FACT CHECK: The myths of Obamacare in GOP campaign

By Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 4 2011 2:06 a.m. MDT

ROMNEY: "On Day One, granting a waiver to all 50 states doesn't stop in its tracks entirely Obamacare. That's why I also say we have to repeal Obamacare, and I will do that on Day Two with a reconciliation bill, because, as you know, it was passed by reconciliation, 51 votes. We can get rid of it with 51 votes." — Oct. 11 debate.

THE FACTS: This is a strategy to undermine the law by starving it of money. Its only real chance is if Republicans win congressional majorities as well as the presidency or at the very least a rash of improbable Democratic defections in Congress.

Although not a single-day project, it represents one threat to Obama's law, if one with political risk and tough odds. Some core parts of the law are not dependent on annual budgeting.

Going beyond the budget process to repeal the law in full is an even steeper climb. It would require a larger Republican congressional majority to move forward and to clinch 60 votes in the Senate — all this as the law increasingly takes root in the nation's medical and insurance system.

The law extends coverage to uninsured citizens and legal immigrants by providing tax credits to help middle-class households buy a policy and by expanding Medicaid for low-income people. It would require almost all people to carry health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by individual purchase. It would set up health insurance markets in every state to make it easier for individuals and small business to buy coverage. It's financed through tax increases and Medicare cuts.

PERRY: "According to CBO's own calculations, repealing Obamacare will reduce the cost of health insurance premiums and reduce federal spending on health care." — His economic plan.

THE FACTS: No one can be sure what would happen with premiums absent the health care law, but Perry's use of a Congressional Budget Office analysis was selective, at best.

The nonpartisan congressional accountants forecast that repeal of the law would raise premiums for people who get coverage from large-employer plans, not lower them, and that premiums could go either way for small-employer plans. About half the population is covered by such work-based insurance.

The CBO says repeal of the law probably would result in lower premiums in the individual insurance market, which covers about 4 percent of the population.

But there are important caveats. Many policyholders would probably end up paying more because they would not get the insurance subsidies provided under the law, the analysis says.

Individual insurance policies on average would provide fewer benefits, and cover less of an enrollee's health care expenses, than will be provided by the insurance exchanges coming into effect under the law.

The analysis also projected that repealing the law would increase the federal deficit.

Online:

CBO report: http://tinyurl.com/3h4uxav

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