The seven Republicans who took part in yesterday’s presidential debate in New Hampshire all promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act without offering alternatives for expanding access to insurance or lowering health care costs. Instead, the GOP fudged the facts of the law and stood by Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal to privatize the Medicare program. Below is a one minute compilation of the GOP’s top six health care myths and the facts that undermine their claims:
— CLAIM 1 FROM BACHMANN: The Congressional Budget Office said the Affordable Care Act will kill 800,000 jobs. FACT: The CBO actually found that some people would leave the workforce or work less because they can find affordable health coverage elsewhere. This is a reduction in the supply of labor, not a reduction in the supply of jobs.
— CLAIM 2 FROM BACHMANN: Obamacare took $500 billion out of Medicare, shifted it to build a new entitlement for young people. FACT: The health law does not cut the current Medicare budget; it slows the growth in the program by removing $500 billion from future spending over the next 10 years. The cuts help stabilize Medicare by eliminating overpayments and slowly phasing in payment adjustments that encourage greater efficiency. As a result, the law extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by nine years and allows seniors to retain all of their guaranteed Medicare benefits.
— CLAIM 3 FROM ROMNEY: I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states. FACT: The executive branch and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) don’t have the authority to grant blanket waivers — those powers are reserved for Congress.
— CLAIM 4 FROM PAWLENTY: Medicare is not financially solvent. FACT: Medicare is fully solvent until 2024. After 2024, the hospital fund will still be able to meet “90 percent” of its commitments.
— CLAIM 5 FROM SANTORUM: Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is “identical to what seniors already have” — Medicare Part D. FACT: It’s not. The government pays 74 percent of costs in Medicare Part D and grows that support at the rate of program costs. “Ryan’s plan covers about a third of beneficiary costs, and that support grows at the rate of inflation — so much more slowly than the rest of the program, or than Medicare Part D.”
— CLAIM 6 FROM SANTORUM: The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will ration care to seniors beginning in 2014. FACT: The IPAB kicks in if health care spending goes beyond a certain threshold and is statutorily prohibited from rationing benefits or increasing co-pays. In fact, Paul Ryan even supported a more aggressive IPAB-type reform in 2009.