Some literally (as in, more schooling), and some figuratively (as in, more information). First, the literal example.
Sally Pipes is the latest in a series of health care opposition spokespeople, and she's no more credible than those who have gone before her. Pipes' main claim to fame is basically that she's in the media a lot.
Pipes was invited by Republicans on the House Subcommittee for Energy and Commerce to testify as an "expert" during a hearing on health care. Her testimony wasn't very enlightening, full of the same lies and distortions we've come to expect from conservative health care "experts." However, things got more interesting when Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) questioned Pipes on her "expert" qualifications. Take a listen:
Here's a transcript of the conversation:
BRALEY: Have you published any peer reviewed treatises in a journal of economics on health care policy?
BRALEY: Can you give us some examples?
PIPES: I’ve done some things in Health Affairs over the past and –
BRALEY: But can you just identify the scholarly journal that’s a peer reviewed journal of economics?
PIPES: Well, Health Affairs is, I think. I don’t know whether you would say it is.
UNINDENTIFIED: It’s peer reviewed.
Turns out, Pipes only has a "BA with honors" in economics from some school in Canada (that was not identified, either during the hearing or on her official biography, which is long on media appearances but short on actual qualifications) and has never completed an advanced degree in health care or any form of public policy. She claims she's an "expert" and a "scholar" because she's published articles (read: opinion pieces) in the Wall Street Journal (certainly not peer-reviewed or scholarly) and has "done some things" in Health Affairs.
Well, then, what exactly has she done in Health Affairs? Well, she got a letter to the editor published, and that's it:
Searching ‘Pipes’ in the author field of the Health Affairs website yields one result — a Letter to the Editor titled ‘Piping A Different Tune.’ In the letter, Pipes responds to what she describes as a “hostile” book review of Who Killed Health Care: America’s $2 Trillion Medical Problem–and the Consumer Driven Cure:
The author of the review responds to Pipes, highlighting her not-so-academic approach to policy: “Sally Pipes’ riposte to my review of Regina Herzlinger’s book, Who Killed Health Care, offers rhetoric and faith-based posturing but little evidence. Whilst it can be intellectual fun and politically advantageous to repeat the principles of bottom-up, market oriented health care, the practice is usually inflationary, inefficient, and inequitable.”
So, let's get this straight. Pipes qualifications for being an "expert" on health care reform are she has a "BA with honors" in economics from an unnamed school in Canada and she writes op-eds for the Wall Street Journal?
Just like Betsy McCaughey, who lied about comparative effectiveness research to protect the profits of a medical device maker who paid her in stock options, and Rick Scott, the Bernie Madoff of health care reform, Sally Pipes is nothing but a fraud. Though anyone who's followed the way conservatives spread misinformation to prevent change and reform in this country will hardly be surprised.
I just can't wait to see who they dredge up next. I'm sure they will be reaaaalllly credible.
Now, onto those who need more figurative education.
As has been widely reported, Senator Evan Bayh is putting together a block of more conservative, self-identified moderate Senators to stand in the way of President Obama's budget, which includes a historic commitment to health care reform. Along with the self-identified "Blue Dogs" in the House, these Members of Congress have a real chance of obstructing the change America voted for in November.
This is where the education comes in. The Campaign for America's Future has launched an effort to "Dog the (Blue) Dogs:"
It is time for progressives to “dog the dogs” — to call conservative Democrats in the House and Senate and tell them to not be lapdogs for the “Dr. No’s” on the right who want to obstruct the administration’s common-sense agenda.
Blocking President Obama's budget is not a moderate position. Given the health care crisis, the cost of doing nothing on health care is extreme. President Obama's budget, and its focus on health care, is actually a moderate proposal. It's a plan that says how most things will get paid for and sets achievable goals that will greatly benefit America.
These Members of Congress need a little bit of education, to remind them what exactly the American people want and what moderation means. Standing in the way of a popular President's budget, full of deeply reasonable proposals, is not the definition of "moderate."
The Campaign for America's Future has all of the phone numbers for you to call. Click here and spend a few minutes "dogging the dogs."