In parroting talking points from a debunked industry report this morning, the increasingly desperate Republican Party not only revealed that they are willing to say and do anything to kill reform, but also that their true allegiance lies with the insurance lobby and not the American people.

For more on the “Party of No’s” outright lies in defense of a system which favors the insurance lobby over patients, please see below:

GOP SENATORS REPEAT CLAIMS FROM DISCREDITED INDUSTRY “STUDIES” THAT CLAIM PREMIUMS WILL INCREASE


Politifact: AHIP Report Ignores Key Facts, Managed To “Isolated Aspects Of The Bill Without Considering The Overall Effects…The Report Even Acknowledges That.” Politifact wrote, “The Obama administration attacked the [AHIP] report as a last-ditch effort to derail reform. ‘I was disappointed to see that the health insurance industry had contrived a report like this at the last minute, right on the eve of a historic vote,’ said Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform. The report ‘ignores some of the key policies that are part of the Senate Finance Committee bill, such as the health insurance exchange, which is really a central feature that allows people to be pooled together to save administrative costs and to lower people’s cost in achieving getting coverage,’ DeParle said…DeParle’s criticism is that the report doesn’t consider other parts of the bill that would lower costs for consumers. In particular, she points to health insurance exchanges, online marketplaces where people could comparison-shop for policies that meet their preferences for coverage and cost. We read the report and found that DeParle is correct. The report does isolate aspects of the bill without considering the overall effects. It does not appear to consider how incentives or administrative efficiencies could result in reduced costs. The report even acknowledges that…DeParle criticized the health insurance industry report on the grounds that it was an incomplete analysis. She said it ‘ignores some of the key policies that are part of the Senate Finance Committee bill.’ The report itself admits as much. We rate her statement True.” [Politifact, 10/13/09]


Associated Press: “Health Insurers Cherry-Pick Facts.” The Associated Press wrote a fact check on AHIP’s study and associated TV ad attacking health reform efforts, with the heading, “Health Insurers Cherry-Pick Facts.” The AP wrote that, “[i]n 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. Take the 30-second TV spot that America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, was running this week in six states as the Senate Finance Committee approved overhaul legislation…the announcer adds, ‘The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says many seniors will see cuts in benefits.’ Words flash on the screen for three seconds saying, ‘50 percent reduction in extra benefits.’ The announcer’s words are true — but could be easily misunderstood to mean that basic Medicare coverage is at risk. The ad also fails to mention the reason senators targeted Medicare Advantage for savings: The program is expensive for the government to administer, costing about 14 percent more per recipient than regular Medicare…Yet concluding that providers will pass the full cost of these changes to their customers ignores a basic assumption of the health overhaul effort. The goal is to increase competition and reduce the rate of growth currently assumed in medical costs. If the overall legislation succeeds in doing that, there would be less incentive for providers to pass on those costs — and more incentives for them to compete by keeping prices low.” [Associated Press, 10/15/09]


ABC News: “Health Care Experts With Whom ABC News Spoke Overwhelmingly Rejected The Methodology Of The Insurance Industry Study By Accounting And Consulting Firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.” On ABC News, Jake Tapper reported that, “Health care experts with whom ABC News spoke overwhelmingly rejected the methodology of the insurance industry study by accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.” [ABC News, 10/12/09]


Sen. Snowe On AHIP Report: “It Wasn’t Based On Any Valid Assumptions.” Politico Live Pulse reported that, “Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), on the controversial AHIP report: ‘It wasn’t based on any valid assumptions.’” [Politico Live Pulse, 10/13/09]


PriceWaterhouseCoopers: “We Have Not Estimated The Impact Of The New Subsidies On The Net Insurance Cost To Households.” Politico Live Pulse reported that, ““PricewaterhouseCoopers, the authors of AHIP’s report, put out a statement last night that basically said, ‘Hey, we weren’t paid to evaluate the effects of the entire bill, but rather a small slice of it.’ The statement only seems to reinforce critics’ view that the report is skewed precisely because it doesn’t take into account the totality of reform. PWC’s report estimates that insurance premiums will rise faster under the proposed reforms than under the current system… ‘The reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households. Also, if other provisions in health care reform are successful in lowering costs over the long term, those improvements would offset some of the impacts we have estimated.’” [Politico Live Pulse, 10/13/09]


