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Betsy McCaughey


Betsy McCaughey

Betsy McCaughey
McCaughey in 2008
Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1995 – December 31, 1998
Governor George Pataki
Preceded by Stan Lundine
Succeeded by Mary Donohue
Personal details
Born Elizabeth Helen Peterken
(1948-10-20) October 20, 1948 [1]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican to 1997[2]
Democratic 1997–2010
Republican 2010–present
Spouse(s) Thomas K. McCaughey,
(m. 1972 – div. 1994)
Wilbur Ross, Jr.
(m. 1995 – div. 1998)
Children Three
Alma mater Vassar College (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.A., Ph.D.)
Profession Political commentator,
U.S. Constitutional historian
Religion Episcopalian
Known as Betsy McCaughey Ross (1995–2000)

Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey (; born Elizabeth Helen Peterken, October 20, 1948), formerly known as Betsy McCaughey Ross, is an American politician who was Democratic Party nomination for Governor after Pataki dropped her from his 1998 ticket, and ended up on the ballot under the Liberal party line.

A historian by training, with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, McCaughey has, over the years, provided conservative media commentary on U.S. public policy affecting healthcare-related issues. Her 1993 attack on the Clinton healthcare plan was likely a major factor in the initially-popular bill's defeat in Congress; also, it brought her to the attention of Republican Pataki, who chose her as his Lieutenant Governor nominee/running mate. In 2009, her criticisms of the Affordable Care Act – then a bill being debated in Congress – again gained significant media attention in TV and radio interviews, and may have specifically inspired the "death panel" claim about the act.

She has been a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and Hudson Institute think tanks, and has written numerous articles and op-eds. She was a member of the boards of directors of medical equipment companies Genta (from 2001 to 2007) and Cantel Medical Corporation, until she resigned in 2009 to avoid the appearance of conflict-of-interest, given her public advocacy against the Affordable Care Act legislation.


  • Early life, education and family 1
  • Academic work, 1977–1988 2
  • Policy positions and scholarship, 1989–1993 3
  • Healthcare reform, 1993–1994 4
  • New York Lieutenant Governorship, 1994–1998 5
  • Life and career since leaving office 6
  • Healthcare reform, 2007–2009 7
    • American Cancer Society 7.1
    • 2009 stimulus bill 7.2
    • 2009 healthcare reform bills 7.3
  • Electoral history 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11

Early life, education and family

McCaughey and her twin brother William were born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Albert Peterken, a factory janitor, and his wife, Ramona.[3][4] The family moved around the Northeastern United States for six years before settling down in Westport, Connecticut,[1] where McCaughey's father did maintenance, and later engineering work at a nail clipper factory.[2][5] McCaughey recalled her parents' difficulty in affording medical treatment: "my brother was a serious asthmatic as a child. I remember my parents sitting at the kitchen table wondering if they could afford to take [him] to the hospital."[1]

McCaughey attended public schools in Westport through the 10th grade, spending much of her free time at the library.[2] After receiving a scholarship, she transferred to a private Massachusetts boarding school, the Mary A. Burnham School, for her last two years of high school, rarely visiting home, either then or during her college years.[2]

She received a scholarship to attend Vassar College, where she majored in history.[2] She wrote her senior thesis on Karl Marx and Alexis de Tocqueville,[2] won several fellowships, and received her B.A., with distinction, in 1970.[6] McCaughey went on to graduate school at Columbia University in New York City, earning her M.A. in 1972 and her Ph.D. in constitutional history in 1976.[6] She won Columbia's Bancroft Dissertation Award in American History in 1976[7] and her dissertation was published by the prestigious Columbia University Press in 1980 under the title, From Loyalist to Founding Father: The Political Odyssey of William Samuel Johnson.[8] She also contributed a chapter about William Samuel Johnson to the 1979 book The American Revolution: Changing Perspectives by William Fowler and Wallace Coyle.[9]

While completing her Ph.D., McCaughey trained in the corporate banking department at Chase Manhattan Bank, and served as a loan officer in the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Division.[10] She also took courses in accounting at Columbia's School of Business.[10]

McCaughey's father died in 1970 at the age of 60. Her mother, an alcoholic, died the next year of liver disease at the age of 42.[2][11] In 1972, she married Thomas K. McCaughey, a Yale graduate she had met in college and who was then moving up as an investment banker.[12] The McCaugheys separated in 1992 and divorced in 1994 with McCaughey and her ex-spouse sharing joint custody of their three daughters.[13] In January 1993 she filed an affidavit in her divorce proceeding in which she said she had no annual earnings from employment during most of the 18 years of her marriage to Thomas, and had never earned more than $20,000 per year, except in 1990, when she "sold an idea to Fox television for a windfall once-in-a-lifetime sum of $75,000".[12][14] She married wealthy investment banker and prominent Democratic Party fundraiser Wilbur Ross, Jr. in December 1995;[15] he filed for divorce in November 1998.[16]

