With President Obama in Miami today, the Republican National Committee has launched a new television ad filled with misleading arguments, debunked claims and outright lies.  Instead of offering solutions to our nation’s problems, the “GOP Party of No” thinks that it can win back Florida’s Hispanic community, which overwhelmingly supported President Obama last November, by fear mongerring and repeating false accusations.

Miami welcomes President Obama and Vice President Biden to our city.  Since you’re spending a lot of your time raising campaign dollars instead of meeting with us, we have some questions for you.

You told us that a massive new spending program would help the economy and be good for jobs.  Our community has lost jobs, and now unemployment among Hispanics is nearly 13 percent.  Where are the jobs?  When will things get better?

Gov. Crist Supported Stimulus With President Obama: “This Is Not About Partisan Politics. This Is About Rising Above That, Helping America And Reigniting Our Economy.” Politico reported on Gov. Crist joining President Obama to help pass the stimulus bill: “‘[t]his issue of helping our country is about helping our country,’ said Crist, who ditched a meeting in Tallahassee of former Florida governors to appear with the president. ‘This is not about partisan politics. This is about rising above that, helping America and reigniting our economy.’” [Politico, 2/11/09]

Gov. Charlie Crist: “We Know It’s Important That We Pass The Stimulus Package…It Is Important That We Do So To Help Education, To Help Our Infrastructure, And To Help Health Care For Those Who Need It The Most.” WDBO News reported that Gov. Charlie Crist said, “‘[w]e know it’s important that we pass the stimulus package,’ Crist told a cheering crowd. ‘It is important that we do so to help education, to help our infrastructure, and to help health care for those who need it the most.’” [WDBO News, 10/22/09]


WSJ: U.S. Economy Gets Lift Out Of Recession Thanks To Obama Stimulus. “Government efforts to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy appear to be helping the U.S. climb out of the worst recession in decades…The U.S. economy is beginning to show signs of improvement, with many economists asserting the worst is past and data pointing to stronger-than-expected growth. On Tuesday, data showed manufacturing grew in August for the first time in more than a year. ‘There’s a method to the madness. We’re getting out of this,’ said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/2/09]

WSJ: Obama Stimulus Adding “Two To Three Percentage Points To Economic Growth.” “Many forecasters say stimulus spending is adding two to three percentage points to economic growth in the second and third quarters, when measured at an annual rate. The impact in the second quarter, calculated by analyzing how the extra funds flowing into the economy boost consumption, investment and spending, helped slow the rate of decline and will lay the groundwork for positive growth in the third quarter — something that seemed almost implausible just a few months ago. Some economists say the 1% contraction in the second quarter would have been far worse, possibly as much as 3.2%, if not for the stimulus.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/2/09]
Economist Survey: Recovery Has Begun As Stimulus Takes Effect. “Recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s has begun as President Barack Obama’s fiscal stimulus — derided as insufficient and budget-busting months ago — takes effect, a survey of economists indicated.” [Bloomberg, 8/12/09]

Economist Kenneth Goldstein: “We’ve Averted The Worst, And There Are Clear Signs The Stimulus Is Working.” “We’ve averted the worst, and there are clear signs the stimulus is working,” said Kenneth Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board in New York. [Bloomberg, 8/12/09]

NYU Economist Nouriel Roubini Said That Recovery Act Stopped The “Free Fall Of the Economy” And The Economy May Pull Out Of the Recession By The End Of The Year. “The U.S. economy may pull out of a recession by the end of the year and a second stimulus package would help broaden the recovery, said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the financial crisis. ‘The free fall of the economy has stopped,’ Roubini said at a Chilean investors’ conference in New York. ‘The economy is still contracting but slowly.’ To help shore up growth, a second spending package may be needed by late 2009 or early 2010 totaling between $200 billion and $250 billion, Roubini said. ‘We should continue with fiscal stimulus and we might need a second one,’ Roubini said. While the worst of the crisis is over, there’s still a ‘meaningful amount of weakness’ in labor markets, industrial production and housing, he said.” [Bloomberg, 7/16/09]

Now, you say we need to overhaul our health care system.  Where is the money going to come from?  Will you really cut funding for Medicare to pay for it?  How can that be good?  That’s really going to hurt our seniors.

AP: Under The Finance Bill, Medicare Coverage For Doctors, Hospitals And Other Basic Services Would Remain Fully Intact, With No Reductions In Benefits. “In its assaults on a Democratic health care overhaul bill, the insurance industry uses facts selectively and mixes accurate assertions with misleading spin and an embrace of worst-case scenarios. … The budget office’s director, Douglas Elmendorf, has said that as a result of the proposed cuts, the extra benefits Medicare Advantage recipients receive would be halved over the next decade. But the ad leaves unspoken the fact that under the Finance bill, Medicare coverage for doctors, hospitals and other basic services would remain fully intact, with no reduction in benefits.” [AP, 10/14/09]

AARP: Statement That Reform Would Cut Medicare Benefits Is “Misleading And Alarmist,” And “The Proposed Medicare Savings Do Not Limit Benefits, They Do Not Impose Rationing.” The Wall Street Journal reported that, “[t]he Republican Party issued a new salvo in the health debate Monday with a ‘seniors’ health care bill of rights’ that opposed any moves to trim Medicare spending or limit end-of-life care to seniors. Intended as a political shot at President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee manifesto marks a remarkable turnaround for a party that had once fought to trim the health program for the elderly and disabled, which last year cost taxpayers over $330 billion…The country’s largest lobbying group for seniors, AARP, said it welcomed the RNC’s commitment to protect Medicare. But the group, which supports efforts to overhaul the health-care system, also dismissed the RNC statement as misleading and alarmist. ‘Change by itself is anxiety producing, but as we have analyzed the various bills [before Congress], the proposed Medicare savings do not limit benefits, they do not impose rationing and they do not put the government between patients and their doctors,’ said John Rother, AARP’s executive vice president.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/25/09]


