A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

More Health Care Exaggerations

Planned Parenthood is distributing a mailer in Ohio that criticizes Sen. John McCain’s health care plan. But it uses a bogus figure on what McCain’s plan would do to Ohioans’ taxes.
The mailer says, “I see struggling patients every day. That’s why I was so horrified when I read about John McCain’s proposed health care tax. Maybe he can afford a $2,800 tax, but his plan will really hurt a lot of people.”
Under McCain’s plan,

Scaring, and Misleading, Seniors Again

In what is becoming a bit of a pattern, a group that backs Sen. Barack Obama is trying to convince senior citizens that Sen. John McCain would be their worst nightmare. The AFL-CIO is distributing a mailer that claims McCain is “turning his back on retirees,” by “privatizing Social Security, taxing health care benefits” and “cutting $1 trillion from Medicare.”
Talking Points Memo reports that the AFL-CIO is sending this flyer to retirees in Indiana, North Carolina and more traditional swing states.

Health Care Premium Costs

In last week’s final debate, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama cited greatly different estimates for the average cost of health insurance, and a number of readers have asked us to sort it out.

Obama: By the way, the average policy costs about $12,000. …
McCain: The average cost of a health care insurance plan in America today is $5,800.

Both candidates were talking about the relative value of the $5,000 tax credit McCain wants to give to families and couples (individuals would get up to $2,500) to purchase health care policies.

Unions Mislead on Health Care

Summary
Two labor unions are running ads falsely characterizing McCain’s health care plan.

A United Auto Workers spot features a woman who claims she’d pay up to $2,800 more in taxes. That’s a bogus figure, based on a false assumption about what McCain is actually proposing. She and families like hers would actually come out money ahead.
A Service Employees International Union ad claims McCain’s plan would "deny coverage for preexisting conditions like cancer."

Obama on Taxes

Obama said that “I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans.” He also said the cut would go to “95 percent of families.” The latter is correct. The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center analyzed the two candidates’ tax plans and found Obama’s would cut taxes for 95.5 percent of households with children. Overall, the TPC found that Obama’s plan would produce a tax cut for 81.3 percent of all households.
Obama was also off the mark when he said “if you make less than a quarter million dollars,”

$42,000 a year

McCain has claimed yet again that Sen. Obama “voted twice for a budget resolution to increase taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year.” As we’ve reported, a single taxpayer making more than $41,500 would have seen a tax increase, but a couple filing jointly would have seen no increase unless they made at least $83,000, and for a couple with two children the cut-off would have been $90,000. Regardless, the increase that Obama once supported as part of a Democratic budget bill is not part of his current tax plan.

Health Care Spin

An Obama-Biden TV ad says Sen. John McCain’s health care plan would be the “largest middle-class tax increase in history.” A McCain-Palin/RNC radio ad says Obama’s plan “will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage.” Both are false.
We lay out the details of each candidate’s health care plans and the misleading claims being made about them in a new article on our main site:
Health Care Spin October 14, 2008

Health Care Spin

Summary
McCain and Obama have sharply different health care plans, and each has made sharply worded attacks that are either false or misleading. McCain proposes a market-based system that relies on tax incentives, which one Obama ad falsely characterizes as the "largest middle-class tax increase in history." Obama proposes new subsidies to expand private insurance coverage and some expansion of government insurance, which McCain falsely claims "will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage."

FactChecking Debate No. 2

We published several tidbits here on The Wire during last night’s presidential debate. Our full article contains a few more misleading statements and falsehoods that we needed a little more time to research. Check it out on our main site:
FactChecking Debate No. 2
October 8, 2008 
Nonsense in Nashville

Health Care Fines for Small Businesses?

McCain said that Obama’s health care plan would mandate that “small businesses” provide coverage for their employees and would fine them if they failed to do so. Actually, Obama’s health care plan, posted on his Web site, says: “Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.” McCain previously used this charge in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.