Following the Supreme Court decision declaring the Affordable Care Law (a.k.a. ObamaCare) to be Constitutional, the Republicans' outrage and determination to repeal the law has reached new heights.
But in their anger, some of them have resorted to telling outright lies about what the law will do--and will not do.
For example, here are some statements made by Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney about Obamacare along with the FACTS. Judge for yourselves:
1. Romney said Obamacare "cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion." This claim is meant to scare seniors, but it is simply false. PolitiFact.com has this to say about this bogus claim: "The bill doesn't take money out of the current Medicare budget but, rather, attempts to slow the program's future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in anticipated spending increases over the next 10 years." Those savings come from a variety of administrative changes and things like requiring Medicare Advantage plans to reduce their inflated costs. The law makes no cuts to guaranteed Medicare benefits. In fact, it increases Medicare benefits by improving the prescription drug benefit and by making cancer screenings and other preventive services available without a co-pay.
2. Romney said Obamacare "raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion." False. In fact, families across the nation will save money as a result of the Obamacare reforms, such as state-based exchanges that come online in 2014. Families who purchase private health insurance through these exchanges will save up to $2,300 each year on their health care spending. Millions of Americans already see real savings as their out-of-pocket costs go down to zero for preventive care like flu shots or cancer screenings.
3. Romney says Obamacare "adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt." False. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare will reduce the national deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years.
4. Romney says Obamacare will force up to 20 million Americans to "lose the insurance they currently have." False. Rather than losing insurance, millions of Americans will get insurance for the first time. CBO and the Joint Economic Committee estimate that the number of people without health insurance coverage will be reduced by 30 million to 33 million by 2016 if the states implement the law as intended.
5. Romney says Obamacare is "a job-killer." False. In fact, one recent study suggests that the lower growth in health care costs through Obamacare will create 250,000 to 400,000 thousand new jobs in many industries annually throughout the next decade.
6. Romney says "Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor." False. Obamacare removes the insurance companies from their position between you and your doctor. Remember, under Obamacare, insurance companies can no longer end your health coverage if you become ill or deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. And insurance companies will have to spend 80 percent of the money they take in on health care - not on administrative costs or CEO salaries - and refund the money to their customers if they don't meet the target. Before the end of the summer, 12.8 million Americans will receive rebates because their insurance company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
Fair debate about the new law is one thing. Making up lies about it is quite another. Gov. Romney and his allies have every right to propose alternatives to Obamacare that will solve the serious problems in our current health care system
Instead, Gov. Romney wants us to go back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people just because they were sick. He wants us to go back and let more than 26,000 people die prematurely each year because they lack insurance coverage. He wants us to go back to the "good old days" when health care costs were the primary cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States.
What is especially hypocritical is that these are the same reforms that Gov. Romney obtained for his state--and strongly supported--when he was Governor of Massachusetts.
As to the so-called individual mandate which conservatives complain about so loudly, purchasing insurance is NOT just a matter of individual choice. It affects all taxpayers; it affects the cost of health care; it affects our whole economy. I would remind them that we taxpayers already pay billions of dollars a year in higher taxes and health care costs in order to cover the cost of care for those who have no insurance. Having as many people as possible with health insurance makes the whole system fairer and saves taxpayers billions of dollars. The conservative Heritage Foundation thought this was a good idea when it first proposed it. So do I.
So let's have an honest debate. But when the opponents of Obamacare start spreading whoppers like these, let's blow the whistle on them.