Academic work, 1977–1988

McCaughey taught history as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College in 1977–1978, was a Lecturer at Columbia University in 1979–1980, and an Assistant Professor at Columbia University between 1981 and 1983, teaching two classes per year. Between 1983 and 1984 she had a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellowship.[12][14] From 1986 to 1988, she served as a guest curator at the New-York Historical Society and was responsible for the museum's exhibit commemorating the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.[17] She also authored a book, "Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution" that cataloged the exhibit.[17]

Policy positions and scholarship, 1989–1993

In the late 1980s McCaughey briefly considered a career in TV news,[2] but opted instead for a position as a senior scholar at the Center for the Study of the Presidency, serving from 1989 to 1992. There, she wrote an article, book reviews, and a guest editorial for its journal, Presidential Studies Quarterly (PSQ),[18] and an op-ed in USA Today advocating reform of the Electoral College method of electing the U.S. President.[19] She testified at a July 22, 1992 hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution,[20] and helped produce a report suggesting constitutional amendments to fix perceived flaws in the Electoral College.[20][21]

McCaughey also wrote op-ed columns that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today, in which she opposed plans involving local and state redistricting to comply with the Voting Rights Act,[22] and criticized federal court-ordered desegregation of schools in Connecticut and New Jersey.[23] She also supported the nomination of (then-federal Judge) Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that he would judge cases there on their merits, and would not tend to interpret cases in a manner consistent with his politically-conservative beliefs;[2][24] supported a tobacco company in litigation before the Supreme Court;[25] and praised the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey U.S. Supreme Court decision restricting abortion rights.[26]

In February 1993, the John M. Olin Foundation funded a fellowship at the Manhattan Institute, a politically-conservative think tank, for McCaughey to write a book on race and the legal system to be titled Beyond Pluralism: Overcoming the Narcissism of Minor Differences. McCaughey wrote op-eds over the next six months in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today in which she supported the 1993 selection of a jury from predominately-white, Republican, rural counties for the urban (Memphis)-located retrial of African American and Democratic U.S. Representative Harold Ford, Sr.,[27] and praised the 1993 Shaw v. Reno U.S. Supreme Court decision (favoring five white voters who said their rights had been infringed upon by redistricting that had been done to comply with the Voting Rights Act).[28]

Healthcare reform, 1993–1994

On September 22, 1993, U.S. President [77] The New York Times noted that Emanuel had, in fact, opposed the legalization of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide when such proposal were being debated in the late 1990s.[76]

McCaughey resigned from the Board of Cantel Medical Corporation on August 20, 2009, "to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest during the national debate over healthcare reform," according to a press release by the company.[58] Other reports opined that she resigned after negative reactions to her performance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, one day earlier.[88][89][90][91][92]

In an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Meeting on October 6, 2009,[93] McCaughey advocated gradually extending the minimum age for Medicare coverage upward from 65 years of age to 70 in order to keep the Medicare system solvent.

In an August 7, 2012 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, McCaughey described as "phony" an assertion that repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase Federal deficits.[94]

In a September 15, 2013 opinion piece in the

Political offices
Preceded by
Stan Lundine
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Mary Donohue
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mario Cuomo
Liberal Party Nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Andrew Cuomo
  • Biographical resume of McCaughey at Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths website.
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Chassie, Karen (ed.) "Who's Who in America, 2007 (61st ed.)," New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, ISBN 0-8379-7006-7, p. 2961.

External links

  • Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It (Encounter Books, 2010). ISBN 978-1-59403-506-7
  • Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for the New Healthcare Law (Regnery Publishing, 2013). ISBN 978-1621570790


