President Obama made four claims Tuesday that don’t pass the straight-face test.
• First, he said, “Under the reform we’re proposing, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” and “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” USA TODAY’s assessment of this statement: “Not necessarily.” And the Associated Press and ABC News have proved this claim false, noting that White House officials have acknowledged the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken “literally.” That’s because the White House cannot guarantee that Americans will be able to keep their health plan. They simply don’t know how many employers will drop their coverage altogether if their plan goes into effect. Experts at the Lewin Group estimate the number could be more than 100 million Americans.
• Second, the president said, “I look at the federal budget and realize that if we don’t control costs on health care, there is no way for us to close the budget deficit — it will just keep on skyrocketing.” Yet according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the House Democrats’ bill would raise costs and the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years.
• Third, the president said, “We’re not talking about cutting Medicare benefits.” But one of the reasons seniors are so alarmed is that the plan would cut Medicare to the tune of $361.9 billion over 10 years. That means fewer choices and lower quality care — exactly what then-Sen. Obama blasted during his campaign.
• Finally, the president claimed the plan will not lead to rationing. But the bill, on page 30, section 123, would create a “Health Benefits Advisory Committee” that would make determinations about what kinds of treatments, items and services can be covered within certain benefit classes, and what kind of cost sharing will occur.