AARP Executive Vice President: Insurance Industry Report Isn’t “Worth The Paper It’s Written On.” The Associated Press wrote that, “[s]upporters of President Barack Obama’s drive to remake health care are pushing back against a dire report from the insurance industry warning of hefty new costs for consumers from the latest legislation. AARP Executive Vice President John Rother told reporters Monday that he doesn’t think the report is ‘worth the paper it’s written on.’ He said if anyone believes it, that’s a problem.” [Associated Press, 10/12/09]


GOP SENATORS REPEAT CLAIM THAT HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL “EXPLODE” THE DEFICIT


TRUTH: THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE HAS SAID REFORM WILL REDUCE THE DEFICIT


CBO Score Of Revised Chairman’s Mark: $81 Billion Reduction In Federal Deficit, Total Is Cost $829 Billion. “According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Chairman’s mark, as amended, would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion over the 2010-2019 period…net cost itself reflects a gross total of $829 billion.” [CBO Letter To Max Baucus, 10/7/09]


Sen. Grassley: “For Health Care Budgeting Purposes, CBO’s Word Is The Only One That Counts.” Sen. Charles Grassley wrote: “There’s no doubt saving $2 trillion in health care costs would be a move in the right direction. When the White House and the industry put concrete proposals on paper and get a score from the Congressional Budget Office, then we’ll know if the suggestions really achieve that kind of savings, and it’ll be big news.  For health care budgeting purposes, CBO’s word is the only one that counts.” [National Journal Online, 5/11/09]


CBO: After First 10 Years, Proposal “Would Probably Continue To Reduce Budget Deficits.” CBO in its letter to Max Baucus wrote, “in view of the projected net savings during the decade following the 10-year budget window, CBO anticipates that the proposal would probably continue to reduce budget deficits relative to those under current law in subsequent decades.” [CBO Letter To Max Baucus, 10/7/09]


Sen. Snowe Convinced That Baucus Bill Reflects, “Our Position And Views That It Should Be Budget Neutral…[Will Bend The Cost Curve] In The First 10 Years.” In an interview with Sen. Olympia Snowe, John Harwood asked: “MR. HARWOOD: Are you satisfied that the cost control, cost containment in the bill is adequate? SEN. SNOWE: I do. And you know, we were adamant in our, you know, our positions and views that it should be budget neutral and, if anything, should bend the cost curve and bend the overall cost of, you know, the escalation, you know, of inflation within health care. And it does begin that trend in the first 10 years.” [CNBC, 9/17/09]


The Hill: Spending Cuts Pay For Around $500 Billion Of $1 Trillion House Reform Bill. The Hill reported on the Democrats’ proposed health insurance reform bill: “The price tag of the bill is expected to be around $1 trillion. Democrats have already tentatively assembled a package of spending cuts worth around $500 billion, mostly from Medicare and Medicaid.” [The Hill, 7/10/09]


GOP SENATORS CLAIM MEDICARE SAVINGS MEAN BENEFITS CUTS FOR SENIORS


TRUTH: SENIORS WILL NOT LOSE MEDICARE BENEFITS


Michael Steele On His Seniors’ Health Care Bill Of Rights: “I Don’t Do Policy, I Do Politics.” Think Progress reported on Michael Steele’s appearance on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, where he said: “No I’m not going rogue and that’s a factual inaccuracy, I did consult with Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner […] Again that is typical Washington stuff, trying to create a tempest in a teapot. […] The one thing I’ve always stated from day one is I don’t do policy, I do politics…No I wasn’t told to stop meddling in politics.” [Think Progress, 10/5/09]


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]


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]


FactCheck.org: A Small Number Of Medicare Advantage Would Face Reduced Benefits, But Never Less Than Participants In Traditional Medicare Receive. “The vast majority of Medicare recipients would see little change in their interactions with the health care system under the bills currently pending. But it’s probable that some unknown number of the 22 percent of seniors, or more than 10 million individuals, who participate in Medicare Advantage programs would indeed need to pay more out of pocket, change plans or face reduced benefits – though never less than participants in traditional Medicare receive.” [FactCheck.org, 8/31/09]