  1. ^ a b c d Fisher, Ian (January 19, 1995). "Woman in the News: Elizabeth Peterken McCaughey; Taking On a Challenge". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Paul Schwartzman (July 12, 1998). "Hey, It's Her Party The Rags-to-riches Tale Of A Girl From A Troubled Home Who Embraced The Gop, Then The Democrats, In Her Determined Quest For The Statehouse". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ Linstedt, Sharon. "Beginner's Pluck: Unpolitician Betsy McCaughey Takes her Pragmatic Conservatism From Think Tank to State House," Buffalo Magazine in Buffalo News (New York), June 18, 1995, p. 6M.
  4. ^ Grondahl, Paul. "The unreal McCaughey," Times Union (Albany), August 13, 1995, p. G1.
  5. ^ Whitehouse, Beth; Brand, Rick. "A political soap opera: A look behind the scenes of the Betsy McCaughey Ross brouhaha," Newsday, June 19, 1996, p. B04. (pay per view)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Dao, James. "An Adjutant With Attitude: Betsy McCaughey Ross Pursues Her Own Agenda," The New York Times, March 3, 1996.
  7. ^ "Bancroft Dissertation Award," Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University.
  8. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "From loyalist to founding father: the public odyssey of William Samuel Johnson," New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, ISBN 0-231-04506-9.
  9. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "William Samuel Johnson, the loyal Whig", pp. 69–102, in Fowler Jr., William M.; Coyle, Wallace (eds.), The American Revolution: Changing Perspectives, 1979, Boston: Northeastern University Press, ISBN 0-930350-03-0.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Betsy McCaughey Resume," Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths,
  11. ^ a b c Michelle Cottle (October 5, 2009). "No Exit: The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey". The New Republic. 
  12. ^ a b c d Bumiller, Elisabeth."Through the gates of health: Elizabeth McCaughey transformed the debate. Not to mention herself," The Washington Post, July 12, 1995, p. D1. (pay per view)
  13. ^ Grondahl, Paul. "Betsy's registry. With her nuptials next month, Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey shops for housewares," Times Union (Albany, NY), November 24, 1995, p. C1.
  14. ^ a b Vasisht, Rashmi. "The real McCaughey: Why the GOP's answer to Cuomo's brain has virtually vanished," The Village Voice, October 26–November 1, 1994, pp. 16–17.
  15. ^ "Vows: Betsy McCaughey and Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.," New York Times, December 8, 1995.
  16. ^ "Hearing Ordered on Pact Between the Rosses," The New York Times, March 28, 2000.
  17. ^ a b McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Government by choice: inventing the United States Constitution," (1987), New York: Basic Books, 124 pages, with preface by Warren E. Burger and foreword by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, ISBN 0-465-02683-4.
  18. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Marbury v. Madison: have we missed the real meaning?" Presidential Studies Quarterly. Summer 1989, pp. 491–528.
    McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Book review: Michael P. Riccards, 'A Republic if you can keep it: the foundation of the American presidency 1700–1800'", Presidential Studies Quarterly, Spring 1990, pp. 395–397.
    McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Book review: L. Gordon Crovitz and Jeremy A. Rabkin, eds., 'The fettered presidency: legal constraints on the executive branch'", Presidential Studies Quarterly, Spring 1990, pp. 400–402.
    McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Book review: James MacGregor Burns, 'Cobblestone leadership: majority rule, minority power'", Presidential Studies Quarterly, Spring 1991, pp. 371–373.
    McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Guest editorial: Clarence Thomas's record as a judge," Presidential Studies Quarterly, Fall 1991, pp. 833–835.
  19. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Electoral nightmare looms: what if we can't decide," USA Today, May 26, 1992, p. 11A.(pay per view)
  20. ^ a b U.S. Senate. "The Electoral College and direct election of the President: hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, July 22, 1992," Washington: U.S. GPO, pp. 102–109, 112, 117–119, ISBN 0-16-041444-X.
  21. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Democracy at risk: the dangerous flaws in the Electoral College," Policy Review, Winter 1993, pp. 79–81.
  22. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Perverting the Voting Rights Act," The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 1989, p. 1.;
    McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "New York City's dangerous quotas," The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 1991, p. A8.;
    McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Judgeships should be color-blind," The New York Times, March 23, 1992, p. A17.
  23. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Can courts order school integration across town lines?," The Wall Street Journal, October 28, 1992, p. A19.
  24. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "The real Clarence Thomas: On the eve of the hearings: A record of judicial restraint," The New York Times, September 9, 1991, p. A15.
  25. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Cigarette case threatens other businesses," USA Today, June 8, 1992, p. 11A. (pay per view)
  26. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P. "Abortion ruling is right," USA Today, June 30, 1992, p. 10A. (pay per view)
  27. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Like justice, jury selection should be colorblind," The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 1993, p. A15.
  28. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth P., "Stopping racial gerrymandering," USA Today. June 29, 1993, p. 11A. (pay per view);
    McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Court deals a blow to racial gerrymandering," The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1993, p. A15.
  29. ^ a b Dickinson, Tim. "Echos of Philip Morris and Hillarycare," Rolling Stone, October 1, 2009.
  30. ^ Porter, Henry. "The real McCaughey," Vanity Fair, May 1994, pp. 140–141. "Then last September, when she was reading about the health plan in the newspapers, she suddenly became obsessed ... What scholars do in these circumstances is go back to the original source. So she acquired a copy of the plan, took it to bed with her one evening, and ended up reading for most of the night."
  31. ^ a b c McCaughey, Elizabeth. "Health plan's devilish details," The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 1993, p. A18.
  32. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. November 22, 1993. "Price controls on health care," The Wall Street Journal, p. A14.
  33. ^ Kurtz, Howard. "The scholar who raised Clinton's bile; Elizabeth McCaughey enjoys healthy debate," The Washington Post, February 4, 1994, p. C1, "A specialist in 18th-century history ... she readily admits she is no health care expert." (pay per view)
  34. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "No Exit: What the Clinton plan will do for you The New Republic. Volume 210, Issue 6, February 7, 1994, pp. 21–5.
  35. ^ a b Dickinson, Tim. "The Lie Machine," Rolling Stone, September 23, 2009.
  36. ^ a b Tobacco Strategy, Philip Morris Collection, March 1994, Bates Number 2022887066/7072, page 5 of 7, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, University of California, San Francisco
  37. ^ Dickinson, Tim. "Inside the lie machine – documents from the Dickinson national affairs investigation, Doc-5," Rolling Stone, September 24, 2009.
  38. ^ a b Fallows, James. "A Triumph of Misinformation," The Atlantic, January 1995, retrieved April 3, 2011.
  39. ^ Devroy, Ann. "President Insists Congress Enact Reforms in Welfare, Health Care," The Washington Post, January 26, 1994, p. A01.
  40. ^ Will, George F. "The Clintons' lethal paternalism", Newsweek, February 7, 1994, p. 64.
  41. ^ Will, George F. "Came the revolution...", Newsweek, February 21, 1994, p. 74.
  42. ^ The White House. "Analysis of New Republic article on health care reform", Little Rock: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, January 31, 2004.
  43. ^ McCaughey, Elizabeth. "She's Baaack!," The New Republic, February 28, 1994.
  44. ^ "H.R. 3600, The Health Security Act, Title I, Subtitle A" (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. February 4, 1994. pp. 15–16. SEC. 1003. PROTECTION OF CONSUMER CHOICE. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the following: (1) An individual from purchasing any health care services. (2) An individual from purchasing supplemental insurance (offered consistent with this Act) to cover health care services not included within the comprehensive benefit package. 
