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Thursday, October 16, 2008

DEBATE FACT #13: BARACK OBAMA'S COSTLY HEALTH CARE PLAN

~Snooper~

Summary

Barack Obama has proposed a costly health care plan with "zero credible evidence" it will help anyone.

The Facts:

Despite Earlier Claims That It Would Cost Less, Barack Obama Recently Said His Plan Will Cost $150 Billion

· Barack Obama Said On "60 Minutes" That His Plan Would Cost $150 Billion. CBS' Steve Kroft: "How much is it going to cost? $150 billion it's going to cost, right?" Obama: "It is. It is. But we pay for every dime that we propose to spend. I believe in pay as you go. That if you want to propose a new program, you better cut some old ones. If you want to expand a program, then you better figure out where the money's coming from." (CBS' "60 Minutes," 9/21/08)

· Barack Obama Is "Low-Balling The Cost Of Their Plans" And Ignoring The "Tough-But-Necessary" Measures To Control Costs. "More important, [Obama and Sen. Clinton] might be low-balling the cost of their plans, and neither proposes the kind of tough-but-necessary measures needed to control surging health care costs." (E ditorial, "Candidates' Health Plans Duck Some Key Questions," USA Today, 2/19/08)

· HSI Network: Barack Obama's Health Care Plan Will Cost $243 Billion A Year. Consumers will face an extra burden of $243 billion because of the expected regulatory burdens of the national public plan that would be similar to FEHBP in generosity and benefit design." (Roger Feldman et al. "Impact of Barack Obama 2008 Health Reform Proposal," HSI Network, LLC., 8/21/08)

There Is "Zero Credible Evidence" That The Obama Plan Will Lower Insurance Premiums By $2,500, Which Is Based Off Of "Misleading Math"

· Barack Obama's Pledge To Lower Health Care Premiums By $2,500 In His First Term "Is A Matter Of Considerable Dispute" Among Experts. "In speech after speech, Senator Barack Obama has pledged that he will lower the country's health care costs enough to 'bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.' Moreover, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised that his health plan will be in place 'by the end of my first term as president of the United States.' Whether Mr. Obama can deliver is a matter of considerable dispute among health analysts and economists." (Kevin Sack, "Obstacles For Obama In Meeting Health Care Goal," The New York Times, 7/23/08)

· A Health Policy Professor At The University Of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Said The Savings In The Obama Plan Are "Wishful Thinking." "Jonathan B. Oberlander, who teaches health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called it wishful thinking. 'Do they have the potential to generate significant savings in the long run?' Dr. Oberlander asked. 'Yes. Do I believe they will produce substantial savings in the short run that can be used to finance Obama's plan? No.'" (Kevin Sack, "Obstacles For Obama In Meeting Health Care Goal," The New York Times, 7/23/08)

· M.I.T.'s Jonathan Gruber Said That There Is "Zero Credible Evidence" That The Obama Plan Will Save The Average Family On The Costs Of Insurance Premiums. "Experts also are skeptical of both [Obama and Clinton's] claims that their plans will reduce the cost of insurance for the typical family by $2,000 or more. 'I know zero credible evidence to support that conclusion,' says M.I.T's Jonathan Gruber." (Factcheck.org Website, Accessed 6/9/08)

· &n bsp; Factcheck.Org: Barack Obama's Claim That His Plan Will Cut Insurance Premium Costs By $2,500 Is "A Bit Of Misleading Math." "That's a bit of misleading math. It assumes individual Americans will share in all of the savings for the health care system, which includes insurance companies, the government and health care providers. Obama claims families will save $2,500 under his plan, but they won't see at least some of those savings directly in the form of lower premiums. And they may not see them indirectly either." (Factcheck.Org, Accessed 6/16/08)

Barack Obama's Health Care Plan Requires Employers To Provide Insurance Or Contribute A Percentage Of Their Payroll To The Public Plan

