FactCheck.org On American Future Fund Ad: "That's Absurd."

March 20, 2010 3:53 pm ET

FactCheck.org's analysis of American Future Fund's newest ad, "Backroom": it's "absurd."

FactCheck.org: "Future Fund's Faulty Fusillade"

From FactCheck.org:

First off, the ad says that "liberals are crafting a secret health care bill behind closed doors." That's absurd. The health care overhaul bills were passed months ago (the House version passed in November, and the Senate's in December) and have been posted, studied, critiqued and used as a prop ever since. It's true that the revisions the House may vote on this weekend weren't posted until Thursday, but they are available now.

Next, we're told that the Democrats are "going to try to pass it without even voting." One can say a lot of things about the process (and we're about to say a few ourselves) but one cannot claim that there have been no votes (see above). What's happening now is a bit more complicated than the standard conference procedure, but it still involves voting.

We wish SchoolHouse Rock could update its classic "How a bill becomes a law" video to reflect the current game plan. In lieu of that, a brief rundown: It's true that the House isn't expected to vote on the Senate-passed bill, specifically. Instead, a vote is expected to come on a package that would "deem" the Senate bill to be passed while simultaneously approving a series of modifications, which the Senate would then consider separately. But to say that Democrats "may try to pass it without even voting" is simply false. Majority votes in both the House and Senate would be required for passage.

As for the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase," provisions that the ad says "could become law" - yes, they could, but only if the Senate fails to pass the House's package of fixes. As we explained before, the "kickback" of federal funds to pay for Nebraska's increased Medicaid costs, which was included in the Senate bill to get Sen. Ben Nelson's vote, would be changed so that the federal government provides funds to all states. The "purchase" would make up for a Medicaid funding hit that Louisiana took after Katrina, when its state income levels were skewed because of federal disaster aid flowing to the state. That measure has been championed by the state's Republican leaders.

The ad says that "61 percent of Americans want to start over on health care." But the poll cited dates from early February. According to the newest Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll, just 36 percent want Congress to "go back to the drawing board and start over again on a new proposal."

It's no accident that the ad uses loaded terms like "backroom" (which is the title of this ad), of course. A Republican National Committee poll released this week and posted by the liberal Washington Independent, found that adding the word "backroom" to heath care attacks lowered voters' support for their representatives.


What's missing in ads like these, of course, is any discussion of what would happen under the status quo, as health care costs continue their upward spiral. That, too, would mean changes for many Americans, as more employers would likely stop offering health insurance to their workers. In a survey released last month, 43 percent of employers responding said they'd lost confidence in their ability to provide affordable insurance benefits to their workers 10 years from now, up from 38 percent in 2009 and 27 percent in 2008. The Kaiser Family Foundation, which does an annual survey of employer health benefits, found that 60 percent of employers provided health insurance to their workers in 2009, down from 69 percent in 2000.