The Corner

Misleading Points

Talking Points Memo, living up to its name, is providing the White House’s talking points on health care. Obamacare is to be voted on amid a final orgy of misinformation.

Talking point: The plan gives Americans, rather than government or health insurers, more control over their health insurance.

Reality: While you may want to go without insurance—especially once the government is done remaking it—the government will make you fork over cash to the insurance companies. If you want to buy a cheap catastrophic policy, the government will tell the insurance companies not to offer you one.

Talking point: The bill lets you keep your doctor and your insurance plan.

Reality: Unless you’re on Medicare Advantage, or your plan doesn’t meet the new regulatory standards, or the new law induces your employer to drop your coverage.

Talking point: The bill “brings down costs for everyone.”

Reality: Unless you’re young and healthy, or a taxpayer.

Talking point: The disagreement between the parties concerns whether there should be “more or less oversight of the insurance companies.”

Reality: If the bill merely stepped up oversight of the insurance companies, it would have passed with overwhelming bipartisan support a year ago.

Talking point: The bill “protects Medicare for America’s seniors.”

Reality: The bill cuts Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars, and some of those cuts will even occur.

Talking point: The bill will give tens of millions of Americans the same insurance choices as members of Congress.

Reality: Members of Congress are in a much less regulated system.

Talking point: The CBO says that the bill will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion over the next two decades.

Reality: CBO says that projections into the second decade are meaningless, and that even its first-decade projections include savings that it was ordered to assume will take place.

Talking point: Under the bill, small businesses will not have to choose between “hiring and health care.”

Reality: You might find yourself unable to get either a job or insurance from a small business because of this bill’s mandates.

Talking point: “The American people deserve an up-or-down vote.”

Reality: Except in the House.

Talking point: The plan’s components are popular—for example, its provision that people can keep what they have.

Reality: Which means that when described fully and accurately, it’s not popular. As everyone knows.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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