GOP HOT AIR: The health care law is bad for seniors and undermines Medicare, slashing the Medicare program by $500 billion.
FACT: The health care law doesn't make any cuts to seniors' guaranteed Medicare benefits. Instead, it strengthens Medicare - extending the solvency of Medicare by eight years and improving benefits. It achieves savings by cutting waste from Medicare and overpayments to private insurance companies.
- The law achieves Medicare savings by cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse and wasteful payments to private insurers including: saving more than $130 billion in overpayments to private insurers, cuts large and unnecessary overpayments to private insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans, eliminates duplicative paperwork, and provides new tools to crack down on waste & fraud in Medicare.
- Reduces prescription drug costs for seniors by closing the ‘donut hole' coverage gap by 2020. Already, 5.3 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion on their prescription drugs, an average of $600 per senior.
- Ensures free preventive care under Medicare - eliminating deductibles and copayments for preventive services.
GOP HOT AIR: The health care law is a tax increase on the middle class.
FACT: Don't take it from us, take it from the Washington Post Fact Checker: “The health law…will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-class families.”
Key Points from the FactChecker:
- “A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that an estimated 4 million individuals will pay penalties to the IRS in 2016 because of the mandate…This represents about 1.2 percent of the total population, according to projections from the Census Bureau.”
- “The CBO estimates that 16 million people will receive credits or subsidies to help pay for insurance coverage through the new exchanges in 2016. That's 5 percent of the overall population.”
- “The CBO estimated that the government will provide $630 billion in tax credits and subsidies for insurance within the next 11 years, compared to just $54 billion in penalties for uninsured individuals over the same period. As you can see, credits and subsidies represent nearly 12 times the amount of ‘tax' through the penalty.”
- That is why the FactChecker concludes, “The health law, if the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-class families.”
GOP HOT AIR: The health care law is “killing jobs” and undermining the private health care industry.
FACT: Since the health care law was enacted in March 2010, 4.2 million private sector jobs have been created - many of them in the health care industry.
- 4.2 million private sector jobs have been created since the health care law was enacted in March 2010. In sharp contrast, under the eight years of President Bush, we lost private sector jobs - losing a total of 653,000 private sector jobs.
- Of the 4.2 million private sector jobs created since the health care law was enacted, 632,000 of them have been in the health care industry.
- The health care law makes key investments in health care jobs - including critical investments to increase the number of health care providers and strengthen the primary care workforce. Specifically, it makes investments to help alleviate the current shortage of primary health care providers, including physicians, physician assistants, and nurses.
GOP HOT AIR: The health care law is “a government takeover of health care.”
FACT: Pulitzer Prize winning independent fact checking organization PolitiFact labeled this GOP nugget PolitiFact's “2010 Lie of the Year.” Despite that, throughout 2011 and 2012, Republicans continue to make this false charge. As a result, PolitiFact has continued to repeatedly label this claim “Pants on Fire” and “False.”
- As PolitiFact points out, the health care law is “at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.”
- The health care law builds on the current private, employer-sponsored health care system we currently have and expands enrollment in private insurance. Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies. According to the latest estimates from CBO, the law will expand enrollment in private insurance coverage by an estimated 15 million by 2017.
- The law ensures that patients and their doctors, instead of insurance company bureaucrats, are making health care decisions. The law makes insurance companies accountable and eliminates insurers' worst abuses.
GOP HOT AIR: The burden the health care law has placed on small businesses “is making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”
FACT: The health care law lessens the burdens on small businesses - making health insurance more affordable.
- The law exempts small businesses with fewer than 50 employees - 96 percent of America's businesses - from the employer responsibility provision.
- The law provides $40 billion in tax credits for small businesses to help them offer employee health insurance coverage - if they choose to do so. In 2011, 360,000 small employers used the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help them afford health insurance for 2 million workers.
- Beginning in 2014, small businesses will be able to use Health Insurance Exchanges where they will have access to the same types of quality, affordable health plans that only large firms have today. On the Exchanges, small businesses and their employees will have access to plans with a guaranteed set of minimum benefits - to eliminate fine print surprises and gaps in coverage that often face those who don't have the purchasing power of a large group.
GOP HOT AIR: The health care law “is increasing the deficit.”
FACT: The health care law reduces the deficit by $124 billion over the next 10 years and over $1 trillion over the following decade, according to the latest available estimates from Congressional Budget Office.
- The latest estimate from the nonpartisan CBO on the overall impact of the health care law on the deficit was in February 2011, when CBO estimated the impact on the deficit of H.R. 2, the House Republicans' 2011 bill to repeal the health care law, which was passed on January 19, 2011.
- In its February 2011 estimate, CBO estimated that the 2011 GOP bill to repeal the health care law would increase the deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years.
- Since that CBO estimate was issued, in October 2011, the Obama Administration determined that the CLASS Act long-term care program would not be implemented.
- When the CBO estimate is adjusted for the non-implementation of the CLASS Act, the CBO estimate shows that repeal of the health care law would increase the deficit by $124 billion over the next 10 years.
GOP HOT AIR: The health care law “is driving up the cost of health care.”
FACT: Since the enactment of the health care law, generally premium increases have slowed and overall health care spending growth has slowed.
- Average premiums for Medicare Advantage enrollees are 16 percent lower in 2012 than they were when the health care law was enacted in 2010.
- Average premiums for Medicare Part D (the Medicare prescription drug program) in 2012 have seen no increase from the 2011 level.
- For most Medicare Part B enrollees, the standard Part B premium in 2012 is quite stable, 3.6 percent higher than the premium they paid in 2011 - matching the 3.6 percent COLA increase seniors are receiving in their Social Security checks.
- The growth in private plan premiums has also slowed. Mercer, a benefits consulting firm, released a survey of employers showing that health insurance premium increases will average 5.4 percent in 2012, the smallest increase it has measured since 1997.
- Despite claims to the contrary, the health care law has played essentially no role in recent private plan premium increases. Aetna estimates the reforms implemented so far have raised premiums by less than one-third of one percent. [Q4 2011 Aetna Inc Earnings Conference Call, Fair Disclosure Wire, 2/1/12]
- Between 2000 and 2009, the average annual rate of growth of national health spending was 6.8 percent. In both 2010 and 2011, national health spending grew at only 3.9 percent -- dramatically lower.
- Indeed, the 3.9 percent rate of growth in national health spending in 2010 and 2011 was the lowest rate of growth in all but one of the last 50 years.