Obama's honesty on health care
Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple. . . .
Of course, Obama has used this type of rhetoric about others lying before (Aug. 19: ""there has been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness"). Here are just some of the discussions about rationing in the legislation. It is also strange given that Obama has incorrectly claimed that the private insurance system rations care.
As usual President Obama claims: "nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have." He then gives the answer for why everything will change:
What this plan will do is to make the insurance you have work better for you. Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. . . . . We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick. And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies - because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives. . . .
Just take the first point and see how it is operationalized in the Baucus plan. There is one sure way to eliminate insurance is in all the Democratic health care plans -- prohibiting insurance companies from charging moreto those with pre-existing conditions before they bought insurance. There is a tax for those who don't buy insurance, ranging from $750 for the poorest single people to as high as $3,800 a year for families. Even without unlimited insurance benefits, the average insurance cost today is much higher: in 2008, it was on average $4,704 for individuals and $12,682 for families. But with no penalty for having a pre-existing condition, people will pay the tax and wait to buy insurance once they get sick. If people only buy insurance once they are already sick, insurance premiums will soar dramatically. In short order there will be no insurance.
And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up - under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place. . . . .
Well, even Factcheck.org found problems with this claim:
The NRLC’s Johnson said "the bill backed by the White House (H.R. 3200) explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions." And our analysis shows that Johnson’s statement is correct. Though we of course take no position on whether the legislation should allow or not allow coverage for abortions, the House bill does just that.
The House leadership’s bill (H.R. 3200) actually made no mention of abortion when it was introduced. Johnson refers to an amendment to the bill adopted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee July 30. Abortion rights proponents characterize it as a compromise, but it hasn’t satisfied the anti-abortion side. Offered by Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of California, the amendment was approved narrowly by the committee, 30 - 28, with most but not all Democrats voting in favor and no Republicans backing it. The Capps amendment states that some abortions "shall" be covered by the "public option" plan, specifically those types of abortions that Congress allows to be covered under Medicaid, under the so-called "Hyde Amendment," which has been attached regularly to appropriations bills for many years. These are abortions performed in cases or rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.
As for other types of abortions, the Capps amendment leaves it to the secretary of Health and Human Services to decide whether or not they will be covered. It says, "Nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the public health insurance option from providing" abortion services that would not be legal for Medicaid coverage. Says the NRLC’s Johnson: "The Capps Amendment MANDATES that the public plan cover any Medicaid-fundable abortions, and AUTHORIZES the secretary to cover all other abortions. … [F]rom day one, she [Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] is authorized to pay for them all. And, she will."
How about Obama's claim: "There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false - the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."
ABC News summarizes the Congressional Research Service:
Could the House bill expand emergency Medicaid laws as they already exist, perhaps – perhaps -- expanding coverage for illegal immigrants in keeping with current law?
According to CRS: Yes.