Top 5 Most Audacious Health Care Statements

Conn Carroll /

President Barack Obama’s speech at yesterday’s White House Health Care Forum included a number of statements that are either false or highly misleading. Unfortunately yesterday was not the first time we heard these statements from the White House. Some fact checking is in order:

1. President Obama said: “The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes.

ABC News reports:

The figure comes from a 2005 Harvard University study saying that 54 percent of bankruptcies in 2001 were caused by health expenses. We reviewed it internally and knocked it down at the time; an academic reviewer did the same in 2006. Recalculating Harvard’s own data, he came up with a far lower figure – 17 percent.

The extrapolation of Harvard’s data to “a bankruptcy every 30 seconds,” which Obama also mentioned in his address to a joint session of Congress last month, comes, per the White House, from a 2005 Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Elizabeth Warren, a co-author of the Harvard paper. has noted that even using Harvard’s numbers, it’s more like a bankruptcy every minute; indeed if you add up all bankrputcies in a year you barely get one every 30 seconds. (I’ve e-mailed Warren for comment.) But more to the point is that the Harvard data are clearly inflated, or at best, mischaracterized.

2. President Obama said: “Medicare costs are consuming our federal budget; I don’t have to tell members of Congress this. Medicaid is overwhelming our state budgets; I don’t need to tell governors and state legislatures that.”

This statement is true, but since being sworn in President Obama has only made the problem worse by expanding Medicaid eligibility. In fact Obama’s health care plan includes a Medicare for all option that will explode government health care costs.

3. President Obama said: “I know that more will be required, but this is a significant down payment that’s fully paid for, does not add one penny to our deficit.”

We’re confused … is his health care plan “fully paid for” and “does not add one penny to our deficit” or “will more be required.” And if “more” is required, will that also be “fully paid for” or will pennies be added to our deficit? And if not deficit spending, where will the money come from?

4. President Obama said: “So if somebody has insurance they like, they should be able to keep that insurance. If they have a doctor that they like, they should be able to keep their doctor. They should just pay less for the care that they receive.”

We agree with these goals 100%. Problem is the government run health plan in Obama’s larger health care scheme will force people out of their current private plans and into government programs that many doctor’s refuse to participate in.

5. President Obama said: “That’s why we asked concerned citizens like the folks on this stage to organize open meetings across America where people could air their views. As Travis said, more than 3,000 meetings were held in all 50 states and D.C.; more than 30,000 people attended.”

These “open meetings” where held in the dead of winter, many of them in the week between Christmas and New Years. Only the most devoted the most ardent supporters of Obama’s plan showed up. The 30,000 people that attended are not representative of the American people in anyway, and the information the received at the forums was riddled with false facts.