Election ads focus on health care—with many a false claim

Expert: It is 'easy to deceive' the public on health care

Democratic and Republican congressional candidates this election season are again using the federal health reform law and Medicare reform proposals to criticize their opponents.

According to The Hill, the criticisms have come in debates, mailers, and television advertisements.

Democrats are echoing President Obama's re-election message criticizing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's support for the Medicare reform proposal, which is included in House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) House-passed fiscal year 2013 GOP budget resolution.

Meanwhile, several Republicans are accusing incumbent Democrats of "robbing" Medicare through their support for the overhaul, which slowed the projected growth in Medicare costs by $500 billion over 10 years. Fact-checking organizations such as PolitiFact and factcheck.org have denounced the claim, The Hill reports.

Experts explain why political ads focus on health care

According to the AP/San Francisco Chronicle, political strategists and ad makers tend to rely on issues tied to health care because "there's something about health care that makes it breeding ground for the wildest allegations."

Kathleen Hall Jamieson—a political communication expert at the University of Pennsylvania and director of factcheck.org—says, "It is easy to deceive on the issue [of health care] because the knowledge base of the electorate when it comes to the complexities of health care is relatively low" (Lederman, The Hill, 5/28; Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/29).

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