Apparently undeterred by the facts, the RNC is again relying on scare-tactics to ‘kill’ health insurance reform in a new web video released today.  The RNC’s latest attempt to mislead voters accuses the President of being “in denial” over “new taxes” that the RNC claims would result from reform.  The only person guilty of that charge, however, is the Republican Party’s own Chairman who just this morning on Fox News denied that this country’s “health care system” was “going broke.” For more on the RNC’s false claims, please see the fact check below:

RNC “DICTIONARY” FACT CHECK

SCRIPT

REALITY

“Barack Obama and Democrats promise that healthcare reform will lower costs. But their plans deliver increased taxes. Taxes on tests, scans and x-rays.” ACTUALLY, IT’S NOT JUST DEMOCRATS PROMISING REFORM WILL LOWER COSTS

Former Bush Medicare/Medicaid Director Mark McClellan: “It Does Bend The [Cost] Curve In The Long Term.” “Mark McClellan, director of the Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, and the former Medicare and Medicaid director under President Bush, was similarly impressed. … He said the plan substantially tracked the recommendations of a widely-praised bipartisan report that he recently released outlining strategies to slow long-term spending growth. ‘It does bend the [cost] curve in the long term,’ McClellan said. ‘They clearly are working hard to make fiscally responsible decisions about health care reform.'” [Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic, 9/18/09]

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]

Baucus Bill Payment Reforms To Move “Away From Volume To Value,” And “Incorporates Most Of The Major Ideas That Reformers Have Offered To Encourage Long-Term Cost-Savings In The Medical System.” The Atlantic Monthly wrote, “[t]he Baucus bill incorporates most of the major ideas that reformers have offered to encourage long-term cost-savings in the medical system. Two common themes link these ideas: shifting the reimbursement model away from volume to value, and encouraging physicians to work more closely in teams to manage the overall health of patients, particularly those with expensive chronic conditions. The bill would implement these ideas within Medicare, though advocates hope that if these practices prove effective, private insurers will adopt hem as well. One set of proposals would reward Medicare providers who deliver care more efficiently and penalize those who don’t.” [The Atlantic, 9/18/09]

CBO: Baucus Proposal Would Not Just Be Deficit Neutral, It Would Reduce Deficit By $49 Billion. Doug Elmendorf, Director of the CBO, wrote: “[a]ccording to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Chairman’s proposal would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $49 billion over the 2010-2019 period.” [CBO Estimate of Chairman’s Mark, 9/16/09]

The Baucus Health Care Plan Would Reduce The Cost Of Prescription Drugs In Medicaid. “Several of the offsets are likely to help slow the rate of growth of health care costs over time. For example, the proposal would impose an excise tax on insurance company offerings of high-cost plans, limit tax subsidies provided to flexible spending accounts, eliminate the overpayments that private insurers receive through the Medicare Advantage program, and reduce the cost of prescription drugs in Medicaid. … The Baucus plan would also lower the cost of prescription drugs in Medicaid. Under federal law, as a condition of Medicaid coverage of their products, drug manufacturers must pay rebates to the federal and state governments for prescription drugs that Medicaid dispenses to beneficiaries. These rebates effectively lower the price that Medicaid pays for prescription drugs and ensure that state Medicaid programs pay no more than private purchasers for the same drugs. The Baucus plan would increase the minimum rebates that pharmaceutical companies must pay to Medicaid for brand-name and generic drugs prescribed for Medicaid beneficiaries. These rebate levels have remained unchanged since the mid-1990s. This would reduce federal and state Medicaid costs without harming beneficiaries.” [CBPP, 9/16/09]

“New taxes on charities and small businesses.” CHARITABLE DEDUCTION MEASURE IS NOT CONTAINED IN THE BILLS BEING DISCUSSED—BUT IF IT WERE, IT WOULD AFFECT A SMALL MINORITY OF TAX PAYERS

