With the release of a new ad today that unabashedly calls for the demise of health insurance reform, the RNC has yet again made it plainly clear that they are solely focused on delaying and obstructing reform for their own political gain.  The Republicans’ political calculation that their party will fare better in next year’s elections if they derail reform is further proof that the GOP has zero concern or care for the millions of American families, businesses and state budgets that stand to gain from fixing our broken health insurance system.  While Democrats in Congress continue to work towards a solution that will curb sky-rocketing health insurance costs, insure millions more Americans and improve the quality of care available to all, the Republican Party is actively working against those efforts – and what’s worse, they’re proud of their blatant obstructionism.  Please see below for a fact check on the latest recycled scare-tactics and debunked claims from the Republican National Committee:





VOICE: “A message from Republican National Chairman Michael Steele.”

STEELE: “The Democrats are accusing us Republicans of trying to

delay and stonewall their government takeover of health care.”

STEELE: “You know what? They’re finally right.”


Washington Post Blog: “GOP Memo: Blocking Dems’ Health Care Reform Proposal Is Good Politics”: In another sign of just how much Republicans are staking on standing in the way of the health care reform proposal, the chief of the GOP’s efforts to win Senate seats is distributing a memo on Capitol Hill and among candidates making the case that united obstruction of the Dems’ plan is good politics for the GOP.  The memo, from NRSC chief John Cornyn, was sent over by a source and has been sent to Senators and Senate candidates around the country. It marshalls poll data to argue that Dems will pay a price in the 2010 midterm elections for trying to push an unpopular health care bill through… [Plum Line 12/11/09]

USA Today Ed Board: Reviving “Kill Grandma” Scare Tactics Show Republicans Are “Trying To Set A New, Lower Bar For Demagoguery,” Their Arguments On Medicare Are “Bogus.” USA Today published an editorial that said: “Scaring seniors about losing their Medicare benefits is deceptive and irresponsible, but it’s a political winner. Both parties have played the game shamelessly over the years. This time, it’s Republicans who are doing it, and it’s as if they’re trying to set a new, lower bar for demagoguery…It’s also interesting to note that McCain and other Republicans haven’t always felt so protective of Grandma. McCain suggested even larger Medicare cuts during his presidential campaign last year, and he and some other GOP critics voted for cuts more than twice as big when Congress approved the Balanced Budget Act in 1997. Republicans are trying to derail President Obama’s health overhaul, and they want to get Democrats on record as voting to cut Medicare…What’s scary isn’t what will happen to seniors and their Medicare benefits. They’ll be fine. What’s frightening is how many people will continue to suffer with bad insurance or none at all if the scare tactics succeed.” [USA Today Editorial, 12/3/09]

“GOP Senator Pens Obstruction Manual For Health Care.” “Sen. Judd Gregg, (R-NH) has penned the equivalent of an obstruction manual — a how-to for holding up health care reform — and has distributed the document to his Republican colleagues. Insisting that it is ‘critical that Republican senators have a solid understanding of the minority’s rights in the Senate,’ Gregg makes note of all the procedural tools the GOP can use before measures are considered, when they come to the floor and even after passage.” [Huffington Post, 12/2/09]

Sen. DeMint On Health Reform: “I Hope They Don’t Do Anything.” On Fox News, Sen. DeMint had the following exchange: “DEMINT: I think it’s about 50-50 chance here in the Senate. They are going to try to rush something through. Those folks who met with Bill Clinton need to remember what happened when he tried to pass Hillarycare. That was when 1994 ushered in a long Republican majority. And I’m afraid that…CAVUTO: By the way, he said apparently that happened because they didn’t do anything. DEMINT: Well, I hope they don’t do anything again.” [Washington Independent, 11/11/09]


Study: Lack of Health Insurance Kills About 45,000 A Year, “Despite Widespread Acknowledgment That Enacting Universal Coverage Would Be Life Saving, Doing So Remains Politically Thorny.” According to a draft copy of a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, “Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease (n=42868). The increased risk of death attributable to uninsurance suggests that alternative measures of access to medical care for the uninsured, such as community health centers, do not provide the protection of private health insurance. Despite widespread acknowledgment that enacting universal coverage would be life saving, doing so remains politically thorny.” [American Journal of Public Health, December 2009]

