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DNC Distorts The Truth About ObamaCare

June 13, 2010

 

Barack Obama

“Democrats [this] Thursday  launch[ed] new 60-second ad on national cable television accusing repeal-happy Republicans of wanting to get rid of health care reform and all its benefits.” (Christina Bellantoni, “Dems Go All-In On Health Care With New Ad Slamming GOP’s Repeal Promise (Video),” Talking Points Memo’s “TPMDC” Blog, 6/10/10)
Claim

DNC Ad Claims ObamaCare “Makes Health Care More Accessible And It Puts Consumers In The Driver’s Seat …” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

Doctor Shortage Will Worsen Because Of ObamaCare, Leading To “More-Limited Access To Health Care And Longer Wait Times For Patients.” “The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors. Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges….The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. … A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.” (Suzanne Sataline & Shirley Wang, “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/12/10)

Obama Promised Americans Could Keep The Plans They Like, But Government Bureaucrats Could Say Otherwise As They Determine What Plans Get “Grandfathered Status.” “Now that Congress has imposed new requirements on health insurance plans, regulators are trying to resolve another big question: Which plans must comply with the requirements? In keeping with President Obama’s promise that you can hold on to your insurance if you like it, the new law exempts existing health plans from many of its provisions. But the law leaves it to regulators to decide how much a health plan can change without giving up its grandfathered status. In other words, when does a health plan cease to be the same health plan?” (David S. Hilzenrath, “Health-Care Law Faces Test As Regulators Settle Which Plans Must Do What,” The Washington Post, 5/24/10) 

Claim

ObamaCare Will Be “Prohibiting Insurance Companies From Denying Coverage Due To Pre-Existing Conditions …” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

Federal Law Already Had Restrictions On Insurers About Denying Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions. “Today, [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)] helps to assure continued coverage for employees and their dependents, regardless of preexisting conditions. Insurers can impose only a 12-month waiting period for any preexisting condition that has been diagnosed or treated within the preceding 6 months. As long as you have maintained continuous coverage without a break of more than 63 days, your prior health insurance coverage will be credited toward the preexisting condition exclusion period. If you have had group health coverage for at least 1 year and you change jobs and health plans, your new plan can’t impose another preexisting condition exclusion period. If you have never been covered by an employer’s group plan and you start a new job that offers such a plan, you may be subject to a 12-month preexisting condition waiting period. Federal law also makes it easier for you to get individual insurance under certain situations. You may, however, have to pay a higher premium for individual insurance if you have a preexisting condition.” (Agency For Healthcare Research And Quality, “Questions And Answers About Health Insurance: A Consumer Guide,” AHRQ Publication No. 07-0043, 8/07)

  • And ObamaCare’s Changes For Children With Pre-Existing Conditions “Not Really That Helpful” According To A Mother. “Starting later this year, President Barack Obama’s health care law requires insurers to accept all children regardless of medical history. But the law doesn’t limit what the companies can charge, and the Thompsons fear that could leave them in the same predicament: still no insurance for two children because it costs too much. ‘If that’s the way it’s going to shake out, it’s not really that helpful,’ said Mary Thompson. She checked with her insurer recently and was told Andrew probably would have to have his own policy. ‘I could be looking at a $500-a-month policy for just the two of them,’ she said.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Premiums May Undermine Coverage Guarantee For Kids,” The Associated Press, 5/10/10)
Claim

ObamaCare Is “Closing The Dreaded Prescription Drug Donut Hole To Finally Give Seniors Relief …” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

Less Than 10% Of Medicare Recipients Will Get $250 Rebate Checks That The DNC’s Touting. “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projects four million beneficiaries will receive a check in 2010 – about 80,000 of them in the June 15 initial mailing, followed by larger mailings throughout the summer and fall.” (HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, Letter To Honorable Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid & Mitch McConnell, Accessed 6/7/10; Kaiser Family Foundation, “Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2008,” www.StateHealthFacts.org, Accessed 6/7/10)

Claim

ObamaCare “Giving Small Businesses Tax Credits To Help Them Afford Healthcare For Their Employees And Create Jobs.” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

ObamaCare’s Small Business Tax Credit Punishes Businesses That Grow “Above 10 Workers And $25,000 Average Annual Wages.” “When the administration unveiled the small business tax credit earlier this week, officials touted its ‘broad eligibility’ for companies with fewer than 25 workers and average annual wages under $50,000 that provide health coverage. … Lost in the fine print: The credit drops off sharply once a company gets above 10 workers and $25,000 average annual wages.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “FACT CHECK: Tax Cut Math Doesn’t Add Up For Some,” The Associated Press, 5/20/10)

