Attacks and Responses

Health Care





"Obamacare increases health care costs."

  • We do need to tackle health care costs while making sure patients get the right care at the right time. The good news is that three years later, health costs throughout the system -- including Medicare and Medicaid -- are slowing down.
  • The health law contains essentially every cost-containment provision the experts say is effective in holding down health care costs -- and the measures have only begun to take effect.
  • These innovations in the Affordable Care Act also make Medicare an even better leader in getting more value for our health care dollars, like the taxpayer protection board to prevent insurers and lobbyists from ripping off seniors with Medicare.
  • For patients worried about out-of-pocket costs, Obamacare saves them money by eliminating co-pays for check-ups, providing preventive care at no extra cost, and lowering prescription drug costs. In fact, seniors have saved over $6 billion on their medicines thanks to the health law.
  • The health care law helps hold down insurance premiums too, like by capping the amount of money that insurers can siphon off premiums for marketing and CEO bonuses. The law also allows small businesses to band together to get the same lower insurance rates as big corporations.

"Obamacare increases government debt."

  • Actually, the health law reduces the deficit.
  • Here's how: The health law cracks down on waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare, ends billions in taxpayer overpayments to insurance companies, and expands smart preventive care so doctors can detect illnesses early, before they get more expensive to treat.
  • So it makes sense that repealing the health law would do the opposite and increase the deficit. Take it from the nonpartisan authorities required by law to be objective.

"Obamacare will dramatically increase costs for young people."

  • Young people want affordable health insurance, too. They want the peace of mind from knowing that they won't be one car accident, freak injury, or unexpected illness away from a lifetime of medical debt.
  • Obamacare gives them more choices and resources to get that coverage.
  • They can stay on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26 and get tax credits to help buy coverage, not to mention better benefits like preventive care at no extra cost and protections against insurance companies ripping them off once they get covered.
  • Our health care system works best when it works for everyone and people take responsibility for their health and financial well-being -- including young adults. That's what being an adult is about.

"The states should turn down the Medicaid expansion."

  • Are you saying that leaving kids unable to go to the doctor and seniors unable to get their medicines will make America better off?
  • The health law's Medicaid expansion is a good deal for the states. That's why Republican governors are saying yes to federal money to cover their constituents.
  • Because Democratic and Republican governors are doing the right thing by their states, more hard-working Americans will get the security of quality health coverage.
  • Helping people get care ahead of time instead of in the ER means more cost savings too.

"The individual mandate is unfair -- Obamacare dictates to American families how they must spend the money in their already tight family budgets."

  • Everyone will need health care at some point in their lives, but having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice.
  • The "individual mandate" is really just a free rider fee for people who can afford health coverage but refuse to get it -- sticking the rest of us with the bill and driving up costs for everyone. That's an unfair burden on hard-working taxpayers, not just our health care system.
  • This free rider fee doesn't impact anyone who already has health insurance and there's help andhardship waivers for people who can't afford it. The remaining free riders are being asked to take responsibility and pay into the system so the rest of us don't have to pay for their care for free.
  • So a tiny percentage of free riders -- between just 2 to 5% of Americans -- will pay a small fee, while millions of families and small business owners that take responsibility for their care will get tax credits.

"Health reform is encouraging employers to cut the hours of their workers below 30 hours to avoid the employer mandate."

  • We need to keep in mind which firms are affected here. The health care law exempts small businesses and requires only a tiny number of the biggest businesses to pay into the system if they refuse to offer affordable coverage to their full-time workers and force taxpayers to pick up the tab.
  • Keep in mind that more than 96% of the bigger companies already offer health insurance to their workers, but some CEOs would rather give themselves bonuses and manipulate workers' hours like Walmart than offer their workers decent pay and benefits.
  • That's the problem our leaders need to tackle, not our efforts to make sure big corporations do right by their employees.
  • The bottom line is that the health care law provides health insurance tax credits for small businesses and makes quality, affordable health coverage available to Americans who wouldn't otherwise have it -- including part-time workers.

"Health reform is pushing employers to not offer health insurance benefits at all."

