Please see below for a fact check on Senator McCain’s remarks this morning on Fox News Sunday, where he mistakenly stated that benefits would be cut and would not kick in for four years:

RHETORIC: McCain said benefits would not kick in for four years. “For the first four years after this budget is signed, the taxes are increased and the benefits cut. And the costs are reduced. It is only after four years that the benefits kick in.” [Fox News Sunday, 12/20/09]

REALITY: THE IMMEDIATE BENEFITS OF LEGISLATION INCLUDE ASSISTANCE TO UNINSURED AMERICANS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, SENIORS IN THE DONUT HOLE, YOUNG ADULT COVERAGE AND MORE

House & Senate Bills Will Immediately Create Interim High-Risk Pools To Help Cover Uninsured Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions. [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits; House AHCA Bill Immediate Provisions, 10/29/09]

Senate Bill Immediately Prohibits Health Insurance Discrimination Based on Salary. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will prohibit group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees.” [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits]

Major Insurance Reforms In The Senate And House Bills: No More Lifetime Or Annuals Limits To Benefits, No More Rescissions, New Transparency To Prevent Price Gouging. [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits; House AHCA Bill Immediate Provisions, 10/29/09]

Under Senate Bill, Preventive Care And Wellness Benefits Are Free Immediately. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require coverage of prevention and wellness benefits and exempt these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage.” [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits]

House & Senate Bills Reduce Medicare Donut Hole By $500, Institute 50% Discount On Brand Name Drugs. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the size of the ‘donut hole’ by raising the ceiling on the initial coverage period by $500 in 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also guarantee 50 percent price discounts on brand-name drugs and biologics purchased by low and middle-income beneficiaries in the coverage gap.” [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits; House AHCA Bill Immediate Provisions, 10/29/09]

House & Senate Bills Will Immediately Extend Coverage for Young Adults. The Senate bill extends parents’ coverage to young adults until age 26, while the House bill extends coverage until age 27.  [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits; House AHCA Bill Immediate Provisions, 10/29/09]

House & Senate Bills Will Create Immediate Access To Re-Insurance For Employer Health Plans For Early Retirees. [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits; House AHCA Bill Immediate Provisions, 10/29/09]

Senate Bill Will Immediately Extend Tax Credits For Small Business. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will offer tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 50 percent of premiums will be available to firms that choose to offer coverage.” [Democratic Policy Committee, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- Immediate Benefits]

RHETORIC: McCain said benefits reform will raise taxes. “For the first four years after this budget is signed, the taxes are increased and the benefits cut. And the costs are reduced. It is only after four years that the benefits kick in.” [Fox News Sunday, 12/20/09]

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]

RHETORIC: McCain said reform would cut benefits. “For the first four years after this budget is signed, the taxes are increased and the benefits cut. And the costs are reduced. It is only after four years that the benefits kick in.” [Fox News Sunday, 12/20/09]

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]

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