U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “PA Senate – Bob Casey”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce accuses Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) of “voting against western Pennsylvania” by supporting the health care law, a cap-and-trade bill, and EPA regulations designed to cut down on toxic air pollution. But the Affordable Care Act doesn’t, as the ad suggests, cut any money out of Medicare’s current budget. The estimate of job losses the ad cites for the cap-and-trade law comes from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, and the EPA’s air toxics regulations would prevent an estimated 11,000 premature deaths per year.

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]

Job-Loss Estimate For Cap-And-Trade Bill Comes From Right-Wing Heritage Foundation

The ad cites CQ Vote #145 on June 6, 2008, in which the Senate rejected cloture on the Boxer Amendment to S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008.

The Ad’s Job-Loss Estimate Is Based On A Heritage Foundation Report. The ad cites a May 21, 2008, Heritage Foundation report that estimates Pennsylvania would lose jobs under a version of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. [Heritage.org, 5/21/08]

Analysis Suggested A Cap-And-Trade Policy Would Impact Jobs Far Less Than Other Forces Already At Play. From an Environmental Defense Fund analysis of five models used to predict the impacts of climate change legislation: “We stated that addressing global warming will not be free. What is more surprising is how affordable it will be – even if we take ambitious steps to curb our emissions. The guidance offered by models strongly suggests that the impact of climate policy will be a far less significant factor than other dynamic forces that drive jobs and growth. The bottom line from these economic forecasts is that any drag on the economy from climate policy will be insignificant, and very possibly too small to measure.” [EDF.org, 2008]

CAP: “Climate Security Act Would Create Tens Of Thousands Of New Clean-Energy Jobs” And Protect Current Energy Jobs Against Offshoring. From the Center for American Progress: “The Climate Security Act would create tens of thousands of new clean-energy jobs. In addition to making clean energy more economically attractive, the bill would invest billions of dollars in efficiency and renewables. The bill includes $150 billion for renewable energy investments alone. If this sum were equally divided into $50 billion each for investments in wind, concentrated solar, and geothermal, we estimate that by 2050 it would generate a total of 81 billion kilowatt-hours of wind-powered electricity, which could power approximately 7.7 million homes and create 42,000 jobs; 52 billion kWh of concentrated solar electricity, which could power about 5 million homes and create 5,600 jobs; and 131 billion kWh of geothermal electricity, which could power about 12.4 million homes and create 71,000 jobs. The bill would also protect workers in high carbon-emitting fields from losing their jobs overseas to nations that do not reduce their global warming pollution. The Climate Security Act includes a provision that would require imports from nations that do not have a comparable system of greenhouse gas reductions to pay an excess emissions penalty after 2015.” [AmericanProgress.org, 5/30/08]

Projections Suggested Climate Change Policy Would Have Little Impact On Household Budgets. From an Environmental Defense Fund analysis of five models used to predict the impacts of climate change legislation: “[W]hile climate policy is expected to raise electricity bills somewhat, the effect is fairly modest. Over the period 2010-2030, the median projected increase in the average household electricity budget relative to business as usual, across all of these models considered here, turns out to be the EIA’s forecast—just $3.30 a month, or about 3.5%. (The average projected increase is $3.15.) Moreover, the electricity bills implied by all of the models fall well within the range of recent experience. For example, the most recent analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill (by RTI) suggests that households would spend about the same amount on electricity under climate policy, in real terms, as they did in 2005.” [EDF.org, 2008]

Sen. Brown Supported Environmental Standards Projected To Save Thousands Of Lives Every Year

The ad’s claim that Casey “voted to support the EPA regulations that will cripple our coal industry” cites Roll Call Vote #139 on June 20, 2012, in which the Senate rejected a resolution disapproving the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, and a Forbes.com op-ed from a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.

EPA Estimates Mercury Rule Will Prevent “Up To 11,000 Premature Deaths” Per Year. According to FactCheck.org: “The EPA’s Mercury Air Toxics Standards for the first time will regulate heavy metal emissions at coal-fired power plants, which produce the largest amount of mercury in the air. The EPA finalized the rule in December under the Clean Air Act, giving the industry until 2015 to comply. The agency says the rule will prevent each year up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and more than 500,000 sick days. The EPA says the associated health benefits will be worth $37 billion to $90 billion a year.” [FactCheck.org, 7/18/12]

[NARRATOR:] Washington has changed Senator Bob Casey. Why is he voting against western Pennsylvania? Casey was a deciding vote for the health care law, cutting $716 billion from Medicare. It would not be law today without Senator Casey. Casey voted for cap-and-trade that could have raised energy costs and killed Pennsylvania jobs. And Casey voted to support the EPA regulations that will cripple our coal industry. Senator Casey: Washington has changed him. And he’s let us down. The U.S. Chamber is responsible for the content of this advertising. [U.S. Chamber of Commerce via YouTube.com, 11/2/12]