Discuss as:

Obama agenda: The fact-checking

— The Boston Globe fact-checks the president's speech, pointing out: "Studies have shown that much preventive care - particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions - actually costs money instead of saving it." The Congressional Budget Office noted this earlier this year. It's because, apparently, the odds are that not everyone will get so sick later on that the preventative care saves money. But if everyone gets testing early, that's an upfront cost that doesn't exist and isn't counterbalanced by a smaller percentage getting more sick than they should have later. As the Globe writes, "That doesn't mean preventive care doesn't make sense or save lives. It just doesn't save money." 
 
The AP also takes a stab and says the administration uses iffy math on claiming the bill will be deficit-neutral: "House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn't have to count $245 billion of it -- the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don't face big annual pay cuts. Their reasoning was that they already had decided to exempt this 'doc fix' from congressional rules that require new programs to be paid for. In other words, it doesn't have to be paid for because they decided it doesn't have to be paid for."
 
As for illegal immigrants benefiting from reform: "The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy private health insurance, as many do now, but wouldn't get tax subsidies to help them. Still, Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits they are not due." As far as those "verification requirements" that Republicans are hanging their hats on, there aren't any now. They are required by a law written during a Republican presidency, to be treated in an emergency room.
 
And on Medicare not being touched: "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. Supporters contend that providers could absorb the cuts by improving how they operate and wouldn't have to reduce benefits or pass along costs. But there's certainly no guarantee they wouldn't."