Fact Checking on Health Care
I was going to get all fired up about health care, but Bill Clinton beat me to it.
Still, it’s worth some brief fact-checking of last night’s debate.
BIDEN: “John recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the health care industry deregulate it and let the free market move like he did for the banking industry.”
FACT-CHECK: MOSTLY TRUE. Ok, probably a stretch to argue that “Contingencies” – the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries -- is a “major magazine.” Still, here is what John McCain said in the current issue of the magazine: “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”
BIDEN: “[D]o you know how John McCain pays for his $5,000 tax credit you're going to get, a family will get? He taxes as income every one of you out there, every one of you listening who has a health care plan through your employer.
FACT-CHECK: TRUE. Under McCain’s plan, the $5000 tax credit is paid for by making employer-provided health benefits taxable -- a huge tax increase on working Americans. Obama has a great new ad making this point.
BIDEN: “[John McCain] has not been a maverick in providing health care for people. He has voted against -- he voted against including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan, when he voted in the United States Senate.”
FACT-CHECK: MOSTLY TRUE. McCain was only one of 31 senators to vote against extending the S-CHIP program to provide health coverage for more uninsured children. Estimates vary as to how many children would have been covered under the Senate’s plan, but the Congressional Budget Office estimated the number at 3.2 million.
PALIN: “Barack Obama's plan [is] to mandate health care coverage and have universal government run program and unless you're pleased with the way the federal government has been running anything lately, I don't think that it's going to be real pleasing for Americans to consider health care being taken over by the feds.”
FACT-CHECK: ABSURDLY FALSE. Barack Obama’s plan is not a “universal government run program” or anything close to it. It would allow anyone happy with their current coverage to keep it. It would also create new, affordable options for those without coverage. The Commonwealth Fund (citing numbers provided by the Brookings Institution) projects in a new report that McCain’s plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 2 million; Obama’s plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 34 million. And, Obama’s plan is projected to cost less than half as much. Finally, as you may remember from the debates in the primaries, Obama’s plan does not mandate health coverage, except for children. Hopefully this ad will help to rebut Palin's false attacks.