Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Civil But Truthy Debate

House leaders have promised a more civil debate with respect to the drive to repeal the health care law passed in the 111th Congress. That's certainly a welcome development. An even better change would be not only a more civil debate but also a more honest debate. That appears to be asking for too much.

This article presented a little "fact checking" on the primary assertions made by Republicans in their drive to roll back some of the provisions of "ObamaCare." Here are a couple of key points:

What about Republican assertions that studies show hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk?

They are quite misleading. As outlined by the nonpartisan, one study by the conservative National Federation of Independent Business that an estimated 1.6 million jobs would be lost did not analyze the new law. Instead, it examined an alternative that did not exempt small businesses from the mandate.

And a second report by the Congressional Budget Office does not indicate that 650,000 jobs will be lost, as Republicans have claimed. The CBO concluded that the new law might prompt many Americans, including those approaching retirement, to stop working because they would no longer need a job to get health insurance, a key benefit of the law.

What about the law's effect on the budget deficit?

The CBO, which lawmakers from both parties rely on to assess the effects of legislation, now estimates that the law would bring down the deficit over the next decade by more than $200 billion.

That is possible because the authors of the legislation offset the cost of expanding coverage to 32 million Americans over the next decade with more than $500 billion in cuts to federal Medicare spending and more than $400 billion in new taxes and fees.

In other words, the Republicans have once again been pulling "facts" from their nether parts to make their arguments. I find it quite refreshing that the press saw fit to call them on this dishonorable tactic. I wish they would do so more often.

I suppose that's asking too much as well.

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