The health chapter glibly implies that most health problems are of people’s own making—they eat too much, don’t exercise, and skip preventive tests. He cites the case of Safeway, whose CEO, Stephen Burd, testified before Congress saying that the company’s Healthy Measures program, which monitors such things as cholesterol and blood pressure for employees, resulted in its health care costs remaining flat while those of other companies increased by 40 percent. If the nation had adopted Safeway’s approach in 2005, the nation’s health care bill would have been $550 billion less. “That’s a heck of better record than anything Congress has passed or even proposed!” Huckabee writes. “Why didn’t they listen to Burd?” Perhaps they didn’t listen because experts who know something about the subject challenged Burd’s claim—which Campaign Desk reported.

The health gospel according to Mike sounds sooooo reasonable, and it comes across that way on the stump. The problem is there’s a back story to just about everything he says.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.