AP FACT CHECK: Warped reality in health debate

The superheated argument over the Republican drive to overhaul health care has not been the finest moment for accuracy.

Here’s a sampling of claims from both sides as Senate Republicans struggle to revive their stalled legislation:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: “Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill – actually goes up.” — tweet Wednesday

KELLYANNE CONWAY, White House senior adviser: “These are not cuts to Medicaid, George. This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility with Medicaid dollars because they’re closest to the people in need.” — Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”

THE FACTS: The stalled Senate bill would cut Medicaid — by phasing out ex-President Barack Obama’s expansion of the program and reducing over time the number of people who can be on it.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the program would cover 15 million fewer people by 2026, a 16 percent reduction. Although Trump and Conway are correct that Medicaid spending overall would continue to rise — and at a slower rate than projected — the effect would be a deep cut in the program.

Governors indeed would have more flexibility, but they’d also have to dig deeper into their state budgets to make up missing money from Washington or scale back the program.

The Republican emphasis on spending growth is a sleight-of-hand that both parties resort to when it suits their political purposes.

Obama’s law slowed the growth of Medicare spending, primarily by reducing projected payment increases to hospitals and other providers, and Republicans roundly denounced that as the cut that it was.


HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN, R-Wis.: “They want government-run health care. Government-run health care is collapsing as we speak. It’s not working.” — Fox News interview on Tuesday

THE FACTS: Obamacare is not government-run health care like many other economically advanced countries have, but a U.S.-style hybrid involving the government,…

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