Obamacare half-truths in the Sunday talk shows

Right-learning pundit James Capretta argued Obamacare is "massive, massive income redistribution" on "Fox News Sunday" on Dec. 1, 2013.
Right-learning pundit James Capretta argued Obamacare is "massive, massive income redistribution" on "Fox News Sunday" on Dec. 1, 2013.

Is Obamacare just big-time socialism by another name? 

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked his guests during the Dec. 1, 2013, show if President Barack Obama's health care reforms centered on massive income redistribution. 

James Capretta with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a group with ties to conservative organizations, said yes, and then some.

"If you think about it, it's $250 billion a year in Medicaid expansion, in the subsidy structure, that's basically being paid for by people on Medicare, through Medicare cuts, and a lot of tax increases," Capretta said. "It is a massive, massive income redistribution."

PunditFacted rated this claim Half True. Capretta's point is too simplistic.

Yes, it is accurate to say that money is being redistributed to pay for an expansion of public and private health insurance, and that the country's highest earners will pay about $46 billion more in taxes. But this is a relatively small portion, or about 15 percent, of the money generated by the Affordable Care Act. Lower-income earners will also pay for some of the costs. Also, it's not clear right now that Medicare patients will suffer as a result of reduced payments to Medicare providers.

Obamacare dominated talk on NBC's Meet the Press, too -- specifically, whether the problem-riddled federal insurance marketplace will turn off young adults, a group whose growth in coverage is seen as crucial to the success of the law.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist and former health policy adviser in the Obama administration, pointed to turnout of young adults in the California insurance exchange as a promising sign of what could happen for healthcare.gov.

"And there, the proportion of kids who are signing up is the proportion of kids in the population," Emanuel said. "And so it does appear that we are going to have enough when you look at that data point. And if we can get the word out, I think Ezra is right, we'll get enough young people."

We also rated this claim Half True. Emanuel is referencing data for the first month of open enrollment, when about 23 percent of people who selected a private insurance plan were between the ages of 18 and 34. That does align closely with their share of the overall population (anywhere from 21 to 27 percent, depending on how you measure it), but experts said that's a problematic way of looking at the data.

Plus, they said it's way too early to draw any significant conclusions.

PunditFact staff writer Jon Greenberg contributed to this report. We'll return to live fact-checking the Sunday news shows Dec. 8.