60 Plus Association: “What Do Kirpatrick & Sinema Have In Common?”

The 60 Plus Association hits two House candidates, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema, in an ad running in Arizona. The group accuses both candidates of favoring “higher taxes and spending,” citing their support for the Recovery Act. However, that bill not only helped rescue the economy from a deeper recession but also cut taxes for up to 95 percent of working Americans. 60 Plus also targets both candidates on health care, claiming that Kirkpatrick “voted to take $700 billion from Medicare” and “Sinema thought the law didn’t go far enough.” But Kirkpatrick’s opponent, Rep. Paul Gosar (R), supported the same Medicare savings as part of Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan, and Sinema’s alleged sin is supporting the extremely popular public insurance option.

Recovery Act Created Millions Of Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes

To support the claim that Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema “both support higher taxes and spending,” the 60 Plus cites House Vote #70 on February 13, 2009, in which Kirkpatrick voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and an Arizona Capitol Times article from September 23, 2010, which quoted Sinema praising the stimulus bill.

Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [CBPP.org, 5/29/12]

At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:

CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO.gov, 11/24/10]

Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [PolitiFact.com, 2/17/10]

Recovery Act Cut Taxes For Up To “95 Percent Of Working Families.” According to FactCheck.org: “The ‘Making Work Pay’ tax credit was part of the stimulus bill he signed shortly after taking office. That credit was worth a maximum of $400 per person, or $800 for couples during those years. It phased out at higher income levels, and so its benefit went entirely to individuals making less than $95,000 a year, or couples making less than $190,000. The White House figures it went to ‘95 percent of working families.’ And even allowing for those who are retired or unemployed, it benefited more than 75 percent of all individuals and families, working or not, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.” [FactCheck.org, 5/17/12]

Sinema Criticized Republicans For “Bashing The Stimulus” While Taking Stimulus Funds. According to the Arizona Capitol Times article cited by 60 plus:  “The White House has released a report praising 100 projects across the nation – including three in Arizona – that were made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help boost the economy and create or sustain jobs. Sinema also praised the stimulus for providing money to sustain and create jobs in education and health care. She criticized Republican lawmakers who denounced the stimulus funds but still used the money to balance the state budget. ‘Out of one side of their mouth they’re bashing the stimulus, but the Legislature has used every single penny of the stimulus money,’ she said. ‘Either take the money and acknowledge that it’s helping our state, or don’t take it.’” [Arizona Capitol Times via Nexis, 9/23/10]

Affordable Care Act Savings Do Not ‘Cut’ Medicare Benefits

Affordable Care Act Reduces Future Medicare Spending, But “Does Not Cut That Money From The Program.” According to PolitiFact: “The legislation aims to slow projected spending on Medicare by more than $500 billion over a 10-year period, but it does not cut that money from the program. Medicare spending will increase over that time frame.”  [PolitiFact.com, 6/28/12]

  • CBO’s July Estimate Updates Medicare Cost Savings To $716 Billion. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, repeal would have the following effects on Medicare spending: “Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period. Federal spending for Medicaid and CHIP would  increase by about $25 billion from repealing the noncoverage provisions of the ACA, and direct spending for other programs would decrease by about $30 billion, CBO estimates. Within Medicare, net increases in spending for the services covered by Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) would total $517 billion and $247 billion, respectively. Those increases would be partially offset by a $48 billion reduction in net spending for Part D.” [CBO.gov, 8/13/12]

GOP Plan Kept Most Of The Savings In The Affordable Care Act. According to the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler: “First of all, under the health care bill, Medicare spending continues to go up year after year. The health care bill tries to identify ways to save money, and so the $500 billion figure comes from the difference over 10 years between anticipated Medicare spending (what is known as ‘the baseline’) and the changes the law makes to reduce spending. […] The savings actually are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries. These spending reductions presumably would be a good thing, since virtually everyone agrees that Medicare spending is out of control. In the House Republican budget, lawmakers repealed the Obama health care law but retained all but $10 billion of the nearly  $500 billion in Medicare savings, suggesting the actual policies enacted to achieve these spending reductions were not that objectionable to GOP lawmakers.” [WashingtonPost.com, 6/15/11, emphasis added]

Sinema Supported The Popular “Public Option” For Health Insurance

To support the claim that “Sinema thought Obama’s [health care] law didn’t go far enough,” 60 Plus cites an Arizona Daily Star article from July 8, 2009.

