PolitiFact isn't always correct. But it's a heck of a lot more factual than most politicians.
Including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who are spreading lies about what they and President Obama want to do with Medicare.
Here's some recent PolitiFact rulings which show that Romney and Ryan are lying, while Obama and his campaign are telling the truth.
Barack Obama says Paul Ryan's Medicare plan could raise costs for Medicare beneficaries by $6,000 each. Mostly True.
The difference between $12,500 (the out-of-pocket costs under the Ryan plan in 2022) and $6,150 (the out-of-pocket costs that year under traditional Medicare) is $6,350, which is very close to $6,400.
In an interview, Paul Van de Water, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, emphasized that the numbers his group used come from CBO, the nonpartisan number-crunching arm of Congress, and that the center’s role was just to take the CBO analysis and make it "more understandable."
In fact, different groups have made slightly different calculations of the out-of-pocket increase -- the Kaiser Family Foundation, for instance, tabulated the number to be $6,870 -- but the estimates we’ve seen are all in the same ballpark.
...The Obama ad would have been more accurate if it had specified that it was referring to a previous Ryan plan for Medicare rather than the current one. We simply don’t have enough details to know how much extra money seniors might have to pay under the current Ryan plan. Still, the Obama campaign gave itself some wiggle room by saying that the plan "could" raise out-of-pocket costs by more than $6,000. On balance, we rate the statement Mostly True.
Do Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to turn Medicare into a voucher program? Mostly True.
Under Ryan’s original plan, Medicare would have changed from a program that pays doctors and hospitals fees for particular services to one in which beneficiaries would be paid an amount by the government that they could use toward private insurance premiums. This would have affected people who today are under 55 only. The private plans would comply with standards set by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Ryan has since offered updated versions of the plan, the first in conjunction with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and then as part of his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal.
...We agree that in the world of policy wonks, there are distinctions between "vouchers" and "premium support," having to do with the type of inflation adjustment used and the degree of marketplace regulation imposed. Compared with his original plan, Ryan’s most recent plan does move closer to fitting the definition of pure premium support. But substantively, it’s still somewhere in between the two approaches.
But the Romney-Ryan approach pretty much matches the dictionary definition of "a form or check indicating a credit against future purchases or expenditures." We think that describes the general way Ryan's plan would work. For a political discussion aimed at voters rather than policy wonks, we think Obama’s use of the term "voucher" is close enough to earn it a rating of Mostly True.
Mitt Romney says Barack Obama robs Medicare of more than $700 billion to pay for Obamacare. Mostly False.
First things first: Neither Obama nor his health care law literally cut a dollar amount from the Medicare program’s budget.
Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to try to bring down future health care costs in the program. At the time the law was passed, those reductions amounted to $500 billion over the next 10 years.
What kind of spending reductions are we talking about? They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law makes significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to private insurers.
Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care.
Obama and fellow Democrats say the intention is to protect beneficiaries' coverage while forcing health care providers to become more efficient.
...Romney said, "There's only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare."
The only element of truth here is that the health care law seeks to reduce future Medicare spending, and the tally of those cost reductions over the next 10 years is $716 billion. The money wasn’t "robbed," however, and other presidents have made similar reductions to the Medicare program.
Ryan's plan includes $700 billion in Medicare "cuts," says Stephanie Cutter. True.
"You know, I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform," Cutter said. "You know what those cuts are? It’s taking subsidies away from insurance companies, taking rebates away from prescription drug company. Is that what Mitt Romney wants to protect? And interestingly enough Paul Ryan protected those cuts in his budget."
It’s a lot to digest if you’re not already a Medicare policy wonk, so let us sort it out for you. For now, we are going to put aside the question of whether it is accurate to call them "cuts" -- a claim we're checking in another item -- and focus on the question of whether Cutter is correct that Ryan relies on those same reductions in his budget.
Cutter said that Romney attacked Obama for cutting $700 billion out of Medicare, but "Paul Ryan protected those cuts in his budget." Again, with this item we are not addressing whether they are cuts, but simply whether she is correctly characterizing Ryan's plan.
...Cutter is correct that the Ryan budget plan included cost savings that were part of the future health care law. Just recently, the Romney campaign backed away from that play, saying Romney’s plan would restore the spending that the health law is set to curtail, such as extra funding for private insurers under the Medicare Advantage plan.
Still, Cutter was right about the Ryan plan.
In this 3-minute You Tube video, Cutter shows up the documented Romney/Ryan lies and the demonstrably true Obama approach to keep Medicare solvent without cutting benefits to Medicare beneficiaries or making them pay thousands of dollars more each year.
Great reasons to vote for Democrats in November.