Please see below for a fact check on comments just made by Senator John McCain on the Senate floor, falsely claiming that health reform would tax too much and reduce benefits:

RHETORIC: Sen. McCain Claimed Reform Legislation “Taxes Too Much,” Reduces Benefits For Everyone, “Including Medicare.” “This present legislation spends too much, taxes too much, and reduces benefits for American citizens as far as overall health care is concerned and including Medicare.” [Senate Floor, 12/16/09]

REALITY: SEN. MCCAIN LETS HIS BOISTEROUS RHETORIC RUN AWAY FROM FACTS & LOGIC

AMERICANS COME OUT AHEAD UNDER REFORM

MIT Health Economist: Health Reform Will Raise Wages By $234 Billion, Almost $700 Per Insured Household In 2019. According to Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic, MIT professor and health economist Jonathan Gruber has calculated that under health reform: “Worker wages rise by $55 billion by 2019. This amounts to almost $700 per insured household in 2019. Worker wages rise by $234 billion in aggregate over this time period.” [The New Republic, 11/20/09]

Study: “House And Senate Bills Would Save $683 Billion Or More In National Health Spending…And Lower Premiums By Nearly $2,000 Per Family.” The Commonwealth Fund released a report titled, “Why Health Reform Will Bend The Cost Curve.” It wrote: “The health reform bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and under consideration in the Senate introduce a range of payment and delivery system changes designed to achieve a significant slowing of health care cost growth. Most assessments of health reform legislation have focused only on the federal budgetary impact. This study projects the effect of national reform on total national health expenditures and the insurance premiums that American families would likely pay. We estimate that the combination of provisions in the House and Senate bills would save $683 billion or more in national health spending over the 10-year period 2010–2019 and lower premiums by nearly $2,000 per family. Moreover, the annual growth rate in national health expenditures could be slowed from 6.4 percent to 6.0 percent.” [Commonwealth Fund, 12/7/09]

CMS Report: Senate Health Care Bill Saves Seniors Nearly $700 Per Couple Per Year While Reducing Premiums More Than $300 Per Year And Out Of Pocket Costs By Another $370 Per Year. According to a recently released CMS report, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act saves seniors nearly $700 per couple per year, reducing premiums by more than $300 per year and out of pocket costs by another $370 per year in 2019.  [CMS Actuary analysis, 12/10/09]

CBO Analysis Did Not Find Premiums Would Rise: “The Budget Office Said That The Large Number Of Americans Who Currently Have Employer-Sponsored Insurance Would See Little Change In Their Premiums Costs – And That In Some Cases The Costs Might Even Fall.” The New York Times Prescriptions blog summarized CBO analysis on the Senate Bill’s impact on insurance premiums this way: “The analysis found that premiums would move in many difference directions for different types of people in different circumstances. But in perhaps the most crucial finding, the budget office said that the large number of Americans who currently have employer-sponsored insurance would see little change in their premium costs — and that in some cases the costs might even fall.” [New York Times – Prescriptions Blog, 11/30/09]

REALITY: CUTTING COSTS & EXPANDING COVERAGE EXTENDS BENEFITS TO MORE PEOPLE, NOT FEWER PEOPLE

NYT: CBO Estimate Showed That Senate Bill “Could Significantly Reduce Costs For Many People Who Buy Health Insurance On Their Own, And That It Would Not Substantially Change Premiums For The Vast Numbers Of Americans.” The New York Times reported that, “[t]he Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the Senate health bill could significantly reduce costs for many people who buy health insurance on their own, and that it would not substantially change premiums for the vast numbers of Americans who receive coverage from large employers…Before taking account of federal subsidies to help people buy insurance on their own, the budget office said the bill would tend to drive up premiums. But as a result of the subsidies, it said, most people in the individual insurance market would see their costs decline, compared with the costs expected under current law. The subsidies, a main feature of the bill, would cost the government nearly $450 billion in the next 10 years and would cover nearly two-thirds of premiums for people who receive them.” [New York Times, 12/1/09]

WSJ: CBO Estimate Of Senate Bill Is $848 Billion, Cuts Deficit By $130 Billion, Insure 31 Million Americans. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the stage for a climactic debate in the Senate over health care by unveiling a 10-year, $848 billion bill that would extend insurance to 31 million Americans without coverage…In a boost for the bill’s prospects, the CBO estimated the Senate measure would reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion over the next decade, and additional amounts over the second 10 years of the program.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/19/09]

MIT Health Economist: Health Reform Will Raise Wages By $234 Billion, Almost $700 Per Insured Household In 2019. According to Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic, MIT professor and health economist Jonathan Gruber has calculated that under health reform: “Worker wages rise by $55 billion by 2019. This amounts to almost $700 per insured household in 2019. Worker wages rise by $234 billion in aggregate over this time period.” [The New Republic, 11/20/09]

Sen. Roberts (R-KS) Admitted That “It Is Technically Accurate” for Democrats to Claim That “This Bill Doesn’t Cut Medicare Benefits,” But Claimed Providers Would Not Be Able To Survive Cuts. On the Senate floor, Sen. Roberts said: “I keep hearing my colleagues, however, on the other side of the aisle insisting that they’re half trillion dollar cut to all Medicare – here’s the quote – ‘won’t affect the benefits.’ Please stop that. That is the most disingenuous smoke screen in this whole debate. It may be true. It may be true that this bill does not explicitly cut benefits…I want every senior to know that while maybe it is technically accurate again for my friends across the aisle to claim that this bill doesn’t cut Medicare benefits there is no way – no way that you can slash a half a trillion dollars from payments to providers without affecting their ability to keep their door open. Especially in rural and small-town America…So, yes, in fact, this bill will effectively cut benefits. Again, get rid of the smoke screen. And this just doesn’t apply to the home health care benefit.” [Roberts Floor Speech, 12/4/09]

  • Hospitals Group Refuted CMS Actuary Report: “Hospitals Always Will Stand By Senior Citizens. This Summer, Hospitals Agreed To Contribute Substantial Medicare Savings Are Part Of Our Shared Sacrifice To Reform Health Care.” Politico Live Pulse reported: “The following statement was released today by Chip Kahn, President of the Federation of American Hospitals: Hospitals’ commitment to our mission of serving the health care needs of seniors in communities across America is steadfast. A memorandum recently issued by the CMS Actuary analyzing the effects of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” (H.R. 3962) concludes that some providers may end their participation in the Medicare program. Hospitals always will stand by senior citizens. This summer, hospitals agreed to contribute substantial Medicare savings as part of our shared sacrifice to reform health care and achieve near universal coverage for all Americans. We are pleased with the legislative progress as well as the movement towards market-based solutions. And we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to enact legislation that will enable hospitals to continue to provide our patients, including seniors, with ready access to the highest quality health care possible.” [Politico Live Pulse, 11/16/09]

AARP: Senate Legislation Will “Improve The Quality, Value And Sustainability Of [Medicare] For Current And Future Beneficiaries,” And “The Legislation Does Not Reduce Any Guaranteed Medicare Benefits.” AARP CEO Barry Rand said in a letter: “With respect to Medicare, AARP supports policies to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse — and to improve the quality, value and sustainability of the program for current and future beneficiaries. The legislation before the Senate properly focuses on provider reimbursement reforms to achieve these important policy objectives. Most importantly, the legislation does not reduce any guaranteed Medicare benefits.” [AARP Statement, 12/2/09]

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