Congressional Leadership Fund: “Heartbeat”

Val Demings was an Orlando cop for decades, ending her career as Chief of Police, before deciding to run for Congress. But you wouldn’t know it from this American Action Network ad that dishonestly attacks “politician Val Demings” over the Affordable Care Act, and says that if she is elected she will raise health insurance costs. From seniors’ care to taxes, AAN’s claims about the ACA and Demings are all wrong.

Medicare Board Tasked With Finding Savings Is Forbidden From Cutting Benefits

ACA Establishes An Independent, Senate-Confirmed Board (IPAB) To Find Additional Savings. As explained by the Kaiser Family Foundation: “The 2010 health reform law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as the ACA) establishes a new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) with authority to issue recommendations to reduce the growth in Medicare spending, and provides for the Board’s recommendations to be considered by Congress and implemented by the Administration on a fast-track basis. […]As authorized by the health reform law, IPAB is an independent board housed in the executive branch and composed of 15 full-time members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. [Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2011]

IPAB Proposals Will Be Implemented Unless Congress Finds Alternative Savings Or Supermajority Overturns Them. According to the Washington Post: “Beginning with fiscal 2015, if Medicare is projected to grow too quickly, the IPAB will make binding recommendations to reduce spending. Those recommendations will be sent to Capitol Hill at the beginning of each year, and if Congress doesn’t like them, it must pass alternative cuts — of the same size — by August. A supermajority of the Senate can also vote to amend the IPAB [spending] recommendations. If Congress fails to act, the secretary of Health and Human Services is required to implement the cuts by default.” [Washington Post, 5/8/11]

IPAB Cannot Recommend “Changes In Premiums, Benefits, Eligibility And Taxes.” According to the Kaiser Family Foundation: “The Board is prohibited from recommending changes that would reduce payments to certain providers before 2020, and is also prohibited from recommending changes in premiums, benefits, eligibility and taxes, or other changes that would result in rationing.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2011]

PolitiFact: “The Law Specifically States That The Board Cannot Ration Care.” According to PolitiFact, “Actually, the law specifically states that the board cannot ration care. The board doesn’t look at individual patients or deny individual treatments. Instead, it makes system-wide recommendations to rein in the future growth of Medicare spending, and it makes those recommendations within limited parameters. It also was created to stop runaway spending growth within the Medicare program itself, not to divert money to other budget items.” [, 3/12/12]

Benefits For Seniors In The Affordable Care Act 

Closing The Donut Hole

“Donut Hole” Is Gap In Drug Coverage For Annual Costs From $2,830-6,440. From CNNMoney: “What’s the donut hole? In addition to a $310 deductible, Medicare beneficiaries pay 25% of their drug costs until the total reaches $2,830 for the year. Then, they fall into a coverage gap. At that point, enrollees must pay all costs out of pocket until their annual expenses exceed $6,440. After that, seniors pay 5% of drug costs for the rest of the year. [CNNMoney, 6/7/10]

Affordable Care Act Eliminates Coverage Gap By 2020. The Kaiser Family Foundation explains how the Affordable Care Act closes the “donut hole”:

  • In 2010, Part D enrollees with spending in the coverage gap will receive a $250 rebate.
  • Beginning in 2011, Part D enrollees who reach the coverage gap will receive a 50 percent discount on the total cost of their brand-name drugs in the gap, as agreed to by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Over time, Medicare will gradually phase in additional subsidies in the coverage gap for brand-name drugs (beginning in 2013) and generic drugs (beginning in 2011), reducing the beneficiary coinsurance rate in the gap from 100 percent to 25 percent by 2020. [, March 2010]

The Donut Hole Got “Noticeably Smaller” In 2011, Benefitting Over 2 Million Seniors. As the Associated Press reported: “Medicare’s prescription coverage gap is getting noticeably smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs. […] The average beneficiary who falls into the coverage gap would have spent $1,504 this year on prescriptions. But thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, that cost fell to $901, according to Medicare’s Office of the Actuary, which handles economic estimates. […] More than 2 million beneficiaries already have gotten some help, discounts that have gone largely to middle-class seniors, because the poor are covered in the gap at taxpayer expense. [Associated Press, 11/27/11]

Expanding Preventive Care

Medicare Beneficiaries Receive Free Preventive Services, Annual Wellness Visits Under Health Care Law. As Kaiser Health News reported: “[T]he new health-care law will make it easier and cheaper for seniors to get preventive care. Medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive for free all preventive services and screenings that receive an A or B recommendation for seniors from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. That includes mammograms and colorectal cancer screening, bone mass measurement and nutritional counseling for people at risk for diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes. Medicare beneficiaries will also get a free annual wellness visit under the new law. The visit will cover a number of services, including a health risk assessment and a review of the person’s functional and cognitive abilities. […] Currently, seniors in traditional Medicare pay 20 percent of the cost for most covered preventive services. [, 8/10/10]

  • More Than 25 Million Seniors Have Received Free Preventive Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports: “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.” [, 2/15/12]

Rising Health Care Costs Are Due To Market Forces, And Are Slowed By ACA 

Rising Health Care Costs Are Part Of A Long-Term Trend. The following chart from CNNMoney illustrates increasing health care costs between 2002 and 2011:


[, 5/11/11]

Without ACA, Health Care Costs Would Rise Even Faster. From CNNMoney: “The individual mandate would help spread health care costs to a larger pool of individuals, thus potentially lowering costs. Should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act, consumers can expect that percentage to increase even more as costs rise ‘very fast,’ [Mathematica Policy Research senior fellow Deborah] Chollet said. Without the law’s measures to promote preventative care and spread costs across a larger population, overall costs will rise, she explained. Those without employer-provided health care coverage … will likely pay more for their plans because there will be fewer restrictions on insurers. Individuals could be denied coverage altogether because of a pre-existing health condition or offered coverage only at a very high premium, both of which are prohibited under the Affordable Care Act, Chollet added. Those with insurance through their employer will also pay more to cover the growing number of uninsured, she said.” [, 3/29/12]

Affordable Care Act Does Not Raise Taxes On Most Americans – And Includes Tax Credits For Millions

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] “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]

  • Individual Penalty Payments “Tiny” Compared To President Obama’s Previous Tax Cuts. According to, the increased revenue from penalty payments by individuals who do not obtain health insurance represents “a tiny future increase compared with the tax cuts Obama has already delivered, including an estimated $120 billion in 2012 alone from the 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes.[, 5/17/12]

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]

[NARRATOR:] Politician Val Demings supports the government intrusion into your health care. It will limit seniors’ access to health care and empower a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats to make health care decisions. And Demings supports a tax increase on health insurance that will increase your premiums. With health care costs as high as they are, we can’t afford to let Val Demings make them even higher. Keep Val Demings out of Congress. American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising. [American Action Network via YouTube, 10/30/12]