Critical Condition

Facts vs. Obama

On factcheck.org

President Obama tried to sell his health care overhaul in prime time, mangling some facts in the process. He also strained to make the job sound easier to pay for than experts predict.

  • Obama promised once again that a health care overhaul “will be paid for.” But congressional budget experts say the bills they’ve seen so far would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade.
  • He said the plan “that I put forward” would cover at least 97 percent of all Americans. Actually, the plan he campaigned on would cover far less than that, and only one of the bills now being considered in Congress would do that.
  • He said the “average American family is paying thousands” as part of their premiums to cover uncompensated care for the uninsured, implying that expanded coverage will slash insurance costs. But the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation puts the cost per family figure at $200.
  • Obama claimed his budget “reduced federal spending over the next 10 years by $2.2 trillion” compared with where it was headed before. Not true. Even figures from his own budget experts don’t support that. The Congressional Budget Office projects a $2.7 trillion increase, not a $2.2 trillion cut.
  • The president said that the United States spends $6,000 more on average than other countries on health care. Actually, U.S. per capita spending is about $2,500 more than the next highest-spending country. Obama’s figure was a White House-calculated per-family estimate.

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