During his health care speech today, President Obama again repeated many claims with a straight face that simply aren’t true. The President’s rhetoric doesn’t change this simple fact: Americans want to scrap the Democrats’ massive bill and start over with a clean sheet of paper so we can work on step-by-step, common-sense reforms that lower health care costs. Following are some of the discredited claims the President repeated today:
CLAIM: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
FACT: If this line sounds familiar, it’s because it was a staple of the President’s rhetoric on health care last year. We haven’t heard it in a while because it’s not true. Media outlets, including theAssociated PressandABC News debunked the claim thoroughly, noting that even White House officials acknowledged the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken “literally.” Eventually, the White House press office took it out of the President’s speeches. Why is it coming back now?
CLAIM: “Finally, my proposal would bring down the cost of health care for … the federal government.”
FACT: Non-partisan experts at the Congressional Budget Office and within the Obama Administration have each respectively said that the Senate bill will raise premium costs for families on the individual market by an average $2,100 and raise national health spending overall.What’s more, a majority of Americans think “the new system would end up costing more than the current health care system – the opposite of its intended effect. Fifty-three percent think their own health care costs would be higher.”
CLAIM: “I don’t believe we should give government bureaucrats … more control over health care in America.”
CLAIM: “Now, it’s true that all of this will cost money – about $100 billion per year.”
FACT: “About” $100 billion per year adds up to “about” $1 trillion over ten years. The President’s health care plan has actually gotten more expensive in the six months since he addressed a joint session of Congress and pledged that his proposal would “cost around $900 billion over 10 years.”
CLAIM: “My proposal also gets rid of many of the provisions that had no place in health care reform…”
FACT: The plan the President proposed last week left in place several “controversial special provisionsof the Senate health reform bill” including the “Louisiana Purchase.”
CLAIM: “The bottom line is: our proposal is paid for.”
FACT: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has stated that it lacks sufficient details to evaluate the President’s plan, so this claim cannot be independently verified. As for the Senate bill that the President’s plan is based on, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf has stated in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that “a detailed year-by-year projection for years beyond 2019, like those that CBO prepares for the 10-year budget window, would not be meaningful because the uncertainties involved are simply too great.” The Washington Post stated in an editorial today that many Democrats reluctant to support a massive government takeover of health care “are justly worried -- as are many of their constituents -- about enacting an expensive new entitlement at a time of rising federal debt.”
CLAIM: “But we do this while protecting Medicare benefits, and extending the financial stability of the program by nearly a decade.”
FACT: The Democrats’ plan slashes seniors’ Medicare benefits by roughly $500 billion and it shortens, rather than extends, the financial life of the program. CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told the Senate Finance Committee last fall that “that seniors in Medicare's managed care plans could see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee.” As the Associated Press put it last July, “Democrats are pushing for Medicare cuts on a scale not seen in years…” As for the future fiscal health of the program, the President’s own experts have said that projected Medicare savings are “unrealistic.” CBO has stated that Democrats are double-counting by claiming that they are improving the balance sheets of both Medicare and the federal government at the same time.