On the Senate floor just now, Senator Crapo made several incorrect statements on health reform. Please see below for a fact check.   RHETORIC: Sen. Crapo Continues Tired Fear-Mongering – Claimed Reform Would Raise Taxes On Middle Class, Increase Premiums, Cut Senior Care. “They want common sense, lower cost action that will reduce the cost of premiums and their doctor visits. This legislation instead raises taxes on the middle class, increases premium costs for many people now carrying insurance, cuts senior programs and fails to lower health care costs. Simply put, there has not been a piece of legislation this decade that has come forward to meet more opposition than this health care reform bill.” [Senate Floor, 12/23/09]   REALITY: ALL OF SEN. CRAPO’S CLAIMS FLY IN THE FACE OF FACTS, CONTRADICT NON-PARTISAN EXPERTS THE MIDDLE CLASS WILL COME OUT AHEAD UNDER REFORM

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]

PREMIUMS WILL NOT GO UP, THEY GO DOWN

Manager’s Amendment: Insurers Who Arbitrarily Jack Up Premium Rates Will Be Excluded From The Health Insurance Exchanges. Nancy-Ann DeParle wrote on the White House Blog about the Senate health reform bill’s Manager’s Amendment: “If insurers who arbitrarily jack up rates before the exchanges come online, they won’t be allowed to participate in them – they’ll miss the opportunity to compete for millions of new customers. That creates a strong incentive to keep premiums low before the exchanges are up and running in 2014.” [White House Blog, 12/19/09]

Study: “House And Senate Bills Would Save $683 Billion Or More In National Health Spending…And 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]

MEDICARE SAVINGS WILL ONLY STRENGTHEN MEDICARE

AMA Endorsed Senate Health Reform Bill: “This Bill Advances Many Of Our Priority Issues For Achieving The Vision Of A Health System That Works For Patients And Physicians.” “The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced its support for passage of the amended Senate health reform bill (H.R. 3590).  Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by the Senate will bring our nation close to the finish line on health reform. ‘All Americans deserve affordable, high-quality health coverage so they can get the medical care they need – and this bill advances many of our priority issues for achieving the vision of a health system that works for patients and physicians,’ said AMA President-elect Cecil B. Wilson, M.D.” [American Medical Association, 12/21/09]

Federation Of American Hospitals: Senate Bill, As Amended, “Would Increase Access To Affordable, Quality Coverage…Members Of FAH Urge All Senators To Vote For This Historic Legislation.” “The FAH is particularly pleased that H.R. 3590, as amended, would increase access to affordable, quality coverage; create market-based exchanges with private coverage and subsidies for lower income Americans; and implement important delivery reforms such as value-based purchasing, a prospective ban on self-referral to physician-owned hospitals, and voluntary pilots to test bundled payments across an episode of care. To be sure, H.R. 3590 as amended would benefit from further improvements in several important areas, especially expanded coverage. In our view, the final health reform legislation should cover more uninsured Americans to ensure the kind of health care security Americans deserve and expect. In addition, the hospital readmissions policy falls short by not sufficiently focusing on those readmissions that are preventable and avoidable. We look forward to continuing our work with Congress and the Administration on such improvements as this legislation heads to completion. In the meantime, the members of FAH urge all Senators to vote for this historic legislation.” [Politico Live Pulse, 12/20/09]

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]

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