A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Pelosi: Dubious “Leftovers”

The Hill newspaper reported today that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is already spending "leftover" money from a proposed new tax surcharge:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats could use a proposed new tax on the wealthy to pay down the deficit, if there’s money left over after funding healthcare reform.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) said if more savings are found than the initial amount estimated to help offset the $1 trillion-plus healthcare plan, the tax revenues carved out to offset the bill’s cost could be funneled toward deficit reduction.

You Talking to Me?

In his remarks on health care legislation today, President Barack Obama didn’t hedge his bets on the subject of cost, stating expressly that a revamped health care system would lead to cheaper care for insured families. "But here’s what else reform will mean for you — and this is for people who have health insurance:  You will save money," he said. He probably should have been a little more equivocal. The House plan released a day ago is partly funded by tax increases on the wealthiest,

Virginia Unemployment Clarification

In our article "Virginia Myths and More," we wrote that some of the federal stimulus money available to Virginia came with a requirement to change the state’s unemployment eligibility rules to give "benefits to part-time workers for the first time." However, an alert reader who works at the Virginia Employment Commission told us that the state has always extended unemployment benefits to part-time workers. We checked in with the VEC, and our article could use some clarification.

Readers Talk Back on Insurance Costs

We received a number of e-mails after we said, in our article "Pushing for a Public Plan," that "the average monthly payment for workers with employer-sponsored coverage is … $280 for a family policy." It seems that a lot of you weren’t satisfied with the finding, which is from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
A sampling:
My Family policy with BCBS had a $500 [deductible] for all 3 members and my bill was $800 a month. We now have a group policy for all 5 members of our 2 optical shops,

The ‘Real’ Uninsured

Former Sen. Fred Thompson said on “Meet the Press” that “the 45 million … figure of uninsured is probably about twice the real number of people who can’t afford insurance or don’t have access to it really.” He’s not the only one saying that the number is inflated. We find …

Obama’s Health Care Claims

We found several claims in Obama’s recent health-care sales pitches that could use some explanation or qualification. He said “the average family pays a thousand dollars in extra premiums to pay for people going to the emergency room who don’t have health insurance.” That’s from a recent report by …

Cheney’s Gitmo Recidivism Claims

Former Vice President Dick Cheney used his May 10 appearance on CBS’ "Face the Nation" to, once again, strongly defend the Bush administration’s handling of alleged terrorists taken into U.S. custody. At one point, to back up his characterization of Guantanamo Bay detainees as ultra-bad guys, Cheney claimed that detainees sent home from Gitmo had already demonstrated significant recidivism: "We released hundreds already of the less threatening types. About 12 percent of them, nonetheless, went back into the fight as terrorists."

Gun Control in Australia

Q: Did gun control in Australia lead to more murders there last year?
A: This ‘Gun History Lesson’ is recycled bunk from a decade ago. Murders in Australia actually are down to record lows.

Fantasy Jobs?

At President Obama’s April 29 news conference, he claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has "already saved or created over 150,000 jobs." Wait a minute. Isn’t the number of jobs actually plummeting?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy lost more than 1.3 million jobs in the two months after he took office, and it has probably lost at least another half-million in April. The day after Obama spoke, the Department of Labor announced that another 631,000 workers (seasonally adjusted) had filed new claims for unemployment insurance the previous week.

Swine Flu Fact and Fiction

You can’t spell "pandemic" without "panic," and news about swine flu has put people in a tizzy. As with any tizzy, this has resulted in some misinformation getting mixed in with the real-time updates. We present a few misconceptions about swine flu that we’ve seen or heard in the last few days.
1. You can get swine flu from eating pork.
No more than you can get avian flu from eating birds, human flu from eating humans,