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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Retribution Fabrication

Q: Did Congress raise its own pay for 2010 while voting to deny an increase for Social Security recipients?
A: No. A chain e-mail calling for "retribution" in the fall elections makes false claims and uses fabricated figures.

We’re in the Record

Saturday’s Senate debate on the health care bill included a few mentions of yours truly, FactCheck.org.
Our work was cited on Dec. 2 by Sen. John McCain, who quoted from our Oct. 20, 2008, article. Three days later our article made the Congressional Record yet again. This time, it was prompted by Sen. John Kerry who said this on the Senate floor, quoting from a Wall Street Journal news story from last year:

Kerry,

Robocall Rumble

It’s the battle of the voice mail messages.
First, Sen. John McCain launched a robocall this week, claiming that spending cuts to Medicare in the Senate health care bill would eliminate “vital Medicare coverage for our seniors” and promoting his amendment to strip the bill of all those Medicare cuts. He recorded a similar call for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Thursday night, the liberal group Americans United for Change launched a counter-call, which tells recipients: "You may have received a political call that tries to frighten seniors —

McCain Robocall Sounds Familiar

Last year, Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign proposed cuts to Medicare spending to finance his health care overhaul proposal. This year, Senate Democrats have proposed cuts to Medicare spending to finance their health care overhaul proposal.
Last year, the Obama camp promptly attacked McCain, falsely claiming, as we pointed out, that the Republican was going to reduce benefits and that seniors would "receive fewer services, and get lower quality care." This year (this week, in fact),

Gimmicks in the Health Care Bill?

Democrats in Congress have been pleased with the Congressional Budget Office’s findings that both the House and Senate health care bills would reduce the deficit over 10 years. But is that assessment due to some accounting trickery in the bills?
The conservative Employment Policies Institute is airing an ad on cable news networks featuring June O’Neill, former director of the CBO in the mid- to late ’90s, who says that "some politicians are using accounting gimmicks to hide the cost"

Boehner Misrepresents FactCheck.org’s Findings

Last week House Republican Leader John Boehner’s office issued a "Leader Alert" titled "10 Facts Every American Should Know About Speaker Pelosi’s 1,990-Page Gov’t Takeover of Health Care."
It’s a partisan document containing misleading characterizations of the bill. But the bullet point that bothers us most is #2, which reads:

MASSIVE CUTS TO MEDICARE BENEFITS FOR SENIORS. Despite grave warnings from CBO, FactCheck.org, and the independent Lewin Group that cuts to Medicare of the magnitude included in Speaker Pelosi’s bill would have a negative impact on seniors’

AHIP on the Attack: 50 Percent of What?

Almost immediately after releasing an incomplete report on the supposed increase in premiums that the Senate’s health care overhaul bill would trigger, the health insurers’ trade group took to the airwaves with a TV ad claiming the bill would shortchange millions of seniors.

This ad, which is sponsored by America’s Health Insurance Plans, screams for context.
As we’ve written previously, it’s true that about 10 million seniors are on Medicare Advantage, as the ad says, which means they’ve chosen to get their benefits from a private insurer instead of through the fee-for-service route that 78 percent of Medicare recipients use.

TGIF

President Obama’s unexpected Nobel Peace Prize may end up being the story of the week, but it was the third-party groups that occupied most of our attention here at FactCheck.org. Once again, health care dominated the discussion, though we also saw some new ads on taxes and on climate change.
We’ve seen both sides making false claims about Medicare. This week it was the conservative group Americans for Prosperity leading with the alarming claim that "Medicare will be bankrupt in 8 years."

Going Out of Business?

A new health care ad from a conservative group claims that “Medicare will be bankrupt in eight years.” That gives a false impression. The program does have huge financial problems, but there’s no reason to think it’s going out of business as the word “bankrupt” implies. And …

Senior Scare, Yet Again

The Democratic National Committee says in a TV ad that “Republicans voted to abolish Medicare.” Not true. The ad refers to a proposal endorsed by most House Republicans as part of the alternative budget they presented earlier this year. In fact, the GOP plan actually called for …