Minutes ago on Fox News, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch continued to repeat the same debunked Republican talking points we’ve heard ad nauseum throughout this health insurance reform debate.  Then again, Sen. Hatch already wrote-off the prospect of bipartisan compromise on the current Senate legislation this weekend on Fox News Sunday – leaving him and the rest of the Party of No with the same failed arguments they’ve been pushing for months:   RHETORIC: Sen. Hatch: “What they are doing is they are increasing taxes, not cutting benefits, and trying to put through a government plan one way or the other so we have everything run by a guy in washington. It just does not work that way. president obama said in his big speech that this would not increase the deficit by one dime. … Senator baucus, who I admire, is trying to come up with something that will please the administration and everybody else, but he cannot. More taxes, more expenditures, less care, and even excise taxes on device manufacturers and others — everything from — cap stands to to tips — cat scans from q-tips is being taxed. And then they want an employee mandate.” [Fox News, 9/15/09]    REALITY: HATCH CONTINUES TO MISLEAD – GOVERNMENT WON’T TAKE OVER HEALTH CARE FactCheck.org: Under Obama’s Health Care Plan, “Nobody Would Be Forced To Drop His Or Her Current Insurance.” “Obama has long said he would allow individuals or small businesses to buy insurance through a public plan – like the one now available to members of Congress. But nobody would be forced to drop his or her current insurance, and private plans would exist as they do now. This was the health care plan he promoted as a presidential candidate.” [FactCheck.org, 5/1/09]
CBO: Only 6 Million Workers Would Leave Employer-Based Private Health Care To Enter A Public Plan – Substantially Lower That The Lewin Group’s Estimate. “If we assumed that workers at larger firms would be allowed to purchase coverage through the exchanges, our estimate of the number of enrollees involved would undoubtedly be greater than 6 million, but we have not estimated the magnitude. Analysts at the Lewin Group recently estimated that if all employers were given access to the insurance exchanges, more than 100 million people would end up enrolling in the public plan. For several reasons, we anticipate that our estimate of the number of enrollees in the public plan would be substantially smaller than the Lewin Group’s, even if we assumed that all employers would have that option.” [CBO, 7/26/09, http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/104xx/doc10400/07-26-InfoOnTriCommProposal.pdf]

CBO Said That Only About 10-11 Million Would Sign Up For The Public Option If Available. “The CBO report estimated only about 10 million to 11 million people would sign up for the public option by 2019, far fewer than the 83 million cited in another analysis by the Lewin Group. The Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. The CBO report also estimated that about 12 million people who otherwise would not be enrolled in employer-based plans would fall under the Democratic proposal because the mandate for individuals to be insured would increase workers’ demands for employer-based insurance. Republicans often cite Lewin Group analysis to make their point that millions of people would lose their current health coverage if the proposed overhaul became law. But the CBO disputed the Lewin Group conclusions. ‘For several reasons, we anticipate that our estimate of the number of enrollees in the public plan would be substantially smaller than the Lewin Group’s, even if we assumed that all employers would have that option,’ CBO said.” [Reuters, 7/27/09, http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSN2754421620090727?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0]


AARP: RNC Statement 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 Clarified That “Medicare Cuts That Have Been Proposed So Far Would Not Affect Benefits.” The Washington Post reported that, “Tom Nelson, AARP’s chief operating officer, said, ‘Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.’ Like Obama, AARP wants action this year to cover the uninsured and restrain health care costs, but the organization has refrained from endorsing legislation. Nelson said AARP would not endorse a bill that reduces Medicare benefits. A spokesman said the Medicare cuts that have been proposed so far would not affect benefits.” [Washington Post, 8/11/09]

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]

Politifact: The House Health Care Bill Would Change Benchmarks Set To Payments In Medicare Advantage, Making Them Equal To What The Government Pays For Traditional Medicare Services. “Obama also wants to save money on the Medicare Advantage program, which covers about one-fifth of all Medicare patients. ‘We do think that systems like Medicare are very inefficient right now, but it has nothing to do at the moment with issues of benefits,’ Obama said in his speech in New Hampshire. ‘The inefficiencies all come from things like paying $177 billion to insurance companies in subsidies for something called Medicare Advantage that is not competitively bid, so insurance companies basically get a $177 billion of taxpayer money to provide services that Medicare already provides. And it’s no better — it doesn’t result in better health care for seniors. It is a giveaway of $177 billion.’ Indeed, a June 2009 MedPAC analysis said that the Advantage plan costs taxpayers on average of 14 percent more than the traditional Medicare plan. The House bills propose to change the benchmarks that set the payments, making them equal to what the government pays for traditional Medicare services. According to the Congressional Budget Office, those changes would translate to a savings of $156 billion over 10 years. [Politifact]

