Lie. Obama has said health-care reform will be deficit neutral, does not steer tax dollars to abortions and that there are 46 million uninsured Americans.
Truth. The legislation proposed by Democrats in Congress and backed by Obama would establishing a government plan to compete with private insurers, mandate employer and individual coverage and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.
Lie. During his Aug. 22, weekly address aimed at busting myths about the health reform plan, Obama insisted the legislation would not fund abortions.
Obama said when it comes to the current ban on using tax dollars for abortions, nothing will change under reform.”
Truth. However, the House bill mandates that government-run insurance exchanges where people would buy insurance with government subsidies include at least one plan that covers abortion. Committees in both the House and Senate rejected amendment that would have explicitly forbid federal money from going to pay for abortion under the plan. The House Energy and Commerce Committee rejected an amendment on July 31 that would said, “No funds authorized under this Act (or an amendment by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion.” It was defeated by a 30-29 vote. The committee then added an amendment by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) that would leave it up to private insurers whether to fund abortions, even if these private insurers are taking federally subsidized customers. Her amendment also required that at least one insurer in the federal insurance exchange cover abortion, and left it up to the secretary of health and human services to decide if the public option itself would provide abortion coverage.
Lie. During his July 22 news conference, the president stressed that one important goal of the legislation was to save money. Obama said: “Now, what we did very early on was say two-thirds of the costs of health care reform–which includes providing coverage for people who don’t have it, making it more affordable for folks who do, and making sure that we’re over the long term creating the kinds of systems where prevention and wellness and information technologies make the system more efficient–that the entire cost of that has to be paid for and it’s got to be deficit-neutral.”
Truth. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has shown that the health care overhaul legislation would add another $1.04 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years if enacted. That estimate primarily reflects $438 billion in additional federal outlays for Medicaid and $773 billion in federal subsidies that would be provided to purchase coverage through the new insurance exchanges. Not all enrollees in the exchanges would receive subsidies, but the average subsidy among those who would be subsidized is projected to rise from roughly $4,800 in 2015 to roughly $6,000 in 2019. The other main element of the proposal that would increase federal deficits is the tax credit for small employers who offer health insurance, which is estimated to reduce revenues by $53 billion over 10 years.
Lie. During the July 22 news conference, Obama said talked about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Obama said, “I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is.” During an Aug. 11 town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., he also said, “nearly 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance coverage today,” and that “46 million of our fellow citizens have no coverage.”
Truth. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 35.9 million U.S. citizens and 9.7 million foreign nationals living in the United States are without medical insurance. That is according to the bureau’s report on “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007,” the most recent publicly available statistics. The president has overstated the number of Americans who are uninsured by as much as 10 million.
Lie. When speaking to the AARP, Obama said, “Nobody is talking cutting Medicare benefits.”
Truth. Obama has supported eliminating subsidies to Medicare Advantage, which allows seniors to buy certain private plans with public dollars. The president has called the program “costly and redundant.” Obama has stated, “What we do want to do is eliminate some of the waste that is being paid for out of the Medicare trust fund that could be used more effectively to cover more people and to strengthen the system,”
Lie. Obama has stated that everyone would be able to keep their existing plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your private insurance plan, you can keep your plan.
Truth. The government-run health insurance exchange and the public option, employers would have incentives to change the plan offered to their employees, according to studies by the CBO and the Lewin Group, a private health care analysis firm. The Lewin Group projects that if the government option extended to all employers, enrollment would grow to 131.2 million and 119.1 million Americans would leave private plans for the public option. When fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges.
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