Claims By Obama, Leading Republican Draw Fact-Checker Attention
"Proponents of reform have lost control over the message because people think it's too complicated to understand. Confused about important details of the proposals, the public is susceptible to misrepresentations by opponents," CBS News reports. For instance, in his State of the Union address Wednesday, President Barack Obama noted that the Congressional Budget Office has found the Democrats' overhaul legislation would ultimately reduce the deficit by up to $1 trillion. But, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll indicates "only fifteen percent of the public believe the current proposed health care reform legislation will reduce the deficit" (LaPook, 1/28).
In a fact check of the address, NPR addresses that claim that the CBO says the overhaul could save $1 trillion. Correspondent Julie Rovner notes that the legislation could have a greater impact in its second decade, assuming its passed, but that actual savings would depend on many factors. "The CBO and others have suggested that Congress might not actually have the stomach for some of the cuts that might be called for by this commission [which would be created by the overhaul to lower Medicare costs]. So there's some doubt as to whether those cuts would happen and whether that money would actually be saved" (Inskeep, 1/28).
And House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, also went before the truth squads for a claim made Wednesday night, and passed the test with PolitiFact's "mostly true" rating. "A majority of Americans still oppose this health care bill," Boehner said in a blog post after the president's address. PolitiFact found that only half of a group of recent polls show a downright majority as in more than 50-percent in opposition to the bills, however, the other half of the polls surveyed show more Americans oppose than favor the overhaul. PolitiFact dinged Boehner mildly over the difference between a majority and the 'firmer ground' of a plurality (Jacobson, 1/29).