REALITY: … AND REFORM WILL HELP SMALL BUSINESS Study: Healthcare Reform Has Potential To Save Small Businesses As Much As $855 Billion – No 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]

National Small Business Association: “Health-Care Reform Can Not Wait Yet Another Year.” “Health-care reform topped the list of small-business priorities when members of the National Small Business Association voted recently on issues they want Congress and President Barack Obama to address. The group said it supports ‘broad health-care reform’ that will reduce costs, improve quality, create a fair sharing of health-care costs, and focus on individuals’ responsibilities as health-care consumers. ‘Given the current state of the U.S. economy, the fact that our members voted health-care reform their number one priority ought to send a strong message to Congress,’ NSBA President Todd McCracken said in a written statement. ‘Health-care reform can not wait yet another year.’” [Orlando Sentinel, 3/9/09]

Survey: Even Though Over 80% Of Small Business Owners Say Health Insurance Would Help Attract Best Employees, 45% Say They Do Not Provide It Because It Is Too Expensive. A Wells Fargo / Gallup poll found that, “[e]ight in 10 small-business owners believe that having an adequate health insurance program would help their companies attract the best qualified employees (84%), reduce the likelihood that their employees would leave (83%), and would make employees more loyal to their companies (81%)…Although small-business owners acknowledge that their companies can obtain health insurance for their employees, 45% of those who say they do not provide insurance say it is because they cannot afford to do so.” [Wells Fargo / Gallup Poll, 10/5/07]

Wal-Mart Supported Employer Mandate: “Not Every Business Can Make The Same Contributions, But Everyone Must Make Some Contribution.” The Washington Post reported that, “Wal-Mart, the world’s largest private employer, announced in a letter to President Obama today that it will support a requirement that all businesses provide health insurance coverage as part of sweeping health reform legislation. The endorsement of the so-called employer mandate represents a dramatic reversal for the retailing giant and a boost for the White House as it tries to inject momentum into its top domestic priority. ‘We are for shared responsibility,’ Wal-Mart President and CEO Mike Duke wrote. ‘Not every business can make the same contributions, but everyone must make some contribution.’” [Washington Post, 6/30/09]

RHETORIC: Sen. Hatch: “The president says that the sky is falling with health care. He says that we have to pass this bill right away. But it was pointed out last week that none of these changes would take effect until 2013, the year after which obama would have — the year after obama will have run for reelection.” [Fox News, 9/15/09]


Hatch: This Year “Is The Perfect Year” For Health Care Reform; “Our Economic Crisis Is Not An Impediment But Rather A Reason To Accomplish This Important Reform.” At a conference sponsored by the health-insurance industry, Sen. Orrin Hatch said, “‘[The year] 2009 is the perfect year to begin to move toward a world-class health-care system,’ he said. ‘Our economic crisis is not an impediment but rather a reason to accomplish this important reform.’ Hatch said a bipartisan health plan would have to not only reform the big government programs — Medicare and Medicaid — but also curb rising costs, give Americans health insurance they can take between jobs and focus on preventive care.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 3/11/09]

Hatch: “As Important As CHIP Is, [Health Care Reform] Is Even More Important…I’m Prepared To Work On A Final Bill Right Now.” The New Republic discussed Sen. Orrin Hatch’s potential support for health care reform in this year. Suzy Khimm wrote that Sen. Hatch said to her, “I would like to do [health care reform] as a legacy issue for [Kennedy], if I can—this would mean a lot to him.” Further, Hatch referenced his opposition to the recently passed SCHIP bill and told her, “I resented the way [the Democrats] modified CHIP…but, as important as CHIP is, this is even more important…I’m prepared to work on a final bill right now.” [The New Republic, 4/1/09]

Hatch: “I Would Like To Do [Health Care Reform] As A Legacy Issue For [Kennedy], If I Can–This Would Mean A Lot To Him.” The New Republic’s Suzy Khimm reported that, “‘I would like to do [health care reform] as a legacy issue for [Kennedy], if I can–this would mean a lot to him,’ [Sen.] Hatch told me.” [The New Republic, 4/1/09]