New York Times: Reform Will Enhance Drug Coverage, Reduce Premiums, and Help Keep Medicare Solvent. “Far from harming elderly Americans, the various reform bills now pending should actually make Medicare better for most beneficiaries — by enhancing their drug coverage, reducing the premiums they pay for drugs and medical care, eliminating co-payments for preventive services and helping keep Medicare solvent, among other benefits.” [New York Times, Editorial, 9/27/09]

Finance Committee Bill Will Provide Medicare Beneficiaries Significant Help in Purchasing Prescription Drugs When They Hit the Coverage Gap or “Donut Hole.” “Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program will receive significant help purchasing prescription drugs when they hit the coverage gap portion, or ‘donut hole’ of the benefit. Instead of paying 100 percent of their drug costs in the gap, Part D beneficiaries with low to moderate incomes will receive a 50 percent discount on the price of brand?name drugs covered by their plan. The discount makes expensive medicines more affordable and helps beneficiaries stay on treatments that their doctors prescribe” [Finance Committee Press Release, 9/16/09]

AARP Lead Lobbyist On Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding: “We Think The Proposals Actually Will Improve Access And Quality,” Not Cut Benefits. The Boston Globe reported that, “[t]he $120 billion cut to Medicare Advantage is part of spending reductions in Medicare totaling $460 billion to $540 billion over 10 years that have been proposed by Democrats. The cuts would fall on the government reimbursement rates for a broad variety of providers such as hospitals and home health agencies, which could probably absorb them without affecting the services elderly Americans receive, many specialists said in interviews. Though some industry groups complain the spending reductions are too severe, adjustments could be made if problems arose because they would be phased in gradually. Most are aimed at making the programs more efficient. ‘We think the proposals actually will improve access and quality,’ John Rother, a leading lobbyist for the AARP, the large lobbying organization for senior citizens, said in an e-mail.” [Boston Globe, 9/24/09]

Big federal spending programs, no improvement in jobs, and Medicare cuts.  That’s just not good enough.  We can’t afford for things to keep on this way.  Mr. President – is this the best you can do?

Study: No Health Insurance Reform Means Small Businesses Will Pay Nearly $2.4 Trillion In Healthcare Costs, Cost 178,000 Jobs. The Small Business Majority study commissioned a study from noted economist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jonathan Gruber. The study found that, “without reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years in healthcare costs for their workers. With reform, the study shows that small businesses can save as much as $855 billion, a reduction of 36 percent, money that can be reinvested to grow the economy.” The study also found that without reform, 178,000 small business jobs will be lost in 2018 as a result of healthcare costs, and with reform, up to 128,000 of those jobs could be saved. [The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business, 6/11/09]

Study: If Reform Fails, All States Could “See Their Medicaid/CHIP Costs Rise By More Than 75 Percent From 2009 To 2019. Half The States Would Face Cost Increases Of More Than 100 Percent.” The Robert-Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute completed a study on the potential costs to states if health reform failed. The main findings for health care spending were: “In the worst case, all states would see their Medicaid/CHIP costs rise by more than 75 percent from 2009 to 2019. Half the states would face cost increases of more than 100 percent. Even in the best case, 13 states would experience Medicaid/CHIP cost growth of more than 65 percent. In the worst case, uncompensated care costs would more than double from 2009 to 2019 in 45 states. Even in the best case, uncompensated care would increase by more than 50 percent in 48 states.” [RWJF: The Cost Of Failure, 9/28/09]

From 1999 To 2008, Premiums For Small Business Increased 113 Percent. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employee Health Benefits Report for 2008 noted that health insurance premiums for covered workers with family coverage, among firms with 3-199 workers, rose from $5,683 in 1999 to $12,091 in 2008, an increase of 112.7 percent. [Employee Health Benefits Survey, 9/24/08]

WSJ: More Than Three Times As Many Small Businesses Are Considering Eliminating Health Insurance Coverage This Year, Compared To 2005. “Health-insurance premiums for single workers rose 74% for small businesses from 2001 to 2008, the latest year data are available, according to nonprofit research group Kaiser Family Foundation. About 10% of small businesses are considering eliminating coverage over the next year, up from 3% in 2005, according to a recent survey by National Small Business Association. That follows earlier declines in coverage, with just 38% of small businesses providing health insurance last year compared to 61% in 1993, according to the trade group. In 2007, 41% offered coverage. A Hewitt Associates survey found that 19% of all companies plan to stop providing health-care benefits in the next three to five years.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/26/09]

President Obama: “By The End Of The Year, [Healthcare Costs] Could Cause 1.5 Million Americans To Lose Their Homes.” In an address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama noted that, “by the end of the year, [healthcare costs] could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes.” [Speech Before Joint Congress, 2/24/09]

Typical Family’s Health Care Costs Increased 7.4 Percent In the Last Year. “The total 2009 medical cost for a typical American family of four is $16,771, compared with the 2008 figure of $15,609. This is a 7.4% increase from 2008 to 2009.” [Millman Medical Index, 5/19/09]

Health Care Costs For The Insured Hit Record $16,771 Per Family, 14% Of The Average Household Income. Reuters reported on a new study from the Milliman Medical Index that found that, “healthcare costs for Americans who get medical coverage through an employer hit a record $16,771 per family this year, and they are having to pay more themselves, a report released on Monday showed…Healthcare costs, both payroll deductions and out-of-pocket medical expenses, now eat up 14 percent of the average household income of about $50,000 for these people, the study found. Costs grew by an average of $1,162 per family this year from an average of $15,609 last year, the report said.” [Reuters, 5/18/09]