· Barack Obama's Plan Includes Required Employer Coverage Similar To The Fai led Clinton Mandate Of 1993. "Obama would require almost all employers to offer insurance to workers or face a tax penalty, an idea that many businesses abhor and that is also in Edwards's proposal. This employer mandate drove much of the opposition to the Clinton plan in 1994." (Anne E. Kornblut and Perry Bacon Jr., "Obama Says Washington Is Ready For Health Plan," The Washington Post, 5/30/07)

· Barack Obama's Employer Mandate Will Cost $179 Billion A Year. "In the group market the introduction of play or pay will introduce new employer and consumer costs. In our analysis, we model the financial consequences of play or pay as falling primarily on the consumer. We estimate that the cost of implementing play or pay alone will be $179 billion." (Roger Feldman et al. "Impact of Barack Obama 2008 Health Reform Proposal," HSI Network, LLC., 8/21/08)

· "In Addition, Mandated Employer Coverage Has Faced Fierce Opposition In The Past And Likely Will Again, [New America Foundation Len] Nichols Said." (JoNel Aleccia, "Overhauling Health Care: Two Divergent Visions," MSNBC News, 9/22/08)

· The Cost Of Government-Mandated Health Insurance Likely Would Be "Passed On To The Employee In The Form Of A Wage Cut." "But more likely, the cost of the government-mandated insurance would be passed on to the employee in the form of a wage cut, said Mark Pauly, a professor of health care systems at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania." (Sara Lubbes, "Perils And Pluses Of 'Play Or Pay' Insurance Mandates," CQ HealthBeat News, 9/18/07)

Barack Obama Suggested His Health Care Plan Could Lead To A Single-Payer System "Over Time":

· Barack Obama Says His Health Care Plan Could Lead To Single-Payer System "Over Time." Obama: "If I were designing a system from scratch, then I'd probably set up a single-payer system. … But the problem is we're not starting from scratch. … Making that transition in a rapid way I think would be very difficult. … So my attitude is let's build up the system we got, let's make it more efficient, we may be over time – as we make the system more efficient and everybody's cover – decide that there are other ways for us to provide care more effectively." (Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Albuquerque, NM, 8/18/08)

· Barack Obama Was A "Proponent Of A Single-Payer Health Care Program" And Said It Could Happen If Democrats Occupied The White House And A Majority In Congress. Obama: "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world … cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. … A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that's what I'd like to see. And as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, we have to take back the House." (Barack Obama, Remarks At AFL-CIO Forum, Chicago, IL, 6/30/03)

· In 2008, Barack Obama Said He Would Only Support A Single-Payer System If "Starting From Scratch." Obama: "[I] never said that we should try to go ahead and get single payer. What I said was that if I were starting from scratch, if we di dn't have a system in which employers had typically provided health care, I would probably go with a single-payer system." (Barack Obama, CNN/Congressional Black Caucus Democrat Presidential Candidates Debate, Myrtle Beach, SC, 1/21/08)

Senate Democrats Are Already Raising Doubts About The Likelihood That The Obama Plan Will Pass:

· Senior Congressional Democrats Are "Maneuvering To Lower Public Expectations" Of Barack Obama's Health Care Promises. "Congressional Democrats are backing away from healthcare reform promises made by their two presidential candidates, saying that even if their party controls the White House and Congress, sweeping change will be difficult. It is still seven months before Election Day, but already senior Democrats are maneuvering to lower public expectations on the key policy issue." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)

· Barack Obama's Promises To Deliver Universal Care On The Campaign Trail "May Not Match The Political Reality On Capitol Hill." "For some senators, the promises made by Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) outside of Washington may not match the political reality on Capitol Hill." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)

· Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) On The Obama Health Care Plan: "We all know there is not enough money to do all this stuff. …. What they are doing is…laying out their ambitions." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)

· Sen. Chuck Schumer Questions If The U.S. Is "Ready For A Major National Heath Care Plan." "Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a member of Senate Democratic leadership and a key Hillary Clinton ally who also sits on the Finance Committee, said he is 'not sure we have the big plan on healthcare. … Healthcare I feel strongly about, but I am not sure that we're ready for a major national healthcare plan,' Schumer said." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)