January 31, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Sylvia Hampton, past president o f the San Diego County League of Women Voters, sent a letter she received from Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to www.Factcheck.org, a nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania that researches accuracy of statements by public officials.
“Congressman Hunter’s description of the bill is not entirely accurate,” concluded Eugene Kiely, director of FactCheck.org in Philadelphia. Further, he found Rep. Hunter’s use of some statistics “misleading.”
Below is the full response from Factcheck.org, which Hampton forwarded to East County Magazine:
Congressman Hunter’s description of the bill is not entirely accurate.
Hunter is correct that it contains an individual mandate -- that is, a requirement that individuals have health insurance, although there are "hardship" exceptions. But there is no similar mandate on small businesses, and in fact some small businesses will be eligible for tax credits. The IRS explains the tax credits here. Larger businesses -- many of them -- will have to pay penalties if they don't provide coverage for their employees. For those of you want more information on the impact of the law on businesses, we have written about that topic just recently here.
The law does not "cut" $500 million from Medicare. It slows the growth of traditional Medicare, but does not cut it. About 78 percent of Medicare recipients use the traditional fee-for-service Medicare plan. The law does cut costs in Medicare Advantage, which a Medicare plan provided by a private insurer and offers better benefits than the traditional plan that most Medicare recipients use. We wrote about that here.
The congressman's use of CBO (Congressional Budget Office) figures is misleading. As we wrote before, "The CBO said that 8 million to 9 million people who would be expected to have employer-sponsored insurance under current law wouldn’t be offered such benefits by 2019. These would mainly be low-income workers, CBO said, who would be eligible for subsidies to buy their own plans. Others would gain coverage through their jobs under the bill, resulting in a net decrease of 4 million people on employer-sponsored insurance." You can read more about that here.
As for the cost, we recently posted this article that refutes misleading claims made by both Democrats and Republicans.
Thank you for reading FactCheck.org,
Philadelphia Director, FactCheck.org