“More Than 25 Million Americans Have Swiss-Cheese Health Insurance: It’s Full Of Holes” – Family Is Having To Pay “Almost 45 Percent Of Their Total Income Of $44,815” In Uncovered Hospital Bills. Kaiser Health News highlighted the struggles of the underinsured, focusing on a family that was relatively healthy but still struggling with enormous medical bills, despite technically having health insurance: “More than 25 million Americans have Swiss-cheese health insurance: it’s full of holes. Experts call them the ‘under-insured.’… But Martha doesn’t have much choice. More medical bills are coming. She needs to have a hysterectomy next month, and she says her insurance will pay only $1,000 of the hospital bill. For the Martins, 2009 is starting to look a lot like 2008. Last year they paid $6,210 in health insurance premiums for themselves and daughter Sara, plus another $13,955 in uncovered hospital bills after Rebekah’s surgery. It added up to almost 45 percent of their total income of $44,815. ‘Forty-five percent! That’s just crazy! I don’t pay that much in taxes,’ Martin exclaims. ‘So you know, I just think there should be a health insurance plan out there that everyone can sign up for.’ She’d be happy to pay the premiums, she says, if only she could get decent coverage.” [Kaiser Health News, 9/28/09]

Study: Half Of Foreclosures Caused In Part By A Medical Problem; Medical Crises Put 1.5 Million Americans In Jeopardy Of Losing Their Homes Last Year. “Based on our study of homeowners going through foreclosures in four states, we find that the standard account fails to represent the facts and thus makes a poor guide for policy. In contrast, we find that half of all foreclosures have medical causes, and we estimate that medical crises put 1.5 million Americans in jeopardy of losing their homes last year. Half of all respondents (49%) indicated that their foreclosure was caused in part by a medical problem, including illness or injuries (32%), unmanageable medical bills (23%), lost work due to a medical problem (27%), or caring for sick family members (14%). We also examined objective indicia of medical disruptions in the previous two years, including those respondents paying more than $2,000 of medical bills out of pocket (37%), those losing two or more weeks of work because of injury or illness (30%), those currently disabled and unable to work (8%), and those who used their home equity to pay medical bills (13%). Altogether, seven in ten respondents (69%) reported at least one of these factors.” [SSRN Papers: Get Sick, Get Out, 6/12/09]

STEELE: “Republicans are trying to stop this disastrous health

care takeover.”


Politifact: “Obama Health Plan Does Not Call For Government-Run Health Care.” “Obama health plan does not call for government-run health care.” [Politifact, 3/5/09]

Factcheck.org: “President Obama Hasn’t Proposed A Government-Run [Health Care] Plan And, In Fact, Has Rejected The Idea.” FactCheck.org: “President Obama hasn’t proposed a government-run [health care] plan and, in fact, has rejected the idea.” [FactCheck.org, 5/6/09]

Fox’s Shep Smith To Sen. John Barrasso: “It’s Not A Government Takeover, Senator! That’s Not Fair And We Both Know It.” Fox News’ Shep Smith confronted Sen. John Barrasso over his boilerplate GOP talking points calling health reform a “government takeover,” and said: “SMITH: It’s not a government takeover, Senator! That’s not fair and we both know it. It’s not a government takeover because what it would be is a government option if you have insurance now and you like it you can keep it…That’s not a government take over if we’re being fair is it, Senator?…As the costs have gone up, the insurance industry’s profits on average have gone up more than 350 percent and it’s the insurance companies which have paid and have contributed to Senators and congressman on both sides of the aisle to the point where now, we can’t get…what more than 60 percent of Americans say they support, is a public option. This has been an enormous win for the health care industry. That is an unquestioned fact.” [FOX News, 10/6/09]

STEELE: “Republicans are trying to keep the liberals from

creating yet another entitlement program, spending yet another trillion



AP: Republicans’ New Stance On Medicare “Contradicts The Party’s Long History Of Skepticism Toward Government-Run Programs.” The Associated Press wrote about Republicans’ newfound stance claiming to defend Medicare, reversing decades of trying to dismantle it: “But the new stance also contradicts the party’s long history of skepticism toward government-run programs and Republican concerns about the long-term viability and health of the Medicare system.” [Associated Press, 9/8/09]