  • National Center For Policy Analysis (NCPA) Study Finds ObamaCare’s Small Business Tax Credit “Could Negatively Impact Small-Business Hiring Decisions.” “A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that tax credits in the new healthcare law could negatively impact small-business hiring decisions. The new law provides a 50 percent tax credit to companies offering health coverage that have fewer than 10 workers who, on average, earn $25,000 a year. The tax credit is reduced as more employees are added to the payroll. The NCPA study finds the reduction in tax relief to be a cost concern for companies looking to hire additional workers, but operate on slim profit margin yet still provide employee health coverage.” (Jay Heflin, “Report: Healthcare Law Tax Credits Encourage Small Businesses To Stay Small, Not Hire,” The Hill’s “On The Money” Blog, 5/23/10)
  • Survey By Mercer, A Consulting Firm, Finds Most Employers Expect ObamaCare Will Raise Health Care Costs Next Year. “More than 40 percent of employers surveyed by the consulting firm Mercer expect health care reform to raise health care costs by a modest 2 percent or less next year. A quarter of those surveyed believe reform will add at least 3 percent to their projected costs for 2011, while 3 percent of the employers expect no increase.” (“Survey: Employers See Health Care Hikes In 2011,” The Associated Press, 3/20/10)
Claim

ObamaCare Will “Reduc[e] The Deficit By More Than $100 Billion In The First Decade.” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

CBO More Than Doubled Estimation Of New Discretionary Spending For ObamaCare To “Minimum Of $115 Billion Over 10 Years.” “An updated Congressional Budget Office analysis released Tuesday estimates potential discretionary spending under the health care overhaul law at a minimum of $115 billion over 10 years — more than twice the size of the estimate released by the budget office shortly before President Obama signed the measure. CBO estimated a minimum of $50 billion in potential discretionary spending in its earlier forecast, released March 13.” (John Reichard, “CBO Adds $115 Billion In Discretionary Spending To Price Tag Of Health Care Law,” CQ Today, 5/11/10)

  • Wiping Out Nearly All Of The $143 Billion In So-Called Cost Savings From Original CBO Score Of ObamaCare. (Congressional Budget Office, Letter To House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 3/20/10)

CBO Director Says Health Care Costs Strain The Federal Budget And ObamaCare “Does Not Substantially Diminish That Pressure.” “The central challenge is straightforward and stark: The rising costs of health care will put tremendous pressure on the federal budget during the next few decades and beyond. In CBO’s judgment, the health legislation enacted earlier this year does not substantially diminish that pressure. In fact, CBO estimated that the health legislation will increase the federal budgetary commitment to health care (which CBO defines as the sum of net federal outlays for health programs and tax preferences for health care) by nearly $400 billion during the 2010-2019 period.” (Douglas Elmendorf, “Health Costs And The Federal Budget,” CBO’s “Director’s Blog,” 5/28/10)

Washington Post Editorial Board Says The Obama-Reid-Pelosi Bill Pretends To Be Budget Neutral Because Of “A Fiscal Sleight Of Hand.” “First off, $247 billion — the 10-year cost of the fix — is one whopper of a ‘discrepancy.’ … President Obama has vowed that health reform will not add a single dime to the deficit — but he is seemingly unfazed about adding more than a quarter-trillion dollars to the deficit by changing the Medicare reimbursement formula without finding a way to pay for it. … This latest maneuver only heightens the fiscal irresponsibility of what already was a fiscal sleight of hand.” (Editorial, “2.47 Trillion Dimes,” The Washington Post, 10/19/09)

  • The “Doc Fix” Provision That Would Add $371 Billion To The Deficit Wasn’t Included In The Democrats’ List Price For Their Health Care Experiment. (Table S-7, President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2011, Accessed 3/11/10; Page 17, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)
Claim

“The Republican plan put insurance companies back in charge …” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

Republican Proposals Focus On Bottom-Up Solutions Where States Drive Reform, And Allowing Insurance To Be Bought And Sold Across State Lines. “The Republicans rely more on the market and less on government. They would not require employers to provide insurance … Republicans say they can make incremental progress without the economic costs they contend the Democratic plans pose to the nation. As one way to encourage competition and drive down costs, Republican members of Congress want to make it easier for insurance companies to sell their policies across state lines …” (Robert Pear & David M. Herszenhorn, “On Health Bill, G.O.P.’s Road Is a New Map,” The New York Times, 2/9/10)

Republicans Plan To Repeal And Replace Dems’ Government-Run Health Care Law With Common-Sense Ideas. “‘We’ll continue to fight until this bill is repealed and replaced with common-sense ideas that solve our problems without dismantling the health-care system we have,’ [Sen. Mitch] McConnell [R-KY] said during Senate debate yesterday on a companion bill designed to make changes in the law.” (James Rowley, “Repbulicans Make ‘Repeal And Replace’ Health Care Law Campaign Theme,” Bloomberg, 3/25/10)

Claim

Under The Republican Plan “Coverage Denied Due To Pre-Existing Conditions …” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

Democrats Rejected A GOP Plan To Expand State High-Risk Pools, Which Would Guarantee Access And Affordable Care For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. “The House Republican bill would offer $15 billion to states to establish high-risk pools, for people who could not otherwise obtain coverage, and reinsurance programs, under which states act as a backstop to private insurers. Under a reinsurance program, a state pays a large share of the cost if claims — for an individual or a group — exceed some threshold. … Health policy experts say insurers can lower premiums if state reinsurance programs protect them against the risk of catastrophic costs.” (Robert Pear & David Herszenhorn, “G.O.P. Counters With A Health Plan Of Its Own,” The New York Times, 11/4/09)

