular measurements of waiting times in the US), the claims of British wait times now being incredibly long are false.
Governor Pawlenty is now on the record as saying he will call out people who distort the debate. If you see such distortions you can contact the Governor at 651) 296-3391 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Governor also hosts a weekly radio show and would probably welcome hearing about distortions in the health care debate. His show is on WCCO-AM every Friday just after 9 AM CT. The phone number to call in at (651) 989-9226 or (612) 989-9226