AP Pounces on Truth-Teller Obama's 'Oversimplifications and Omissions'
Published: 9/10/2009 1:30 PM ET
In his health care speech Wednesday night, President Obama cast himself as a truth-teller combating "bogus claims" and "misinformation" about his big government health care plan. "If you misrepresent what's in the plan, we will call you out," Obama warned his critics.
But within hours, the Associated Press had "fact-checked" the President's speech and found the Fact-Checker-in-Chief is guilty of misrepresenting a few facts himself. AP writers Calvin Woodward and Erica Werner said the President uttered "a variety of oversimplifications and omissions," and used "only-in Washington accounting" to claim his plan would not add "one dime" to the deficit.
President Barack Obama used only-in-Washington accounting Wednesday when he promised to overhaul the nation's health care system without adding "one dime" to the deficit. By conventional arithmetic, Democratic plans would drive up the deficit by billions of dollars.
The president's speech to Congress contained a variety of oversimplifications and omissions in laying out what he wants to do about health insurance.
A look at some of Obama's claims and how they square with the facts or the fuller story:
OBAMA: "Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have."
THE FACTS: That's correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they'd be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.
In the past Obama repeatedly said, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period." Now he's stopping short of that unconditional guarantee by saying nothing in the plan "requires" any change.
OBAMA: "Don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. ... That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare."
THE FACTS: Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years....Although wasteful spending in Medicare is widely acknowledged, many experts believe some seniors almost certainly would see reduced benefits from the cuts. That's particularly true for the 25 percent of Medicare users covered through Medicare Advantage.
OBAMA: Requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies "makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives."
THE FACTS: Studies have shown that much preventive care - particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions - actually costs money instead of saving it....
-Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center.