KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Fact Checks On Obama’s Health Care Speech

Several news organizations offered fact checks of President Obama's health care speech to Congress and the nation.

PolitiFact prepared "a guide to what Obama said and how his statements -- or similar ones we've checked -- fared on the Truth-O-Meter." For example, "Obama said that health care reform will require insurers to cover basic checkups and preventive care. 'That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives,' he said. It might make sense and save lives, but experts say it doesn't save money. Covering preventive care will cost the government more money than saves. We rated his statement False." PolitiFact rated other two other statements "True" (Holan and Jacobson, 9/9).

The New York Times also examines several of Obama's assertions, including that "'if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance' through an employer or the government 'nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.'" The Times reports that "That is technically true. But there is a real possibility that existing policies could change as a result of the legislation. The government, for instance, would set new standards, and employers that already offer insurance would have to bring their plans into compliance. Some existing policies might not be sustainable given the new requirements. Doctors, for example, could end up refusing to accept insurance plans patients now use" (Herszenhorn, 9/9).

CNN on Medicare claims: "True, but incomplete. While the Democratic bills now working their way through Congress don't force anyone to enroll in a proposed public health plan or ban private coverage, a congressional study found that at least one program now offered to seniors could be cut back if other parts of the bill survive" (9/9).

The Associated Press reports that "President Barack Obama used only-in-Washington accounting Wednesday when he promised to overhaul the nation's health care system without adding 'one dime' to the deficit. By conventional arithmetic, Democratic plans would drive up the deficit by billions of dollars." The AP also question Obama's claim that no Medicare benefits would be cut: "Although wasteful spending in Medicare is widely acknowledged, many experts believe some seniors almost certainly would see reduced benefits from the cuts. That's particularly true for the 25 percent of Medicare users covered through Medicare Advantage" (Woodward and Werner, 9/10). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.