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November 23rd, 2009
05:50 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.

Boehner claims that the Senate health care bill includes an abortion fee

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="House Republican leader John Boehner claims that the Senate health care bill includes an abortion fee."]

Republicans have found another flaw in the health care bill: They say Democrats are trying to impose a monthly abortion fee on anyone enrolled in the public health care option.

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new 'abortion premium' fee on Americans in the government-run plan," wrote House Republican Leader John Boehner on the GOP's Web site.

The House version of the health care bill included an amendment promoted by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to prevent abortion from being offered through the public plan, as well as additional restrictions for insurers who sell on the exchange.

But the Senate version of health care reform represents a clean slate and includes a provision similar to one added by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., to the original version of the House legislation that would prevent the government from spending federal dollars on abortion procedures.

The Truth-O-Meter says: FALSE


Read more: There's no "fee" required by the bill

The public option was not discussed much during the campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Joe Lieberman said the public option was not discussed much during the campaign."]

Democrats hoping to pass health care legislation through the Senate need 60 votes to begin consideration of the bill and, ultimately, to pass it. That means every Democrat and the two independents who generally vote with them need to approve.

One of those independents is Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Lieberman favors health care reform but opposes the public option. He told Politico that he was keeping "all my options open" when it comes to votes on health care.

He said the public option has only recently become a key part of Democratic plans for a health care overhaul.

"It's classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can't find a mention of public option," Lieberman said. "It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform — insurance market reforms, cover people, cover people who are not covered."

Politico pointed out, correctly, that Lieberman was wrong about the public option being added after the election. It was part of Obama's plans released publicly during the campaign.

But we wanted to check his statement that during the 2008 presidential election, "you can't find a mention of public option."

The Truth-O-Meter says: MOSTLY TRUE

Mostly True

Read more: A few mentions, but not many

Hatch says Senate health care bill is longer than 'War and Peace'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Orrin Hatch says the Senate health care bill is longer than "War and Peace.""]

They are both epic works of literature. One begins like this:

"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist—I really believe he is Antichrist—I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my 'faithful slave,' as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see I have frightened you—sit down and tell me all the news."

The other starts like this:

"Part A of title XXVII of the Public Health Service 10 Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg et seq.) is amended (1) by striking the part heading and inserting the following: 13 ‘‘PART A—INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP MARKET REFORMS’’; (2) by redesignating sections 2704 through 2707 as sections 2725 through 2728, respectively (3) by redesignating sections 2711 through 2713 as sections 2731 through 2733, respectively . . . "

The first passage comes from Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. The second comes from Harry Reid's health care bill. Republicans have been comparing them to make the point that the Democratic plan is big and will lead to a bloated bureaucracy. In a Nov. 19, 2009, news release, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said that the 2,074-page bill was "longer than Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace."

We decided to see if he was right.

The Truth-O-Meter says: BARELY TRUE

Barely True

Read more: Health bill has more pages but not as many words

Filed under: Truth-O-Meter
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