"Wall Street Journal Health Care Editorial Wrong on the Facts"
by Maggie Mahar
That was the headline on a memo prepared by the staff of the House Education and Labor Committee and released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office last week. The amount of misinformation circulating out there about the House bill is growing.
Clearly, the conservatives are running scared. It’s not surprising when a Wall Street Journal editorial offers a unique interpretation of what is happening in Washington. The paper’s editorialists are known for their distinct perspective on American politics. But now, they are resorting to outright lies. Below, the text of the memo:
"The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial today [Tuesday, July 21] that advanced false and misleading information regarding the House’s health reform bill, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200).
While most Americans are satisfied with their health insurance coverage now, most Americans are concerned that they will either lose their insurance or face staggering increases in premiums, co-pays or other costs. The America’s Affordable Health Choices Act is about giving all American families more choices of quality, affordable health care and the peace of mind that they will be covered with quality, affordable care no matter of their job or economic situation.
Claim: Workers won’t be able to keep health coverage they like because Washington bureaucrats will change what employers can offer.
- In 2018, all employer-provided plans will have to meet the minimum standard benefit offered as part of the Exchange. These minimum benefits will be based on 70 percent of the typical health insurance plan offered by employers today.
- More than 90 percent of all employer health insurance plans already meet or exceed these standards. Employers that do not meet these minimum standards will have until 2018 to meet the minimum standards.
Claim: Analysis by the Lewin Group analysis shows that 88 million of Americans will be thrown off of their employer plans.
- The Lewin Group (a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare) analysis was requested by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and has been widely discredited for its flawed review of the House legislation.
- The House bill actually protects and increases employer-sponsored insurance. According to official CBO numbers, 2 million more people would be covered under employer-sponsored insurance than is projected to be the case today – 164 million compared to 162 under current law.
Claim: The House bill removes current law that prevents employee lawsuits over employer provided benefits.
- The legislation does not change current law regarding lawsuits.
Claim: High deductible plans and health savings accounts will be illegal under the House bill
- Nothing in the legislation prevents employers from offering health savings accounts. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the average HSA today meets or exceeds the minimum benefits standards."