Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office.
By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer
Obama’s assertion that “I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond” the expense of his promises is accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by “eliminating programs that don’t work” masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are — beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
In this still from video provided by the Obama Campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama., speaks during a live event in a 30-minute infomercial to be broadcast on prime-time television Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008.(AP Photo/Obama Campaign)
A sampling of what voters heard in the ad, and what he didn’t tell them:
THE SPIN: “That’s why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year.”
THE FACTS: His plan does not lower premiums by $2,500, or any set amount. Obama hopes that by spending $50 billion over five years on electronic medical records and by improving access to proven disease management programs, among other steps, consumers will end up saving money. He uses an optimistic analysis to suggest cost reductions in national health care spending could amount to the equivalent of $2,500 for a family of four. Many economists are skeptical those savings can be achieved, but even if they are, it’s not a certainty that every dollar would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.
THE SPIN: “I also believe every American has a right to affordable health care.”
THE FACTS: That belief should not be confused with a guarantee of health coverage for all. He makes no such promise. Obama hinted as much in the ad when he said about the problem of the uninsured: “I want to start doing something about it.” He would mandate coverage for children but not adults. His program is aimed at making insurance more affordable by offering the choice of government-subsidized coverage similar to that in a plan for federal employees and other steps, including requiring larger employers to share costs of insuring workers.