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Betsy McCaughey, PhD

Betsy McCaughey is former Lt. Governor of New York State.  McCaughey frequently appears as the right-wing "health care expert" on news talk shows, where she mis-represents planned legislation on health care reform. 

In the nineties, McCaughey lied to the American public by claiming that the planned Clinton health care reform bill would make it illegal to have private health insurance.  That was utterly untrue.  She is currently claiming that a proposed health care bill requires end of life counseling, which is again not true.  The bill states that if patients opt for end-of-life counseling, that should be covered by the plan.

In 2004, she founded the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (
www.hospitalinfection.org), a nationwide educational campaign to stop hospital-acquired infections. She serves as the CEO and Chairman of the organization. In three years, RID has made hospital infections a major public issue, provided compelling evidence that preventing infection improves hospital profitability as well as saving lives, and won legislation in over 20 states for public reporting of infection rates. RID has become synonymous with patient safety and clean hospital care. Dr. McCaughey’s research on how to prevent infection deaths has been featured on Good Morning America, the CBS Morning Show, ABC’s 20/20, and many other national programs. She has appeared on Fox News Network’s Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN’s Talk Back Live, and numerous radio programs. Dr. McCaughey is the author of over one hundred scholarly and popular articles on health policy, infection, medical innovation, the economics of aging, and Medicare. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Policy Review, Forbes Magazine, New York Law Journal, Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Report, and many other national publications. Her 1994 analysis of the Clinton health plan in the New Republic won a National Magazine Award for the best article in the nation on public policy. Her article on the dangers of “Dumbing Down Medical Care” won the National Media Award from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. She has been profiled in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and other publications.

From 1994 to 1998, she served as Lt. Governor of New York State. She focused on health issues, and her bills became models for legislation in many states and in Congress.

She has taught at Vassar College and Columbia University, and produced prize-winning studies while at two think tanks, the Manhattan Institute and later the Hudson Institute.

Prior to entering the health policy field, Dr. McCaughey earned a Ph.D. in constitutional history. She is the author of two books on that subject, From Loyalist to Founding Father (Columbia University Press), winner of the Bancroft Dissertation Award, and Government by Choice (Basic Books). She also chaired a national commission on reforming the Electoral College in 1992, wrote its report, Electing the President, and testified before Congress on the subject. In 1989, she served as Guest Curator for the Bicentennial Exhibit and related events at the New York Historical Society.


  • Dissertation defended with distinction
  • Richard B. Morris Prize
  • Bancroft Dissertation Award
  • John Jay Fellowship


  • General and Departmental Honors
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
  • Herbert H. Lehman Fellowship
  • Honorary Vassar Fellowship

  • Post-doctoral Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • John M. Olin Fellowship
  • H. L. Mencken Award
  • National Magazine Award for “No Exit,” a critique of the Clinton Health Plan
  • Annual Prize from the American Society of Anesthesiologists


While completing her Ph.D., Dr. McCaughey trained in the corporate banking department at Chase Manhattan Bank, and served as a lending officer in the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Division. She also studied accounting at the Columbia University School of Business. From 2000 to 2003, she was a regular columnist for Investors Business Daily.

Current board positions include: Cantel Medical Corp., The American Council on Science and Health, and The Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, and the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths

  • Feature Speaker, Manhattan Institute Young Leaders Conference, New York, New York, June 3, 2009.
  • Feature Speaker, APIC Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, June 17, 2008.
  • Keynote Speaker, New Research and Compelling Economic Data in Support of Infection Prevention,”
  • Stanford Group Health Conference, NY, NY, June 16th, 2008
  • PBS “Second Opinion” Panel on Hospital Infections, Rochester, NY, May 3rd, 2008
  • Presenter “New Research and Compelling Economic Data in Support of Infection Prevention,” Lotos Club, New York, NY, April 17, 2008.
  • Presenter, Association of Health Care Journalists, Washington, D.C., March 28th, 2008
  • Vassar Brothers Hospital Grand Rounds, Poughkipsie, NY, March 26, 2008
  • Keynote Speaker Greater New York Hospital Association C. difficile collaborative for 38 hospitals in the municipal area, March 7, 2008.
  • Baxter Healthcare Annual Meeting, Chicago, Il, January 21, 2008
  • 19th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference, New York, NY, November 27, 2007
  • The 42nd Annual Region I Conference of the American Society of Microbiology, Harvard Medical Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 2, 2007
  • Eighth Congress of the International Federation of Infection Control, Budapest, October 2007
  • Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center Nursing Infection Control Education Day, Philadelphia, October, 2007
  • Association of Professionals in Infection Control Annual Conference, San Jose, CA, June 25, 2007
  • The MRSA and Families Network International Conference, Trinity College, Dublin, June, 2007
  • National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (annual gathering of ICU nurses), Atlanta, May 22, 2007
  • Hospital Infection Forum (co-sponsored by PALL Corporation), Long Island, NY, March 8, 2007
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Jersey, February 20, 2007.
  • Grand Rounds, New York-Presbyterian Medical Center, January 8, 2007.
  • Grand Rounds, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, November 1, 2006.
  • Grand Rounds, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, September 27, 2006.
  • “News from the Infection Prevention Front,” Live Webcast, Infection Control Today, September 5, 2006.
  • Illinois Hospital Association Quality Leadership Conference in Chicago, May 23-24, 2006.
  • APIC 2006 Futures Summit in Savannah, April 2006
  • Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s 16th Annual Scientific Meeting, March 2006
  • Testimony on Hospital Infection Reporting, Connecticut State Legislature, March 6, 2006
  • “The Human and Financial Costs of Hospital Infections,” Live Webcast, Infection Control Today, February 28,2006
  • “Unnecessary Deaths,” 2nd Annual Minimizing Healthcare-Associated Infections Conference in Las Vegas, February 27, 2006
  • “The Most Effective Strategies for Preventing Nosocomial Infections,” 3rd Annual Patient Safety Conference at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, December 2, 2005
  • “The Compelling Case for Reducing Infection,” Manhattan Institute, March 31, 2005
  • “Preventing Hospital Infection: Saving Lives, Reducing Costs,” Harvard Club, March 11, 2005
  • “The War Against Infection,” Keynote, National Conference of Insurance Legislators, February 4, 2005
  • “Making Hygiene a Central Part of Medicine,” Forum on Hospital Infection, Harvard Club, December 7, 2004
  • “Improving the World’s Best Health Care,” Rotary Club at the Princeton Club, November 16, 2004
  • “The Future of Medicine,” Weill Cornell Medical College Reunion, October 2, 2004
  • “Reforming the Malpractice System: Ethical and Empirical Considerations,” Long Island Jewish Hospital, sponsored by the Medical Society of the State of New York, June 13, 2003
  • “Preparing Medicare for an Aging Society,” House of Representatives Briefing Sponsored by the Alliance for Aging Research, Cannon Caucus Room, March 17, 2003
  • “Scientists are Saving Medicare and Protecting Us from Disease,” Luncheon speaker at the Advanced Medical Technologies Association Meeting, Chicago, February 23, 2002
  • Keynote Speaker, “Operating Ambulatory Surgery Centers and Surgical Hospitals,” Healthstream Continuing Medical Education event, Chicago, September 27, 2002
  • “Scientists are Solving the Problem of Aging,” Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, April 10, 2001
  • Medical Innovation and What It Will Mean To Us,” Williams Club of New York, February 8, 2001
  • “Almost as Good as Cocoon,” Fifty New Yorkers luncheon speaker at Alliance Capital, January 25, 2001
  • Dinner keynote speaker, “Why There Is No Medicare Crisis,” Alliance for Aging Research, May 22, 2000
  • Keynote luncheon speaker at “Medicine Briefing: Research at Risk” for U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate Staff and Members, Senate Caucus Room, April 13, 2000

  • 2004-present: Founder and Chairman of Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
  • 2002-present: Adjunct senior fellow, Hudson Institute, national columnist
  • 1999-2001: Senior fellow, Hudson Institute
  • 1994-1998: Lt. Governor of New York State
  • 1993-1994: John M. Olin Fellow, Manhattan Institute
  • 1989-1992: Senior Scholar, Center for the Study of the Presidency
  • 1986-1988: Guest Curator, The New York Historical Society
  • 1983-1984: Post-Doctoral Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities
  • 1981-1983: Assistant Professor, Columbia University
  • 1979-1980: Lecturer, Columbia University
  • 1977-1978: Visiting Assistant Professor, Vassar College

  • Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution (Basic Books, 1987) with Preface by Chief Justice Warren Burger, Ret., and Foreword by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  • From Loyalist to Founding Father: The Political Odyssey of William Samuel Johnson (Columbia University Press, 1980).
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review by . July 31, 2009
Betsy McCaughey
SHE HAS ACTUALLY READ THE BILL!   Betsy McCaughey is a health care scholar, patient advocate and a former Lt. Governor of the State of New York.  As such, she is eminently qualified to examine and comment on HR 3200 better known as the Obama health care proposal.  What Betsy McCaughey has  found tucked away in the pages of this bill can only be described as breathtaking!   It would appear that the American people are being asked to …
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