  • With the health law in place, 98% of workers who get coverage through their work are expected to keep their plans. The rest can get covered elsewhere, like through the new insurance exchanges.  
  • Companies aren't required to offer health care now but many do anyway to attract the best workers, keep them healthy on the job, and prevent other companies from recruiting them away.
  • And look at Costco. It pays good wages and provides health benefits to part-time and full-time workers. It still posted a profit of $540 million last quarter-- more per worker than Walmart.
  • The bottom line is that good, affordable health coverage will be available to everyone thanks to the health care law -- even if a few ruthless companies are willing to risk a public backlash and boycotts by dropping coverage for their workers.

"The polling shows Americans want the health care law struck down.”


"Medicare spending is out of control."

  • This is an attack on Medicare -- a foundation of health and financial security for hardworking Americans who should be able to retire in dignity -- that doesn't get the facts right.
  • Actually, Medicare spending has slowed down -- so much that projected costs have fallen by more than $500 billion since 2010. Costs are growing more slowly than private insurance, too.
  • No wonder -- Medicare is vastly more cost-effective and controls costs better than private insurance, which has administrative overhead that can be up to ten or more times higher thanMedicare's 2%.
  • The real problem is costs in the larger health care system. Medicare is a solution. As a cost-control leader and innovator that private insurers often follow, Medicare should keep leading the way in getting more value for our health care dollars.
  • Privatizing Medicare means shifting costs onto seniors and people with disabilities -- like the House GOP budgets would do.

"Letting Medicare bankrupt the country is stealing from our children and grandchildren."

  • Children are not better off if their parents and grandparents are worse off.
  • It isn't pro-family to force children into choosing between taking care of their own kids or their parents and grandparents. Taking responsibility and caring for one another and our families is a core American value.
  • Along with Social Security, Medicare is the foundation of Americans' health and financial security, not to mention a far more efficient way of securing it than the private sector. In these tough and uncertain times, we need to protect these programs more than ever.
  • We do need to deal with the system-wide health care costs problem, which Medicare is already doing. Medicare can and should do more to contain outrageous health care prices, but ending Medicare as we know it will make that impossible and increase everyone's health costs.

"The GOP budget protects and strengthens Medicare."

  • After a lifetime of hard work, Americans deserve to expect that Medicare will continue to guarantee their health coverage for life. But Congressional Republicans' idea of protecting and strengthening Medicare is ending Medicare as we know it.
  • That's because the Republican budget would replace Medicare with a little voucher and make seniors go fight the private insurance companies on their own.
  • When Medicare is a leader in controlling health care costs and private insurers follow its lead, ending Medicare doesn't just mean higher costs for seniors. It means higher costs for everyone.

"We should raise the eligibility age for Medicare."

  • Raising the Medicare age is the world's worst 2-for-1 deal. It would cost Americans $2 for every $1 it saves Congress.
  • Forcing seniors to wait longer for Medicare means taking them out of the most efficient system and pushing them into wasteful and costly private insurance pools -- driving up costs for everyone.
  • If you're a wealthy politician who doesn't worry about affording health care for himself or needing to retire after a lifetime of manual labor, sure, it's no big deal to you.
  • But if you're serious about fiscal responsibility, this leaves us with a health care system that provides less value and higher costs for everyone -- the opposite of what we want.

"Obamacare hurts seniors."

"Obama is double counting the Medicare savings to make Obamacare look fiscally responsible."


QUESTION: "How is the Administration's new contraception policy for respecting religious liberty different from the earlier policy?"

  • All churches and houses of worship continue to be, and have always been, exempt from covering contraception under the Affordable Care Act.
  • After listening to the concerns of religious-affiliated organizations like hospitals, charities, and universities, the Administration is now proposing to improve this contraception policy so that they do not have to provide birth control coverage if they object.
  • For women who work at religious organizations that object, insurers will still provide contraception coverage at no additional cost. All women get covered, no matter when they work.
  • This is what governing based on sound policy, not sound bites, looks like. The Administration wanted to both respect religious liberty and protect women's health -- and found a solution that does just that.

"Planned Parenthood's core business is abortion." 

  • That's not even close to reality. In fact, 97% of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing to do with abortion.
  • What does Planned Parenthood do? Every year, their health centers provide 2 million cancer screening and prevention services and primary health care to 3 million women and men who can't afford it otherwise.
  • Stopping vulnerable women from getting cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood may score political points, but it risks lives instead of saving them.

We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


Posted in - Health Care - Seniors - Women - Medicare

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