Who’s Telling the Truth About Obama’s Healthcare Reform?

The debate (or shall I say campaign) for, and against President Obama’s healthcare reform has caused angst amongst both sides of the spectrum. On one hand, you have the Democrats who, for the most part, are for the overhaul of our country’s healthcare system. On the other hand, you have the Republicans who are against the overhaul because they say it’ll cost too much money. Well, who’s right (and wrong)? To help you come to some sort of decision, I’ve listed seven myths about the healthcare reform (taken from factcheck.org):

Myth #1: Government Will Decide What Care I Get (a.k.a. they won’t give grandma a hip replacement)

This untrue claim has its roots in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the stimulus bill), which called for the creation of a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The council is charged with supporting and coordinating research that the government has been funding for years into which treatments work best, and in some cases, are most cost-effective. Supporters of this type of research say it can provide valuable information to doctors, improving care and also lowering cost.

Betsy McCaughey, a former Republican lieutenant governor of New York (and now a professing Democrat), wrote in an opinion piece that the government would actually tell doctors what procedures they could and couldn’t perform. The claim took off from there, popping up in chain e-mails and Republican press conferences. It’s not true.

Myth #2: The Bill Is Paid For

At least, it isn’t paid for yet.

President Obama has repeatedly said that a health care overhaul “will be paid for” and that he won’t sign a bill that isn’t deficit-neutral. But neither the House bill nor the Senate HELP Committee bill meets that criteria. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, the House bill as introduced would add a net $239 billion over 10 years to the deficit, while the HELP Committee bill racks up more, $597 billion over 10 years.

Myth #3: Private Insurance Will Be Illegal

In July, Investor’s Business Daily published an editorial in which it claimed that H.R. 3200 would make private insurance illegal. But IBD was mistaken. It was citing the part of the bill that ensures people with individually purchased coverage don’t have to give up that coverage unless they want to.

Under the House bill, people who want to buy new individual, nongroup coverage will have to purchase it through a new health insurance exchange. They can still buy private insurance – the exchange, in fact, would offer a range of private plans, in addition to a new federal health insurance option. However, those who were already buying their own insurance before the bill went into effect – about 14 million Americans – will have their plans grandfathered in. The part of the bill IBD cites doesn’t forbid insurers from issuing new plans. It says that new individual plans will not be considered grandfathered, and will have to be purchased through the exchange.

Myth #4: The House Bill Requires Suicide Counseling

This claim is nonsense. In an appearance on former Sen. Fred Thompson’s radio show, McCaughey also enthusiastically pushed the bogus claim that the House bill will require seniors to have regular counseling sessions on how to end their lives:

“McCaughey, July 16: The Congress would make it mandatory … that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner, how to decline nutrition, how to decline being hydrated, how to go into hospice care … all to do what’s in society’s best interest … and cut your life short.”

This is a misrepresentation. What the bill actually provides for is voluntary Medicare-funded end-of-life counseling. In other words, if seniors choose to make advance decisions about the type of care and treatments they wish to receive at the end of their lives, Medicare will pay for them to sit down with their doctor and discuss their preferences. There is no requirement to attend regular sessions, and there is absolutely no provision encouraging euthanasia.

Myth #5: Families Will Save $2,500

Proponents speak constantly of holding down rising medical costs. As recently as May 13, the president said legislation plus some voluntary measures by the private sector “could save families $2,500 in the coming years – $2,500 per family,” echoing a claim he made countless times on the campaign trail last year.

Don’t start spending that $2,500 just yet.

For one thing, Obama isn’t actually promising to reduce health care spending below current levels, only to cut the rate of growth in spending. And even that is proving to be far tougher to accomplish than Obama led voters to believe. We’ve already mentioned that the Congressional Budget Office says “savings” in Medicare spending resulting from the House bill would fall short of what is needed to pay for two-thirds of its cost, which is Obama’s goal. And those savings come only in what the government pays, not in what families pay.

Myth #6: Medicare Benefits Will Be Slashed

The claim that Obama and Congress are cutting seniors’ Medicare benefits to pay for the health care overhaul is outright false, though that doesn’t keep it from being repeated ad infinitum.

The truth is that the pending House bill extracts $500 billion from projected Medicare spending over 10 years, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, by doing such things as trimming projected increases in the program’s payments for medical services, not including physicians. Increases in other areas, such as payments to doctors, bring the net savings down to less than half that amount. But none of the predicted savings – or cuts, depending on one’s perspective – come from reducing current or future benefits for seniors.

