August 17th, 2009
03:02 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Truth Squad: No eye care until you're blind in one eye?

The Statement:
Florence Mackie of North Carolina writes to CNN, "I got a disturbing e-mail that said the new health bill would not help a person with macular degeneration until they lost the vision in one eye first." She asks, "Is this true?"

The facts and the verdict after the jump:

The Facts:
Macular degeneration is a disease that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Chances of suffering from it increase with old age. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness for people age 65 and older and affects more than 10 million Americans, according to the American Medical Association.

Whites are "much more likely" to lose vision due to AMD than African-Americans, and women "appear to be at greater risk than men," according to the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

There is no final version of health-care legislation in either the House or the Senate. But each chamber has a version of a bill that is available to be read online . The House bill has more than 1,000 pages; the Senate bill has more than 600.

Neither bill contains the words "macular," "degeneration," or "sight." Neither establishes special rules over eye health.

The rumor appears to stem from concerns expressed by some conservatives earlier this year during the battle over stimulus legislation.

In a commentary published by Bloomberg News on February 9, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey wrote, "In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision."

She added, "If the Obama administration's economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing."

The example seems to have been taken out of context by opponents of the current health care reform plan, who are suggesting that impending legislation would target macular degeneration.

The Web site wpcva.com, shared by several Virginia newspapers, published an opinion piece this month from a Virginia resident stating that under the House bill, "Surgery to correct macular degeneration would be denied until the patient lost sight in one eye."

Chain e-mails are having a substantial effect on the health care debate. On the Obama administration's "Reality Check" Web site, which the administration says is aimed at counteracting myths about health care, one of the top two videos is headlined, "The return of the viral e-mail."

The Verdict:
False. There is no such rule in the health care legislation working its way through Congress.


Filed under: Health care fact check
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter

    Have any of you against the healthcare plan read the article on the CNN main page with the former insurance executive outlining corporate PR tactics? You are all being used and manipulated and you're too stupid to see it. Now bend over for your corporate masters. Have a nice day!

    August 17, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Jeff

    For Christ's sake, just post the answer.

    Way to just repeat and spread an irresponsible rumor and give that away and make people work for the actual facts.

    Totally responsible journalism there, CNN. Shame on you for every time you do this.

    August 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. William, from Cali!

    I have an idea.....Let James Carville be the Healthcare czar, at a salary of $1 a year!

    August 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Kevin B

    Responsible americans should rise up and call these folks just what they are; a big fat lying sack of crap.

    Throwing these lies out to raise fear amoungst our elders and citizens, insults the very intelligence of every concerned and thinking American and makes us look like a nation of easily manipulated children.

    Enough already !!

    August 17, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Jacqueline

    This just shows that Congress needs to reform "a little at at time" to see how things adjust and work. There is no hurry to revamp, or turn over our entire heathcare system over night. Start with Tort Reform (tons of hooks with malpractice suits that can be eliminated), consolidating duplicate processes and streamline record keeping. These three things by themselves could make a big difference in costs. Next tackle insuring more people with the saved money gained by the previous three entities I mentioned, not future tax hikes. Cut one needless expense to enable another more worthy expense. This can be done but much more smartly than what the Democrats are presenting.

    August 17, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Bob in Pa

    Depends on if you consider that "Eye Care" or Medical. I don't believe there are any Eye Care provisions in this legislation at all..

    August 17, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. ginny from Canada

    Following all this nonsense the right is putting out from another country is amazing to say the least! I have to believe that most Americans are smarter than what we are reading otherwise I would lose heart thinking we live next door to a bunch of idiots! Why arn't there more of you standing up to quash the rumours? This is getting scary........

    August 17, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Marion

    Of course people believe it. They also believe just about anything else written in an e-mail they receive.

    Just because something appears on the Internet doesn't make it true.

    August 17, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Don't forget requiring pregnancy licenses, mandatory abortions for conservatives, forced euthanasia and the ever popular "Bentleys for sick illegals" program...

    Whack jobs.

