PRESS RELEASE from McCain-Palin 2008

For Immediate Release
October 5, 2008

Barack Obama's Health Care Record

ARLINGTON, VA -- With Barack Obama lying about John McCain's health care plan today, please find below the facts about Barack Obama's health care record:


Despite What He Claimed Today, Barack Obama Recently Said His Plan Will Cost At Least $150 Billion, Despite Earlier Claims That It Will Cost Much Less:

Barack Obama Said On "60 Minutes" That His Plan Would Cost At Least $150 Billion. CBS' Steve Kroft: "How much is it going to cost? $150 billion it's going to cost, right?" Obama: "It is. It is. But we pay for every dime that we propose to spend. I believe in pay as you go. That if you want to propose a new program, you better cut some old ones. If you want to expand a program, then you better figure out where the money's coming from." (CBS' "60 Minutes," 9/21/08)

Previously, Barack Obama Said His Plan Will Save The Average Person $2,500 Per Year And Will Cost Taxpayers Between $50-$65 Billion Per Year. "Obama said his plan could save the average consumer $2,500 a year and bring health care to all. Campaign aides estimated the cost of the program at $50 billion to $65 billion a year, financed largely by eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy that are scheduled to expire." (Mike Glover, "The Time Has Come For Universal, Affordable Health Care, Obama Says," The Associated Press, 5/29/07)


There Is "Zero Credible Evidence" That The Obama Plan Will Lower The Costs Insurance Premiums By $2,500, Which Is Based Off Of "Misleading Math":

Obama's Pledge To Lower Health Care Premiums By $2,500 In His First Term "Is A Matter Of Considerable Dispute" Among Experts. "In speech after speech, Senator Barack Obama has pledged that he will lower the country's health care costs enough to 'bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.' Moreover, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised that his health plan will be in place 'by the end of my first term as president of the United States.' Whether Mr. Obama can deliver is a matter of considerable dispute among health analysts and economists." (Kevin Sack, "Obstacles For Obama In Meeting Health Care Goal," The New York Times, 7/23/08)

A Health Policy Professor At The University Of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Said The Savings In The Obama Plan Are "Wishful Thinking." "Jonathan B. Oberlander, who teaches health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called it wishful thinking. 'Do they have the potential to generate significant savings in the long run?' Dr. Oberlander asked. 'Yes. Do I believe they will produce substantial savings in the short run that can be used to finance Obama's plan? No.'" (Kevin Sack, "Obstacles For Obama In Meeting Health Care Goal," The New York Times, 7/23/08)

M.I.T.'s Jonathan Gruber Said That There Is "Zero Credible Evidence" That The Obama Plan Will Save The Average Family On The Costs Of Insurance Premiums. "Experts also are skeptical of both [Obama and Clinton's] claims that their plans will reduce the cost of insurance for the typical family by $2,000 or more. 'I know zero credible evidence to support that conclusion,' says M.I.T's Jonathan Gruber." ( Website,, Accessed 6/9/08)

Factcheck.Org Said Obama's Claim That His Plan Will Cut Insurance Premium Costs By $2,500 Is "A Bit Of Misleading Math." "That's a bit of misleading math. It assumes individual Americans will share in all of the savings for the health care system, which includes insurance companies, the government and health care providers. Obama claims families will save $2,500 under his plan, but they won't see at least some of those savings directly in the form of lower premiums. And they may not see them indirectly either." (Factcheck.Org,, Accessed 6/16/08)


Barack Obama's Health Care Plan Requires Employers To Provide Insurance Or Contribute A Percentage Of Their Payroll To The Public Plan:

Barack Obama's Plan Includes Required Employer Coverage Similar To The Failed Clinton Mandate Of 1993. "Obama would require almost all employers to offer insurance to workers or face a tax penalty, an idea that many businesses abhor and that is also in Edwards's proposal. This employer mandate drove much of the opposition to the Clinton plan in 1994." (Anne E. Kornblut and Perry Bacon Jr., "Obama Says Washington Is Ready For Health Plan," The Washington Post, 5/30/07)

· "In Addition, Mandated Employer Coverage Has Faced Fierce Opposition In The Past And Likely Will Again, [New America Foundation Len] Nichols Said." (JoNel Aleccia, "Overhauling Health Care: Two Divergent Visions," MSNBC News,, 9/22/08)

Barack Obama Is Vague On The Specifics Small Businesses Have To Meet In Order To Be Exempt From His Employer Mandate:

Obama's Campaign Has Not "Put Out A Specific Number" When Asked To Identify Which Small Businesses Would Qualify For The Small Business Exemption And Tax Credit. "Under Obama's health plan, businesses over an unspecified size would have to either make a 'meaningful contribution' to their employees' health coverage or else pay an undefined percentage of payroll towards the costs of the national plan. Obama has also promised 'small businesses' that he would provide them with a refundable tax credit worth up to 50 percent of what they contribute towards their employees' health premiums. 'We haven't put out a specific number,' said Jason Furman, Obama's director of economic policy, when asked by ABC News to identify who would be covered by Obama's small business exemption and health-care tax credit." (Gregory Wallace and Teddy Davis, "Obama Fuzzy On 'Small Business' Exemption," ABC's "Political Radar" Blog,, 8/5/08)

Obama's Campaign Has Not Laid Out Details About How Much The Play Or Pay Or Tax Would Be For Those Who Don't Offer Health Insurance Or Which Small Businesses Are Exempt. "The campaign has not said how large the tax would be for businesses that opt not to offer insurance, or how small a business would have to be to be excluded from the requirement. If the payroll tax is too low, say 6 percent, many businesses will opt to pay it instead of offering insurance, sending their employees into the public program and boosting federal costs, he noted." (JoNel Aleccia, "Overhauling Health Care: Two Divergent Visions," MSNBC News,, 9/22/08)

