11 August 2009

Another day, another falsehood

This one is pretty innovative:
The [House Reform Bill] bill will give the government direct access to Americans' bank accounts at any time, which, in some variations of the lie, will then be raided to finance the legislation.
This apparently has its origins in the thoroughly discredited chain email that WhiteCoat recently republished.  It's caught on with Limbaugh and the teabaggers at town hall meetings, though, so it's worth debunking.

Fortunately, the good folks at Talking Points Memo have done that for me, so I'll just reiterate their findings:

Your Bank Account Is Safe: Running Down The Latest Winger Health-Care Lie
The section of the legislation on which this claim is based states that the bill will "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice."

As Politifact points out, the bill's legislative summary makes clear that the intent of this section is to "adopt standards for typical transactions" between insurance companies and health-care providers, and continues: "The legislation generically describes typical electronic banking transactions and does not outline any special access privileges."

Just for reference, it's a good thing, from a provider's point of view that doctors can get paid via electronic transfers.  They are faster, less likely to get "lost" or misdirected, and cheaper to process.  Electronic payments reduce the days in AR and speed payment.  I'm often amazed that we manage to get paid at all by the paper-check-insurers.  I'm forever finding checks in my mailbox that were sent to the wrong address, the wrong provider, to the patient, etc.  It seems miraculous that they find their way to me at all (even if it is ninety days after the date of service).  So, yeah, bring on electronic transfers.

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