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Truth (and some stretching) on health care
Becky Bowers
By Becky Bowers March 27, 2012

For the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we got a healthy dose of health care claims from Republicans and Democrats.

We thought we'd do some check ups of our own.

We started with a claim about President Barack Obama's effect on health care premiums.

A video from the Senate Republican Conference said that while Obama promised to "work with your employer to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year," his health care law "raises premiums in the individual market by $2,100 per family."

We found that while the number comes from a Congressional Budget Office analysis, it’s stripped of crucial context. It ignores subsidies that would ease the financial burden for a majority of those seeing premium increases; it ignores that the additional premium dollars will pay for more generous benefits; and it ignores that the vast majority of Americans with private insurance will pay no more than $200 extra for their premiums due to the law -- and possibly less than that. We rated the statement Mostly False.

A second claim from the Republican video fared better.

It said that "up to 80 percent of small businesses will be forced to give up their current plans due to new Obamacare regulations." In doing so, it is choosing an estimate for small businesses that may change their plans that is at the high end of a range that also includes estimates of 66 and 49 percent, but the video does say "up to."

Businesses may change plans by choice or because of the exigencies of the market. The health care law doesn’t directly force businesses to give up their plans, which makes the statement only partially accurate. We rated it Half True.

Meanwhile, a claim from an Obama campaign ad was True.

It said Obama "reduced the cost of prescription drugs for nearly 3.6 million Americans in 2011."

The law is saving Medicare beneficiaries money by phasing out the coverage gap, or doughnut hole. It accomplishes that by requiring discounts from drug companies and by providing subsidies in increasing amounts until the gap is eliminated. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid said about 3.6 million people saved about $2.1 billion on drugs in 2011.
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Truth (and some stretching) on health care