WSJ: CBO’s Estimate Of Senate Bill Is $848 Billion, Cuts Deficit By $130 Billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the stage for a climactic debate in the Senate over health care by unveiling a 10-year, $848 billion bill that would extend insurance to 31 million Americans without coverage…In a boost for the bill’s prospects, the CBO estimated the Senate measure would reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion over the next decade, and additional amounts over the second 10 years of the program. It achieves that in part through a new Medicare payroll tax and a tax on high-value insurance plans, which has aroused strong opposition…To help ease the financial burden on workers, Mr. Reid lowered the maximum amount the bill would require them to spend on premiums, capping premiums at 9.8% of income, down from 12%.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/19/09]

  • Roll Call On CBO Score: Senate Bill “Slash[es] The Deficit By A Whopping $777 Billion Over The Next 20 Years,” Sen. Kent Conrad Said Sen. Reid Did “An Exceptionally Good Job.” Roll Call reported that, “[a]t first blush, Reid scored a coup with his $849 billion bill, because Democrats said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would slash the deficit by a whopping $777 billion over the next 20 years while providing insurance for an additional 31 million Americans. The price tag is also less than the $900 billion President Barack Obama had called for and the $1.2 trillion cost of the House-passed version… ‘He was applauded. His staff was applauded,’ said Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a deficit hawk who said Reid did ‘an exceptionally good job.’” [Roll Call, 11/18/09]
STEELE: “America’s already seen the results of this year’s

‘binge spending’ by the Democrats: our economy’s in deep trouble and our jobs are evaporating.”


CBO: 600,000-1.6 Million Jobs Created By Federal Stimulus. “The Congressional Budget Office late Monday said it estimates that the federal stimulus package sustained between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs in the third quarter, and raised gross domestic product by 1.2 to 3.2 percentage points higher than it would have been without the program. The CBO said the figures were estimates made ‘using evidence about how previous similar policies have affected the economy and various mathematical models that represent the workings of the economy.’” [Wall Street Journal, 11/30/09; CBO, 11/30/09]

NYT: November Jobs Report Is Strongest Since the Start of the Recession. “[Economists] see the November improvement as payback from the $787 billion stimulus package. In briefings with reporters, they said the federal spending saved or created 1.6 million jobs. Without that lift, the total job loss over the 23 months of recession would have been 8.8 million instead of 7.2 million.” [NYT 12/5/09]

Bloomberg: Due To “Federal Stimulus Measures,” Household Wealth Increased, Home Values Climbed, “Putting Consumers Father Along The Path Of Recovery From The Biggest Destruction Of Assets On Record.” Bloomberg news reported that, “[h]ousehold wealth in the U.S. increased by $2.67 trillion in the third quarter as stock prices and home values climbed, putting consumers farther along the path of recovery from the biggest destruction of assets on record. Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose to $53.4 trillion from $50.8 trillion in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report today in Washington. The gain was the second in a row following declines that began as the economy plunged into the worst recession since the 1930s… Federal stimulus measures such as incentives to buy cars, tax credits to buy homes and extended jobless benefits helped stem the slide in spending and revive growth.” [Bloomberg, 12/10/09]

STEELE: “Now Democrats want a health care bill that will raise

taxes… cut Medicare…and increase premiums.”


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]


2009: Steele Said He “Absolutely” Favored Medicare Cuts. INSKEEP: “You would be in favor of certain Medicare cuts?” STEELE: “Absolutely, you want to maximize the efficiencies of the program.” [NPR, 8/27/09]

2006: Steele Said “Everything Has to Be On The Table” In Regards To Cuts To Medicare. Asked what federal programs he would cut, Steele said, “Seventy-eight percent of our spending is in two areas: education and health care.” When Tim Russert pointed out “Seventy percent is Social Security, Medicare and Defense,” Steele answered, Absolutely. Absolutely.” Russert: “Would you touch those?” Steele: “Abso — Tim, everything has…” Russert: “Everything’s on the table.” Steele: “Everything has to be on the table, my friend.” [NBC Meet The Press, 10/30/06]


