Truth-O-Meter takes a bite out of politics. And pit bulls.
By Willoughby Mariano
Published on Sunday, August 7th, 2011 at 6:00 a.m.
Thank goodness the Truth-O-Meter’s a polymath. PolitiFact Georgia relied on its encyclopedic knowledge to tackle subjects as utterly unrelated as pit bull aggression and health care reform.
Rulings varied. La Raza, a Hispanic issues advocacy group, earned a True for its claim on the percent of Latino children on Medicaid. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey earned a False for his claims that a federal health care board can kill you. A DeKalb County commissioner earned a Mostly True on those controversial canines. Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall earned a False.
Curious? Here are shortened versions of our extensive fact-checks.
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La Raza: Medicaid is the primary source of health insurance for 41.7 percent of Hispanic children in Georgia.
In a recent broadcast, WABE-FM (90.1) led into a story on the impact of proposed deficit-cutting measures that mentioned this startling number on health insurance for Hispanic children.
The number comes from La Raza’s report "The Meaning of Medicaid: A State-by-State Breakdown." We contacted the Kaiser Family Foundation, which acts as a clearinghouse for health-related data, to see if the figure quoted for Georgia is correct. The figure they came up with is 41 percent even, using a three-year average of census data.
We rate this claim True.
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey: Under last year’s health care reform, "a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy."
Gingrey, who’s also a doctor, aimed his scalpel at a lesser-known provision of last year’s health care overhaul with this statement.
The Marietta Republican, an obstetrician-gynecologist, recommends swift removal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created to rein in growing Medicare costs.
We turned to four health care policy experts with differing opinions on the IPAB. They all told us that Gingrey was wrong.
Experts agree that the IPAB has no say in whether a specific person receives dialysis, chemotherapy or any other such treatment. The board does not intercede in individual patient cases. It makes broad policy decisions that affect Medicare’s overall cost.
Furthermore, the IPAB is barred from making policy recommendations that would block patients from receiving needed care.
We diagnose Dr. Gingrey with a not-quite-fatal case of False.
DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer: "[T]his breed [of pit bulls] is most often associated with aggressive behavior."
Boyer made this comment as DeKalb County commissioners considered a reversal of an ordinance that removes pit bulls from its list of banned household pets.
Studies and research we reviewed show pit bulls are among the most aggressive dogs. Some breeds, however, have been shown to be more aggressive in each report.
However, the widely held perception is that they are dangerous, which was Boyer’s overarching point.
Boyer could have used additional context about the breed. We rate her claim Mostly True.
Ex- Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall: The district’s 2011 CRCT tests were "given under the strictest security possible."
Hall left her post under accusations that the rising CRCT scores that helped make her an education superstar were the result of massive, systematic cheating on state tests. But in recent promotional materials, she insisted test score gains were real, in part because of the above claim.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported more than two years ago that students statewide made statistically improbable gains on their CRCT exams. This prompted the Governor’s Office of Student Accountability to analyze answer sheets for erasures. They announced in February 2010 that they also found questionable gains.
The APS changed its CRCT security procedures in response, but we found some obvious ways where it could be tightened, such as using impartial test proctors or administering the CRCT by computer.
Since the APS did boost security starting in 2010, Hall’s statement is not outrageous. But it is incorrect. She therefore earns a False.
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