  45. ^ Devroy, Ann. "Clinton Calls for a Centrist 'Social Compact,'", The Washington Post, January 25, 1995, p. A01.
  46. ^ Sullivan, Andrew. "Answering Ezra", The Daily Dish, The Atlantic, October 2007.
  47. ^ Warren, Tim. "The Fixer: Can editor Franklin Foer rescue the New Republic?", Columbia Magazine, Summer 2007.
  48. ^ Sarlin, Benjamin (May 15, 2009). "The Woman Who Killed Health Care". Daily Beast. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  49. ^ Fried, Joseph P. "Following Up: Pataki's Defiant No. 2 Now Has Own Pulpit," The New York Times, April 20, 2003.
  50. ^ McCaughey, Betsy (September 14, 2002). "The Governor Doesn't Need a Lieutenant". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  51. ^ NY Times staff reporter."The 1994 Elections: New York State; Pataki Says No. 2 Will Have Real Role", The New York Times, November 10, 1994.
  52. ^ Shipp, E.R. "Betsy's the Bait in Albany Game of Bait and Switch," The New York Daily News, June 11, 1996.
  53. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (1996-06-02). "Lt. Gov Gets GOP Dissing". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2013-11-14. In perhaps the most bizarre element of this episode, McCaughey stood behind Governor Pataki, in full view of the camera, displaying an unflinching, toothsome smile for the duration of Pataki's speech. 
  54. ^ Joel Siegel (May 21, 1998). "Betsy's Double Jeopardy Mccaughey Ross' Gop Zest May Come To Haunt Her". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  55. ^ Goodnough, Abby. "McCaughey Ross and Husband Meet on Campaign's Future," The New York Times, September 1, 1998.
  56. ^ a b Election results, State of New York, November 1998, Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  57. ^ "Genta Announces Resignation of Dr. Betsy McCaughey from Board of Directors". PRN Newswire. October 27, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  58. ^ a b "Press Release: Elizabeth McCaughey Resigns As Director of Cantel Medical," August 21, 2009, retrieved March 29, 2011.
  59. ^ What is RID?" Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths""". September 1, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  60. ^ a b Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths,
  61. ^ Ex-pol Betsy in brutal battle NY Post, January 20, 2011
  62. ^ a b c d Sack, Kevin. "Cancer Society focuses its ads on the uninsured," The New York Times, August 31, 2007, p. A1.
  63. ^ American Cancer Society staff. "Access to Care," American Cancer Society, 2007.
  64. ^ a b c McCaughey, Betsy. "Cancer killers," The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2007, p. A12.(subscription required)
  65. ^ McCaughey, Betsy. "U.S. cancer care is number one," NCPA Brief Analysis #596, National Center for Policy Analysis, October 11, 2007.
  66. ^ O'Neill, June E.; O'Neill, Dave M. "Health status, health care and inequality: Canada vs. the U.S.," NBER Working Paper 13429, NBER, September 2007, pp. 13, 35.
  67. ^ Verdecchia, Arduino, et al. "Recent cancer survival in Europe: a 2000–02 period analysis of EUROCARE-4 data," (subscription required) Lancet Oncology 8 (9): 784–96, September 2007.
  68. ^ a b c d e McCaughey, Betsy."Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan",, February 9, 2009, Accessed March 29, 2011.
  69. ^ McCaughey, Betsy. Press Release: "Betsy McCaughey Responds to Poorly Informed Critics", PRNewswire, February 12, 2009.
  70. ^ a b McCaughey, Betsy." Gets it Wrong on Stimulus Package."
  71. ^ Fallows, James. "Let's Stop This Before It Goes Any Further,", The Atlantic, February 12, 2009.
  72. ^ a b Benen, Steve. A Conservative Lie Case Study The Washington Monthly, February 11, 2009.
  73. ^ Lori Robertson (February 20, 2009). "Doctor's Orders? Republicans claim that the new stimulus law says the government will tell physicians what procedures can and can't be performed. It doesn't.". FactCheck. Annenberg Public Policy Center. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  74. ^ a b c d Pear, Robert. "U.S. to Compare Medical Treatments," The New York Times, February 15, 2009.
  75. ^ a b Robert Pear (April 17, 2009). "A Hard-Charging Doctor on Obama's Team". The New York Times. p. A14. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  76. ^ a b Michael Scherer (August 12, 2009). "Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama's 'Deadly Doctor,' Strikes Back". TIME. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  77. ^ David Saltonstall (August 12, 2009). "Former Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey leads 'death panel' charge writing up talking points". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  78. ^ Jim Dwyer (August 25, 2009). "Distortions on Health Bill, Homegrown". The New York Times. Retrieved April 29, 2011. ... a former lieutenant governor of New York and now the quartermaster of much of the high-powered intellectual ammunition against the proposals. Ms. McCaughey has been the hammer to Ms. Palin's nail. 
  79. ^ a b Betsy McCaughey (July 24, 2009). "Deadly doctors: O advisors want to ration care" (Opinion).  
  80. ^ a b c Bob Garfield (July 31, 2009). "The Origins of Rumors" (Audio). On the Media. WNYC Public Radio. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  81. ^ a b c Catharine Richert (July 23, 2009). "McCaughey claims end-of-life counseling will be required for Medicare patients". PolitiFact. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  82. ^ Joe Conason. "Will Bill and Betsy kill again?". Salon. 
  83. ^ Angie Drobnic Holan (August 10, 2009). "Palin 'death panel' claim sets Truth-O-Meter ablaze". PolitiFact. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  84. ^ Robert Farley (August 13, 2009). "Palin claims Obama misled when he said end-of-life counseling is voluntary". PolitiFact. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  85. ^ D'Angelo Gore (August 14, 2009). Deadly Doctor'?"'". FactCheck. Annenberg Public Policy Center. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  86. ^ Jess Henig (July 29, 2009). "False Euthanasia Claims –The claim that the House health care bill pushes suicide is nonsense". FactCheck. Annenberg Public Policy Center. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  87. ^ Madhuri Dey (August 22, 2009). "Betsy McCaughey Resigns After Humiliating Herself In Jon Stewart's Show". Thaindian News. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  88. ^ Matthew DeLong (August 21, 2009). Death Panel' Myth Creator Betsy McCaughey Resigns From Medical Board"'". The Washington Independent. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  89. ^ "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart – Full Episode" (Video with edited interview). The Daily Show. August 20, 2009. 
  90. ^ "Daily Show: Exclusive – Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1". The Daily Show. August 20, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  91. ^ "Daily Show: Exclusive – Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2". The Daily Show. August 20, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  92. ^ "Rep. Anthony Weiner Debates Betsy McCaughey On MSNBC". YouTube. October 6, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  93. ^ "Betsy McCaughey: ObamaCare's Phony Deficit Reduction –". August 7, 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  94. ^ McCaughey, Betsy (2013-09-15). "Obamacare will question your sex life | New York Post". Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  95. ^ "'"Betsy McCaughey says on next doctor visit, 'Obamacare will question your sex life. PolitiFact. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  96. ^ "Betsy McCaughey". Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  97. ^ "Betsy McCaughey: Obamacare designed to vastly expand single payer Medicaid by eviscerating Medicare". YouTube. 2013-10-25. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  98. ^ "Betsy McCaughey (Betsy_McCaughey) on Twitter". Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  99. ^ Fox News video clip, via Media Matters
  100. ^ "No 'Special Subsidy' for Congress". Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  101. ^ "Tom Cotton says Mark Pryor voted to give Congress a special subsidy for health care". PolitiFact. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  102. ^ "GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling assails "sweetheart" deal for lawmakers, staff under Obamacare". PolitiFact. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  103. ^ "Fact Check: Congress, staff are exempt from Obamacare – CNN Political Ticker – Blogs". 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  104. ^ "False Euthanasia Claims". Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  105. ^'? We Disagree"'". Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  106. ^ Media Matters analyses of Betsy McCaughey's assertions


