WASHINGTON (AP) — Speakers at the Democratic National Convention portrayed President Barack Obama’s presidency in glowing terms Tuesday evening, but sometimes left out important details or embellished his record.
Others mischaracterized programs backed by Republican challenger Mitt Romney and GOP running mate Paul Ryan.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Republicans lacerated at their convention last week, and Obama’s job-creation performance were among the initiatives burnished the most.
First Lady Michelle Obama was the main draw and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro the keynoter, but more than four dozen other speakers made presentations.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: ”Instead of sending your checks to your insurance companies, your insurance companies are sending a check to you. …If you already have health insurance you like, you can keep it.”
The facts: Under the new health care law, insurers must issue rebates if they fail to spend at least 80 percent of premiums — Sebelius incorrectly said 50 percent — collected on medical care and quality improvement. But mostly it’s the employer, not the worker, who gets the check.
The Obama administration says that about 13 million people will benefit from health insurance rebates averaging $151 per household. But the number of families actually getting a check will be much smaller, experts say.
For one thing, employers can plow all the rebate money — including the worker’s share — back into improving the company’s health plan. For example, they could reduce the premium for the following year.
Employers typically pay 82 percent of the premium for a worker, and 72 percent for a family plan.
Most workers and their families are covered by job-based health insurance, and the new law does not stop employers from changing their plans from year to year, as they do now.
Sebelius: ”So instead of the Medicare guarantee, Republicans would give seniors a voucher that limits what’s covered.”
The facts: She left out crucial details in describing the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan. It would not apply to the nearly 50 million current Medicare recipients but to future retirees who would join the program starting in 2023. Current beneficiaries could remain in the traditional program, while new retirees would get a fixed payment from the government that could be used either to purchase a private insurance plan or a newgovernment program modeled on traditional Medicare.
Romney and Ryan say they have no intention of limiting medical care for seniors — only restraining the growth of costs. And traditional Medicare also has its limits. It does not cover everything. Long-term care is not covered, only limited nursing home stays. And most must seniors pay out-of-pocket for dental care unless they have private insurance that covers it. Medicare has copayments and annual deductibles, and that’s also a form of limiting coverage.