Please see below for a fact check on Senator Alexander’s incorrect statements this morning on Face the Nation.

RHETORIC: Sen. Alexander Said The “Chief Actuary of the Government” Has Said Health Reform Would “Raise Costs Over the Next 20 Years” And That Reform Increases Taxes. Sen. Lamar Alexander said that proponents of health insurance reform “don’t want people to know about the Medicare cuts, the tax increases and the chief actuary of government has said that rather than decreasing costs, it will raise costs over the next 20 years. That’s the chief actuary of government in the Obama Administration said that.” [Senator Alexander, Face the Nation, 12/20/09]

REALITY: CMS SAID THE OPPOSITE, REFORM WILL BEND THE COST CURVE

CMS Actuary “Did Not Suggest That The Curve Was Bending Up. If Anything, It Suggested The Curve Would Bend Down.” Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic wrote: “But while the Actuary did in fact predict reform would mean spending slightly more in 2019 than we otherwise would, it did not suggest that the curve was bending up. If anything, it suggested the curve would bend down, albeit only a little.” [The New Republic, 12/14/09]

CMS Report: Senate Health Care Bill Will Have “A Significant Downward Impact On Future Health Care Cost Growth Rates.” According to a recently released CMS report, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have “a significant downward impact on future health care cost growth rates.”  [CMS Report, 12/10/09]

CBO Said Health Reform Reduces The Deficit By $132 Billion Over First Ten Years And By $1.3 Trillion Over Second Ten Years. “CBO puts the price tag of the bill at $871 billion, and it says it will reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the first 10 years and then $1.3 trillion over the second 10 years.  In addition, CBO estimates that the legislation would cover more than 94% of all Americans under 65, and provide coverage to an additional 31 million Americans who currently lack health insurance.” [MSNBC, 12/19/09]

CEA Report: Reform Will Bend Cost Curve, And Noted More Benefits: GDP Will Be 4 Percent Higher, Median Family Income $6,800 Higher, Deficit Reduction By 2 Percent, 320,000 More Jobs All By 2030. The Council of Economic Advisers released a report on the potential impact of health insurance reform on bending the cost curve, and it noted “[a] few of the many benefits of reducing the growth rate of health care costs by an average of 1.0 percentage point per year.” The list included: “GDP that is 4 percent higher by 2030…Median family income that is $6,800 higher by 2030…Federal budget deficit lowered by as much as 2 percent of GDP by 2030…An unemployment rate that is 0.16 percentage point lower and approximately 320,000 additional jobs.” [CEA Report, 12/14/09]

REALITY: HEALTH REFORM WOULD BE A NET TAX CUT FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES

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]

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]

REALITY: MEDICARE SAVINGS STRENGTHENS MEDICARE, DOES NOT CUT BENEFITS

AARP Endorsed Senate Health Care Legislation And Said It “Strengthens Medicare For Current And Future Generations.” “With your commitment to closing the doughnut hole in conference, consistent with the President’s pledge, and the many positive features referenced above, AARP is pleased to support your efforts to obtain cloture, and urges timely passage of this legislation by the Senate. We look forward to working with you in conference to finalize health care reform legislation that strengthens Medicare for current and future generations, and which ensures that all Americans can obtain affordable coverage—particularly those aged 50 to 64—who face the most difficulty securing coverage they can afford in the individual and small group markets.” [AARP letter to Sen. Harry Reid, 12/14/09]

CMS Report: Senate Health Care Bill Extends The Life Of The Medicare Trust Fund By 9 Years. According to a recently released CMS report, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 9 years – significantly longer than any proposal in recent years. [CMS Report, 12/10/09]

AARP CEO: The [Senate Health Care] Legislation Does Not Reduce Any Guaranteed Medicare Benefits.” “But on Wednesday afternoon, the AARP joined other senior groups to oppose the GOP amendment, offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). ‘The legislation before the Senate properly focuses on provider reimbursement reforms to achieve these important policy objectives,’ AARP CEO Addison Barry Rand wrote in a letter to Reid. ‘Most importantly, the legislation does not reduce any guaranteed Medicare benefits.’” [Washington Post, 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]

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