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Truth-O-Meter lands on False for Democratic claims about Medicare, divorce rate

By Bill Wichert
Published on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.

The future of Medicare and the likelihood of divorce may not seem to have much in common, but this past weekend, claims about each topic fell apart against the Truth-O-Meter.

On Sunday, PolitiFact New Jersey delivered a False to U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman’s statement that Republicans voted last year to "end Medicare." Another False ruling was issued Monday for New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s claim that "67 percent of marriages now wind up in divorce."

Rothman claim

Rothman (D-9th Dist.) claimed that Republicans voted last year to "end Medicare" -- and then repeated it -- during a Feb. 8 debate on the House floor. Democrats have been making that accusation since the GOP-controlled House in April 2011 approved a Medicare reform proposal advanced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

But fact-checkers across the country have debunked this claim numerous times, ultimately leading to its designation as PolitiFact’s 2011 Lie of the Year.

The Ryan plan would dramatically restructure Medicare, but it wouldn’t eliminate the nearly 47-year-old health insurance program. Also, the proposed changes wouldn’t affect current Medicare beneficiaries or others who turn 65 before 2022.

Sweeney claim

As New Jersey legislators prepared to vote last week on legalizing same-sex marriage, Sweeney offered that statistic about the divorce rate during a Feb. 10 interview on WNYC’s "The Brian Lehrer Show."

"And you know something, divorces will happen, absolutely, just like they happen for heterosexuals and probably, what's it, 67 percent of marriages now wind up in divorce," Sweeney said.

But we found that Sweeney’s number is off. According to experts we spoke with and studies we consulted, the likelihood of marriages ending in divorce fell somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent.

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About this article:


PolitiFact New Jersey, Congressman Steve Rothman claims "Republicans just voted last year to end Medicare", Feb. 19, 2012

PolitiFact New Jersey, Steve Sweeney claims two-thirds of marriages end in divorce, Feb. 20, 2011

Researchers: Bill Wichert

Names in this article: Steve Rothman, Stephen Sweeney

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