Monday, September 28, 2009

BOEHNER COLUMN: Fact-Checking the Health Care Debate

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today released the following weekly column fact-checking the health care debate. The full text of the column is below:

“As the majority in Washington continues to push plans for government-run health care, it is easy to get confused by all the conflicting speeches, TV ads and e-mail chains. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to share the facts about these plans with citizens in the Eighth District. Recently, I shared the impact these plans would have on small businesses. This week, I’d like to discuss what the current bills before Congress mean to our senior citizens.

“In the Senate, the Finance Committee continues examining Senator Max Baucus’ costly government-run health care bill. This plan would cut Medicare by nearly $500 billion, slashing coverage millions of seniors depend on, and ultimately eliminating choices currently enjoyed by seniors today.

“In the House, the current version of health care reform, H.R. 3200, is equally concerning. In fact, the bill would take more than $160 billion from Medicare Advantage.

“As you may know, Medicare Advantage is a private health insurance program created to compete with the government-run Medicare program. Medicare Advantage must offer at least the same benefits as traditional Medicare, but many providers include more in a bid to attract customers. For this reason, Medicare Advantage has grown to be quite popular, and now provides 23 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries nationwide – that’s nearly 11 million seniors – with access to high quality health care plans.

“Cuts to this important program would be felt by every single one of Ohio’s seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage to provide them with the care they need, and it would have a big impact on the Eighth District, where more than 50,000 seniors in Butler, Darke, Mercer, Montgomery, Miami and Preble counties enjoy the benefits and flexibility offered by Medicare Advantage.

“The president continues to say that no Medicare beneficiary will see any reduction in benefits or services as a result of health care reform. But that just isn’t the case, and Republicans aren’t the only ones saying so. Last week, Doug Elmendorf, the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), contradicted the president when he told the Senate Finance Committee he “expected the Medicare Advantage plans to lose 2.7 million enrollees over the next decade” as a result of the Baucus plan.

“Perhaps most troubling is the recent moves by the Obama administration to silence companies who are trying to explain to seniors how these plans could affect them. Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services slapped a 'gag order' on one company for simply distributing information to seniors outlining potential impacts of the Baucus bill.

“This type of censorship has no place in America. Seniors have a right to know how they may be affected by Washington’s health-care planning. When all the facts are laid out on the table, it is easy to see that this bill is the wrong prescription in these tough economic times. It increases health-care costs, cuts Medicare for seniors, imposes new taxes on struggling middle-class families and small businesses and has a trillion-dollar price tag.

“Let me make one thing clear: this isn’t about calling out President Obama for the sake of doing so. The American people have a right to know the unvarnished truth about the potential consequences of this costly government takeover of their health care. The president’s failure to meet this common-sense standard is yet another indication it is time to hit the reset button and start over in a bipartisan way to achieve health care reforms hard-working Americans can support and afford without taking away the high quality care our senior citizens deserve.”