GOP Opposition To Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding Is Interesting: “Republicans Have Mounted A Ferocious Defense Of The Market’s Right To Continue Burning Through Taxpayer Dollars.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein commented on Republican anger at the prospect of competitive bidding to lower overpayments to Medicare Advantage programs: “[i]t is also an interesting moment of insight into the conservative philosophy on these matters. The problem with government programs, we’re often told, is that they are expensive and wasteful, and the private market could do better. But faced with an instance where the government program proved relatively lean and efficient, and the private market expensive and wasteful, Republicans have mounted a ferocious defense of the market’s right to continue burning through taxpayer dollars.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 9/24/09]


Ezra Klein: “The Verdict? [Baucus’s Reform] Will Look A Lot Like Our Old Health-Care System. Unless You’re Uninsured, Or On The Individual Market, This Bill Is Not Expected To affect You.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote about a 10-year chart showing expected changes in enrollment in various types of health insurance coverage: “It comes from one of the final pages of the Congressional Budget Office’s score (pdf) of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill, and it lays out the CBO’s expectation of the bill’s impact on health-care coverage. This is it. This is what our new health-care system will look like. This is the chart we’ve been waiting for. The verdict? It will look a lot like our old health-care system. Unless you’re uninsured, or on the individual market, this bill is not expected to affect you. CBO estimates that 29 million Americans who would’ve otherwise been uninsured will be covered. That’s a very big deal. Five million Americans who would otherwise have been left to the individual market will find a better option. And 3 million Americans who would’ve otherwise been in employer-based health insurance will be on the exchanges or, in some cases, on Medicaid. The insurance exchanges are projected to serve 23 million people come 2019, and 18 million of the members will be low-income and on subsidies. That leaves 245 million non-elderly Americans who will pretty much be in the exact place they would’ve been otherwise.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 10/8/09]


GOP SENATORS CLAIM REFORM WILL RAISE COSTS ON FAMILIES


TRUTH: REFORM WILL CUT COSTS, AND AMERICAN FAMILIES CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO HAVE REFORM


Conservative Tax Foundation Was Outraged: House Health Reform Proposal Would Net Middle-Class Families “An Average Benefit Of About $1,900.” The Tax Foundation decried the “income redistribution” facilitated by the House health reform legislation: “[t]he biggest beneficiaries of HR 3200’s redistribution would not be low-income families, but middle-class families, especially those making between $65,704 and $112,721, who would see an average benefit of about $1,900. In fact, even in the 60 percent to 70 percent income group, earning up to $141,101, the average family would gain almost $1,000.” [Tax Foundation Press Release, 10/6/09]


MIT Health Economist: Actually, Premiums Under SFC Proposal For A Family Could Be At Least $2,430 Lower, Up To $8,550 Lower Than Without Reform. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein reported on estimated impact on premiums of the Senate Finance Committee proposal, finding that under current law, premiums would stay at $10,770 under current law, while premiums under the new proposal could be as low as $2,220 and would rise to only $8,340. He further wrote that, “[t]he analysis comes from MIT health economist Jon Gruber. Gruber is, undoubtedly, pro-reform. He’s advised the Senate Finance Committee and served as one of the architects of the Massachusetts plan. But he’s also one of the most-respected health economists in the country. Gruber runs the numbers for an average family, a 25-year-old and a 60-year-old, looking at different income levels for each, and paying close attention to the role subsidies will play. In each case, he finds the people likely to save money under the Senate Finance Committee’s plan. You can download his analysis, which is based on Congressional Budget Office data, hereGruber certainly has a lot less incentive to twist the facts than the insurance industry does, and his numbers, at least, are free from any glaring deficiencies.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 10/12/09]


