Wednesday, February 24, 2010

White House Health Proposal Claims

Myth vs. Fact: Setting the Record Straight

The White House has made numerous claims about its latest health care proposal, which is largely based on the Senate Democrats’ health care bill. Those assertions, however, are contradicted by the analysis of that legislation by the non-partisan and independent Congressional Budget Office, Joint Committee on Taxation and the Office of the Actuary at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Below is a list of some of the major myths being spread by the White House:

Myth #1: Insurances premiums will decrease

White House says:

“You will likely pay less---perhaps much less. If you buy coverage like you have today on your own, premiums are expected to drop by 14 to 20 percent. If you get coverage through your job, premiums could decline by up to 3 percent.”

But the facts say:

“CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law.”

Myth #2: If you like the coverage you have, you can keep it

White House says:

“Nothing in the health reform bill will require you to change your coverage.”
“The legislation will not cause you to change the coverage you have at work today.”

But the facts say:

“Between 8 million and 9 million other people who would be covered by an employment-based plan under current law would not have an offer of such coverage under the proposal.”

Myth #3: Seniors’ Medicare benefits are protected

White House says:

“Your guaranteed Medicare benefits will not be cut.”
“Health insurance reform will not affect the choice of doctors you have today and it won’t affect your relationship with your doctor.”

But the facts say:

According to the Obama Administration’s own Medicare actuaries, the one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts “would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than…the providers’ cost of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers…could find it difficult to remain profitable and might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).”

Myth #4: Many small businesses will receive tax breaks

White House says:

“Third, many small businesses will be able to get a tax credit to help cover the cost of the coverage they offer.”
“Your business taxes will not go up. Instead, you may be eligible for new tax credits to help offset the cost of covering your employees.”

But the facts say:

After increasing taxes by almost one half trillion for millions of Americans and small businesses, CBO predicts “A relatively small share (about 12 percent) of people with coverage in the small group market would benefit from that credit in 2016”

Myth #5: Health spending is capped for every American

White House says:

"And for the first time, no one will be required to pay more than a set percentage of their income on health care coverage.”
“For the first time in history, there will be limits on how much anyone will have to pay to receive health care coverage.”

But the facts say:

Only subsidy-eligible individuals would have their premiums and cost-sharing capped as a percentage of income. According to CBO, 90% of Americans would not be eligible for subsidies in 2016 and will not have limits on how much they will have to pay to receive health care coverage.

Myth #6: Those without access to employer-provided health coverage will get tax credits to purchase coverage on their own

White House says:

“Employees at small businesses that don’t offer coverage can get tax credits to purchase coverage.”

But the facts say:

CBO says that a little more than half the individuals purchasing health insurance on their own will be eligible for these subsidies in 2016.

Myth #7: Tens of millions of Americans will receive a tax credit to purchase health care

White House says:

“And depending upon your income, you may be among the tens of millions of Americans who will get a tax credit to help pay for your coverage.”

But the facts say:

According to CBO, less than 15 million of the 254 million people with health coverage in 2016 would be eligible for a subsidy.

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