See below for a fact check on a released statement from House Minority Leader John Boehner claiming that the Senate bill would raise taxes as well as premiums on families and small business, cut Medicare benefits, and amount to a Government takeover of health care:

RHETORIC: Boehner Claims that Senate Bill would “raise premiums for families and small businesses,” “cut seniors’ Medicare benefits,” raise taxes and lead to a government takeover of health care:The Democrats’ government takeover of health care will increase premiums for families and small businesses, raise taxes during a recession, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, add to our skyrocketing debt, and put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors.” [Boehner statement, 12/19/09]

REALITY: PREMIUMS WILL DECREASE UNDER REFORM

Study: “House And Senate Bills Would …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]

NYT: “Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office Persuasively Contradicted” Insurance Industry Claim That Reform Legislation Would Drive Up Insurance Premiums; “Tens Of Millions Of Uninsured Americans Can Be Covered Without Driving Up Costs For Everyone Else.” The New York Times editorial board wrote: “The health insurance industry frightened Americans — and gave Republicans a shrill talking point — when it declared in October that proposed reform legislation would drive up insurance costs for virtually everyone by as much as thousands of dollars a year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office persuasively contradicted that claim this week. Undaunted, the industry issued a rebuttal report, claiming again that premiums would soar. We find this second industry report no more persuasive than the first…And we have far more confidence in the C.B.O.’s expertise in evaluating a wide array of databases and in its objectivity. The chief message Americans should derive from the C.B.O.’s analysis is that tens of millions of uninsured Americans can be covered without driving up costs for everyone else.” [New York Times Editorial, 12/4/09]

Bloomberg News: 134 Million Americans Insured Through Large Employers Will See No Rise In Premiums And May Pay 3 Percent Less…Subsidies Also Will Lower Costs As Much As 59 Percent For 18 Million People Buying Their Own Insurance.” Bloomberg News reported on CBO estimates of the Senate health insurance reform bill’s impact on insurance premiums: “On average, 134 million Americans insured through large employers will see no rise in premiums and may pay 3 percent less than they would if Congress failed to pass a health-care overhaul plan, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said yesterday. Subsidies also will lower costs as much as 59 percent for 18 million people buying their own insurance.” [Bloomberg, 12/1/09]

WP: In “First Objective Analysis Of The Effect On Premiums,” CBO Found That Senate Bill “Would Leave Premiums Unchanged Or Slightly Lower For The Vast Majority Of Americans,” Contradicting Insurance Industry Claims. The Washington Post reported that, “[a]s the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average family’s coverage would rise by thousands of dollars if the proposal became law… Monday’s CBO report offers the first objective analysis of the effect on premiums. An earlier study commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, warned that the Senate bill would dramatically increase insurance premiums, but the study’s authors at PricewaterhouseCoopers later acknowledged that they had ignored major pieces of the legislation in their calculations.” [Washington Post, 12/1/09]

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 Who Receive Coverage From Large Employers.” 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]

REALITY: REFORM WILL PROVIDE TAX CUTS

JCT: Senate Bill Will Provide Nearly $450 Billion In Individual Income Tax Cuts. Jason Furman wrote on the White House Blog: “First, the health insurance reform bill being considered in the Senate does not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 – in fact it is a substantial net tax cut for American families. The bill being considered represents a substantial net tax cut for middle income families. According to the independent Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill will provide nearly $450 billion in individual income tax cuts over the next 10 years.” [White House, 12/16/09]

IRS $5 – 10 Billion Expansion Would Be To Determine Who Gets A Credit To Buy Insurance. Costs to the Internal Revenue Service of implementing the eligibility determination, documentation, and verification processes for premium and cost sharing credits. Those costs would probably be between $5 billion and $10 billion over 10 years.” [CBO Estimate, 11/18/09]

Based On CBO Estimates, Under Senate Bill, Individuals Would Save From $200 To $2,500; Families Would Save $500 To $7,500 – “In Addition To The More Generous Benefits That These Groups Will Receive Through The [Health Insurance] Exchange.” Jonathan Gruber, MIT professor of economics and a health economics specialist wrote on the updated CBO estimates of the Senate health reform legislation: “I find that the savings are large for both singles and families, and that they are particularly large for the lowest income families that qualify for premium credits under the Senate Bill but would be left to face the full high non-group premium without legislation. In particular, I find that the single individual would save over $2,500 at low incomes (175% of poverty), and would save $200 even at higher incomes (425% of poverty or higher). For families, the savings are much larger, ranging from nearly $7,500 for low income families (at 175% of poverty) to $500 for higher incomes (425% of poverty of higher). It is worth noting that these savings are all in addition to the more generous benefits that these groups will receive through the exchange compared to the non-group market.” [Gruber, 11/27/09]

CBO On Senate Bill: $27 Billion For Small Business Tax Credit. In its estimate of the Senate reform bill, CBO wrote: “The other main element of the coverage provisions that would increase federal deficits is the tax credit for small employers who offer health insurance, which is estimated to reduce revenues by $27 billion over 10 years.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]

CBO: $338 Billion In “Premium And Cost Sharing Subsidies” For People Purchasing Insurance Through Exchanges. [CBO Estimate, 11/18/09]

