12 Most Frequent False Claims Made About Health Care Reform
CLAIM: 46 million Americans (or "fellow citizens" as President Obama has called them) have no health insurance coverage.
THE TRUTH: This figure includes approximately 6-7 million illegal immigrants. Even including illegal immigrants, the CBO estimates that the number of the truly uninsured (people who do not have access to, or cannot afford, health insurance) is only 22 million.
CLAIM: The uninsured do not have access to health care.
THE TRUTH: Health care is not the same as health insurance. Under federal law, everyone in the United States - including those illegally in the country -is guaranteed access to basic health care.
CLAIM: If you like your doctor / health care plan, you can keep your doctor / health care plan.
THE TRUTH: Even the New York Times has called this statement false. The Democratic plans do not require insurers or employers to continue offering the health benefits they now provide.
CLAIM: Insurance companies can and do drop your coverage when you get sick. (Per President Obama: “Insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your coverage because you get sick.”)
THE TRUTH: Federal law prohibits insurers from declining to continue coverage or rescind an existing policy merely because the insured became sick (“guaranteed renewability”).
CLAIM: Uncompensated costs due to the uninsured raises average premiums by $1,000 per year.
THE TRUTH: The non-partisan Kaiser Foundation says that uncompensated care only adds approximately $200 to the average annual premium. The $1,000 figure comes from a report issued by the left-leaning universal coverage advocacy group Families USA and contains numerous incorrect assumptions.
CLAIM: Requiring insurance companies to cover preventative care "saves money."
THE TRUTH: The CBO says that covering preventative care actually increases overall medical spending.
CLAIM: If we do not enact health care reform, budget deficits will continue to grow.
THE TRUTH: The CBO says that all of the Democratic reform proposals will increase the budget deficit and will not "bend the cost curve."
CLAIM: The Democratic health care reform plans do not cut Medicare benefits.
THE TRUTH: The plans would eliminate Medicare Advantage – which the CBO specifically states "provide[s] additional benefits" to Medicare enrollees. Even the Mayo Clinic has noted that the Medicare budget cuts will reduce benefits to recipients.
CLAIM: Americans spend $5,000 to $6,000 per person more than any other advanced nation on earth on health care.
THE TRUTH: The most recent OECD figures for 2006 indicate that the U.S. spends nearly $2,500 per person more than the next highest-spending country.
CLAIM: Government-run universal health care would increase the international competitiveness of U.S. companies (Alternatively, US companies are less competitive because they have to pay for health care).
THE TRUTH: The CBO says that adopting government-run universal health care would not increase the competitive status of U.S. companies.
CLAIM: Health insurers cover less today than they did in the past.
THE TRUTH: Out-of-pocket payments accounted for 33% of all personal health care expenditures in 1975; by 2000, that share had fallen to 17%, and it declined to 15% in 2006.
CLAIM: Health insurance companies have made obscene profits.
THE TRUTH: Between 2003 and 2008, the Fortune 1000 companies in the health insurance and managed care sector had an 8.8% growth in profits – ranking it as the 23rd fastest growing sector by profits.
For 2008, the health insurance companies in the Fortune 500 had a profit margin of 2.2% -- ranking this sector 35th on the Fortune 500 list by industry. This means that for every $1 in revenues, the health insurance companies made only 2.2 cents in profits.