Fact Checking the Health Care Summit


It was all the way back 1882 when Mark Twain famously wrote, "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress—but I repeat myself." So it's not terribly surprising to find out that, 100-odd years later, on a major issue like health care, neither side of the aisle really knows exactly what it's talking about—something that becomes even more obvious during seven hours of forced TV-yammering.

FactCheck.org has a pretty solid overview of many of the bluffs and blunders at yesterday's Health Who-Cares Summit. It catalogs a number of minor flubs—mostly legislators forgetting to differentiate between individual market and group premiums—but also gets at some of the bigger issues, in particular the cost question, which Sen. Lamar Alexander and President Obama batted around early on. The gist, as I reported last November, is that CBO estimates that overall premium prices will rise 10-13 percent in the individual market, but that for slightly more than half of those in that market, out of pocket costs will drop thanks to taxpayer-funded subsidies.

However, FactCheck.org's rundown doesn't cover what's was probably the day's most interesting segment, and what was actually a sort of embedded fact-check of the Senate bill, Rep. Paul Ryan's thorough deconstruction of the budgeting gimmicks used to squeeze the various health care bills into sub-trillion-dollar, deficit neutral packages. In just six minutes, he covers all the high points of last year's health care budget BS:

Double-counting! Back-loading! Cuts that aren't likely to be cuts! The "doc fix"! If you've been following along at Reason, none of it's new, but Ryan puts it all together pretty well.

Read lots more from Reason on health care and Paul Ryan.