Chamber Of Commerce Couldn't "Afford" To Buy Any Facts For Their New Ad

March 09, 2010 3:33 pm ET

The Chamber of Commerce's health care group, Employers for a Healthy Economy, has created a new anti-health care reform ad.  Titled "Afford," the Chamber of Commerce clearly didn't pony up the dough for any actual facts in the short spot.

"Afford"

"Afford": "Americans still losing jobs, more businesses struggling. We thought Washington understood. But now Congress is trying to use special rules to ram through their same trillion dollar health care bill. Billions in new taxes, more mandates on businesses. Health care costs will go even higher, making a tough economy... worse. Washington's not getting the message. Tell Congress. Stop this health care bill we can't afford to pay."

Current Health Care Reform Legislation Will Create Jobs

Health Care Reform Will Create Up To 4 Million American Jobs In The Next Decade. According to the Center for American Progress, "Relative to baseline employment forecasts from the Employment Projections Program at the U.S. Department of Labor, we estimate that moderate medical savings from health care modernization as envisioned under the legislation now before Congress would lead to an average of 250,000 additional jobs created annually. Under the larger assumption about savings due to health care reform, 400,000 new jobs a year would be created on average." [Center for American Progress, New Jobs Through Better Health Care, January 2010]

Chamber Wrong On "Special Rules"

The Chamber ad's "special rules" are a reference to the process of budget reconciliation.

"The Use Of Reconciliation Is This Case...Is Compatible With The Law, Senate Rules, And The Framers Intent." Thomas E. Mann and Raffaela Wakeman of the Brookings Institution and Norman J. Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute wrote:

Reconciliation was intended to be a narrow procedure to bring revenues and spending into conformity with the levels set in the annual budget resolution. But it quickly became much more. The 22 reconciliation bills so far passed by Congress (three of which were vetoed by President Bill Clinton) have included all manner of budgetary and policy measures: deficit reductions and increases; social policy bills like welfare reform; major changes in Medicare and Medicaid; large tax cuts; and small adjustments in existing law. Neither party has been shy about using this process to avoid dilatory tactics in the Senate; Republicans have in fact been more willing to do so than Democrats.

The history is clear: While the use of reconciliation in this case - amending a bill that has already passed the Senate via cloture - is new, it is compatible with the law, Senate rules and the framers' intent. [New York Times, 3/7/10; emphasis added]

Reconciliation Will Be Used For Budgetary "Fixes" That Even Republicans Support.  During an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball, NBC Political Director Chuck Todd explained the reconciliation process likely to be used for fixing health care reform:

CHUCK TODD: A little fact check on reconciliation - they're not trying to pass the entire health bill on reconciliation.

MATTHEWS: I think the Democrats are in good shape right now to get this thing through in a two-step. Get the House to pass the Senate bill and get through the Senate reconciliation.

MATTHEWS: That's what he means.

TODD: However, that's how it's framed. Correct, that's what he - what's happened here is the Republicans are saying, they already tried to pass out the bill. They're going to pass health care through the Senate.

They're trying to do these fixes, which is - the irony is, it's all of the - most of the fixes, about half of them are the ones that Republicans have been complaining about with the cornhusker kickback. They're going to get rid that. They're going to do -

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS: Jim Clyburn just said they're going to get rid of (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We're on the record. The great thing about tonight's show is we're getting the facts out here. The facts are they're not going to use reconciliation to pass health care.

(CROSS TALK)

They're going to pass the Senate bill in the House and then, right around the same time, they're going to pass the fixed bill with reconciliation which is basically dealing with the fiscal numbers, which is an appropriate way to use reconciliation.

TODD: The parliamentarian is going to have an easy time with that one. [MSNBC, Hardball, 3/25/10]

Health Care Reform Legislation Doesn't Burden Small Businesses

Small Businesses Will Receive Tax Subsidy Under Democratic Health Care Reform.  The Christian Science Monitor reported that under President Obama's health care plan, "small businesses would get tax subsidies for offering insurance to their workers, low- and some moderate-wage workers will get their own subsidies to purchase coverage (and some may even be newly covered by Medicaid). Small firms would get access to exchanges that should make it less costly for them to insure their workers. And, perhaps most important, the bill would take some small steps to control future health costs." [Christian Science Monitor, 3/6/10; parentheses original]

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]

Democratic Reforms Will Bring Costs Down For Americans

PolitiFact: "For Most People, Premiums Would Stay About The Same, Or Slightly Decrease."  According to PolitiFact.com: "The CBO reported that, for most people, premiums would stay about the same, or slightly decrease. This was especially true for people who get their insurance through work. (Health policy wonks call these the large group and small group markets.) People who have to go out and buy insurance on their own (the individual market) would see rates increase by 10 to 13 percent. But more than half of those people -- 57 percent, in fact -- would be eligible for subsidies to help them pay for the insurance. People who get subsidies would see their premiums drop by more than half, according to the CBO. So most people would see their premiums stay the same or potentially drop." [PolitiFact.com, 1/27/10, emphasis added]

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. [CBO, 11/2/09; House Education and Labor Committee, 11/2/09]

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