By Sam Baker - 09/06/12 05:07 PM EDT
"For the last two years, after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years, healthcare costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years," Clinton said.
That's true. But, as multiple fact-checkers — and Republicans — noted, the slower growth is not a result of the Affordable Care Act. Glenn Kessler, of the Washington Post, and the nonpartisan site FactCheck.org both noted that independent analyses have attributed the lower increases to the economy, rather than the healthcare law.
FactCheck.org said, "with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out." The claim about slower healthcare cost increases was "the worst we could fault him for," the site said.
Clinton did not explicitly credit Obama with the slower growth, but fact-checking sites said the context of his remarks suggested a connection.
The Republican National Committee sought to discredit Clinton's claims Thursday with past studies that showed healthcare costs could increase in the future as a result of new mandates in the health law.
Clinton also came to Obama's defense on Medicare, defending the $716 billion in cuts made by the Affordable Care Act. He said the cuts extended the life of the Medicare trust fund, and that repealing them — as Mitt Romney has vowed to do — would cause Medicare to "go broke" eight years earlier.
Technically, Medicare would become insolvent eight years earlier, which is different from running out of money. But the Medicare trustees did say that Obama extended the life of Medicare's trust fund, rather than shortening it as Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have suggested.
Clinton also argued that the Affordable Care Act would be a boon to private insurance companies, rather than a "government takeover."
"Soon the insurance companies — not the government, the insurance companies — will have millions of new customers, many of them middle-class people with preexisting conditions who never could get insurance before," he said.
The Post's Kessler noted that initial estimates said roughly 18 million people would receive private insurance, while another 18 million would get Medicaid.
"But the Medicaid number may shrink as a result of the Supreme Court ruling allowing states to opt out of the expansion of the program," Kessler wrote.
Clinton didn't repeat one of Democrats' most dubious healthcare claims — that the GOP ticket's Medicare plan would require seniors to pay $6,400 more per year for their healthcare benefits.
That figure comes from a Congressional Budget Office estimate of Ryan's original Medicare plan, which did away entirely with the traditional Medicare program. But Ryan has since released a new proposal — the one Romney has also adopted — under which seniors would choose between private insurance or traditional Medicare.
The new plan also changes the way subsidies for private coverage would be calculated. Although the CBO hasn't released an updated number, the $6,400 figure would almost surely be lower for the plan that Romney actually supports.