    August 17, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Nika Houston, TX

    Now if she asked if her CURRENT insurance provider will make her wait until blind in one eye before paying for the proper care, then we'd have a discussion. Am I the only one who never knew that our current healthcare system was so great, honest and reliable? Especially when I personally had to wait 2 years to have a surgery that required I see 3 different "specialists" and they each had to write letters to my insurance company saying that I really did NEED the surgery. I was in pain for 2 years WITH insurance. The only people that could be seriously asking these ridiculous bone headed questions have to be 1.) employed by Big Healthcare 2.)Employed by the Republican Party 3.) Paid actors or 4.) Stupid.

    August 17, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Angie in PA

    After 40 years of being a Republican My Parents have had ENOUGH They have switched their party the way the Republicans have been since the Election of Obama, Lies, games, dirty Politicts they cannot believe this is the same party they have supported they are fed up and disgusted with them!

    August 17, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. vic nashville , Tn

    Why we need CNN truth squad ?

    Americans are confused once they enter in no spin zone they spin with rumors so some one has to check the facts

    CNN you are doing a good job

    August 17, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Soylent Green anyone? I mean, where do you think all us crazy fascist liberal socialist commies are going to put all the aborted fetuses we're planning on creating as part of population control and general eugenics? Feed the homeless!

    August 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Ron

    The United States is full of easily manipulated 'fraidy cat fools – as usual.

    August 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Leon

    What about, "cutting the head, instead or curing a toothache?"

    August 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Rani McBride

    There is not even a Bill yet! Let me guess where they heard it from. I bet its from the same people who put out the picture depicting the president as the Joker. Yep...real reasonable people. Real truth tellers....just another scare tactic. The only people going blind here are the ones listening to these stories!

    August 17, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    Absolutely False!!!!!!! This Nuts will stop at nothing to stop this healthcare bill from passing. They are good at lying. They are masters at it. I pray that they all get cancer, diabetes, and every terminal diseases in the world only to find out that their insurance companies will pay for their hospital bills and they have been dropped from their coverage. Maybe then, like Lee Atwater, get real religious and repent for all their sins. But then, it might be too late.

    August 17, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. John

    Yes this is True.

    Because there is no Treatment for this Disease before it has occurred.

    To Treat this Disease before it occurred is like a Bald man Going to a Barber Shop for a Hair Cut :P

    August 17, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Butch Dillon

    Republicans are tireless when it comes to lying. They are the party of deceit and lies. They are the party of big business. They are the party determined to protect the Insurance companies. They are the party turning this country into a banana republic.

    August 17, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. S Callahan

    Your doing a good job on the truth squad CNN....keep it up.

    August 17, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. elana

    Thank GOD, none of you people who are employed by CNN, or your CEO are sitting in Washington as a Congressman, Representative, or the President of the United States! Is this ALL you can find to continue your quest to undermine our President?? Perhaps all of you and Sara Palin need to be lined up like "ducks" in a carinval game!!! Which one shall I pick??????

    August 17, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm plain tuckered out with this dimwit bull feces!

    August 17, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Kevin B

    The GOP and thier corporate masters actually count on dumbing down the electorate as much as possible with fear and lies; it is the duty of every thinking american to expose these creeps at every turn.

    Republicans have made lies and distortion thier fundamental political philosophy and americans have fallen for it time and again.

    It's time to drive a nail in the heart of this type of political mainpulation once and for all.

    August 17, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. linus

    What is the matter with the republicans and some seniors at these meetings? I'm sure they are smart but it is hard to understand why they believe the junk being told by the republican party, fox news comentators, limbaugh, etc. who their only goal is the failure of Obama (and they couldn't care less if the country fails at the same time). Then, you have the insurance companies that are making record profits screwing everybody and don't want change. open your eyes, naive republicans!!

    August 17, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Island girl

    The verdict is FALSE so haters need not get into a tizzy and upset their heart. Remember the story about the poor native American on the reservation which had been neglected since the beginning of time? Well, a delusional ignoramus blogged with a sacrcastic "thanks to Obama" WHEN IN FACT THE NEWLY ELECTED OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAS SPEARHEADING THE ERECTION OF A MEDICAL COMPLEX AND EMPLOYING PEOPLE WITH STIMULUS MONEY.

    August 17, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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