Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Quickie) FACT CHECK: Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (One Of Many GOP'ers) Misleading Re: Healthcare Reform This Week

The Tweet from Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) caught my eye: "The cost of would buy you all 32 NFL Teams, 30 NBA Teams , 30 MLB Teams , and 30 NHL Teams almost 8 times."  Honestly, my first thought was how that action would affect whether the Phoenix Coyotes stay in town.  My second thought was that that figure needs to be fact checked.

First stop, the document Schweikert cites in the Tweet.  Not much help, just a brief Republican talking point from the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  It indicates that the CBO's (the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office) latest estimates put the "cost of Obamacare has increased by $500 billion", for a total cost of $1.445 trillion.  Unfortunately, the GOP does not bother to cite where they received that from.

The next stop was to Rep. Schweikert's website, to see if we could glean more details.  The figure is there in his news release, along with the claims that last year's law includes "$670 billion in new taxes and counting", that it is "job-killing" and that his vote for repealing it "is a much better way."

Still no hint on where the $500 billion increase/$1.445 trillion total is gleaned from.  Next stop, the CBO's own website.  Nothing there on their "health" page - not since February 18, that is, when the CBO made it clear that they thought that the House Republicans' repeal would make our federal budget deficit WORSE by $251 billion between 2012-19!

Perhaps the Republicans are speaking of this CBO analysis of the President's 2012 budget submission, dated March 18, 2011.  However, after wading through the wonky document - particularly pages 14-15 and the table on page 22 - I could only find evidence that the CBO has concluded that changed estimates had a positive (downward) effect on the budget deficit over the next ten years.

Without being able to know what data Schweikert - and, the GOP in general - is relying upon, it is impossible to fully evaluate their claims.  However, what is certain is that they are leaving out the most important part of the data - the bottom line.  The CBO has scored the healthcare reform law as being positive for reducing the federal budget deficit (and the overall U.S. economy, for that matter), and has blasted the GOP's reform as increasing that deficit.

Misleading, at best.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

2 comments:

DrB said...

Lies, Damned Lies and Democrat Talking Points: You should have spent a little more time checking your facts. In fact, you are emblematic of the democrats and Pelosi who said we had to pass the law to see what was in it. The dems were all about speed to passage—not what is right or best for us as individuals, our country and our economic system. For example, look at what the liberal Washington Post said last week about the bogus numbers:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/gifts-of-bogus-statistics-for-the-health-care-laws. To wit: it does not create jobs; it does not reduce the deficit but it does hurt small business and leaves more people uninsured! Let me be clear: the PPACA (Obamacare) is a disaster! It was jammed through Congress with little or no debate; it was jammed through Congress with blackmail, deceit and fraud; the CBO spit out the numbers the administration wanted; and you have the temerity to castigate David Schweikert for simply telling the truth? Here are the facts gentle readers and constituent: look at the June 2010 Long-Term Budget Outlook (http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=11579) and the Cost Estimate for the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=11379) and you will find that the cost curve does not bend down; you will also find that the CBO has determined (not estimated) that the effect of the healthcare legislation has been and will be to increase government spending by $3.8 trillion between 2010 and 2020. Lastly, you blast the GOP and Schweikert, who are trying to save this country from economic disaster as saying their data is “misleading, at best” and all you can come up with are a few democrat talking points which every hack in the blogosphere has access to. You in no way want to discuss the impact of this terrible legislation on our economic system or the unintended consequences of putting so many people out of business as a result of this legislation, or: the uncertainty of increased regulation (6500 pages and counting), increased costs that states and all organizations face in the impact of the legislation; the huge increase in taxes hitting the middle class and small businesses; the harm to seniors who will lose their Medicare Advantage program; why 62% of respondents in a Rasmussen Poll last week want Obamacare repealed; the over 1000 (1040 actually) waivers largely given to labor unions, all of whom supported Obama in the 2008 election; the need to report out our BMI (why would the government want to know what my Body Mass Index was anyway?); the crippling effect of 30-40 million new entrants into a system that is already beginning to see doctor and nursing professional shortages and predicts greater shortages later; the chilling effect on medical product innovation in an industry that most needs it; the building of an even bigger government when we can least afford it (Obamacare creates 159 new bureaucracies-programs, commissions, boards, and other agencies); and perhaps most importantly, the creation of new sets of rights that fundamentally alter our covenant with government that reflects what Ronald Reagan warned years ago, “you can’t socialize doctors without socializing patients”!

The bottom line here is what the Chief Medicare Actuary Richard Foster said in his recent (January 2011) testimony to Congress that this landmark legislation “will not hold costs down nor will it let us all keep the insurance we already have”. You see, when there are so many bad actors creating so many bad circumstances for everyone, and all the unintended consequences (or were they?) you have to ask yourself, are they all that stupid, or do they think we are all that stupid? That is why we voted for real change in Washington this past November and we will soon vote for change we can believe in when we get the empty, feckless suit out of the White House and take back the Senate as well.
Kent Barry, PhD

Mitch M. said...

Thanks, Kent. I appreciate your impassioned response (if not your lack of using more paragraphs), and for bringing some of your data to our attention.

However, I disagree with your premise that this post spouts "Democrat (sic) Talking Points". (Or, "damned lies", for that matter.) I do not think that any Democratic talking points were used in the production of this fact check - especially as it is pretty murky as to what the Democratic party's talking points are!

If you read the Fact Check closely, you will see that only the CBO was used to evaluate the GOP's claims. The CBO analyses are touted by the Republicans (and the Democrats, for that matter) when it supports their claims, and lambasted as partisan when the CBO analysis does not.

I try to rely equally upon the CBO's analysis no matter which party's viewpoint is being supported. I would hope (but not expect) that others would, too.

Likewise, the professional fact checkers (Politifact.com, FactCheck.org, the Washington Post column) get used and abused in the same way.

You cite one of those - that is somewhat off the subject of the above limited Fact Check. Surely, you will equally embrace the same Fact Check reporter's conclusion: http://wapo.st/gofvAp.

Kent, he came to the same conclusion that Arizona's Politics had (two days earlier) and that the CBO had: the Republicans made "significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions." (Definition of "3 Pinocchios")

Kent, you raised some valid points about healthcare reform - it is a very difficult subject to come up with one perfect solution to, and the law that was passed is - by everyone's admissions - not perfect.

However, it appears that you were looking for a reason to raise your objections to the law. This Fact Check did not make you happy, so you teed off on it. It may not have made you happy, but you have nothing to back up your accusations. Nor have you shown that the Republican talking points repeated by Rep. Schweikert were accurate.

Thank you again for reading, for responding, and for reacting to this comment in the sincere spirit (for furthering civil debate) with which it - and this entire blog - is intended.