August 16, 2009
Lies, lies and more liesBy David Hass
President Obama's lies in Montana were the most egregious falsehoods since Bill Clinton said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman".
The current President was asked how the government is going to pay for the $1 trillion in new health care expenditures under HR 3200. Watch the video here.
Part of the President's answer included blaming a previous administration. Oh no, he's not blaming Bush again, is he?
Well, as it turns out, the previous administration was Bill ("depends on what the meaning of is is") Clinton's.
The current President claims that we can save $60 billion per year by "eliminating subsidies to big insurance companies". Subsidies? What subsidies?
In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, during Bill Clinton's term, Medicare was changed to allow Medicare beneficiaries to choose to receive their benefits through competing private insurance plans. In other words, introduce market forces into a socialized medicine system, the opposite of what the President wants to do now. Over the next decade this was changed a few more times until it became known as Medicare Advantage (pdf).
Dr. John Kern explains why he feels Medicare Advantage is better for patients than regular public option Medicare.
Currently, 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have chosen Medicare Advantage over the standard Medicare public option program. The government pays for Medicare Advantage insurance coverage by paying private insurance companies for the services they provide to their beneficiaries. This is not a subsidy, it is a reimbursement. Lies, lies and more lies.
The private insurance companies approved for Medicare Advantage operate in a tightly regulated, closely audited environment. If there is waste in the system, one would assume that the Medicare administrators would have already wrung that out of the system. Is the President throwing Medicare administrators under the bus along with the Post Office, the CIA, local police forces and the entire US military?
Is the President proposing eliminating Medicare Advantage? Tell that to the 10 million senior citizens who have chosen this form of coverage over the government option. Is there $60 billion per year of waste in the Medicare Advantage program? Not possible. The pro-Obamacare AFL-CIO reports that total health insurance industry profits in 2006 were $15.39 billion. There is not $60 billion in cost savings to be had by eliminating reimbursements to the insurance companies. Lies, lies and more lies.
The President then said that he will obtain the extra $30 billion in revenue by reducing the tax rate that wealthy people like himself (he seemed to be proud to include himself in this category) can use for deductions and exemptions when preparing their tax returns. Congress rejected that proposal last winter. But, the proposal is a lie because wealthy people pay a larger percentage of their income in federal income taxes. The more they make, the more they pay. The less they make the less they pay.
So, for every reduction in taxable income for someone in the 40 percent tax bracket they will save 40 percent. For every reduction in taxable income for someone in the 10 percent tax bracket they will save 10 percent. The President makes this seem unfair to those paying 10 percent.
Is the President proposing taxing wealthy people more on the money they make and then only let them take a fraction of the deductions that less wealthy people make? If so, does he really think the government will get extra tax revenue this way? It has been shown time and again throughout history that higher tax rates ultimately bring in less revenue. Ask Tim Geithner about that one. Lies, lies and more lies.
The President then went on to excoriate the previous administration (this time it was "Blame Bush") for passing the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act in 2003. Is he lying when he blames Bush?
Yes and no. The law was first brought to Congress in 1997 during Bill (you know what goes here) Clinton's second term. It took 6 years of Congressional debate before it was hammered through in 2003 with bipartisan support.
The President has said time and again "If you like your current insurance plan, you can keep it". But, he proposes eliminating the Medicare Advantage private option as a way to save money. Lies, lies and more lies.
Oh, right at the end of the video. "I believe in the Constitution too." The biggest whopper of them all.
For an excellent point by point discussion of the errors in the President's Portsmouth NH faux town hall meeting, see Keith Hennessy's website.