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State of the Union Myth/Fact: Government-Run Healthcare

MYTH:   "[My health plan] would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market."

FACT:     The Obama-Reid-Pelosi plan would actually increase health premium costs for the uninsured.  The average individual health insurance premium today is $2985 for singles and $6328 for families.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the average premium will increase to $5800 for singles and $15,200 for families under the Obama plan by 2016.  This is 10 to 13 percent higher than they would be under current law.  Only those individuals earning less than about $40,000 and families earning less than about $85,000 would receive any tax or spending benefits to even partially-offset this increased cost.  Those earning more than this get no help whatsoever.

For small businesses ("small group plans"), today's average premium is $4155 for singles and $10,956 for families.  Under the Obama-Reid-Pelosi plan, this increases to $7800 for singles and $19,200 for families by 2016, a 1-2 percent increase over current law.  Only about 12 percent of people receiving coverage from their small business employer would benefit from the small business health tax credit.

liegraphicMYTH:   "[My plan] would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care."        

FACT:     Under current law, someone can't wait until they are sick and then sign up for health insurance.  That's called "gaming the system."  Insurance only works if healthy people are paying premiums each month, so that when you get sick or go to the doctor, money is there for you.  If healthy people can wait to buy coverage, the entire insurance model falls apart very quickly.  Put simply, "guaranteed issue" would be the death of insurance.

 

MYTH:   "Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan."

FACT:     The Obama-Reid-Pelosi plan taxes your current health insurance, if it's deemed to be a "Cadillac plan."  It also puts in place minimum coverage requirements in order to remain "qualifying," which probably will alter your plan.  It probably will make it impossible to design health insurance plans which are HSA-compatible.  Clearly, you simply can't keep your current plan under this bill.

 

MYTH:   "According to the Congressional Budget Office - the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress - our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades." 

FACT:     According to CBO, these cost estimates only pan out if Congress is willing to cut Medicare provider reimbursements, something everyone knows will never happen.  Budget savings based on phony, never-going-to-happen spending cuts are bogus.  This creates an unfunded liability in the program.

 

MYTH:   "I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, this process left most Americans wondering what's in it for them."

FACT:     When the American people don't want a massive plan of this size, margins can get a little tight on Capitol Hill.  That's why Obama-Reid-Pelosi had to buy off members with the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Cadillac Compromise, and untold other backroom, closed-door deals.  Back in the campaign, candidate Obama said he would put negotiations on C-SPAN so this could not happen.

 

MYTH:   "There's a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo."

FACT:     One word: money.  The American Medical Association, nursing groups, hospitals, and others are receiving billions in taxpayer subsidies under this bill.

 

MYTH:   "If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know."

FACT:     It's worth pointing out that even President Obama's own plan will increase premiums, increase the deficit (at least in the real world) even while raising taxes, cover only some of the uninsured (theoretically), cut Medicare, and drive insurance companies totally out of business.  So one might first turn the question back on him.

Can President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and/or Leader Reid use the Internet?  Can their staffs?  It appears not, since this is a common refrain easily refuted.  The fact is, there are dozens of good ideas and several comprehensive plans which have been proposed.  The House Republicans have even aggregated all of them.  Their list doesn't include the DeMint plan, nor does it include the comprehensive "American Roadmap" government reform plan (including healthcare) of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

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