AARP: Senate Legislation Will “Improve The Quality, Value And Sustainability Of [Medicare] For Current And Future Beneficiaries,” And “The Legislation Does Not Reduce Any Guaranteed Medicare Benefits.” AARP CEO Barry Rand said in a letter: “With respect to Medicare, AARP supports policies to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse — and to improve the quality, value and sustainability of the program for current and future beneficiaries. The legislation before the Senate properly focuses on provider reimbursement reforms to achieve these important policy objectives. Most importantly, the legislation does not reduce any guaranteed Medicare benefits.” [AARP Statement, 12/2/09]

Medicare Consumer Groups Opposed Removing Medicare Savings From Senate Bill: “It Would Kill The Bill And The Very Real Benefit Improvements It Makes For People With Medicare.” In a joint statement, the Medicare Rights Center and the Center for Medicare Advocacy said: “The amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act offered by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, is couched as an effort to protect Medicare. It is not. In fact, if this amendment passes, it would kill the bill and the very real benefit improvements it makes for people with Medicare.” [Joint Statement By Medicare Rights Center, Center For Medicare Advocacy, 12/2/09]


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]

STEELE: “Democrats know America doesn’t want this health care takeover. …but they’re arrogantly trying to jam it down our throats.”

STEELE: “This is our last chance to stop them. Contact your

Senators. Make Washington listen to you.”

STEELE: “Log on to GOP.com …make Washington listen….before

it is too late.”


Michael Steele: “No One’s Trying To Scare People With Soundbites. I Have Not Done That, And I Don’t Know Any Leaders In The House And Senate That Have Done That.” In an interview on NPR, RNC chairman Michael Steele claimed, “[l]ook, no one’s trying to scare people with soundbites. I have not done that, and I don’t know any leaders in the House and the Senate that have done that.” [NPR, 8/27/09]

Politifact Gave Steele A “Pants On Fire” Rating For Claiming That VA Has A Manual “Encouraging [Veterans] To Commit Suicide.” PolitiFact gave Michael Steele a “Pants On Fire” rating for his claim on Fox News that, “[t]he Department of Veterans Affairs has ‘a manual out there telling our veterans stuff like, “Are you really of value to your community?” You know, encouraging them to commit suicide.’” [PolitiFact, 8/25/09]

Palm Beach Post Criticized RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s “Dishonest Attempt To Scare Seniors About Health Care” With Medicare Claims. The Palm Beach Post wrote in an editorial response to the “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights” proposed by RNC chair Michael Steele that “humor is the natural response to Mr. Steele’s dishonest attempt to scare seniors about health care.” The Post wrote, “When Mr. Steele’s party controlled Washington for most of this decade, the party’s showcase health care legislation was aimed at seniors. What did they get? A Medicare drug program that left a coverage gap into which many beneficiaries fell. The Democrats propose to end that gap. The Republican program gave hundreds of billions in unneeded subsidies to insurance and drug companies. The Democrats propose ending those subsidies. The Republican program also added $1 trillion to the federal budget over 10 years with no way to pay for it. Democrats are getting criticism for discussing a go-it-alone approach to health care, but if Mr. Steele’s talking points are the best the GOP can do, what help would the party be?” [Palm Beach Post, Editorial, 8/24/09]

Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein: This Column Will “Highlight The Lies, Distortions, And Political Scare Tactics That Steele And Other Republicans Have Used To Poison The National Debate Over Health Reform. Have You No Shame, Sir?” Steven Pearlstein wrote in his column: “one is left wondering exactly what health reform plan Steele thought he was attacking. At one point, Steele claims that Democrats would prevent Americans from keeping their doctors or an insurance plan they like. Later, he warns that government will soon be setting caps on how many heart surgeries could be performed in the United States each year. Where is he getting this stuff? Has the chairman of the Republican Party somehow gotten hold of a top-secret plan for a government takeover of the health-care system that GOP operatives snatched during a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters? If all that sounds spurious and unsubstantiated, it is. And like many of the overstated claims in this column, its purpose is to highlight the lies, distortions and political scare tactics that Steele and other Republicans have used to poison the national debate over health reform. Have you no shame, sir? Have you no shame?” [Steven Pearlstein – Washington Post, 8/25/09]