Please see below a fact check on Senator Enzi’s empty call for greater bipartisanship in health insurance reform on the Senate floor today and his false claim regarding the cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

RHETORIC: Enzi Complained That The Senate Health Care Bill Wasn’t Sufficiently Bipartisan. Sen. Mike Enzi: “But I’ve been working on the nation’s broken health care system ever since I entered the Senate more than 12 years ago and I had high hopes that this would be the year that the Democrats and the Republicans of the Senate would work together to provide health insurance to every American. I urge my colleagues to start with a blank piece of paper and develop a bipartisan bill that up to 80 members of the Senate could support. Unfortunately the majority leadership had other ambitions, because the bill being debated today is a testament to a partisan ideological division.” [Senate Floor, 11/30/09]

RHETORIC: Enzi Said The Senate Health Care Bill Would Cost $2.4 Trillion And Drive Up Costs. Sen. Mike Enzi: “Instead this bill cost $2.4 trillion when it is implemented and contains implementations that will drive up the costs that millions will pay for health care.” [Senate Floor, 11/30/09]

REALITY: ENZI HAS BEEN PLAYING POLITICS AND TRYING TO UNDERMINE HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM

Sen. Enzi Took Credit For Blocking And Delaying Health Care Bill. “This time, Enzi responded. ‘If I hadn’t been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care,’ he said. ‘Someone has to be at the table asking questions,’ Enzi said, showing a flash of passion. He later quoted a favorite saying: ‘If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.’ ‘It’s not where I get them to compromise, it’s what I get them to leave out,’ Enzi said.” [AP, 8/25/09]

Sen. Enzi Came Out Against Comprehensive Health Care Reform. “Congress should approach health care reform in steps, instead of trying to put together a comprehensive package said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Health care is so massive that reforms can’t be made with one major bill, which is what the Obama administration and congressional Democrats are pushing, Enzi told members of the Casper Rotary Club on Monday at the Parkway Plaza Hotel. … ‘We do need to have health care reform,’ Enzi said. ‘We do need to get it right. We need take the time to do it. I think the only way it will happen is we need to break it down into smaller parts than we have now and put it through one at a time.’” [Casper Star-Tribune, 8/17/09]

Sen. Enzi Boasted About Voting Against The Health Care Plan That Passed The Senate HELP Committee. “Enzi, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and member of the Senate Finance Committee, repeated his opposition to a government-run health care plan today while addressing the Casper Rotary Club. Over the weekend, Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius hinted that the Administration may be willing to look beyond a government-run option. ‘As I’ve said from the beginning, a government-run option is not an option. I voted against the Democrat plan in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last month and would do so again,’ Enzi said. ‘A government-run plan would increase health care costs, lessen service and add to our huge debt. The American people are doing a great job of getting this message across to the Administration and Congress.'” [Sen. Enzi release, 8/17/09]

Sen. Enzi Predicted “Nasty, Nasty Town Meeting” For Democrats Over Health Care. “In an interview, Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, said he was committed to forging a bipartisan consensus on legislation that overhauls the U.S. health-care system. ‘We’re past due for doing it, and the American people want it,’ said Mr. Enzi, one of three Republicans negotiating with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.). The Baucus-led talks are the only bipartisan health-bill effort on Capitol Hill. But Sen. Enzi said voters so far didn’t seem impressed by what the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill has come up with, and predicted members of the House and Senate are in for ‘some nasty, nasty town meetings’ over the August congressional recess. ‘I don’t think they like what they see so far,’ the senator said of voters.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/6/09]

REALITY: THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WILL REDUCE COSTS AND LOWER PREMIUMS FOR FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESS

Ezra Klein: “Congressional Budget Office: Reform Will Bring Down The Cost Of Health-Care Insurance.” “The Congressional Budget Office released a report today estimating changes to average premiums under the Senate health-care bill. The report is going to prove very important, and is going to confuse a lot of people. So let’s be very, very clear about what it says. The CBO’s analysis broke the health-care system into three parts: individual, small group and large group. The small- and large-group markets account for 159 million Americans, and have very little change in premiums. But what change they see is in the right direction: Health-care reform is expected to reduce premiums in the large group market by about 1.5 percent, and in the small group market by about 0.5 percent. … So in the final analysis, the effect of reform on your typical individual market purchasers is to give them insurance that’s about 30 percent better but only 10 to 12 percent more expensive, and then assure them subsidies that will lower their payments by more than 50 percent. And if you’re in the small group or large group markets, your premiums are expected to fall a bit.” [Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 11/30/09]

TNR: Health Care Reform Will “In Fact Deliver Some Savings… [And] It Certainly Won’t Raise Premiums.” “If you get insurance through a large employer, then your insurance premiums should stay roughly the same, with perhaps a very small decrease.If you get insurance through a small employer, then, again, your insurance premiums should stay roughly the same, with perhaps an even smaller decrease. … If you get insurance on your own, then your premiums would probably go up, because you’d end up buying coverage that was more comprehensive. … But–and this is the key point–newly available federal subsidies will more than offset this increase. In other words, the majority of people buying coverage on their own will be able to spend less money and, at the same time, get better insurance. … But this analysis suggests reform can in fact deliver some savings–and that it certainly won’t raise premiums, as so many conservative critics have predicted.” [The New Republic, 11/30/09]

MIT Analysis: The Senate Health Care Bill Would Reduce Premium Prices In The Individual Health Insurance Market. “A new analysis by a leading MIT economist provides new ammunition for Democrats as the Senate begins formally debating the historic health-reform bill being pushed by President Barack Obama. The report concludes that under the Senate’s health-reform bill, Americans buying individual coverage will pay less than they do for today’s typical individual market coverage, and would be protected from high out-of-pocket costs. … Gruber concludes that people purchasing individual insurance would save an annual $200 (singles) to $500 (families) in 2009 dollars. And people with low incomes would receive premium tax credits that would reduce the price that they pay for health insurance by as much as $2,500 to $7,500.” [Politico, 11/28/09]

23 Of Nation’s Most Well-Respected Health Economists: Health Reform “Will Lower Health Care Costs And Help Reduce Deficits Over The Long Term.” In a letter to the President, 23 of the nation’s most well-respected health economists said: “As economists, we believe that it is important to enact health reform, and it is essential that health reform include these four features [deficit neutrality, excise tax on high-cost insurance plans, independent Medicare commission, delivery system reforms] that will lower health care costs and help reduce deficits over the long term.” [Letter from 23 economists, 11/17/09]

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