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Word from the White House: Reality Check on Taxes, Illegal Immigrants, Rationing

It's no secret that institutions of all stripes focus their communications on certain messages day to day. We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day, along with any related articles, reports or documents.

Supporting report: "Hidden Health Tax' for Family Health Coverage Climbed to $1,017 in 2008," Families USA, 5/28/09

Supporting Video: "Reform will stop 'rationing" - not increase it,' Reality Check with Kavita Patel

Health Reform Reality Check: Taxes, Undocumented Immigrants, Rationing
·         Right now, tens of millions of Americans live without health care coverage – one injury or illness away from bankruptcy.  Tens of thousands join their ranks each week.  And skyrocketing costs are squeezing family budgets, threatening businesses viability, consuming state and local budgets, and exploding our national deficit.
·         Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence that the status quo is unsustainable, there are some in Washington who still wish to kill reform at all costs.  And they've spread baseless rumors to scare the American people about what reform would mean for them.
·         Here is a reality check on a few more of their favorite attacks:
Attack: Health insurance reform will raise taxes on the middle class.
Ø Reality Check: The real health tax in our health care system is a hidden tax of $1,000 that the millions of Americans who get insurance through their job or buy it on their own are already paying each year to cover the costs of caring for Americans without health insurance.
o   And if the people making these attacks get their way by killing reform, that hidden tax will only continue to grow by the day as more and more people lose their insurance.
o   What President Obama has proposed isn't a tax. It’s a law requiring people who can afford health insurance to purchase it, so that the rest of us don’t get stuck footing the bill – and a penalty for violating that law.
§ People are required to obey the speed limit and have to pay a penalty if they get caught speeding?  Does anyone consider that a tax?
§ People are required to have car insurance and can be fined if they are caught without it.  Is that a tax? 
Attack: President Obama’s health insurance reform plan will cover undocumented immigrants.
Ø Reality Check: There are some in Washington who wish to preserve the status quo at all costs, and who are looking to create any issues that will increase opposition to reform.  But this isn’t really about immigrants – it's about health care.
o   Undocumented immigrants aren’t going to be covered under this bill – the people trying to make this an issue are simply wrong.
o   Undocumented immigrants would not be able to participate in the exchange, nor would they receive subsidies or tax credits. Those who are lawfully present in this country would be able to participate.
Attack: Health insurance reform will lead to rationing of care, with government bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor.
Ø Reality Check: Health insurance reform will stop rationing, not increase it.
o   The hard truth is that rationing is already happening every day – at the hands of insurance companies who decide whether or not you get coverage.  Health insurance reform will do away with many of the rules that make it difficult for some Americans to get health care coverage today.
§ Reform will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage because you have a pre-existing condition; prevent them for cancelling coverage because you get sick; ban annual and lifetime limits on coverage; and prevent discrimination based on gender.
o   President Obama doesn’t want government bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor – and he doesn’t want insurance company bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor either.