FACT CHECK: Obama Misleads on Medicare, Taxes, and Regulations
Lachlan Markay /
During a Sunday evening interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” President Obama made numerous factually inaccurate or misleading claims.
Specifically, Obama claimed that he has not raised Americans’ taxes, that he has not raised costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and that he has imposed fewer regulations than his predecessor. The first two claims are false, and the third is highly misleading.
Obama: “You can’t ask me to…ask seniors to pay more for their Medicare.”
Fact: Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare will raise Medicare costs for many seniors.
Obamacare’s Medicare Advantage cuts will force more seniors into traditional Medicare plans, according to Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster:
The new provisions will generally reduce [Medicare Advantage] rebates to plans and thereby result in less generous benefit packages. We estimate that in 2017, when the MA provisions will be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent (from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law).
The result will be higher out-of pocket costs for many Medicare recipients, since traditional Medicare plans, unlike MA, don’t cap out-of-pocket costs. “Seniors leaving the private plans would still have health insurance under traditional Medicare,” the Associated Press noted, “but many might face higher out-of-pocket costs.”
The AP confirmed these findings in a report last week:
…if you are lucky enough to be financially comfortable in retirement, odds are you’ll pay higher premiums under President Barack Obama’s plan. It’s not just the 1 percent who’ll feel the pinch.
And take note, baby boomers: The Medicare you get won’t be quite as generous as what your parents’ generation enjoys. A higher deductible here, a new co-payment there, and the tweaks add up.
Whether or not the administration’s approach is wise policy, the fact is that many seniors will be paying more for their Medicare benefits.
Indeed, the White House has been very frank about the effects of its MA cuts. “I’m sure that some of those additional benefits have been nice,” said White House health care official Nancy-Ann DeParle. “But I think what we have to look at here is what’s fair and what’s important for the strength of the Medicare program long term.”
Obama: “I haven’t raised taxes. I’ve cut taxes for middle class families by an average of $3,600 per typical family.”
Fact: Obamacare will raise taxes on millions of Americans, including many below the poverty line.
“Nearly 6 million Americans — significantly more than first estimated— will face a tax penalty under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul for not getting insurance, congressional analysts said Wednesday,” the Associated Press reported last week. “Most would be in the middle class.”
Nearly 80 percent of those forced to pay Obamacare’s mandate tax will make five times the federal poverty rate or less – about $55,000 for individuals and $115,000 for households – in 2016, the year CBO examined.
About 600,000 Americans below the poverty line – incomes of $12,000 for individuals and $24,600 for families of four, CBO’s projection for 2016 – will be subjected to this tax.
What’s more, the mandate tax is only one of a slew of Obamacare tax hikes.
Obama: “I’ve issued fewer regulations than my predecessor George Bush did during that same period in office.”
Fact: Obama’s major regulations dwarf Bush’s in cost and quantity.
Heritage’s Red Tape Rising report spelled out the disparity in simple terms:
During the three years of the Obama Administration, a total of 106 new major regulations have been imposed at a cost of more than $46 billion annually, and nearly $11 billion in one-time implementation costs. This amount is about five times the cost imposed by the prior Administration of George W. Bush.
While Obama focuses on all rules issued by federal agencies, the more relevant measure – regulations that will actually have a significant impact on economic growth – shows Obama has wielded a much heavier regulatory hand than his predecessor.