Congressional Leadership Fund claims Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) “stood with Obama for Obamacare,” but Barrow voted against the Affordable Care Act and currently supports amending the law while acknowledging that “all or nothing” repeal would be harmful. The ad also misleads about the health care law’s effect on Medicare – it doesn’t cut benefits – and about the Recovery Act, which helped prevent an even deeper recession. Furthermore, Georgia has gained over 80,000 jobs since the end of the devastating recession that’s responsible for millions of job losses nationwide, even though the ad tries to blame Georgia’s economic difficulties on Barrow.
Rep. Barrow Did Not Support The Affordable Care Act, But Opposes “All Or Nothing” Repeal Bills
The ad cites Vote #460 on July 11, 2012 – a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act — to support its claim that Barrow supported Obamacare.
Rep. John Barrow Voted “No” On The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act. [H.R. 3950, Vote #165, 3/21/10]
Barrow Opposed Full Repeal: “We Need To Amend It, Not End It.” According to the Augusta Chronicle: “‘We need to keep the parts that prohibit folks from getting denied coverage based on preexisting conditions, and extend health coverage to kids just out of college,’ [Barrow] said. ‘There are a lot of good things in the bill,’ he said Saturday at a meeting with constituents. ‘I don’t believe in voting against the parts that are good. … We need to amend it, not end it.’” [Augusta Chronicle, 1/20/11]
Barrow Lamented GOP Repeal Bill As “All Or Nothing Proposition.” According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “‘That’s what’s wrong with this place. Both sides have the same attitude and both sides are equally wrong, that this has to be an all or nothing proposition.’ Barrow ticked off the appealing parts and noted even GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney says some of the popular pieces should remain. Barrow said he likes forcing insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, preventing lifetime limits on coverage and allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26. […] Barrow said Republicans have presented a bad binary choice and that he would continue supporting any bill ‘that gets rid of the bad and preserves what’s good. That’s what I’m for.’” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/11/12]
Repeal Would Have Negative Consequences For Millions
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 Times, 6/8/12]
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. [HealthCare.gov,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.” [CMS.gov, 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. [CMS.gov, 2/15/12]
Affordable Care Act Savings Do Not ‘Cut’ Medicare Benefits
PolitiFact: Affordable Care Act Does Not Cut Medicare’s Budget, It Attempts To Reduce Future Costs. According to PolitiFact, “Neither Obama nor his health care law literally cut a dollar amount from the Medicare program’s budget. Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to try to bring down future health care costs in the program.” [PolitiFact, 8/15/12]
Medicare Spending Reductions “Aimed At Insurance Companies And Hospitals, Not Beneficiaries.” According to PolitiFact: “What kind of spending reductions are we talking about? They were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. The law makes significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to private insurers. Hospitals, too, will be paid less if they have too many re-admissions, or if they fail to meet other new benchmarks for patient care. Obama and fellow Democrats say the intention is to protect beneficiaries’ coverage while forcing health care providers to become more efficient.” [PolitiFact, 8/15/12]
- 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]
Recovery Act Created Millions Of Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes
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]
Taxpayer Money For Foreign Firms? The Money In Question Went Specifically To U.S. Jobs
Claim That Administration Sent Billions In Taxpayer Money To Foreign Firms Cites Washington Times Article That Refers To “$2.3 Billion Of Manufacturing Tax Credits.” From the September 9, 2010, article cited in the ad: “The Department of Energy estimated that 82,000 jobs have been created and has acknowledged that as much as 80 percent of some green programs, including $2.3 billion of manufacturing tax credits, went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States.” [Washington Times, 9/9/10, emphasis added]
PolitiFact: Washington Times Is Mixing Up Two Programs; ARRA “Explicitly Links The Credits To Creation Of Manufacturing Jobs In Green Industries In The United States.” From a PolitiFact.com analysis of a similar claim in a 2010 ad by Republican Robert Hurt’s campaign:
The ad says the accusation is based on a story published Sept. 9 in the Washington Times that says “as much as 80 percent of some green programs, including $2.3 billion of manufacturing tax credits, went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States.” […]
It’s an assertion that originates from a series of stories by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington. The workshop report, “Blown Away,” documents how foreign-based companies are using stimulus grants to develop wind farms in the United States.