General election results 1998[56]
Governor candidate Lt. Gov. Running mate Party Popular Vote
George E. Pataki Mary O. Donohue Republican,
Conservative Party of NY
2,571,991 54.32%
Peter F. Vallone Sr. Sandra Frankel Democratic,
Working Families
1,570,317 33.16%
B. Thomas Golisano Laureen Oliver Independence Party of NY 364,056 7.69%
Betsy McCaughey Ross Jonathan C. Reiter Liberal Party of NY 77,915 1.65%
Michael Reynolds Karen Prior NY State Right to Life 56,683 1.20%
Al Lewis Alice Green Green Party US 52,533 1.11%
Other parties Less than 1%
General election results 1994 – Lt. Governor running-mates
share one ballot space with the nominees for Governor.
Governor candidate Lt. Gov. Running mate Party Popular Vote
George E. Pataki Betsy McCaughey Republican,
Conservative Party of NY,
Tax Cut Now
2,488,631 48.8%
Mario Cuomo Stan Lundine Democratic Party,
Liberal Party of NY
2,364,904 45.4%
B. Thomas Golisano Dominick Fusco Independence Fusion 217,490 4.1%
Robert T. Walsh Virginia E. Sutton NY State Right to Life 67,750 1.3%
Other parties Less than 1%

