Friday, October 31st, 2014

Truth-O-Meter checks claims on Medicare costs, support of tax hike on home sales

Democrat Shelley Adler goes after Rep. Jon Runyan in this mock sports broadcast about his stance on Medicare reform.

Distortion of facts about Medicare and a senator’s alleged vote for a tax hike dominated the Truth-O-Meter this weekend.

In case you missed it, the Truth-O-Meter handed down a Mostly False ruling Sunday on the Medicare claim made by Democrat Shelley Adler, and a Pants on Fire ruling Monday to a claim made by a blog called "Menendez Facts" about incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.

Adler claim

Adler’s claim in a Sept. 12 advertisement posted on YouTube targets U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan. Adler is challenging Runyan in the Nov. 6 election for his House seat.

The ad claims Runyan’s support of a Medicare proposal by Wisconsin congressman and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan would increase Medicare costs $6,400 annually for beneficiaries.

There are a few problems with this claim: the ad doesn’t mention that the $6,400 estimate applies to an older version of Ryan’s Medicare proposal. That figure also would apply only to future Medicare enrollees, not current ones. Additionally, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has not analyzed how Ryan’s latest proposal would specifically affect beneficiary costs.

Blog claim

The "Menendez Facts" blog claims Menendez "voted to enact a new tax on the sale of homes of 3.8%."

The claim stems from the 2010 Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which was part of the national health care overhaul. The act includes a new tax on investment income for wealthy individuals that goes into effect in 2013.

Specifically, the law created a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for individuals who have an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 or couples with an adjusted gross income of more than $250,000. That investment income could come from real estate transactions. If the investment income is a house sale, the tax would apply to profit thresholds only, not the actual sale price of a house, as the blog claimed.

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