Saturday, September 12, 2009

President Obama's Health Care Speech Before Congress on 9/9: Lies and Half-Truths

During President Obama's major health care speech on Wednesday, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (R) yelled out "You lie!" when the President said the legislation would not mandate coverage for undocumented immigrants. Did the President in fact lie at this point in his speech? Much depends on your political perspective.

FactCheck did a review of the President’s speech for apparent lies and in some spots, notwithstanding your perspective of the President, he at a minimum spoke some half-truths. Rep. Wilson is vindicated from Political Policy’s perspective simply because the President in his speech committed a greater crime to the American people than lying. He was disingenuous and vague. When your child says they are going to a house party and tell you the miscreants aren’t invited, did they lie to you when they know for sure they will crash it? The President knows for sure the government will crash the national health care party with his proposals.

  • Obama was correct when he said his plan wouldn’t insure illegal immigrants; the House bill expressly forbids giving subsidies to those who are in the country illegally. Conservative critics complain that the bill lacks an enforcement mechanism, but that hardly makes the President a liar.
  • The President said no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” But the House bill would permit a “public option” to cover all abortions, and would also permit federal subsidies to be used to purchase private insurance that covers all abortions, a point that raises objections from anti-abortion groups. That’s true despite a technical ban on use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion coverage.
  • The President repeated his promise that his plan won’t add “one dime” to the federal deficit. But legislation offered so far would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • The President overstated the degree of concentration in the insurance industry. He said that in 34 states the "insurance market" is controlled by five or fewer companies, but that’s true only of insurance bought by small groups, not the entire "insurance market."
  • Obama said his plan won’t “require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” It’s true that there’s no requirement, but experts say the legislation could induce employers to switch coverage for millions of workers.

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