This evening on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Enzi repeats debunked lies that health insurance reform will increase deficit, costs jobs, and cut Medicare benefits.  See fact check below:

RHETORIC: Senator Enzi Claimed That The Senate Health Reform Bill Will Increase The Deficit, will Cut Medicare, Increase Premiums, and “Eliminate More Than One Million Jobs.”  “The American people understand if the Reid bill is enacted deficits will increase.  They’re right.  The same is true for the claims that the Reid bill will stand the solvency of Medicare program or reduce beneficiary premiums.  That can only happen if you make all the assumptions that I previously described.  If you don’t believe those things will actually happen, then this bill will do nothing to extend Medicare or lower premiums.  Besides driving up the deficit, the Reid bill will also eliminate more than one million jobs.” [Senate Floor Speech, 12/20/09]


CBO Said Health Reform Reduces The Deficit By $132 Billion Over First 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]

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]

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]


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]

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]

Study: No Health Insurance 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]

CEA Report: Slowing Health Care Cost Growth Would Add 500,000 Jobs Each Year. In a report on the economic impact of health care reform, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors wrote that, “[s]lowing cost growth would lower the unemployment rate…the beneficial impact on employment in the short and medium run (relative to the no-reform baseline) is estimated to be approximately 500,000 each year that the effect is felt.” [CEA Health Care Report, 6/2/09]


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]

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]


CEA Report: The Senate Health Care Report Will Reduce Premiums By 1% And Lower The Average Family Policy Premium By $1,000 By 2019. “Using data from CBO and JCT, CEA estimates that the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans will reduce the growth rate of annual health care costs in the private sector by 0.5 percentage point per year from 2012 to 2018. … Taken together, it is likely that the combination of provisions other than the excise tax could generate an additional reduction in the growth rate of private sector health care costs of 0.5 percentage point. This would imply a total slowing of private-sector cost growth of approximately 1.0 percentage point per year. Assuming that all of this slowing of cost growth is reflected in private health insurance premiums, an average family policy premium could be lower in 2019 by approximately $1000 than it otherwise would have been.” [Council of Economic Advisers report, 12/14/09]

WP: CBO Said The Senate Health Care Bill “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.” “As 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.” [Washington Post, 12/1/09]

NYT: CBO Said That The Senate Health Care Bill Could “Significantly Reduce Costs For Many People Who Buy Health Insurance On Their Own” And Would Reduce Premiums For People Who Get Their Insurance Through Their Employers. “The 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. … In groups with 50 or fewer employees, it said, unsubsidized premiums in 2016 would average $7,800 a year for individuals and $19,200 for families — scarcely any different from the amounts expected under current law. Of the 25 million people receiving coverage from small businesses, it said, 3 million would qualify for subsidies, which would reduce their premiums by an average of 8 percent to 11 percent. Large employers would generally not be eligible for such assistance. Their premiums in 2016 under the bill would average $7,300 for individual coverage and $20,100 for family coverage, the report said. Under current law, the comparable figures would be $7,400 for individual coverage and $20,300 for family coverage.” [New York Times, 12/1/09]

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 Report, 12/10/09]

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]