House And Senate Proposals Do Not Contain Charitable Deduction Measure For Health Reform Financing. According to the New York Times, the House and Senate measures on health reform do not include the charitable deduction measure proposed by President Obama. [New York Times interactive chart, accessed 8/28/09]

Charitable Deduction Measure Would Affect 1.2 Percent Of People In The Top Two Tax Brackets; Analysts Noted Conservatives Scoffed When Estate Tax Repeal Would Have Cut Charitable Contributions By Much Larger Factor. The Tax Policy Center analyzed the President’s proposed lifting of tax breaks on the highest tax brackets for charitable donations: “How much would the proposal affect donations? A back-of-the envelope estimate suggests that the Obama plan would reduce annual giving by about two percent, or roughly $9 billion. Here’s how we got there. The proposal would cut deductions for taxpayers in the top two tax brackets starting in 2011, when the top rates will be 36 and 39.6. About 1.2 percent of households would be affected in 2011… That is not insignificant, although it is somewhat ironic that conservatives have only now discovered the virtues of high tax rates in boosting charitable contributions. Researchers have found that the estate tax has much larger effects on philanthropy. A 2004 CBO study estimated that repeal would have cut contributions by between $13 billion and $25 billion in 2000, but conservatives scoffed at the possibility of such behavioral effects.  Obama’s budget would retain the estate tax, which on net would likely boost contributions by more (compared with repeal) than limiting the deduction would cut them.” [Tax Policy Center, 3/3/09]

NO REFORM MEANS SKYROCKETING COSTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Chamber Of Commerce: “The Reality With The Business Community Is That We Want Reform, While Some Republicans Want To Stop This Train And Start Over.” The Wall Street Journal reported on the Chamber Of Commerce’s relatively positive reaction to Chairman Baucus’ health reform proposal: “‘The reality with the business community is that we want reform, while some Republicans want to stop this train and start over,’ said Bruce Josten, the chamber’s chief lobbyist. ‘That is just not going to happen.’” [Wall Street Journal, 9/25/09]

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]

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]

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]

“A doctor’s tax.” WOULD DOCTORS SUPPORT REFORM THAT WOULD INSTITUTE HUGE NEW TAXES ON THEM?

American Medical Association Offered Unqualified Support To House Health Reform Bill, H.R. 3200. Michael Maves, Executive Vice President of the American Medical Association wrote a letter to Chairman Charles Rangel, and said: “On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association, I am writing to express our appreciation and support for H.R. 3200, the ‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.’ This legislation includes a broad range of provisions that are key to effective, comprehensive health system reform. We urge members of the House Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means Committees to favorably report H.R. 3200 for consideration by the full House.” [AMA Letter To Chairman Rangel, 7/16/09]

AMA President On Baucus Proposal: “The AMA Applauds Chairman Baucus And His Colleagues For Their Hard Work And Important Contribution…[The Proposal Would] Significantly Improve Our Health Care System.” James Rohack, President of the American Medical Association wrote in reaction to Sen. Baucus’ Chairman’s mark: “The AMA applauds Chairman Baucus and his colleagues for their hard work and important contribution toward our mutual objective of comprehensive health system reform. Expanding coverage through tax credits, insurance market reforms that protect patients if they get sick or lose their job, and offering more affordable choices through new health insurance exchanges will significantly improve our health care system.” [National Journal, 9/16/09]

“Taxes on your health insurance.” REPUBLICANS ARE LYING ABOUT TAXING HEALTH INSURANCE

