Peter Boyles on his September 19 broadcast and a September 20 editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain misstated various aspects of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposed health care program. Boyles suggested that it could require workers to "have health insurance or they can't go to work," when in fact Clinton stated that "she could envision a day" when employers would require insurance. The Chieftain asserted that employer mandates "could put many small firms out of business"; in fact, Clinton stated that "we won't require small businesses to cover employees."
During his September 19 broadcast, 630 KHOW-AM's Peter Boyles echoed conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh and the Internet gossip website the Drudge Report by implying that presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) health care proposal might require citizens to "have health insurance or they can't go to work." As Media Matters for America has noted, New York Post correspondent Geoff Earle quoted Clinton as saying that "she could envision a day when 'you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview,' " not that workers "must have health insurance or they can't go to work." [emphasis added]
Further, a September 20 editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain made the unsubstantiated assertion that the "employer mandates" in Clinton's plan "well could put many small firms out of business." However, as Media Matters noted, in a September 17 speech announcing her proposal Clinton had stated: "Now, under my plan, we won't require small businesses to cover employees." Instead, she explained, "we will provide tax credits to ensure that many of them do." The Chieftain also misleadingly asserted that financing Clinton's proposal would rely upon "the promised end of the Bush tax cuts hated by Washington liberals." However, Media Matters noted that Clinton said she would "discontinue portions of the Bush tax cuts" only for "those making over $250,000" a year, and that her website states "the plan provides a net tax cut for American taxpayers" -- specifics that the Chieftain omitted.
From the September 19 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:
BOYLES: As we watch the race for the White House, the Hillary plan is back out again. Mrs. Clinton, unveiling the details of her health care plan. So once again with nothing but time on my hands, I was reading this stuff yesterday afternoon -- and she is the front-runner, as we all know, and I believe she's the next president. But she has a new plan. The federal government will spend $110 billion a year to help employers and individuals pay for insurance. Now there is absolutely nothing in the plan about illegals. There is nothing in the plan that says, you know, you have to be a U.S. citizen to get this. But here's the weird part of this. And I was listening a little bit to Limbaugh yesterday as I was going home. I got a question: What makes health care expensive? That's number one. And number two: Now you must have it to go to work? So let's say you have an illegal. Let's say you have a 21-year-old in very, very good health -- young man, U.S. citizen. They must have health insurance or they can't go to work? What do they do -- go to jail? What if you got a totally healthy 20-year-old and Mrs. Clinton's proposal -- the overhaul of the nation's health care system -- would require every, quote, person to buy insurance. So, what do you, go to jail if you don't have health insurance? What are they going to do?
I can tell you exactly what's going to happen. I mean, it's going to be a total, you know, underwrite. And it's, once again: Medicare is already running huge deficits. How much would this add to it? The U.S. federal government spent $380 billion on Medicare last year. And of course illegal immigrants get free health care the day they cross the border. This is another. What do you think this is going to do as a magnet? But proposing the overhaul if you don't have insurance you can't work? And there is absolutely nothing in anything that I have read in Mrs. Clinton's plan that draws the line on legal/illegal.
As Media Matters noted, on September 18 the Drudge Report featured the lead headline "HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK" under a picture of Clinton. However, the Associated Press (AP) article to which the headline linked did not report that Clinton's proposal would require people to show proof of health insurance "for work." Rather, it reported that, in an interview with the AP, Clinton said: "At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed" for people who do not purchase health insurance as required under her plan. According to the article, Clinton also said, "We're providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans." The AP article also stated that Clinton "said she could envision a day when 'you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview -- like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination,' but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress."
From the editorial "Oink" in the September 20 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain:
YOU CAN put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. That was our reaction to Sen. Hillary Clinton's latest foray into the debate over health care.
This week in Des Moines, smack in the Heartland, she unveiled a fairly comprehensive health proposal that differs in some respects from her 1993 model. But it aims to get the nation sooner or later into a single-payer system like the terrible Canadian and British systems.
The new proposal initially covers health insurance options for employers, employees and the uninsured; new national rules for health insurance; new mandates on employers as well as individuals; new financing arrangements, and promised savings from a variety of measures, including targeted cuts to private health plans in Medicare and government drug pricing. Each one of these items could fill out a health policy briefing book a foot thick, and at some point those three-ringed volumes will appear.
The employer mandates well could put many small firms out of business. And the notion of government mandates on individuals is inimicable to Americans' freedoms.
It will be some time, though, before the details -- and the devils lurking within them -- will emerge. While the outline is certainly different from the earlier model, one detects similar themes:
- The financing relies on targeted Medicare reduction, employer mandates and, of course, "revenue enhancements" that will come with the promised end of the Bush tax cuts hated by Washington liberals. It is unclear just how many times Washington can expect to repeal the Bush tax cuts.
Clinton's explanation of the plan during her speech contradicts the Chieftain's claim that the "employer mandates" in the proposal "well could put many small firms out of business." As Media Matters noted:
CLINTON: Now, under my plan, we won't require small businesses to cover employees. Instead we will provide tax credits to ensure that many of them do. These tax credits will be based on size and average wages, so that small businesses can provide health care without destroying their bottom line. This credit could be as high as 50% of premiums for firms with fewer than 25 employees. It's a good start that small businesses are leading the way in creating new jobs. My goal is for them to create new jobs with good health care benefits as well.
The Washington Post's September 18 "Health-Care Scorecard" also explicitly noted that Clinton's plan does not "[r]equire small businesses to insure employees or pay tax."
Finally, the Chieftain ignored Clinton's explanation of the financing for her plan. Media Matters noted that while Clinton said she would "discontinue portions of the Bush tax cuts" to pay for the proposal, those discontinued portions would apply to "those making over $250,000," and Clinton's website stated that "the plan provides a net tax cut for American taxpayers."
Clinton stated in the speech announcing her program that she would not pay for it "by raising taxes on middle class families who are already struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages." Clinton added, "I will pay for some of it by rolling back part of President Bush's fiscally irresponsible tax breaks for the highest income Americans":
Now, how will I pay for this plan? First let me tell you how I will not pay for it. I won't pay for it by pouring money into a broken system. I won't pay for it by raising taxes on middle class families who are already struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. Instead, I'll pay for part of it by implementing the cost saving measures I outlined in May. And I will pay for some of it by rolling back part of President Bush's fiscally irresponsible tax breaks for the highest income Americans.
And I'll pay for some of it by limiting the tax breaks for people making over $250,000 a year to the same level that ordinary, middle class Americans get. Right now, the highest income Americans get some of the most generous health care benefits and the most generous tax deductions to go with them. Well-off Americans should be able to deduct the cost of the same quality health plan that middle-income families can deduct. If they want to receive extra benefits beyond what most middle income families get, they should pay for it themselves, not have tax payers foot the bill for them.
From Clinton's campaign website:
A Net Tax Cut for American Taxpayers: The plan offers tens of millions of Americans a new tax credit to make premiums affordable -- which more than offsets the increased revenues from the Plan's provisions to limit the employer tax exclusion for health care and discontinue portions of the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000. Thus, the plan provides a net tax cut for American taxpayers.