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Mr. President, Reality Matches the Perception

December 22, 2009

Today, the Washington Post reported that with regard to health care, the President is “challenging his critics to identify any ‘gap’ between what he campaigned on last year and what Congress is on the verge of passing.” The President went on to tell the Post, “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.”

Well, Mr. President, below are just a fistful of ways the Democrat health care bills break your promises. Unfortunately for the American people, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Five (of the Many) Ways Democrat Health Care Bills Break the President’s Promises

  1. Premium Costs Go Up:
    President’s Promise: During the Presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama 
    repeatedly said that his health plan would “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.”

    Reality of the Democrats’ Health Care Bills: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the Senate Democrats’ health bill would actually increase premiums for millions of Americans. CBO’s letter to Senator Bayh, on page 5, shows average premiums per covered person are 10-13 percent higher in 2016 than if Congress did nothing for Americans not receiving a subsidy in the individual market, and shows flat or very small decreases for everyone else, meaning that the annual growth rates will have hardly changed at all under this reform. Additionally, CBO has refused to release any premium estimates for the House Democrats’ bill. However, the House Republicans offered an alternative proposal that would reduce premiums by up to $1,930.

  2. Millions Can’t Keep the Health Plans They Have and Like:
    President’s Promise: “First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.” (President Obama’s September 2009 
    speech to Congress)

    Reality of the Democrats’ Health Care Bills: According to the Congressional Budget Office, “Between 8 million and 9 million other people who would be covered by an employment-based plan under current law would not have an offer of such coverage under the proposal.” NOTE: This does not include the millions of seniors who would also lose MedicareAdvantage coverage, which CBO also confirmed would happen under both the House and Senate bills.

  3. Health Care Benefits Are Taxed for the First Time:
    President’s Promise: Candidate Obama loudly and repeatedly criticized health reform plans that would impose taxes on the value of employer provided health insurance. See, for example, this
    attack ad he ran against John McCain (TEXT VERSION: “On health care, John McCain promises a tax credit. But here’s what he won’t tell you. McCain would impose a new tax on health benefits, taxing your health care for the first time ever. It’s a multi-trillion dollar tax hike — the largest middle class tax increase in history. You won’t find one word about it on his web site, but the McCain tax could cost your family thousands. Can you afford it?”).

    Reality of the Democrats’ Health Care Bills: “[The Joint Committee on Taxation] estimates that the provision [the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans] would generate about $35 billion in additional revenues in 2019 and expects that receipts would grow by roughly 10 percent to 15 percent per year in the following decade.”

  4. Increase in National Health Spending (Bending the Curve the WRONG Way):
    President’s Promise: Office of Management and Budget Director Peter 
    Orszag said, “The single most important thing we can do to improve the long-term fiscal health of our nation is slow the growth rate in health care costs.” President Obama said as much himself: “If we don’t do anything on health care inflation, then we might as well close up shop when it comes to dealing with our long-term debt and deficit problems…”

    Reality of the Democrats’ Health Care Bills: According to the Washington Post, “Though President Obama and Democratic leaders have repeatedly pledged to alter the soaring trajectory — or cost curve — of federal health spending, the proposals so far would not meet that goal, [CBO Director] Elmendorf said, noting, ‘The curve is being raised.’ His remarks suggested that rather than averting a looming fiscal crisis, the measures could make the nation’s bleak budget outlook even worse.” That bleak assessment was confirmed by the Obama Administration’s own actuaries in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  5. Negotiations with Special Interests Held in Secret:
    President’s Promise: In a town hall meeting on August, 21, 2008, in Chester, VA, then-Senator Obama said, “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on
    C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.”

    Reality of the Democrats’ Health Care Bills: Nothing could be further from the truth. Just read this article from Politics Daily or this article from the New York Times.

Again, unfortunately, these are just the tip of the iceberg, Mr. President. Other broken campaign promises include:

  • Imposing billions of dollars in taxes on people with income below $200,000 and couples with income below $250,000.
  • The failure to include meaningful tort reform (as you promised the AMA),
  • Mandating individuals purchase health care insurance (which is something you attacked Sen. Clinton for proposing),
  • Not following-through on your promise to allow seniors and other Americans to purchase prescription drugs at reduced costs from approved countries like Canada,
  • Leaving millions of Americans without health insurance – far from the “universal” coverage you campaigned on.