National Journal On Obama Health Care Financing Similarity To McCain Plan: “That Wildly Overstates The Case…Limiting The Tax Break Would Have Very Different [Effects]…It’s The Difference Between Trimming A Tree And Cutting It Down.” Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal wrote, “[w]hen John McCain last year proposed to eliminate the tax break that encourages employers to provide health insurance for their workers, Barack Obama denounced the idea. Now Senate Democrats are exploring pro-posals to limit that tax break as one way to fund their universal coverage plans. President Obama isn’t promoting that option, but neither is he fighting it, and most insiders believe he’d accept a final package that includes it. Critics on the right sense hypocrisy. The Wall Street Journal editorial page even insists Obama owes McCain an apology. That wildly overstates the case. If Congress moves ahead, Obama will have to swallow some of his 2008 rhetoric. But critics are exaggerating the convergence between the emerging Democratic proposal and McCain’s; limiting the tax break would have very different, and less disruptive, effects than eliminating it. It’s the difference between trimming a tree and cutting it down.” [National Journal, 6/13/09]

Sen. Grassley On Taxing Gold-Plated Health Plans: “We Have Plenty Of Health Economists Explaining To Us That High-End Insurance Policies” Create “Perverse Incentives To Over-Utilize And Have High Cost Care And Drive Up The Inflation.” Politico reported on reactions to a plan to tax high-end health benefits plans, so-called “Cadillac” or “gold-plated” health plans: “Grassley said Friday on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Political Capital with Al Hunt’: ‘We’re taking an intense look at it. I bet it’s been a subject of discussion for two days of the last four or five.’ ‘We’re interested in it, not for the sole reason of raising money, although it would do that,’ Grassley said. ‘But we have plenty of health economists explaining to us that high-end insurance policies — not that the health-care is not legitimate, but should there be a subsidy of that health-care, and should you have the perverse incentives to over-utilize and have high cost care and drive up the inflation? And we’re interested in it as a discipline within health care.’” [Politico, 7/25/09]

Sen. Snowe On Taxing Gold-Plated Health Plans: “A Practical Option…A Way Of Attacking Future Costs In Health Care And Driving Them Down And Creating Disincentives For The Most Expensive Policies.” Politico reported on reactions to a plan to tax high-end health benefits plans, so-called “Cadillac” or “gold-plated” health plans: “Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), another swing vote on the Finance Committee, said the idea ‘may be a practical option, as a way of attacking future costs in health care and driving them down and creating disincentives for the most expensive policies,’ Bloomberg News reported.” [Politico, 7/25/09]

“Even a tax on medical supplies.” MEDICAL DEVICE MAKERS WOULD ACTUALLY BE GAINING NEW CUSTOMERS FROM THE NEWLY INSURED

Medical Device Industry Stands To Gain Huge Payday With “A Bonanza Of New Customers,” Competitive Measures In Bill Would Keep Prices From Rising. Politico reported on proposed fees on the medical-device industry, and noted that, “Finance Committee aides argue that the fees are small in comparison with the payday the industry stands to make if reform goes through — a bonanza of new customers as millions of previously uninsured Americans could afford coverage. Aides say the companies won’t raise prices to cover new fees because it will put them at a competitive disadvantage. They cite measures that would keep the companies honest, including new consumer-owned cooperatives that would force competition with private insurers and a new insurance marketplace called an exchange where consumers can shop for the best plan.” [Politico , 9/14/09]

“Hundreds of billions in new taxes.” MOST OF HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL BE PAID FROM MONEY ALREADY BEING SPENT, AND IT WILL NOT INCREASE THE DEFICIT

President Obama: Two-Thirds Of Health Reform Costs Can Be “Paid For By Tax Dollars That Are Already Being Spent Right Now.” President Obama said during a news conference on health reform: “we identified two-thirds of those costs to be paid for by tax dollars that are already being spent right now. So taxpayers are already putting this money into the kitty; the problem is, they’re not getting a good deal for the money they’re spending. That takes care of about two-thirds of the cost. The remaining one-third is what the argument has been about of late. What I’ve said is that there may be a number of different ways to raise money. I put forward what I thought was the best proposal, which was to limit the deductions, the itemized deductions, for the wealthiest Americans.” [President Obama News Conference, 7/22/09]