Here’s the problem for Hurt and other politicians relying on the Washington Times story: the $2.3 billion in manufacturing credits come from a part of the stimulus act that explicitly links the credits to creation of manufacturing jobs in green industries in the United States, according to the workshop report.
By contrast, the workshop investigation focused on a provision that allowed payments in lieu of tax credits for development of alternative energy sources, including wind farms, without requiring the projects to produce manufacturing jobs in the United States.
“They’re sort of freely mixing the two programs,” Russ Choma, the journalist who produced the workshop report, told PolitiFact. [PolitiFact.com, 10/25/10]
$2.3 Billion Manufacturing Tax Credit Program Was “Based On How Many Domestic Jobs Would Be Created.” From the AU Investigative Reporting Workshop: “Obama was announcing $2.3 billion in tax credits for manufacturers, including foreign companies that are hoping to set up manufacturing in the United States. Unlike the grant program investigated by the Workshop, the administration gave out the tax credits based on how many domestic jobs would be created.” [InvestigativeReportingWorkshop.org, 2/8/10, emphasis added]
Obama Administration Explained That $2.3 Billion In Tax Credits Were “Aimed At Growing America’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Sector.” From Energy.gov: “That’s why the clean energy manufacturing industry that is expanding across the Midwest — spurred in large part by the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, also known as 48C — is so important. As part of the Recovery Act, 183 projects … will receive a total of $2.3 billion in tax credits to establish, expand or re-equip clean energy manufacturing facilities. This federal investment is also being matched by nearly $5.4 billion dollars in private capital, for a total of more than $7.6 billion aimed at growing America’s clean energy manufacturing sector. The impact of these investments is especially significant in the Midwest where 41 projects (accounting for nearly $530 million in tax credits) are underway. With incentives from both the federal and private sectors, clean energy manufacturers are drawing on the traditionally strong manufacturing base of states like Ohio and Michigan to develop the next generation of solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies.” [Energy.gov, 12/16/10]
Recession-Fueled Massive Monthly Job Losses Have Turned To Steady Private-Sector Growth
Recession Officially Ran From December 2007 To June 2009, Making It The Longest Since World War II. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months. In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [NBER.org, 9/20/10]
- Recession Resulted In 8.3 Million Job Losses. According to the Associated Press, “the Great Recession killed 8.3 million jobs, compared with 1.6 million lost in the 2001 recession.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 5/4/12]
The Private Sector Has Added 4.7 Million Jobs Over 31 Consecutive Months Of Private-Sector Growth. The following chart shows the monthly change in private-sector jobs dating back to January 2008:
Georgia Has Gained Over 80,000 Jobs Since Recession Ended In June 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3,857,900 people employed in Georgia in June 2009, the last official month of the recession. As of September 2012, the last month for which data are available, there were an estimated 3,942,100 people employed in the state, a gain of 84,200 jobs. [BLS.gov, accessed 10/30/12; NBER.org, 9/20/10]
[OBAMA CLIP:] “I’m Barack Obama, and I urge you to vote for John Barrow.” [NARRATOR:] John Barrow stood with Obama for Obamacare and the stimulus. [OBAMA CLIP:] “John is not afraid to take a tough stand.” [NARRATOR:] Barrow supported Obama’s massive Medicare cuts. 56,000 Georgia jobs gone. Billions in taxpayer money for foreign firms, creating jobs in China. [OBAMA CLIP:] “I urge you to vote for John Barrow.” [NARRATOR:] John Barrow: Obama’s congressman. Not ours. Congressional Leadership Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Congressional Leadership Fund via YouTube.com, 10/30/12]