Electoral history

The progressive media watchdog Media Matters describes McCaughey as a "serial misinformer" and has critiqued many of her assertions.[107]

[106] In an August 20, 2009 appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," McCaughey referred to the fact-checking site

[104]CNN as did fact-checkers at [103][102] also found this assertion to be false, The fact-checking site [101] McCaughey asserted that members of Congress and other government employees were granted a "special subsidy" and a "premium illegally arranged by Obama" under the [100] and on television,[99] On her Twitter feed

In an October 25, 2013 appearance on Fox News, McCaughey asserted that the Affordable Care Act would have the effect of "eviscerating Medicare."[98]

[97] McCaughey described Ezekiel Emanuel in a

In July 2009, McCaughey claimed that a section in the pending healthcare legislation titled "Advance Care Planning Consultation" actually prescribed "euthanasia for the elderly" because it included provisions that "would make it mandatory … that people [on] Medicare [be told] how to end their lives sooner".[81][82] McCaughey's choice of words and analysis were described by The Atlantic's James Fallows as inaccurate and sensationalistic.[81] The fact-checking site,, responded that the end-of-life counseling was voluntary, and gave McCaughey a "pants on fire", (least true) rating.[82] In August 2009, WNYC's On the Media also addressed McCaughey's claims, concluding that the provision actually mandated that the federal government compensate "counseling sessions" on elder law, such as estate planning, "will writing and hospice care."[81]

McCaughey opposed the healthcare reform bills debated in Congress in 2009 and enacted in 2010. She made allegations about certain provisions of the bills that provided for Medicare payments to physicians for end-of-life and living will counseling, and about Ezekiel Emanuel, who was then an adviser to the Obama administration's budget director and chairman of the bioethics department at the National Institutes of Health.[76] McCaughey's claims may have inspired Sarah Palin's more high-profile claims that the legislation would lead to so-called death panels.[77][78][79][80] The provisions in the legislation that McCaughey advocated against were removed from the bill before it became law.

