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August 17th, 2009
06:25 AM ET

PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter: Health care fact vs. fiction

Editor's Note: is a project of the St. Petersburg Times that aims to help you find the truth in politics. Every day, reporters and researchers from the Times examine statements by members of Congress, the president, etc. They research their statements and then rate the accuracy on their Truth-O-Meter.

Obama claims Medicare benefits will not be cut under the health care bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting August 11, 2009 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire."]

"I just want to assure [you] we're not talking about cutting Medicare benefits."

-Barack Obama on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 in a town hall meeting.

The Truth-O-Meter says: HALF TRUE

Half True

Read more: Cuts to Medicare? Sort of

Palin claims Obama misled when he said end-of-life counseling is voluntary

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sarah Palin serves the public hot dogs during the annual Governor's Picnic July 26, 2009 at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks, Alaska."]

A provision in the health care reform bill for end-of-life counseling for seniors is not "entirely voluntary."

-Sarah Palin on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 in her Facebook page

Truth-O-Meter says: FALSE


Read more: If you don't have to do it, it's voluntary

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ad says health reform plan would mean big tax increases

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="TV ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce posted on"]

The health care reform plan being proposed in Congress would mean "big tax increases."

-U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 in a TV ad

The Truth-O-Meter says: HALF TRUE

Half True

Read more: Tax increases would be borne mostly by wealthy

Filed under: Truth-O-Meter
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. saan

    A healthy and fit person is often happy and positive about life. Each one of us should make it a point to take care of our health and physical fitness....
    San Antonio Dentist

    November 21, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  2. Dennis

    Answers from the Truth-O-Meter are being based on the specific wording of the bill in Congress. But, the bill creates governmental bodies that will be responsible for creating regulations that govern this newly reformed healthcare system. Those regulations will have the force of law. So, things like coverage of Macular Degeneration will never be in the basic legislation but will be specifically defined by the regulations created under this new healthcare system. In answering these true or false questions, you have to extrapulate.

    August 18, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  3. Bernice

    As I have seen it, the president did tell the truth! He said that he not pull the plug on granny? He was correct, however he should have told you that granny was not worth the money to plug her into a resp. to begin with! He would not pull the plug, if she were not even plugged in to begin with! He plays the American People, like we are stupid! The town halls show otherwise! They are not stupid at all, just outraged! Speak out, loudly and clearly, but always be kind. No matter how you feel, speak up! Now is the time!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  4. Doug

    jay m August 17th, 2009 2:34 pm ET

    What is UNCONSTITUTIONAL is these low life insurance companies taking advantage of americans with their outrageous premiums and high deductibles in the name of greed, americans need other options.

    Please go and actually read the Constitution. It doesn't limit the powers of Business, just the governments powers are explicitly limited. Greed is unconscionable but not UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Government intrusion into Business, telling how to run, is explicitly UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    August 18, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  5. Zion

    ms.c August 17th, 2009 10:57 am ET

    why shouldn’t we pay a little more tax for health care? why shouldn’t we pay more taxes for schools? why should we pay a little extra taxes for roads and infrastructure? we want great schools with the best teachers that money can buy. when the pay is poor, what kind of teachers do we get? this is no indictment for the good teachers that provide the best they have no matter what they are paid. but how many political campaign have revolved around “education reform”? everyone want the best the GOVERNMENT can provide but no one want to pay for it.

    Ms. C,

    Isn't it amazing how Republicans scream about entitlement, but isn't that exactly what you are describing...believing that you deserve something for nothing. I agree with your statement.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  6. jay m

    What is UNCONSTITUTIONAL is these low life insurance companies taking advantage of americans with their outrageous premiums and high deductiblesin the name of greed, americans need other options.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  7. Doug

    Forget the Blue Dogs, the Republicans, the Democrats, and the Independents, The supreme law of the land prohibits not only Health-Care but just about everything that has been done in the name of our government. The constitution calls all these things UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The President, and all members of Congress could be Impeached for Treason if they pass it. So couldn't have almost all Congresspersons and presidents if we actually applied the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

    August 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  8. james

    All those againts the health care reform need to STFU. If you think it is socialist, then never again call the fire department, call the police, collect SOCIAL security, send you kid to public school, take a government loan, ect.
    WAKE UP, we are already socialist, and it works.