Myth #7: Illegal Immigrants Will Be Covered

One Republican congressman issued a press release claiming that “5,600,000 Illegal Aliens May Be Covered Under Obamacare,” and we’ve been peppered with queries about similar claims. They’re not true. In fact, the House bill (the only bill to be formally introduced in its entirety) specifically says that no federal money would be spent on giving illegal immigrants health coverage:

“H.R. 3200: Sec 246 — NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

Also, under current law, those in the country illegally don’t qualify for federal health programs.

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Comments

  1. So illegal immigrants get kicked to the curb to die? I wonder how many Americans go along with this?

    The reality is that these illegals are people too, many of them contributing to the American economy and they deserve better than to be treated like used kleenex.

    I’m just saying, from an outsider’s point of view, it makes Americans look bad when you refuse to care for these people.
    .-= Richard Catto´s last blog ..Southern African Anglican Church adopts friendlier disposition towards Gay couples =-.

    • @Kim Sawyer – in South Africa during Apartheid black people were considered “illegal” and were treated like used kleenex.

      While Apartheid South Africa exploited black workers to the fullest extent, paying them meagre wages and brutally putting down strikes, we denied them rights.

      And I’m talking about black people from both inside and outside South Africa. As long as they were willing to work for us, we’d employ them, while denying them their human rights.

      I see the way America treats illegals as very similar to the way the Apartheid government used to treat black mine workers.

      The illegals in America are there to find a better life through work, not to drain welfare, because they aren’t entitled to draw on welfare.

      The best approach, I feel, is to legitimise them, give them SSNs and get them into your system so they can start paying taxes etc.

      Ryan’s approach is so right wing, I can’t respond to his vitriol. What I will say is that in my experience, his view represents the views of many white people. I find that people of colour tend to be more loving, sympathetic and caring, probably because they have been at the sharp end of discrimination for so long. On my own blog, I draw a lot of negative comment from white readers, while black readers relate to what I am saying. My white readers love to say it is not about race, but don’t believe them! From long experience, I know it’s always about race.

      Illegal is really a just word used by people to discriminate against others.

      The truth is that everyone alive on this planet today has a right to the entire planet, because God did not give us countries – that’s something we invented.
      .-= Richard Catto´s last blog ..Southern African Anglican Church adopts friendlier disposition towards Gay couples =-.

  2. @Richard Catto – Arrogant American here: I sure the hell wouldn’t cater the reform of our medical system to suit the opinion of an “outsider.” Frankly I don’t give a damn what you or any other outsider considers “bad.” This is our country and the way you view it has absolutely no bearing on my life. One of the many problems with America is we collectively care far too much about the opinions other countries and outsiders have of us.

    The key word is ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    They are here Illegally. They are worse than a used piece of kleenex, they are the snot that’s on the Kleenex. Do you have any idea how much money the emergency care of illegal immigrants costs us each year? How much crime is committed by illegal immigrants each year? The pure fact that they work under the table and don’t pay federal income tax. For the Illegals in California and other states they even get a free education. The emergency care of illegal immigrants who have no intention on paying for the services rendered Is one of many contributing factors to the rising cost of health care to the “Paying Customers.”

    I’d be willing to bet emergency care would still be given to illegal immigrants under Obamas reform which is going to continue to raise health care costs. What Richard has a hard time understanding is that the above article states that Illegal Immigrants wouldn’t be covered by the government option (government insurance) but it doesn’t say they will be refused services. (Which they should be. Cut off the welfare, education, and medical care and we’ll see how long they stick around illegally.)
    .-= Ryan Kazinec´s last blog ..Comment on Dogs are the Cure for Fueding Couples by Ryan Kazinec =-.

  3. Hey Kim. I am just now getting around to reading this. Been so busy! That is quite a bit of information to read, understand and absorb, thank you for presenting it.

    It seems the only discussion has come from the last myth about illegal immigrants. Here’s my thing, I agree 100% with Richard and I agree 100% with Ryan. It is hard as a Christian to think about a person, regardless of how they got here or what status they have while here, being sick and needing medical attention and going to receive care and being told no. But the flip side is, it is a hard pill to swallow when you think, these kinds of things are what are raising the cost of health care for my father who pastors and struggles with the cost of health care in his profession. If every single person that receives care is held accountable to pay something, health costs would have to decrease. I agree, we shouldn’t let them die but somehow, we should hold them accountable.

    I agree with Ryan. They will not be allowed health coverage but I’m sure, they will get treated if they are at a hospital needing medical attention. That’s how we do it in the great USA!

  4. How about we have transportation waiting for them as soon as they are cared for? Once given care, help them leave the country.

