NYT’s Robert Pear and Peter Baker lay waste just some of the preposterous claims President Obama made last night.
Obama claimed more support for his plan than it actually has:
Mr. Obama said doctors, nurses, hospitals, drug companies and AARP had supported efforts to overhaul health care.
While it is true the American Medical Association has endorsed a bill drafted by House Democratic leaders, a half-dozen state medical societies have sharply criticized provisions that would establish a new government-run health insurance plan.
Likewise, Mr. Obama said Medicare could save large amounts of money by creating “an independent group of doctors and medical experts who are empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency” and hold down the annual increases in payments to health care providers.
Far from supporting this proposal, the American Hospital Association is urging hospital executives to lobby against it.
Obama ignored the real cuts in health care access and quality his plan would cause:
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.
Obama claimed bi-partisanship when there has been none:
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.
Obama over-promised on the ability of his plan to cut waste:
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.
Obama falsely claimed, again, that his budget reduces the deficit:
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.