    August 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  9. Alex

    To all those saying that health care reform would be "unconstitutional" take a look at the powers of Congress. One such power is that to regulate interstate commerce. The Supreme Court has interpreted this as also meaning that Congress may regulate things that have a great effect on Interstate Commerce, you know, things like healthcare.

    August 17, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  10. ms.c

    why shouldn't we pay a little more tax for health care? why shouldn't we pay more taxes for schools? why should we pay a little extra taxes for roads and infrastructure? we want great schools with the best teachers that money can buy. when the pay is poor, what kind of teachers do we get? this is no indictment for the good teachers that provide the best they have no matter what they are paid. but how many political campaign have revolved around "education reform"? everyone want the best the GOVERNMENT can provide but no one want to pay for it. infrastructure is falling apart and we hear people complaining about how their roads are not getting repaired. we are putting our kids into debt by borowwing because "tax increase" has such a stigma attached. we are trillions of dollars in debt but to agree to a moderate tax increase would have the masses howling. why shouldn't we finance america? if there is a tax increase then the politicians need to hold monthly statewide forums via television and the internet to show where the money is going and there should be a citizen panel to go over the books. for those who mismanage budgets and use taxpayers money for their own gain, then they should be voted out. the current climate in congress and state legislature that these politicians are voted in because they have been there forever and no one can really see what they have done to fix anything but their own bottom line. how do i know how much a lobby group paid my congressperson to vote on rules and laws that adversely affect mainstream americans and give money to corporate giants and ceos. the incentive for corruption needs to be removed.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  11. Doe Hall

    Get the Blue Dogs in line and just ram it through with the public option included. Forget the Republicans, they lost the election and now they are trying to high-jack health care reform. Sorry, Not this time!

    August 17, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  12. ms.c

    why did palin issue a proclamation for alaskans to make out advanced directives in april 2008? there were no "death panel" issues then. how can you say one thing now and totally forget what you said last year? that's the political rule: short memories. but now we have the internet and once something goes in it stays there. the president is just trying to get health care for those who need it. why is it okay for americans to use cleaned out horse barns to get donated medicine? why must we endure kids dying for lack of dental care? yes, this is true check what happened to a 12 year old boy in the state of maryland. why must 1500 people line up in los angeles to get free care. btw optometry or opthamology was barred from participating. is this what health care has devolved to? dr. gupta highlighted a woman's hospital bill and it showed how much her insurance had to pay for uncompensated care. well for all you nay sayers we are paying for the uninsured. how long can the current system sustain that and how long will it be before that woman's insurance cut her off if she continued to cost them money? people please open your eyes beyond your own circumstance. have we as americans turned our backs on our neighbors in need? what if it were you or your family member had to use cleaned horse barns for simple medical help? the overt racism speaks for itself. has white people become so worried that there will be redress from the president for the jim crow and lynching days in america? those days are still here except the racism is subtle for the most part. i know of instances where the N-word was used and this is 2009, a time where we are supposed to be beyond that. call the southeastern district for walmart and ask about the open mike N-word that was used in an Atlanta area store! there are no death panels, just getting people to think about the worst case scenerio. eveyone one want to be with christ but when it's their time to go no one wants to go. they want to hold on no matter what it takes. btw down syndrome children have a tough road medical road ahead for them. i have seen elderly parents worn to a frazzle when their adult children come into the hospital terribly ill.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  13. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    to me if CONGRESS would clean up the corupption in healthcare,We would save money.And we would not have to pay as much. BOY you can tell witch politician get the big bucks from the lobbist, They can tell some real big lies. It's almost funny to watch them.They are affaid of losing. Some had it too easy for too long. We have to get rid of them,But that will never happen,

    August 17, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  14. joe

    It is interesting that as the Health care bill has had time to be digested (instead of being forced to a vote by Mr. Obama with little time to actually read the bill), many conflicting views have resulted due to the ambiguity of the language and my feeling is that if a bill is crafted with such ambiguous language that so much of it can be left open for interpretation, then it should not pass! Once we let the Government in, they will define it however they feel fit and whatever Mr. Obama is saying now he could easily go back on.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  15. Carol

    President Obama should NOT cave in to pressure from the Insurance Company lobbies, Republicans, or any other 'talking head' who denounces the public option. Just because the Insurance companies will lose money is not a good enough reason to drop the public option. Fight on President Obama!! Fight On!