President Obama: “I Will Not Sign It If It Adds One Dime To The Deficit…There Will Be A Provision In This Plan That Requires Us To Come Forward With More Spending Cuts If The Savings We Promised Don’t Materialize.” In his address to Congress, President Obama stated, “[f]irst, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits ?? either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.  And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize.”  [President Obama Remarks As Delivered To Congress, 9/9/09]

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]

“All of it passed right back to the consumer.” HARD-HIT CONSUMERS WILL SAVE MONEY UNDER HEALTH CARE REFORM

The Economist: “The Stagnation Of Middle-Class Incomes In Recent Years Is In Large Measure Caused By Health-Care Inflation.” The Economist wrote, “[t]he proportion of the cost of employer-provided health insurance shouldered by employees is ‘at or close to 100%,’ says Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last year, employer-provided health insurance reduced wages by 7.9%, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. The stagnation of middle-class incomes in recent years is in large measure caused by health-care inflation.” [The Economist, 5/28/09]

House Health Reform Bill Could Save Middle Class Families Nearly $5,800 A Year On Average On Insurance Premiums Alone, Would Also Reduce Annual Deductibles And Out Of Pocket Caps. The House Committee on Ways and Means estimated the savings to a family of four under health insurance reform proposals in HR 3200. Compared to a typical high deductible health insurance plan and its average monthly premiums, families with incomes between $33,075 and $77,175 would save on average $5,777 a year in insurance premiums. Families earning between $29,327 and $33,075 could save nearly $9000 in premiums alone, while families earning between $66,150 and $77,175 could save up to $2,208. The estimates also showed that compared to the typical high deductible health insurance plan, annual deductibles and annual out of pocket caps could be reduced for most income levels under the proposed House legislation. [Kaiser Health News, 9/4/09]

President Obama: “The Cost Of Health Care Now Causes A Bankruptcy In America Every Thirty Seconds.” President Obama noted that, “the cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds.” [White House Forum On Health Reform, 3/5/09]

CEA Report: Slowing Health Care Cost Growth Would Add $2,600 To Each Family’s Income By 2020 – Almost $10,000 By 2030. In a report on the economic impact of health care reform, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors wrote, “[w]e estimate that slowing the annual growth rate of health care costs by 1.5 percentage points would increase real gross domestic product (GDP), relative to the no-reform baseline, by over 2 percent in 2020 and nearly 8 percent in 2030. For a typical family of four, this implies that income in 2020 would be approximately $2,600 higher than it would have been without reform (in 2009 dollars), and that in 2030 in would be almost $10,000 higher.” [CEA Health Care Report, 6/2/09]

“And if you think you can’t afford it. You can’t afford not to.” ACTUALLY, AMERICANS CAN’T AFFORD ANOTHER YEAR WITHOUT REFORM

Study: Every Single Day, 14,000 Americans Lose Their Health Insurance. The Center for American Progress released a report that found that, “[e]ven when the economy was growing, 46 million people in America did not have any health insurance. Since the recession began, an estimated 4 million additional Americans have lost their health insurance and 2 million have become uninsured. The recent turmoil in the job market is likely increasing the number of uninsured at the rate of 14,000 a day. And yet, congressional conservatives opposed efforts to stop the erosion of our health care system and help millions of Americans hold on to the coverage they have or get it for the first time.” [Center For American Progress, 2/19/09]

Study: Lack of Health Insurance Kills About 45,000 A Year, “Despite Widespread Acknowledgment That Enacting Universal Coverage Would Be Life Saving, Doing So Remains Politically Thorny.” According to a draft copy of a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, “Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease (n=42868). The increased risk of death attributable to uninsurance suggests that alternative measures of access to medical care for the uninsured, such as community health centers, do not provide the protection of private health insurance. Despite widespread acknowledgment that enacting universal coverage would be life saving, doing so remains politically thorny.” [American Journal of Public Health, December 2009]

