To slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone age two and older wear a mask in public settings and when they are around people who do not live in their household. We separated the myths from the facts about masks.
I don’t feel sick, so I don’t need to wear a mask.
A portion of people who have COVID-19 will remain asymptomatic, meaning they never experience any symptoms of the virus, while others may be pre-symptomatic. Both can be sick without knowing it and spread COVID-19 to others.
Wearing a mask makes it hard to breath and will cause carbon dioxide poisoning.
A cloth mask should not impair oxygen flow and will not increase the amount of carbon dioxide you breathe in. CO2 particles are significantly smaller than COVID-19, meaning a cloth face mask can allow CO2 to easily pass through while still preventing COVID-19 particles from being released into the atmosphere.
It’s my right to not wear a mask.
The government can and has enacted guidelines, policies and laws that restrict or mandate actions to protect public health. Some examples of government actions to protect public health include seat belt laws, prohibition of indoor smoking and a legal drinking age of 21.
If it isn’t an N95 mask, there is no point in wearing one.
N95 or other medical-grade masks provide the best protection, but those should be reserved for health care workers and first responders. Multi-layer cloth masks are highly likely to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that if 95 percent of people wore a mask, about 130,000 lives could be saved.
Vaccines are safe and necessary, we’ve separated the myths from the facts.
Vaccines cause autism.
There is no link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In fact, the study that first perpetuated this myth has been debunked, retracted in 2010 and deemed fraudulent across global scientific communities.
Vaccines may cause people to contract the disease they’re trying to prevent.
It is an individual’s choice to decline vaccinations for themselves or their children.
Public health programs such as vaccinations protect both individuals and the broader public. Though some groups, such as those who are immune compromised, should not always be vaccinated, their well-being relies on others getting vaccinated, developing “herd immunity” to keep everyone healthy.
Vaccines aren’t needed if a disease has largely disappeared in the U.S.
If not enough people are vaccinated, herd immunity is put at risk and there is the opportunity for infectious diseases to spread quickly even in places it was once thought to be eradicated.
Better hygiene and sanitation have led to a decrease in infectious diseases, not vaccines.
Improved hygiene and sanitation have improved health, but they are no replacement for immunizations. Permanent declines in disease coincide with widespread usage of vaccines. In countries where immunization levels were allowed to drop, an immediate, dramatic increase in disease occurred.
Congress is considering two different ways to resolve payment disputes involving surprise bills. We’ve fact-checked the arguments:
Setting a benchmark to pay surprise bills is like government rate-setting.
Benchmarks would use the negotiated, market rates between private insurers and clinicians, and do not rely on a government standard.
A benchmark would reduce payments below what doctors and hospitals need to stay in business.
Private health insurers already pay well above Medicare rates. For example, the national median reimbursement for anesthesiologists is currently 344 percent of Medicare.
*Source: Journal of the American Medical Association
A payment benchmark would deter health plans from contracting with doctors and hospitals.
Creating a benchmark payment will not erode networks. Health plans develop different types of networks based on employer and consumer needs, and state laws also require adequate numbers of doctors and hospitals in networks.
Arbitration would not raise health care costs.
Arbitration requires an expensive new infrastructure and would continue to give physicians an incentive to remain out-of-network to chase higher reimbursements.