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New York Times Fact-Checks the Presser

Uh-oh.  Even the New York Times is calling some of President Obama’s statements “in dispute.”  An excerpt:

Of the proposed new cost-control agency, Mr. Obama said: “It’s not going to reduce Medicare benefits. What it’s going to do is to change how those benefits are delivered so that they’re more efficient.”

Hospitals say the cuts could indeed cut services in some rural areas and from teaching hospitals, which receive extra payments because of higher costs.

In seeking to portray health legislation as bipartisan, Mr. Obama said that 160 Republican amendments were adopted in a bill approved last week by the Senate health committee. Republicans said many of the amendments involved technical provisions and did not alter the fundamental features of the bill.

The president said that health insurance companies were making “record profits.” America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main lobby for insurers, contends that “for every $1 spent on health care in America, approximately one penny goes to health plans’ profits.”

Mr. Obama said he was not proposing to ration care, but just wanted to coordinate it better. For example, he said, he wants to eliminate repetitious tests ordered by different doctors for the same patient.

Electronic medical records and health information technology, championed by Mr. Obama, could reduce such duplication. But, under his plan, it is not clear who would take responsibility for patients and coordinate care in traditional fee-for-service medicine.

The president continued to take credit for deficit reduction by making a claim that has been challenged by many experts.

“If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made,” the deficit over the next 10 years would be $2.2 trillion greater, the president said.

In fact, $1.5 trillion of those “savings” are mainly based on an assumption that the United States would have had as many troops in Iraq in 10 years as it did when Mr. Obama took office. But before leaving office, President George W. Bush signed an agreement with Baghdad mandating the withdrawal of all American forces within three years.

So Mr. Obama is claiming credit for not spending money that, under the policy he inherited from Mr. Bush, would never have been spent in the first place.

If you’ve lost the New York Times. . .

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