A new GOP web ad aims straight for the sensitive spot in the health care overhaul from President Obama and Democrats -- that the proposals would mean higher taxes.
The ad claims that the bills would mean taxes on tests, scans and X-rays; on medical supplies; and on charities and small businesses. “Hundreds of billions in new taxes, all of it passed right back to the consumer,” the announcer says over images of a laughing Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and top Senate Democrat Harry Reid, juxtaposed with worried consumers.
The GOP ad then notes that the bill calls for a penalty for those who don't obtain health insurance, though it doesn't mention that there would be subsidies to help them: “And if you think you can’t afford it, you can’t afford not to, because they’ve even proposed a tax for not having health insurance.”
Obama has insisted that the penalty does not amount to a tax increase, but many independent observers disagree and the ad shows the dictionary definition.
"Obama health care taxes,” the announcer concludes. “Wrong for health care. ”
“For months, President Obama has tried to convince the American people that his government-run health care experiment will be all gain and no pain, but they aren’t buying it," Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "The fact is, his plan contains huge new taxes that will harm the economy and cost more jobs. Democrats are paying for their dangerous experiment with higher taxes on small business owners, charitable giving, and even middle-class families who can least afford it. I encourage President Obama to abandon these health care taxes and set a course for a truly bipartisan bill that embraces reforms Americans actually want and need.”
Democrats, however, argue that the Senate Finance bill does not include any mandate on employers and that both businesses and individuals would end up eventually benefiting from lower health care costs.
"Apparently undeterred by the facts, the RNC is again relying on scare-tactics to ‘kill’ health insurance reform in a new web video released today," the Democratic National Committee said in its response. "The RNC’s latest attempt to mislead voters accuses the President of being 'in denial' over 'new taxes' that the RNC claims would result from reform. The only person guilty of that charge, however, is the Republican Party’s own Chairman who just this morning on Fox News denied that this country’s 'health care system' was 'going broke.' ”
For its part, the Democratic National Committee today sent out an email bashing House Republican leader John Boehner -- the second missive in its "Call 'em out" campaign targeting Republicans for repeating "falsehoods" about the Democratic proposals.
"As the Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner could use his important position to forge honest consensus around reforms that most Americans overwhelmingly support. Sadly, Boehner is choosing to be a leading peddler of health reform lies instead," says the email to supporters, urging them to criticize Boehner on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and to write letters to the editor.
"When Boehner repeated his claim that reform would result in a government takeover of health care, it was clear he's been too busy trying to score political points to read the overwhelming evidence -- including a post from the non-partisan FactCheck.org -- debunking this claim," the email continues. "And cruelly scaring seniors with lies about benefit cuts, even though his own party voted to gut Medicare? On his side of the aisle, that's become standard operating procedure. Then of course there's Boehner's blatant lie that reform will provide taxpayer-funded abortions, a claim rejected even by groups that oppose abortion. His lies have been thoroughly debunked, but John Boehner just won't stop -- so we're calling him out."
Boehner responded to the Democrats' attack: "There's a reason why the majority of Americans oppose the Democrats' government takeover of health care, $500 billion in Medicare cuts, tax hikes, and mountains of new debt on our kids and grandkids. It's because they are in their bill. Try as they might, Democrats have a major credibility problem. Americans don't trust them with their health care, and they shouldn't."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.