A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Ad Serves Up a Dose of Exaggeration

The Washington Post reported on March 9 that Employers for a Healthy Economy, a coalition of business groups that includes the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, plans to spend up to $10 million running an ad about the effects of health care legislation on the economy.

The ad, which portrays workers and businesses going through difficult times, says that "health care costs will go even higher" and that this will "[make] a tough economy even worse." These claims need context.

Obama’s Glowing Assessment

The president made another push for health care legislation March 3, while being flanked by physicians and nurses in the East Room of the White House. Much of what he said in describing his proposal was correct, but he went a bit overboard with a few of his statements.
In a remark reminiscent of last week’s spat with Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander over premiums, Obama said most people would save money under his plan:

Obama: Our cost-cutting measures mirror most of the proposals in the current Senate bill,

Summit Extras: Medical Malpractice

Yesterday we filed our lengthy report on the Blair House health care summit. But there were a few claims we didn’t have a chance to investigate, such as this exchange on medical malpractice.
A key Republican proposal for any health care overhaul effort is so- called "tort reform" that would limit the potential liability awards in medical malpractice cases. We found at least a dozen references to it throughout the transcript of yesterday’s session. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner asked: "Why can’t we do something about the biggest cost driver,

Health Care Summit Squabbles

We tuned in to watch the president’s health care summit at Blair House today — all six-plus hours of it. And we weren’t surprised to hear some factual missteps in the discussion: Sen. Lamar Alexander said premiums will go up for “millions” under the Senate bill and president’s plan, while President Barack Obama said families …

More Pre-Summit Hype

A group partly supported by the Service Employees International Union is out with an ad that criticizes insurance companies and asks: "If health reform fails THEN what?" The Foundation for Patients’ Rights TV spot highlights the well-publicized rate-hike (as high as 39 percent) that had been planned by California’s Anthem Blue Cross — and which was postponed after public criticism from the Obama administration. But the ad also includes this shaky claim about the insurance industry: "2.7 million Americans were denied coverage"

Still on the Table?

So, what about those Republican health care plans? Contrary to claims made by some Democratic detractors, detailed GOP proposals, and a bipartisan bill with several GOP cosponsors, do exist. And they’re scheduled to get attention at a half-day, televised “summit” meeting at Blair House on Feb. 25, with …

Insurance Coverage: Obama’s Air Ball

During an impromptu press conference with the White House press corps on Feb. 9, President Barack Obama claimed that more people are getting their health insurance this year from the government than through the private sector. But that’s not even close to being true. If this had been a basketball shot, it would have missed the backboard:

Obama, Feb. 9: I don’t know if people noted, because during the health care debate everybody was saying the president is trying to take over —

Enforcing the Individual Mandate

Q: How does health care legislation propose to enforce the individual mandate?
A: The Internal Revenue Service would verify whether individuals meet the requirement to have health insurance, and collect a tax if they don’t.

Congress Exempt from Health Bill?

Q: Does the health care bill specifically exempt members of Congress and their staffs from its provisions?
A: No. This twisted claim is based on misrepresentations of the House and Senate bills, neither of which exempts lawmakers.

Health Care and the Founding Fathers

Expect January to be dominated by House-Senate wrangling over the final shape of the gargantuan bill to overhaul the nation’s health insurance system.
Some opponents of the measures, though, are readying themselves for another potential fight, this one in the courts. An Arkansas group called the Conservative Action Project says it believes the overhaul is unconstitutional, and it is preparing to sue to stop it from taking effect, according to several conservative blogs (we attempted to reach someone at the organization but were unsuccessful).