In Historic Step, Consumer Reports Magazine Company Unveiled First Television Ad In 72 Year History To Urge Congress To Pass Reform. National Public Radio reported that, “[i]n a historic step this week, the nonprofit Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reportsmagazine, unveiled the first television advertisement in its 72-year history: a spot that encourages Congress to overhaul health care this year. The 30-second advertisement, which features Consumers Union President and Chief Executive Officer James A. Guest, puts the reputation and clout of the iconic consumer empire firmly behind fundamental change to the way Americans are insured and receive their health care… David Burda, editor of Modern Healthcare magazine, says that an organization like Consumers Union has, in this climate, an obligation to weigh in on heath care. ‘Everyone has a stake in the outcome of this,’ Burda says. ‘It’s going to touch everybody, and you have to have an opinion. To not have one is an unacceptable spot to be in.’” [NPR, 10/7/09]


Premiums For Employer Plans Have Risen Six To Eight Times Faster Than Wages; One In Five Americans


Workers Are Uninsured, Up From One In Seven A Decade Ago, Due To Rapid Rise In Private Health Insurance Premiums. A new study on health insurance found that for American workers, “private health insurance premiums that are rising much faster than their wages.” The study found that “nearly 1 in 5 workers is uninsured, a statistically significant increase from fewer than 1 in 7 during the mid-1990s. The problem is cost. Total premiums for employer plans have risen six to eight times faster than wages, depending on whether individual or family coverage is chose, the study found…About 20.7 million workers were uninsured in the mid-1990s. A decade later, it was 26.9 million, an increase of about 6 million, the study found.” [Associated Press, 3/24/09]


GOP SENATORS CLAIM PUBLIC OPTION IS A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER


TRUTH: LEADING REPUBLICANS HAVE MADE CLEAR THAT CLAIMS OF A “GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER” ARE FEAR MONGERING


Shep Smith To Sen. John Barrasso: “It’s Not A Government Takeover, Senator! That’s Not Fair And We Both Know It.” Fox News’ Shep Smith confronted Sen. John Barrasso over his boilerplate GOP talking points calling health reform a “government takeover,” and said: “SMITH: It’s not a government takeover, Senator! That’s not fair and we both know it. It’s not a government takeover because what it would be is a government option if you have insurance now and you like it you can keep it…That’s not a government take over if we’re being fair is it, Senator?…As the costs have gone up, the insurance industry’s profits on average have gone up more than 350 percent and it’s the insurance companies which have paid and have contributed to Senators and congressman on both sides of the aisle to the point where now, we can’t get…what more than 60 percent of Americans say they support, is a public option. This has been an enormous win for the health care industry. That is an unquestioned fact.” [FOX News, 10/6/09]


Sen. Frist: “At The End Of The Day You Need A Backup Of A Public Plan…If The Private Sector Doesn’t Step Up, You Have To Have Some Other Kind Of Trigger Coming Into Play.” On an appearance on CNN, Sen. Bill Frist said, “[e]ven a co-op people it’s a new concept. The idea of not having government out there controlling prices out there undercutting the insurance market. That’s the big fear. At the end of the day you need a backup of a public plan. At the end of the day if the private sector doesn’t step up, you have to have some other kind of trigger coming into play…In 2003 we did that with Medicare Modernization Act with prescription drug plan. If the private sector does not step up, a public plan with local control has to step up.” [CNN, 10/6/09]


Sen. Frist Said “Death Panels And Public Plan Arguments Have Been Overblown,” Noted That Republicans Offered A Public Plan Trigger Option For Medicare Prescription Drug Bill. In an interview with Time magazine, Sen. “Frist also faults some in his own party for injecting alarmism into the debate. ‘Clearly, the death panels and public plan arguments have been overblown,’ he says. Frist noted that Republicans themselves voted for a Medicare prescription drug bill that would have established a version of a public plan–with the government negotiating directly with drug companies–if private-sector competition had failed to materialize. That is similar to the approach that Republican Senator Olympia Snowe is taking with her amendment to establish a public option with a ‘trigger.’” [Time, 10/2/09]


Sen. Bennett: “Let’s Understand That When We Say We Cover Everybody…That Is Not A Step Toward A Single-Payer Government-Run System.” Chris Good of The Atlantic reported that during the National Journal Groups’ health policy breakfast on March 5th, Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah noted that, “Republicans are coming to the understanding that their opposition to universal coverage is misplaced…Let’s understand that when we say we cover everybody…that is not a step toward a single-payer government-run system.” .” [The Atlantic, 3/5/09]

No Comment

Leave a reply