U.S. Chamber's "Skyrocket" Ad Flies Without Facts

November 12, 2009 4:24 pm ET

On November 11, 2009, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Employers for a Health Economy coalition released a new anti-health care reform ad titled "Skyrocket."  Just like the Chamber's other recent anti-reform ads, this new ad is in dire need of some factual information.

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce's "Skyrocket" Ad

"Skyrocket": "Millions of lost jobs.  The highest unemployment in 25 years.  And Congress' latest health care bill makes a tough economy worse.  Billions in crushing tax increases, mostly on small business.  But nothing to control rising health care costs.  Health insurance costs will skyrocket.  Call Congress.  Tell them the new health care bill is a bill America can't afford to pay." [YouTube.com, accessed 11/12/09]

Claims About Higher Taxes Are Greatly Exaggerated

House Bill Taxes Only Wealthiest .3% Of Americans.  According to the Washington Post, the House health insurance reform package would raise "$460 billion over the next decade - through a 5.4 percent surtax on the richest .3 percent of tax filers." [Washington Post, 10/30/09]

CBO: House Bill Will Result In Lower Costs For American Families.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated that in 2016, premiums will be $5,300 for an individual and $15,000 for a family of four in the Exchange.  Without reform, the average family premium is expected to grow to $24,000. [Congressional Budget Office, 11/2/09; House Education and Labor Committee, 11/2/09]

Most American Businesses Are Exempt From Mandate

Bill Exempts Many Businesses From Shared Responsibility Requirement. The House health reform bill exempts "firms with a payroll of less than $500,000" from fines for not offering health insurance to their employees.  In fact, "86% of America's businesses are exempt from the shared responsibility requirement." [Wall Street Journal, 10/30/09; House Education and Labor Committee, accessed 11/3/09]

Chamber's Claims About Cost Of Bill Are Distorted

CBO: Democratic Bill Would Cost $1 Trillion, Cut Deficit By $109 Billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the Democratic health care plan:

Reflecting the change noted above, CBO and the staff of JCT now estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting H.R. 3962, incorporating the manager's amendment, would yield a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2010-2019 period.

[...]

The estimate includes a projected net cost of $891 billion over 10 years for the proposed expansions in insurance coverage. That net cost itself reflects a gross total of $1,052 billion in subsidies provided through the exchanges (and related spending), increased net outlays for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits for small employers; those costs are partly offset by $167 billion in collections of penalties paid by individuals and employers. [CBO, 11/6/09; emphasis added]

The Democratic Bill "Covers 12 Times As Many People And Saves $36 Billion More Than The Republican Plan."  The Washington Post's Ezra Klein wrote: "According to CBO, the GOP's alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit. The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan." [Washington Post, 11/5/09]

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