2009 healthcare reform bills

McCaughey's viewpoint was soon echoed and extended by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, and multiple Fox News Channel broadcasters.[73][75] Republican U.S. Representative Charles Boustany Jr. of Louisiana, a heart surgeon, added that he feared that comparative effectiveness research would be misused by federal bureaucrats to "ration care, to deny life-saving treatment to seniors and disabled people."[75] Other conservatives agreed that the legislation could put the federal government in the middle of the doctor-patient relationship.[75] The stimulus bill was passed with the healthcare related provisions still included and McCaughey urged their repeal, so that their potential impact could be studied further.[71]

[75] The effectiveness research council was a new initiative, as McCaughey had said. However, supporters of the stimulus bill provision said the research that would be funded would provide additional evidence to guide treatment decisions, and would save lives and money by avoiding unnecessary, ineffective or risky treatments.[74] noted that comparative effectiveness research had been funded by the U.S. government for years, but agreed with McCaughey that there would be penalties for health providers that did not use the electronic records system.FactCheck [73] and that the 2009 legislation was not about limiting doctors' ability to prescribe treatments, but instead was about establishing a system of electronic records to give physicians complete and accurate information their patients.[72] Critics claimed McCaughey's claims were distorted, pointing out that the

McCaughey published an op-ed on February 9, 2009 claiming that the Obama administration's pending economic stimulus legislation contained hidden provisions that would harm the health of Americans as well as the healthcare sector of the economy.[69] She argued that the bill would establish two powerful new bureaucracies; the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.[69] McCaughey said the first entity would monitor patients' electronic medical records to ensure that doctors and hospitals treated patients in a way that "the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective", and that doctors and hospitals that deviate from the government's "electronically delivered protocols," would be penalized.[69][70] She said the Federal Coordinating Council would be composed of appointed bureaucrats charged with a cost-cutting agenda that would slow the development of new medical products and drugs, and ration healthcare for senior citizens.[69][71] She opined that the bureaucrats would use a comparative effectiveness formula that in the U.K. had resulted in a requirement that senior citizens go blind in one eye before the government would pay for a treatment to save the sight in the other eye.[69]

2009 stimulus bill

[68] The ACS responded by citing a study of nearly 600,000 cancer cases that concluded that compared to people with private insurance, uninsured patients in the U.S. were 1.6 times more likely to die within five years of their diagnosis.[67] that analyzed 2000–2002 cancer survival figures from Europe.Lancet Oncology and an article in the British medical journal [66] She expanded her argument into a "Brief Analysis" published the following month by the [64] due to shorter wait times for treatment, better availability of new drugs for therapy and more frequent cancer screenings.[64] She argued that evidence had shown that the U.S. had higher rates of cancer survival than countries with universal healthcare coverage [64] McCaughey criticized the ad campaign, saying the ACS should instead re-focus on educating people about cancer prevention and detection.

In August 2007 the American Cancer Society dedicated $15 million to a public awareness campaign on inadequate access to healthcare for the 47 million Americans not covered by insurance.[62][63] The ACS claimed that there would be a greater decline in cancer deaths if more cases of cancer were diagnosed in the early stages.[62] The society noted that studies had shown that patients without insurance were more than twice as likely to have their cancer diagnosed in the late stages of the disease.[62] One of the cancer society's commercials stated, "We're making progress, but it's not enough if people don't have access to the care that could save their lives."[62]

American Cancer Society

Healthcare reform, 2007–2009

In 2011, she was dating Oppenheimer Capital founder Charles Brunie.[61]

[10] In 2004, she founded the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID) in reaction to a rise in

McCaughey has worked on patient advocacy and healthcare policy issues since leaving office in 1999. She was senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute beginning in 1999, then an adjunct senior fellow beginning in 2002.[10] She was a member of the board of directors of Genta, a company focused on the delivery of innovative products for cancer treatment from 2001 until she resigned in October 2007.[57] She was also a member of the board of directors of the Cantel Medical Corporation, a medical device manufacturer, from 2005 until she resigned in August 2009 to avoid the appearance a conflict of interest while she was engaged in advocacy on healthcare reform legislation.[58]

Life and career since leaving office

McCaughey was defeated in the Democratic primary election by New York City Councilman Peter Vallone (who then lost the general election to Pataki, 54 percent to 33 percent). McCaughey had earlier received the nomination of the Liberal Party of New York for governor, and stayed in the general election. McCaughey's campaign attracted little support, and she received only 1.65 percent of the general vote for governor.[56] Following the election, she divorced and then sued her former husbands in "$40 million fraud," claiming that he promised to fund her campaign unconditionally.[11]