Obama's Staff "Declined To Be More Specific" For The Philadelphia Inquirer About His Employer Mandate. "Under [Obama's] plan, employers either would give employees 'meaningful' insurance coverage or pay a percentage of payroll to provide coverage for the uninsured. His staff declined to be more specific." (Stacey Burling, "Clinton, Obama Differ Slightly On Health Plans," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/15/08)


Barack Obama Suggested His Health Care Plan Could Lead To A Single-Payer System "Over Time":

Barack Obama Says His Health Care Plan Could Lead To Single-Payer System "Over Time." Obama: "If I were designing a system from scratch, then I'd probably set up a single-payer system. ... But the problem is we're not starting from scratch. ... Making that transition in a rapid way I think would be very difficult. ... So my attitude is let's build up the system we got, let's make it more efficient, we may be over time -- as we make the system more efficient and everybody's cover -- decide that there are other ways for us to provide care more effectively." (Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Albuquerque, NM, 8/18/08)

Barack Obama Was A Self-Described "Proponent" Of Single-Payer Health Care, But Later Backtracked:

Barack Obama Was A "Proponent Of A Single-Payer Health Care Program" And Said It Could Happen If Democrats Occupied The White House And A Majority In Congress. Obama: "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that's what I'd like to see. And as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, we have to take back the House." (Barack Obama, Remarks At AFL-CIO Forum, Chicago, IL, 6/30/03)

In 2008, Barack Obama Said He Would Only Support A Single-Payer System If "Starting From Scratch." Obama: "[I] never said that we should try to go ahead and get single payer. What I said was that if I were starting from scratch, if we didn't have a system in which employers had typically provided health care, I would probably go with a single-payer system." (Barack Obama, CNN/Congressional Black Caucus Democrat Presidential Candidates Debate, Myrtle Beach, SC, 1/21/08)


Senate Democrats Are Already Raising Doubts About The Likelihood That The Obama Plan Will Pass:

Senior Congressional Democrats Are "Maneuvering To Lower Public Expectations" Of Barack Obama's Health Care Promises. "Congressional Democrats are backing away from healthcare reform promises made by their two presidential candidates, saying that even if their party controls the White House and Congress, sweeping change will be difficult. It is still seven months before Election Day, but already senior Democrats are maneuvering to lower public expectations on the key policy issue." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)

Barack Obama's Promises To Deliver Universal Care On The Campaign Trail "May Not Match The Political Reality On Capitol Hill." "For some senators, the promises made by Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) outside of Washington may not match the political reality on Capitol Hill." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) On The Obama Health Care Plan: "We all know there is not enough money to do all this stuff. . What they are doing is...laying out their ambitions." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)

Sen. Chuck Schumer Questions If The U.S. Is "Ready For A Major National Heath Care Plan." "Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a member of Senate Democratic leadership and a key Hillary Clinton ally who also sits on the Finance Committee, said he is 'not sure we have the big plan on healthcare. ... Healthcare I feel strongly about, but I am not sure that we're ready for a major national healthcare plan,' Schumer said." (Manu Raju, "Dems Hedge On Healthcare," The Hill, 4/23/08)


In Illinois, Barack Obama Had A "Perfect Voting Record" On Insurance Mandates That Are Now In Place In Illinois And Have Increased The Cost Of Health Care In Illinois:

"Obama Voted For All" Of The 18 Insurance Mandates That Passed During His Time As A State Senator. "Today, the requirement is one of 43 mandates imposed by Illinois on health insurance, according to the Illinois Division of Insurance. ... By my count, during Mr. Obama's tenure in the state Senate, 18 different laws came up for a vote and passed that imposed new mandates on private health insurance. Mr. Obama voted for all of them." (Scott Gottlieb, Op-Ed, "Obama's Health Care Record," The Wall Street Journal, 5/5/08)

According To American Enterprise Institute's Scott Gottlieb, Barack Obama Had A "Perfect Voting Record" On Enacting State Mandates That Have Increased Insurance Costs. Gottlieb: "The fact is that about 18 in all, bills came up - public acts came up that would impose new mandates on private insurance plans about things they had to cover and [Obama] voted for all of them. He had a perfect voting record. We know as a matter of policy, these state mandates end up increasing cost. Many of them are pushed by special minutes the states. In the case of dental anesthesia, pushed by the dentists, this is far more complicated dental procedures. Nonetheless, these are things that people may be willing to fund out of pocket or partially pay for. By mandating them, insurance companies need to cover the cost, it ends up increasing the cost of health insurance and cost of basic policies which in many cases is all people can afford." (CNBC's "Squawk Box," 5/6/08)

Barack Obama "Clearly" Did Not Stand Up To Special Interest In Illinois By Consistently Voting In Favor Of Insurance Mandates. Gottlieb: "[B]arack Obama was hardly alone for voting for state mandates. In fairness, they have become less popular because a lot of states are realizing they do increase the cost of health insurance. But he's out on the campaign trail talking about his willingness to stand up to special interests in order to control costs. In the state of Illinois, he clearly didn't do that. He voted for all of these state mandates. In fact, he voted for a lot of additional insurance regulation, some of which we didn't count because we didn't feel it fit the mold of what you call a mandate. If you include the insurance regulation he voted for, voting record was 21 out of 21 public acts that came up." (CNBC's "Squawk Box," 5/6/08)