    I like Ryan’s comments because they could be viewed as extreme, BUT they are correct. Illegal immigrants negatively impact our country and our economy. Why not start some initiatives to remove them?

    The human side looks at illegal immigrants as people with needs and that is OK. After they are helped with any immediate needs, I think we should look at the fact that they are here illegally and “help” them leave. If it was OK they wouldn’t be called illegal immigrants.

    Overall, I think health care reform is a perfect example of a political smoke screen. We need to be presented with simple facts to include the impact cheaper health care – if it is indeed cheaper – will have on those in the medical community. Like many things, cheaper for us means someone in the profession will have to pay. I just don’t believe the government is going to do anything to hurt someone’s summer house in the Hamptons.

  5. Tom, yes, yes, yes. I started to add to my question/comment earlier about illegal immigrants and thought better of it. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Obama and I will always give him credit for trying. As someone said in another post, I think some of the things he is doing are certainly having unforeseen repercussions and consequences, so we pray for him. At least he is still trying. If it is a new plan, there is never a way to foresee all the glitches and side effects.

    My question is, when are we going to get a POTUS that hires someone to gather each and every legal social security number and matches it to a United States citizen and then calls everyone else on the carpet? I don’t know for sure how they will do it but certainly there has to be a way! If it meant shutting down Slum Lords that don’t require proper identification. If it meant requiring all business owners to account for every dime spent on payroll. By any means necessary.

    If some money was dedicated to bringing the US up to standard, so to speak; man…wouldn’t things be better? And I’m not saying kick them out but, hold them accountable. Either you do what is necessary for you to become one of us, since you are enjoying the benefits of being one of us, or you leave. I love people but it is not fair for them to be able to walk right in and take advantage of our country offerings and not pay for health care and taxes, etc., thus making things worse for those of us who have been here and worked and paid into this country. I want my money to benefit my children and my grandson. They should not be allowed to benefit from it more than we do. uh uh, not fair.

    Maybe I am rambling and not making sense to anyone but me. But I get it. I love people but it is not fair.

  6. It makes sense to me because what you are saying comes from a “normal man” point of view. I would like to add more.

    If we were to “excuse” illegal immigrants, we (Americans) would have to humble ourselves and do some things that we seemingly don’t want to do. What I’m talking about is working jobs, mostly manual labor, that many illegal immigrants are willing to do. Somewhere along the way, we have become a society too proud to do jobs that get our hands dirty.

    I think part of it has to do with how some people look down on others with manual labor jobs. There are jobs out there that people look down on, but are necessary for us all. I would do many of those jobs in a heartbeat because it is honest work and they pay well. Garbage men here in Vegas make good money.

  7. @Tom Sawyer – Tom,
    To add just a bit to what your are saying I’d like to add something I’ve noticed or more specifically been noticing for the last several years; work ethic. What in the hell has happened to the work ethic of young Americans? I’ve seen first hand Tommy’s (20 years old) dad call in sick for him. I’ve seen the same people call in sick on a weekly basis when it’s obvious they’re not ill. I’ve seen the employees who spend more time bitching than working. I’ve seen hundreds of cashiers texting as they’re checking customers out at the register. I could go on but you get the point.

    Is it the parents? Is it the lack of time kids spend in a family environment? Is it the absence of a homemaker mother who has been forced to work full-time? I honestly don’t know but witnessing the declining work ethic first hand is very disheartening. I can say wholeheartedly that I’ve learned a great deal from my father and without a doubt I owe him a debt of gratitude for instilling the work ethic in me that I take to work every single day.

    I’m sorry for drifting off topic but I tend to do that from time to time. Great discussion.
    .-= Ryan Kazinec´s last blog ..Comment on Dogs are the Cure for Fueding Couples by Ryan Kazinec =-.

  8. @Ryan Kazinec – I agree. One thing MY father used to compliment me about is putting a good work ethic into my children. It is vitally important to their core character to have a good work ethic. It trickles out into everything else they do.

  9. @Richard Catto – You’re right Richard! Who needs the rule of law? It’s useless, let’s just let everyone do as they please. Your heart may be in the right place but your ignorance and lack of intelligence cuts off it’s blood supply rendering it useless without a beat.

    I love the hypocrisy, I’m a bad person because I cast judgment on those who are blatantly breaking the law yet you cast judgment on white people labeling them as racists when you have no evidence to support your argument whatsoever. Keep adding fuel to the fire of racism Richard, you’re doing great work.
    .-= Ryan Kazinec´s last blog ..Can Your Physician Definitively Diagnose You with Swine Flu (Type A Novel H1N1) ? The Answer Might Surprise You. =-.

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