Sinema Supported Offering A Public Insurance Option To Compete With Private Plans. According to the Arizona Daily Star: “At a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, Sinema and her colleagues said Obama’s efforts are particularly important to Arizona, where they said nearly 20 percent of people are uninsured. ‘People are paying more for health insurance that covers less everyday,’ said Sinema, assistant minority leader in the Arizona House of Representatives. ‘Families are concerned with eroding benefits, higher premiums and a loss of coverage on a daily basis.’ Key to changing the system, Sinema said, is allowing for a public option — basically a government insurance program, like Medicare, that would be open to everyone. The plan would only be an option, allowing those with private insurance to remain with their provider. And care would still be administered privately.” [Arizona Daily Star, 7/8/09]

Polls Consistently Found Strong Support For Public Option

June 2009: NYT/CBS News Poll Found 72 Percent Support For Public Option. From the New York Times: “Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. […] The national telephone survey, which was conducted from June 12 to 16, found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.” [New York Times, 6/20/09]

September 2009: SurveyUSA Poll Found 77 Percent Support For Public Option. According to the Huffington Post: “More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a ‘choice’ between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday. A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.” [Huffington Post, 9/20/09]

October 2009: WaPo-ABC Poll Found 57 Percent Support For Public Option. According to the Washington Post: “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public. […] If a public plan were run by the states and available only to those who lack affordable private options, support for it jumps to 76 percent. Under those circumstances, even a majority of Republicans, 56 percent, would be in favor of it, about double their level of support without such a limitation.” [Washington Post, 10/20/09]

November 2009: Reuters Poll Finds 60 Percent Support For Public Option. From Reuters: “Just under 60 percent of those surveyed said they would like a public option as part of any final healthcare reform legislation, which Republicans and a few Democrats oppose. Here are some of the results of the telephone survey of 2,999 households called from November 9-17 as part of the Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey: Believe in public option: 59.9 percent yes, 40.1 percent no.” [Reuters, 12/3/09]

2009 Mt. Sinai School Of Medicine Poll: 63% Of Doctors Favor Public Option. From NPR: “When polled, ‘nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,’ says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September. Most doctors — 63 percent — say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That’s the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they’d like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent. When the American public is polled, anywhere from 50 to 70 percent favor a public option. So that means that when compared to their patients, doctors are bigger supporters of a public option.” [NPR.org, 9/14/09]

2010: Indiana University Poll Found Majority Of Those Who Favored Repeal Also Supported Public Option. According to the Indiana University Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research: “When asked how important they thought it was for Congress to work on ‘establishment of a public option that would give individuals a choice between government provided health insurance or private health insurance,’ 67 percent of Americans rated this as an important topic to address. This finding is even more striking given the fact that 59 percent of those in favor of repealing the health care reform legislation rated the public option as important to pursue.” [CHPPR.IUPUI.edu, April 6-10, 2010]

[NARRATOR:] What do Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema have in common? Both support higher taxes and spending. Kirkpatrick voted for Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda nearly 90 percent of the time, while Sinema is so far left she supported Ralph Nader for president. And while Kirkpatrick voted to take $700 billion from Medicare, Sinema thought Obama’s law didn’t go far enough. Kirkpatrick and Sinema: wrong on health care. Too extreme for Arizona. 60 Plus Association is responsible for the content of this advertising. [60 Plus Association, 10/19/12]