Healthcare kindle for presidential debate


Among the pods of debate in Denver last night, the issue of healthcare was every bit as fiery as the oft-considered more popular economy, jobs and the widely-divisive role of government.

While short on tangible insights about either candidate’s vision particular to healthcare – GOP nominee Mitt Romney continued his “repeal and replace” mantra while President Obama looked to tout some of the law’s accomplishments – the night was filled with barbs, twists of fact and even half-truths that have already been fact-checked myriad times.

[See also: Obamaneycare: Trotskyite takeover or big company bail out?]

Even before the healthcare pod began, the candidates traded jabs as GOP nominee Mitt Romney referred to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by the formerly derogatory “Obamacare,” then flashed Obama a glance while saying “Sorry, Mr. President,” to which Obama quipped “I like it.”

Among the achievements Obama alluded to is the potential cost-savings within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “The fact of the matter is that, when Obamacare is fully implemented, we’re going to be in a position to show that costs are going down,” President Obama said. “And over the last two years, healthcare premiums have gone up, but they’ve gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years. So we’re already beginning to see progress.”

Perhaps unfortunately for the President, that argument seemed to go over much better for former President Bill Clinton when he made it at the Democratic National Convention.

“The growth in employer-sponsored family premiums has fluctuated in recent years. It went up just 4 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, but it increased 9 percent the year before, a big jump from the mere 3 percent increase between 2009 and 2010,” wrote in Dubious Denver debate declarations. “Clearly the growth rate over the last two years isn’t a 50-year low – it was sitting around 5 percent from 2007 to 2009. However, the growth of healthcare costs is at a 50-year low for the past two years.”

[See also: 6 questions compare Ryan, Obama on Medicare]

Romney also spouted some questionable statistics, namely that $716 billon number again. The same one his vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan has been publicly smacked down for using before the party conventions. This time, Politifact dubbed it a half-truth.

"That amount – $716 billion – refers to Obamacare's reductions in Medicare spending over 10 years, primarily paid to insurers and hospitals," PolitiFact wrote. "The statement gives the impression that the law takes money already allocated to Medicare away from current recipients."