REALITY: MEDICARE SAVINGS DO NOT CUT BENEFITS, THEY STRENGTHEN MEDICARE

AARP: “This Bill Will Strengthen Medicare By Eliminating Cost Barriers To Preventive Care, Reform Medicare’s Payment…And Reduce Hospital Infections And Preventable Readmissions.” In a letter to Majority Leader Reid, AARP’s Barry Rand praised the Senate health reform bill: “This bill will strengthen Medicare by eliminating cost barriers to preventive care, reform Medicare’s payment and delivery system to promote care coordination, and reduce hospital infections and preventable readmissions. Moreover, through critical insurance market reforms and the establishment of exchanges, this bill will give the uninsured and small businesses access to quality affordable plans. The legislation also includes important provisions to strengthen home and community-based care and to assist individuals in saving to meet future long-term care needs.” [AARP Letter, 12/15/09]

Medicare Consumer Groups: If Medicare Savings Were Repealed: “All People With Medicare And The Medicare Program Itself Will Be Harmed.” In a joint statement, the Medicare Rights Center and the Center for Medicare Advocacy said: “Further, people with Medicare will not see the savings or improved health from the bill’s improvements to preventive benefits if the McCain amendment passes and health reform does not. Instead, all people with Medicare and the Medicare program itself will be harmed.” [Joint Statement By Medicare Rights Center, Center For Medicare Advocacy, 12/2/09]

FactCheck.org: “We Never Have Said That Seniors Would Suffer ‘Massive Cuts To Medicare Benefits’ Under [Health Reform Legislation], And In Fact Have Done Our Best To Debunk [Those] Claims.” FactCheck.org wrote: “We never have said that seniors would suffer ‘massive cuts to Medicare benefits’ under the pending House or Senate overhaul bills, and in fact have done our best to debunk claims to that effect.” [FactCheck.org, 11/3/09]

UnitedHealth Group CEO Promised “Medicare Will Stay A Profitable Business Even With Cuts In Government Payments…Higher Premiums And Other Benefit Changes Will Keep Up Medicare Profit Margins.” Bloomberg News reported that, “[i]nsurers led by UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. rose in New York trading after UnitedHealth Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hemsley said Medicare will stay a profitable business even with cuts in government payments… Higher premiums and other benefit changes will keep up Medicare profit margins even with U.S. plans to cut insurer payments by 5 percent, Hemsley said on a conference call.” [Bloomberg News, 10/20/09]

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]

REALITY: THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE

Fox’s 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]

Bloomberg News: “Government-Takeover” Fears Of Public Plan Don’t Hold Water – Veterans Say Completely Socialized Veterans Health System Is “Superb…State Of The Art…I Really Get Annoyed Every Time I Hear These Talking Heads Talking About ‘The Government Can’t Run Anything.’” Bloomberg news wrote a lengthy piece debunking “government-takeover” claims by taking a look at the completely “socialized” veterans care system. The article, titled “Vets Loving Socialized Medicine Show Government Offers Savings,” said that, “Rick Tanner is one American who loves his government-run health care. After serving in Vietnam and spending three decades in the U.S. Navy, Tanner retired in 1991 with a bad knee and high blood pressure. He enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration and now benefits from comprehensive treatment with few co-payments and an electronic records system more advanced than almost anywhere at private hospitals. ‘The care is superb,’ said Tanner, 66, a San Diego resident who visits the veterans medical center in La Jolla, California, and a clinic in nearby Mission Valley. The record- keeping, he said, is ‘state of the art.’… Researchers publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and the Annals of Internal Medicine in recent years have endorsed the system. A Canadian policy journal, Healthcare Papers, devoted an entire issue to it in 2005. ‘The VHA’s experiences have become a model around the world,’ the editor-in-chief of Healthcare Papers, Peggy Leatt, wrote at the time… ‘I really get annoyed every time I hear these talking heads talking about “the government can’t run anything,”’ said John Rowan, 64, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, who visits a New York clinic for complications from contact with the chemical Agent Orange. ‘Most veterans would give it a fairly good rating.’” [Bloomberg, 10/2/09]

AMA President-Elect Reassured: Physicians And Patients Don’t Need To Fear The Rise Of A Monolithic Health System With No Choice From President Obama. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that “American Medical Association president-elect Dr. James Rohack told Mississippi doctors Friday…Physicians and patients don’t need to fear the rise of a monolithic health system with no choice, because it’s not something the American people would accept, Rohack said. The president didn’t advocate a single-payer system for the United States at the meeting, Rohack said. Obama said he believes in access to health care for all with a system that is a mix of public and private sources with patients still able to see the physicians of their choice.” [Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 5/30/09]

Politifact: The Statement That Private Insurance Will Not Be Able To Compete With A Government Option Is Challenged By Nonpartisan Health Care Experts – “Every Time I Hear These Claims I’m Astonished.” The “statement that private insurance ‘will not be able to compete with a government option’ is challenged by nonpartisan health care experts who disagree….researchers don’t believe public options would destroy the private insurance industry. ‘Every time I hear these claims I’m astonished,’ said Cathy Schoen, senior vice president for the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that studies health care and advocates more coverage for the uninsured, minorities and people with low incomes.” [Politifact, 6/17/09]

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