A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

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 …

Uninsured U.S. Citizens

Q: How many of the uninsured are U.S. citizens?
A: The vast majority of the uninsured are citizens from working families.

Doctor’s Orders?

Conservative politicians have claimed that the stimulus bill requires that doctors follow government orders on what medical treatments can and can’t be prescribed. But the bill doesn’t say that. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia says the measure creates “a national health care rationing board.” Not true. What it creates is …

Health Care Bill Bankruptcies

Q: What is the percentage of total personal bankruptcies caused by health care bills?
A: A Harvard study published in 2005 found that about half of those who filed for bankruptcy said health care expenses, illness or related job-loss led them to do so. Twenty-seven percent cited uncovered medical bills specifically, and 2 percent said they had mortgaged their home to pay what they owed.

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.

McCain’s $5,000 Promise

McCain says in a new TV ad: “Let’s give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit” to buy health insurance. Sounds good. But McCain failed to mention how existing employer-sponsored health benefits would be affected.

Exaggerating Help for Troops

Clinton falsely claims guardsmen and reservists didn’t have health insurance before she went to work.

Edwards’ Empty Threat

John Edwards’ new ad says that when he’s in the Oval Office, he’ll tell Congress to act within six months to make sure all Americans have health insurance or “I’m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.” First he’s going to have to throw out the Constitution, though.