Though she had always voted Republican in presidential elections and taken conservative Republican policy positions, McCaughey suddenly switched her party affiliation to Democrat, and soon announced plans to run for governor against Pataki.[2] McCaughey was the early frontrunner for her new party's nomination process,[54] in part because of her statewide name and face recognition, and in part because of the financial support of her wealthy then-husband.[55] During her campaign for governor, she was criticized for firing a succession of campaign aides and political advisers, and for possibly changing her core political beliefs in order to appear more electable to New York voters.[2] As her opinion poll numbers sank, her then-husband took away more than half of the funds he had pledged to her campaign.[11]

McCaughey said that she accepted the nomination believing she would be Pataki's "point person on health policy".[50] After winning the election, Pataki told The New York Times, McCaughey would have "very real and significant responsibilities" as lieutenant governor.[51] McCaughey was initially tasked by Pataki to work on education policy, and on reducing New York's Medicaid budget.[6] By January 1995, McCaughey had produced a set of recommendations that required cost-cutting by hospitals and nursing homes, so that the poor did not have to bear the entire burden of balancing the state's Medicaid budget (via a reduction of their benefits).[1] However, McCaughey's recommendations were largely ignored.[52] After Governor Pataki refused to give McCaughey permission to conduct a study into child abuse, she did one anyway, and publicly announced its results.[6] McCaughey was publicly critical of the governor's proposed cuts to Medicaid, and gave a pro-choice speech without his advance permission.[6] In March 1996, The New York Times reported that McCaughey was locked out of the governor's inner circle because she had violated the "unwritten rules" of the conventional lieutenant governor's role.[6] Rather than following protocol as lieutenant governor by taking a seat with everyone else during Pataki's State of the State address to the legislature in 1996, McCaughey stood for the entire fifty-six-minute speech's length, further attracting attention to herself at her governor's expense.[53] In the spring of 1997, Governor Pataki announced that McCaughey would not be his running mate when he ran for re-election in 1998; he later selected New York State Supreme Court Justice Mary Donohue to replace her.

[6] Regarding her status as a political rookie, McCaughey said, "Many New Yorkers see that as a plus."[49] Following the national attention McCaughey received in the 1990s healthcare legislation debate,

New York Lieutenant Governorship, 1994–1998

In 2009, the Daily Beast called her "The Woman Who Killed Health Care".[48]

According to The Washington Post, the "No Exit" article, the White House response, and the ensuing television and radio interviews with McCaughey made her a star, and, "Her toothy good looks, body-conscious suits, Vassar BA and Columbia PhD reduced right-wingers to mush".[12] The bill stalled and died in Congress in 1994, and the next year Clinton was reduced to asking Congress for a series of small, incremental reforms to the healthcare system.[45] The "No Exit" article won the National Magazine Award for excellence in the public interest. Andrew Sullivan, then the editor of The New Republic later stated that he believed there were flaws in McCaughey's article, but that he ran it "as a provocation to debate."[46] In 2006 a new editor recanted the story.[47]

The Clinton White House press office issued a response to McCaughey's "No Exit" article, arguing that it contained "numerous factual inaccuracies and misleading statements."[42] McCaughey responded that her claims came "straight from the text of the bill".[43] Supporters of the Clinton plan questioned McCaughey's claims, including her statements that "the law will prevent you from going outside the system to buy basic health coverage you think is better," and that "doctor[s] can be paid only by the plan, not by you", by pointing to the text of the legislation such as[38] Section 1003 that said: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting ... An individual from purchasing any health care services." – House Bill 3600. February 4, 1994.[44]

[41][40] Senator [38] McCaughey's "No Exit" article was quickly used by conservative officials and commentators seeking to discredit the Clinton plan.

McCaughey expanded her op-eds into a five-page article titled "No Exit", that appeared as the cover story in The New Republic and was published a few days before President Clinton's 1994 State of the Union address.[34] An internal memo by tobacco company Philip Morris, dated March 1994, indicated that representatives of Philip Morris had collaborated with McCaughey when she was writing "No Exit", stating:[35][36] "Worked off-the-record with Manhattan and writer Betsy McCaughey as part of the input to the three-part exposé in The New Republic on what the Clinton plan means to you. The first part detailed specifics of the plan."[36][37] (When the memo was discussed in a 2009 story in the Rolling Stone, McCaughey declined to comment.)[29][35]

In late November 1993, the Clinton health care plan of 1993 bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress and was made publicly available. The Wall Street Journal then published an op-ed by McCaughey in which said she had pored over the entire bill and concluded that it had price controls that would cause rationing, and that in her opinion, the bill was dangerous.[32][33]

[31] According to McCaughey, the HMO plans would not pay for visits to specialists or for second opinions, and most physicians would be driven out of private practice.[31]

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