    August 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  16. Jazz

    I think it is a good sign that both parties seem to be working on a solution to the health care debate by eliminating certain provisions in the PROPOSED bill. Meanwhile, there are people who are losing their jobs and health coverage each and every day who need help. Unfortunately, they are too young for medicare, so they are stuck with no insurance. What a scary feeling. If the uninsured incurs a medical problem, the emergency room is the only place to go, thereby passing the expenses on to the taxpayer. The Republican troublemakers need to back off and find something constructive to do.

    August 17, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  17. Walter

    The Chamber of Commerce weighing in on Health Care Reform. Wow! Where where was their concern about increased taxes when we were doling out all the megabucks for their conservative banker and investor friends on Wall Street? The Chamber of Commerce is just another cloak-and-dagger conservative, anti-worker, pro-business organization that has their facts backwards because they want to kill real reform. If the politicians would find the courage to eliminate the Bush Tax breaks for the wealthy (those making over $250,000/year) as the President has proposed there would be NO NEW TAXES to pay for Health Care Reform. But conservative, anti-worker, pro-business folks like the Chamber don't want their friends to pay their fair share.

    August 17, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  18. Howard Steinberg

    Well thew Republicans, Insurance companies, lobbyists, and yes sadly you the media have done everything you could to water down health care reform. who are the losers? To start with future generations who will have a bankrupt system laden with debt, middle class families who already can't afford premiums, and the 48 million people who have no health care coverage at all. How could the Republicans who claim to support family values obstruct families and children from a public option that would provide a safety net for them. How do you in the media let them get away with it by not challenging that, and covering the health care debate as a kind of horse race, where strategy obscures the main issue, and a group of people yelling gets more coverage than the complex issues. You at CNN have done more to hurt health care reform than fox news. First by obsessing about the cost and making people think it was a trillion for one year, instead of 10. Then never really getting to the meat of the issue. Forget politics please! There are 48 million people without coverage, and 14,000 per day losing coverage. Concentrate on that instead of the endless political talking heads from each party. Ask them how they will deal with this problem instead of who is ahead or behind politically, ask why is so much money being spent on end of life interventions, instead of childhood immunizations. why are our outcomes so bad.
    The titanic is sinking and you at CNN are the band.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  19. Genine

    I love how all these people who HAVE health insurance don't want a "public option," claiming it's "socialist." These same people wouldn't miss a beat to claim their own social security, medicare, SSI, or student loans/grants, all which are instituted as "social" programs, yet they are so scared of having to pay for others they would prefer to see us in a constant state of financial distress. The insurance business has not done well with health care, yet we want them to continue to ruin it?

    I almost lost my life this year because I'm underinsured and I can't imagine that I would even be writing this if I didn't have some insurance. Stop with all the bs and realize that America is the ONLY industrialized nation without health care coverage for their citizens, and also have one of the highest infant mortality rates. Check it out on UN website. Very scary!

    I hope Obama does what Howard Dean suggested – just put the bill through and quit trying to compromise. The U.S. needs to enter the 21st century!

    August 17, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  20. Doug

    Try to debunk this, The United States Constitution makes Health-Care reform UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Proof in point read Article 1 section 8 and section 9, Article 6, and the 10th amendment. By the way Article 6 states that ALL senators and Representatives must take an Oath or Affirmation to support the Constitution therefore it is germane. Ignoring the limits on their powers laid out in the other sections quoted is not support.

    August 17, 2009 at 6:44 am |