“More Than 25 Million Americans Have Swiss-Cheese Health Insurance: It’s Full Of Holes” – Family Is Having To Pay “Almost 45 Percent Of Their Total Income Of $44,815” In Uncovered Hospital Bills. Kaiser Health News highlighted the struggles of the underinsured, focusing on a family that was relatively healthy but still struggling with enormous medical bills, despite technically having health insurance: “More than 25 million Americans have Swiss-cheese health insurance: it’s full of holes. Experts call them the ‘under-insured.’… But Martha doesn’t have much choice. More medical bills are coming. She needs to have a hysterectomy next month, and she says her insurance will pay only $1,000 of the hospital bill. For the Martins, 2009 is starting to look a lot like 2008. Last year they paid $6,210 in health insurance premiums for themselves and daughter Sara, plus another $13,955 in uncovered hospital bills after Rebekah’s surgery. It added up to almost 45 percent of their total income of $44,815. ‘Forty-five percent! That’s just crazy! I don’t pay that much in taxes,’ Martin exclaims. ‘So you know, I just think there should be a health insurance plan out there that everyone can sign up for.’ She’d be happy to pay the premiums, she says, if only she could get decent coverage.” [Kaiser Health News, 9/28/09]

Medical Bills Caused 62 Percent Of Bankruptcies – 78 Percent Of Bankrupted Families Had Health Insurance. Business Week reported that, “[m]edical problems caused 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2007, according to a study by Harvard researchers. And in a finding that surprised even the researchers, 78% of those filers had medical insurance at the start of their illness, including 60.3% who had private coverage, not Medicare or Medicaid.” [Business Week, 6/4/09]

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.” [Milliman 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]

“Because they’ve even proposed a tax for not having health insurance.” POLITIFACT: IT’S NOT A TAX

Politifact On Individual Mandate Penalties And Income Caps On Premiums: “They Are Not A Tax…It’s To Pay For Coverage They Don’t Have Now – Not A Tax – And Some People Would Pay Less.” Politifact discussed Keith Olbermann’s assertion that the penalties stemming from an individual mandate in health reform legislation and income camps on premiums under Sen. Baucus’ proposal were a “tax,” and how such an assertion was incorrect: “Olbermann twice called these payments a tax. They are not a tax. They are a cap on premiums paid for health insurance. Other Democratic health reform plans in Congress have similar requirements that “force” people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Their caps on premiums are more generous than 13 percent, but they still require people to pay a percentage of their income for insurance… He’s right that for people who are uninsured now, the upper limit would be 13 percent, and that money would go to insurance companies. But it’s to pay for coverage they don’t have now — not a tax — and some people would pay less. And all of the plans under consideration in Congress require people to pay something for coverage.” [Politifact, 9/17/09]

“With at least 8 new taxes. Your health insurance costs will skyrocket. Of course it’s easy to raise taxes when you live in denial about the very meaning of the word.”

“Obama health care taxes. Wrong for health care. Wrong for our economy.”

REPUBLICANS CAREFULLY IGNORE EXISTING HIDDEN TAXES, HUGE MEDICAL COSTS THAT ALREADY EXIST – REFORM IS AIMED AT BRINGING COSTS DOWN

Each U.S. Family Pays $1,017 Hidden Tax To Cover Health Care Costs Of The Uninsured – Total Bill For Care Of Uninsured Comes To $116 Billion, 2/3 Of Which Was Passed On To Insured Through Insurance Premiums. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “the average family with health insurance in 2008 paid a ‘hidden health tax’ of $1,017 to cover the health-care costs of the uninsured, according to a report released Thursday by advocacy group Families USA… a total of $42.7 billion in care for those without insurance was passed on to health insurers. The insurers, in turn, passed on the costs through higher premiums, the report said…When those without insurance sought care, often in emergency rooms, government and charities picked up more than a quarter of the $116 billion tab last year, the report said. More than a third was paid for by those seeking the care, and the rest was passed on to health insurers and eventually to insured people through higher costs, it said.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/28/09]

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