Claim

The Republican Plan Would Result In “Higher Costs For Small Businesses And American Families, Higher Prescription Drug Costs For Seniors.” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

CBO Says GOP Plan Would Lower Premiums For Americans By Up To 10 Percent. “CBO estimates that the combination of provisions included in the amendment would reduce average private health insurance premiums per enrollee in the United States relative to what they would be under current law. The average reductions would be larger in the markets for small group and individually purchased policies, which are the focus of many of the legislation’s provisions. In the small group market, which represents about 15 percent of total private premiums, the amendment would lower average insurance premiums in 2016 by an estimated 7 percent to 10 percent compared with amounts under current law.” (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Congressional Budget Office, Letter To Honorable John A. Boehner, 11/4/09)

Small Businesses Would “Benefit” From GOP Plan. “Pros: It’s cheap. And for healthy people with insurance, this plan lowers premiums on average. Small businesses that want to provide coverage also could benefit.” (Lori Robertson, “Still on The Table,” Newsweek, 2/25/10)

CBO Says Obama’s Plan To Close The Medicare “Doughnut Hole” Could Cost Seniors More Money By Raising Their Premiums. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) introduced a manufacturer discount program in Medicare Part D for brand-name drugs purchased in the coverage gap, often referred to as the ‘doughnut hole.’ … As a result of these changes, we estimate that Part D premiums would increase by about 3 percent starting in 2011. … The reconciliation bill would make additional changes to the structure of the Part D benefit. … According to CBO’s preliminary estimate, enacting those changes would lead to an average increase in premiums for Part D beneficiaries of about 4 percent in 2011, rising to about 9 percent in 2019. … The incremental difference in premiums between PPACA and reconciliation of 1 percent in 2011 and 6 percent in 2019 can largely be attributed to the policy of closing the doughnut hole.” (Congressional Budget Office, “Comparison Of Projected Medicare Part D Premiums Under Current Law And Under Reconciliation Legislation Combined With H.R. 3590 As Passed By The Senate,” cbo.gov, 3/19/10)

Claim

Republican Approach “Increas[es] The Deficit By $75 Billion Dollars.” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

CBO Says The GOP Plan Would Reduce The Deficit By $68 Billion Over 10 Years. “According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the amendment would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $68 billion over the 2010–2019 period.” (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Congressional Budget Office, Letter To Honorable John A. Boehner, 11/4/09)

Claim

“The Republican Approach Is A Plan Only Insurance Companies Would Love.” (DNC, “We Can’t Afford To Go Back,” TV Ad, 6/9/10)

Facts

For His 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama Received $1,440,723 From The Health Services/HMO Sector.  (The Center For Responsive Politics Website, www.opensecrets.org, Accessed 3/3/10)

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean Said The Obama-Reid Bill “Is Essentially Written By The Insurance Companies.” (Howard Dean, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” 1/19/10)

  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) Said The Obama-Reid Bill Is “A Giveaway” And “A Bailout” To Insurance Companies. “This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry, $70 billion a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance, five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases. … I mean, I’m sorry. I just don’t see that this bill is the solution. The insurance companies are the problem and we’re giving them a version of a bailout.” (MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” 3/8/10)
  • Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) Said The Obama-Reid Bill Is A “Windfall For Insurance Companies.” “The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago … under the Senate plan, millions of Americans will be forced into private insurance company plans… That alternative will do almost nothing to reform health care but will be a windfall for insurance companies.” (Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, “A Democrat’s View From The House: Senate Bill Isn’t Health Reform,” CNN, 12/23/09)

$400 Billion In Government Subsidies To Purchase Health Insurance In The Obama-Reid Bill Will Go Straight To Insurance Companies Over The Next Decade. “The health care reform is in fact a major tax cut. Not a tax increase, but a major tax cut. The Senate-passed health care bill provided more than $400 billion in tax cuts for Americans to buy health insurance.” (Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Floor Remarks, 3/4/10)

  • Because Subsidies Are “Payable In Advance Directly To The Insurer.” “The Committee Bill provides a refundable tax credit for eligible individuals and families who purchase health insurance … The premium tax credit, which is refundable and payable in advance directly to the insurer, subsidizes the purchase of certain health insurance plans through the state exchanges.” (“America’s Healthy Future Act Of 2009,” Senate Finance Committee Report, 10/19/09)
  • Subsidies Obama Opposed During The Campaign Because It Was A Giveaway To Insurance Companies. “But the new tax credit [for health insurance] he’s proposing? That wouldn’t go to you. It would go directly to your insurance company – not your bank account.” (Sen. Barack Obama Obama, Campaign Remarks, Newport News, VA, 10/4/08)

 

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