Policy Documents

Obama’s Health Care Myths: Four Republican Ideas and One Outright Lie

March 2, 2013

President Barack Obama maintained in his speech his intention to reach out across party lines, a token effort to make his health care legislation more bipartisan before ramming it through reconciliation, by adding four ideas. A closer look at the actual details of these ideas, however, shows that the White House has done very little – and while it would be nice to say otherwise, the reality is that what President Obama is offering to Republicans is not an olive branch, but a rather insulting joke. And in the case of one additional topic, both he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi continue to repeat a clear and verifiable falsehood.

Here’s what President Obama wrote in his letter:

1. Undercover waste/fraud/abuse investigations: “Senator Coburn had an interesting suggestion that we engage medical professionals to conduct random undercover investigations of health care providers that receive reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal programs.”

2. Additional grants to states for tort reform: “I am open to including an appropriation of $50 million in my proposal for additional grants. Currently there is only an authorization, which does not guarantee that the grants.”

3. Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates: “At the meeting, Senator Grassley raised a concern, shared by many Democrats, that Medicaid reimbursements to doctors are inadequate in many states…I’m open to exploring ways to address this issue in a fiscally responsible manner.”

4. Strengthen high deductible provisions: “I believe that high-deductible health plans could be offered in the exchange under my proposal, and I’m open to including language to ensure that is clear.”