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Healthcare

Muslims Are Exempt (and More 'Obamacare' Myths)

Apr 20, 2010 – 4:59 PM
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Andrea Stone

Andrea Stone Senior Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (April 20) -- Prepare to have microchips implanted in your body. Unless you are a Muslim, in which case you are exempt. Everyone else -- you could soon have one of 16,500 armed IRS agents knocking at your door.

Those and other myths are still swirling around the health care law, according to a new report by the nonpartisan FactCheck.org. One month after President Barack Obama signed the legislation, the group said its inbox was full of messages asking whether claims made by some opponents of the legislation are true. In most cases, it said, they are not.

"We've seldom seen a piece of legislation so widely misrepresented, and misunderstood, as the new health care law," FactCheck said in an article headlined "More Malarkey About Health Care."

The group said some of the confusion was understandable given various versions of the bill considered by the House and Senate and the "awkward two-step legislative dance" that lawmakers went through before it finally passed March 21. Yet even now that the bill is law, "some opponents persist in making false or exaggerated claims about it," the organization said.

Among the fictions about the health care law being put forward, according to FactCheck:

It requires patients be implanted with microchips. This "rather paranoid claim," in FactCheck's words, stems from a proposed registry for certain medical devices. It had nothing to do with microchips but, even if it did, it isn't in the law.

It exempts Muslims from the requirement to obtain health insurance. Unlikely. FactCheck says the law was designed to exempt Old Order Amish. Rumors that other religious groups, specifically Muslims, would also be exempt are "likely overblown," though it says it is still checking. It noted that the Christian Science Church, which restricts health care use, has said it will not opt out of coverage.

It requires 16,500 armed IRS agents to enforce. This claim put forth by Republican lawmakers is "a fantasy," the group says. Contrary to what Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has said, armed agents won't enforce the health care mandate because the law "specifically waives any criminal penalties for those who both decline to obtain insurance coverage and refuse to pay the tax enacted to penalize lack of coverage."

It gives President Obama a Nazi-like "private army." Not even close. Despite Internet rumors, the law sets up a new Ready Reserve Corps of doctors and other health workers who can be called up during public health emergencies.

It cuts benefits for military families and retirees. No. Contrary to a chain e-mail, the military's TRICARE program will not be affected.

The article also addresses confusion over Viagra for sex offenders, exemptions for House and Senate members, coverage for children with pre-existing conditions and federal funding for abortions.
Filed under: Nation, Politics, Health Care
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