As Mark Hemingway pointed out in The Weekly Standard last December, we can’t rely on liberal soi-disant “fact-checkers” to vet President Obama’s statements on many things. So it’s up to us to do the job. Fortunately, last night, Governor Romney did an excellent job of refuting President Obama’s talking points on Obamacare and Medicare reform.
I’ve got a lengthy point-by-point analysis over at my Forbes blog. The bottom line is that Romney said nearly everything he should have said in terms of pointing out the weaknesses of Obama’s arguments, and defending his own reforms. Here are the bullet points:
1. Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare: Romney correctly pointed out that the cuts outweigh Obamacare’s alleged “new benefits” by a ratio of 15 to 1.
2. Romney’s Medicare plan: Romney effectively refuted the charge that it would lead to higher costs, because if government-run Medicare is more efficient, it would win out under the competitive bidding framework.
3. Obamacare increases the cost of insurance premiums: Romney pointed out that Obama promised that he would cut premiums by $2,500 per family per year; instead they’ve gone up by that amount since Obamacare was passed.
4. Romneycare vs. Obamacare: Romney made the interesting and effective point that Romneycare in Massachusetts was bipartisan, whereas Obamacare was passed on a party-line vote.
5. Obamacare will cause employer dumping of coverage: Romney cited CBO data and the now-famous McKinsey survey, both of which model significant employer dumping of coverage, violating the president’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” promise.
6. Block-granting Medicaid: Romney rebutted the charge that block grants would mean a “30 percent cut” in aid to low-income families. The whole point of block grants is to deliver the same services, if not more of them, without the waste inherent in federal micromanagement of local programs.
7. Miscellany: Romney effectively highlighted the perils of Obamacare’s rationing board, IPAB; that his plan addresses preexisting conditions without a government takeover of health care; and that the marketplace is happy to cover adult children under 26 without federal mandates.
I don’t think it could have gone much better. On to Round Two.
— Avik Roy is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Apothecary, the Forbes blog on health-care and entitlement reform. He is a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group. You can follow him on Twitter at @aviksaroy.