FactCheck: Taking sides on the Affordable Care Act


Wednesday will be the 31st time the House has tried to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act. Without the Senate, it boils down to grandstanding, but it's an opportunity to once more for a FactCheck.

The House Oversight Subcommittee chair said Tuesday he wanted to find the effect of the Affordable Care Act on doctors and patients.

"For example, the law creates 159 new agencies, boards and committees to control how physicians do their jobs," Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, said.

FactCheck: That's not accurate. The 159 number comes from an organization founded by Newt Gingrich. The Congressional Research Service says the actual number of agencies is yet to be determined as the law goes into effect.

"First, the law cuts Medicare advantage, reducing choices for seniors, secondly the bill cuts overall Medicare spending by $500 billion over the next decade," Gowdy said.

FactCheck: That's not accurate. Republicans claim care will be rationed, but the law explicitly states the Independent Payment Advisory Board will not include any recommendation to ration health care or raise Medicare premiums for beneficiaries. The Department of Health and Human Services says 16 million seniors benefited this year from free preventive service. As for cutting $500 billion from Medicare, it's more accurate to say the growth in Medicare spending will be reduced by $500 billion over 10 years. Spending will still go up, just not as much.

As for when the president says you can keep the coverage you like?

"This law will only make it more secure and more affordable," President Obama said.

FactCheck: That's not completely true. Companies will still be free to switch plans or even drop their plans, though they'll pay a penalty if they do.

"6.6 million college students remain on their parents' insurance policies," Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Illinois, said.

FactCheck: That's a stretch. 6.6 million is the number of young adults that could possibly remain on their parents insurance policies, but the Department of Health and Human Services says 3.1 million young adults would not have health insurance if not for the law.

When the Republicans in Congress say that the health care law will raise people's taxes, that's not completely true either for the great majority of Americans. It will raise taxes on the wealthy, which brings up one more FactCheck. Tuesday, the vice president went after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for refusing to make public his most recent tax returns.

"He wants you to show your papers but he won't show us his," Vice President Joe Biden said.

Romney's 2010 tax return shows he reported expenditures on his wife's dressage horse of $77,000; that's led to a lot of Internet talk about Romney taking a $77,000 tax deduction, but that's not accurate. Tax experts will tell you the passive loss on the Romney worksheet can only be deducted if there is a profit from the same activity and there wasn't, therefore no tax benefit for 2010, and while he could carry it forward, the allegation that he took the deduction for his wife's dressage horse is not accurate.

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