American Commitment: “Fading Away”

The conservative group American Commitment is running a dishonest new ad attacking Nevada Senate candidate Shelley Berkley. The ad criticizes Rep. Berkley for supporting the Affordable Care Act, which it claims is “one of the biggest tax increases in history,” and suggests that Berkley supports additional tax hikes. In reality, the health care law does not impose higher taxes on most Americans – it actually provides tax credits for millions – and Berkley has been a strong supporter of tax cuts for the middle class.

Affordable Care Act Does Not Raise Taxes On Most Americans – And Includes Tax Credits For Millions “A Large Majority Of Americans Would Not See Any Direct Tax Increase From The Health Care Law.” According to “It’s certainly true that the health care law would raise taxes on some Americans, particularly those with higher incomes. The law includes a Medicare payroll tax of 0.9 percent on income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples, and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for those earning that much. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the biggest chunk of revenue — $210.2 billion — comes from those taxes. There are other taxes in the health care law — including an excise tax on the manufacturers of certain medical devices and on indoor tanning services. The health care law included $437.8 billion in tax revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation‘s calculations. Republicans tend to add in fees on individuals who don’t obtain health insurance (which the Supreme Court now agrees can be considered taxes) and businesses that don’t provide it to bump that up to about $500 billion. Some taxes, such as those on medical devices, may or may not be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, but a large majority of Americans would not see any direct tax increase from the health care law.” [, 6/28/12]

Affordable Care Act “Will Provide More Tax Relief Than Tax Burden” For Middle Class. According to the Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler: “The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans.” [, 7/6/12]

Affordable Care Act Includes Tax Credits For Millions Of Americans. According to Families USA: “We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines).” [, September 2010]

Repeal Would Have Negative Consequences For Millions Of Americans

Up To 6.6 Million Young Adults Would Lose Health Care Coverage Through Their Parents’ Plans. From the Los Angeles Times: “President Obama’s healthcare law helped as many as 6.6 million young adults stay on or get on their parents’ health plans in the first year and a half after the law was signed, a new survey indicates. […] Earlier surveys by the federal government found that the number of people ages 19 to 25 without insurance declined after the law was signed, reversing years of erosion in health coverage for young adults.” [Los Angeles Times6/8/12]

70,000 Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions Would Lose Insurance Coverage. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, as of May 31, 2012, 73,333 people were enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) created by the Affordable Care Act. [, 7/13/12]

5.2 Million People Would Have To Pay More For Prescription Drugs. From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid: “As a result of the Affordable Care Act, over 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also released data today showing that in the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs in ‘donut hole’ coverage gap for an average of $629 in savings this year. […] Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed.” [, 7/25/12]

Over 35 Million Seniors Would Lose Access To Free Preventive Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] report that 35,106,598 people were enrolled in Medicare Part B in 2011. CMS also reports:

Beginning January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act eliminated Part B coinsurance and deductibles for recommended preventive services, including many cancer screenings and key immunizations. The law also added an important new service — an Annual Wellness Visit with a health professional — at no cost to beneficiaries.

According to preliminary numbers, at least 25,720,996 million Americans took advantage of at least one free preventive benefit in Medicare in 2011, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.  This represents 73.3% of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, including 2,404,792 African-American beneficiaries, 537,110 Hispanic beneficiaries, 104,393 American Indian beneficiaries, and 508,398 Asian-American beneficiaries. [, 2/15/12]

CBO: Repealing ACA Would Add $109 Billion To Deficit Between 2013 And 2022. From a letter the Congressional Budget Office sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): “H.R. 6079 would repeal the ACA, with the exception of one subsection that has no budgetary effect. […] Assuming that H.R. 6079 is enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2013, CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting that legislation would cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period.” [, 7/24/12]

Rep. Berkley Has Consistently Supported Middle-Class Tax Cuts

The ad provides no citation for the claim that “if Berkley won’t vote to stop other tax hikes, our taxes will go up again.” Presumably, the statement refers to the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of the year.

In 2010, Obama Struck Compromise With GOP To Extend All Bush Tax Cuts For Two Years. From the New York Times: “President Obama announced a tentative deal with Congressional Republicans on Monday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years as part of a package that would also keep benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed, cut payroll taxes for all workers for a year and take other steps to bolster the economy. […] Mr. Obama said that he did not like some elements of the framework, but that he had agreed to it to avoid having taxes increase for middle class Americans at the end of the year. He said that in return for agreeing to Republican demands that income tax rates not go up on upper-income brackets, he had secured substantial assistance to lower- and middle-income workers as well as the unemployed.” [New York Times, 12/6/10]

Rep. Berkley Was Reportedly First House Democrat To Voice Support For Compromise To Extend All Bush Tax Cuts. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “When House Democrats met behind closed doors on Thursday and took a voice vote on President Barack Obama’s tax deal, it was decidedly lopsided against the agreement. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said one person voted to support Obama, ‘and I was the vote.’ With most Democrats angry and frustrated over the agreement Obama struck with Republicans to extend tax cuts to the rich as well as middle-income earners, Berkley has been a lonely voice in defense of the president. She spoke up for the deal in another meeting of House Democrats on Tuesday night and was not received graciously, according to an account in Politico that said Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland and Hank Johnson of Georgia were consoling her afterward.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal12/9/10]

Rep. Berkley’s Opponent, Rep. Dean Heller, Opposed Extension Of Tax Cuts For Middle Class Only. On December 2, 2010, the House of Representatives passed a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans. Rep. Berkley supported the bill and Rep. Dean Heller (R) opposed it. [Associated Press via, 12/2/10; H.R. 4853, Vote #604, 12/2/10]

  • Rep. Berkley Called Vote “An Affirmation Of This Congress’s Commitment To Middle Class Americans.” In a December 2, 2010, statement supporting the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, Rep. Berkley said: “Today’s vote is an affirmation of this Congress’s commitment to middle class Americans and a crucial step in getting our economy back on track.  This tax cut extension does not exclude anyone.  What it does is permanently extend middle income tax relief which will provide much needed certainty to our small businesses — our entrepreneurs — and create conditions for long-term growth, while still dealing responsibly with the federal deficit.  And let us not forget it is a burgeoning deficit. This legislation ensures that on January 1st, every American will be paying lower taxes than under current law. It will extend relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax for two years and provide permanent relief from the marriage penalty.  It also permanently extends tax credits like the improved child tax credit, the simplified earned-income tax credit, and numerous benefits for education.  For our small business owners, we are also permanently increasing the amount they can expense so they can quickly realize the benefits of their capital investments.  These provisions are critical to Nevada’s economic recovery.” [Berkley Statement, 12/2/10]

[NARRATOR:] It seems like the American dream’s fading away. Things are just getting tougher for everyone and Washington doesn’t get it. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley voted for the president’s health care law, one of the biggest tax increases in history. And if she won’t vote to stop other tax hikes, our taxes will go up again. Tax increases when we’re struggling to make ends meet? The health care law was supposed to help the middle class, but it’s taxing us instead. Tell Shelley Berkley: Vote to repeal the health care law. We just can’t afford it. [American Commitment via, 7/6/12]