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False Claims Republicans Will Make During The Floor Debate

Posted on by Karina

As the House begins to debate the Affordable Health Care for America Act, below we debunk the false claims that Republicans are expected to make during floor consideration and debate of the bill.

1. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act will lead to a government takeover of the health care system.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
The Affordable Health Care for America Act builds on the current private, employer-provided health care system — and, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will expand enrollment in private insurance by an estimated 6 million Americans. Rather than creating a “government takeover of health care,” the bill is designed to help make the health insurance market work better — improving competition and choice for consumers through the creation of a one-stop shopping marketplace called a Health Insurance Exchange.

Even former Republican Senate Majority Leader and heart surgeon Bill Frist (R-TN) disputes the claim:

…what the Obama Administration is doing is not socialized medicine. You hear a lot of people on the extreme say that socialized medicine is going to come in and control everything. Socialized medicine is where the government owns the hospitals. They own the doctors and they decide how much people are getting paid. And that's not what's in these bills.

2. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act will destroy the private health insurance industry.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
The Affordable Health Care for America Act will not destroy the private insurance industry — in fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that the legislation builds on the current private, employer-provided health care system we have now and will expand enrollment in private insurance. See above answer.

3. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act will add to the deficit.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
Health insurance reform will not add to the deficit. According to the CBO, the House bill will reduce the deficit by $109 billion over the first ten years (2010-2019). Furthermore, the legislation will continue to reduce the deficit over the second ten year period (2020-2029). In fact, the House Republican substitute bill does almost nothing to expand coverage of the uninsured –which costs us all–and only reduces the deficit by $68 billion over the first 10 years.

4. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act cuts Medicare benefits.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
Nothing in the House bill will cut basic Medicare benefits. In fact, the Affordable Health Care for America Act strengthens and improves Medicare benefits for older Americans and helps eliminate waste, fraud and inefficiency from Medicare — including gross overpayments to insurance companies providing Medicare Advantage plans which do nothing to improve care for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

The AARP says it best in their endorsement:

We've read the Affordable Health Care for America Act and we can say with confidence that it meets those goals with improved benefits for people in Medicare and needed health insurance market reforms to help ensure every American can purchase affordable health coverage,” AARP CEO Barry Rand.

5. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act will harm small businesses by raising taxes and requiring them to cover all of their workers.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is good for small businesses. Under this legislation, many small businesses will be eligible for a new tax credit to help them provide coverage for their workers and their families — and they or their workers will get access to a new comparison shopping marketplace with low rates and good benefits like large groups get. Without health insurance reform, small businesses would pay nearly $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years in health care costs for their workers. According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation — only 1.2 percent of the wealthiest Americans will be subject to the surcharge and it would only apply to dollars earned over $1 million for a couple and $500,000 for an individual. Furthermore, 86 percent of all businesses are exempt from the requirement to provide health insurance coverage to their workers.

6. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act will undermine veterans' health care.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
Veterans’ health care and TRICARE (for military families) would not be impacted by passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Nothing in the bill would affect, change, or undermine the health care that veterans enrolled in VA health care and military families enrolled in TRICARE are currently receiving. The legislation does contain provisions that explicitly allow veterans receiving VA health care or servicemembers and their families receiving TRICARE to also enroll in an insurance plan through the bill's Health Insurance Exchange. This would provide veterans and servicemembers the opportunity to obtain additional coverage for themselves and their dependents if they desire. Learn more>>

7. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act has been rushed.
WHAT WE DID
After decades of debate we are now closer than ever to achieving meaningful health reform that will provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans. Since 2007, the House Democrats have held 100 health reform-related hearings. Furthermore, the Democratic Congress has kept its promise to provide an unprecedented amount of transparency and respect for the legislative process, providing Members and stakeholders the ability to weigh in, ask questions and offer constructive ideas.

In the 111th Congress, the Committees responsible for drafting legislation, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor have:

Spent nearly 100 hours in hearings on health reform.

Heard from 181 witnesses (both Democratic and Republican).

Spent 83 hours in Committee markups.

Considered a total of 239 amendments; approved 121.

Since the spring of this year, House Democrats have held 3,000 health care town halls and public events in their districts, giving Members the opportunity to hear directly from their constituents and discuss the impact that health reform will have on their communities. Tens of thousands of e-mails, calls, and letters have been logged in Congressional offices to also register public comment.

Bill text publicly available:

Draft bill was available online for 25 days before H.R. 3200 was introduced>>

H.R. 3200 was posted online for 30 days before the first Committee markup>>

H.R. 3200 was posted online for 107 days before introducing the merged bill>>

Text of the reintroduced bill, H.R. 3962 was posted on October 29, 2009>>

The Democratic leadership is making the Manager's Amendment (introduced November 3, 2009) available for a full 72 hours before a Floor vote>>

8. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act is too long.
REALLY? WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is comprehensive health insurance reform that covers 96 percent of Americans, ensures affordability for the middle class, provides security for our seniors, ends discrimination by insurance companies against the sick, caps what Americans pay out-of-pocket and protects our children's future by not adding to our deficit. By contrast, the House Republican plan is 219 pages long — and fails to accomplish anything close to reform or change from the status quo for the American people.

In fact, the Republican plan:

Leaves 52 million Americans uninsured in 10 years — which costs us all.

Fails to end the insurance industry practice of denying health insurance coverage to individuals because of pre-existing conditions.

Puts insurance companies ahead of consumers by undermining existing consumer protections.

Ezra Klein describes the difference:

The Democratic bill…covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan.

9. GOP CLAIM: The Affordable Health Care for America Act is unconstitutional.
WHAT OUR BILL ACTUALLY DOES
As with Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government has the Constitutional power to reform our health care system. The 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that the powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states … or to the people. But the Constitution gives Congress broad power to regulate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce. Congress has used this authority to regulate many aspects, from labor relations to education to health care to agricultural production. Since virtually every aspect of the heath care system has an effect on interstate commerce, the power of Congress to regulate health care is essentially unlimited. Learn more>>

Learn more about what’s actually in the legislation>>

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