Tim Kaine on Medicare:
Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine repeated a charge against the GOP that President Obama likes to use on the campaign trail: “They’d turn Medicare into a voucher system,” Kaine told the audience at the Democratic National Convention.
Republicans contend that their Medicare overhaul is a “premium-support” program, not a flat-out voucher. The difference is one of semantics among policy wonks, and there is no official distinction between vouchers and premium-support plans.
The general argument, made by liberal health care scholar Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution, who first coined the term “premium support,” is that a Medicare voucher is tied to a slowly growing index, while the amount of money in premium-support plans grows at a rate closer to health care costs. The difference is important, because it could end up determining how much seniors will have to pay out of pocket for their health insurance coverage.
Using that definition, the latest Medicare plan from Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is closer to a premium-support plan, since it ties the amount of money seniors will get to bids offered by health insurance plans. The first Medicare proposal from Ryan in 2011 would have tied how much seniors got for health care coverage to the consumer price index, making it more of a voucher plan. Democrats contend that under either plan, Medicare coverage will end up costing seniors more.
Charles Gonzalez on immigration:
Democratic Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas criticized Mitt Romney on U.S. immigration policies. “The truth is that Mitt Romney has embraced the racial-profiling policies of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and [Maricopa County] Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The truth is, he would separate families that have been here for generations."
This isn’t entirely true. Romney has called for strong border enforcement and has said he does not support amnesty. Romney, in a January debate, said he favored “self-deportation,” a strategy to induce illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country. But he has also suggested that there are ways to help undocumented teens stay here legally.
Gonzalez has previously claimed that Romney believes Arizona’s controversial immigration law, which originated in 2010 as state Senate Bill 1070, should form the template for federal immigration laws—an assertion that Politifact Texas rated as false. Romney has said, however, that the “right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn't doing. And I will drop those lawsuits on Day One.”
Presumably, in that Feb. 22 debate, Romney was referring to the Obama administration’s legal challenge to S.B. 1070, which at the time was before the U.S. Supreme Court. Romney, as Politifact has noted, did not exactly distance himself from the Arizona law. After the Supreme Court struck down three parts of Arizona’s law (warrantless arrests, ID requirements, and criminalizing work of undocumented workers) in June, Romney criticized Obama for failing to lead on the issue, according to USA Today. “I believe each state has the duty—and the right—to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities," Romney said at the time.
Gwen Moore on Republicans and the definition of rape:
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., said Republicans “tried to change the definition of rape.”
That is not exactly true. Soon after taking the House in 2011, Republicans were getting ready to consider an antiabortion bill from Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., that specified that only victims of “forcible rape” could be eligible for Medicaid funding for abortions. The language was an effort to draw a distinction with “statutory rape,” among other cases.
Traditionally, the federal government has provided funding for abortion procedures for women in government programs like Medicaid only in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother could die as a result of the pregnancy. The thinking of some antiabortion groups was that those exceptions made it too easy for some women to get abortions on the government’s dime.
For example, the concern was that a poor 16-year-old who is on Medicaid, under the age of consent, and pregnant could use Medicaid funding for an abortion since this involved a case of statutory rape.
But government funding for abortions in these circumstances are rare. In 2006, 191 abortions were covered with federal funds for women with pregnancies that could prove fatal or were the result of rape and/or incest.
After a skewering in the media (including The Daily Show With Jon Stewart), Republican leaders quietly removed that provision from the bill in February. Three months later, the House passed the legislation—without the redefinition of rape—251-175.
Bev Perdue on Obama's education policies:
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue said the president’s education programs were helping her state’s schools “soar.”
“These investments are spurring education reform and innovation, and strengthening our nationally recognized early-childhood education programs,” Perdue said in a speech.
North Carolina has won two major grants from the Obama administration’s Education Department under the “Race to the Top” program. The state received $400 million in 2010, partly to help train the teachers in a new curriculum adopted by 44 other states, according to The News & Observer of Charlotte.
North Carolina was also one of nine states awarded funding from a $500 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge fund in December.
Perdue’s claim that the state has a “nationally recognized” early-childhood program is true, but experts are warning that cuts in state funding to education could harm that status. The National Institute for Early Education Research found North Carolina was 19th in the nation when it comes to providing access to early-childhood education, but was one of the few programs that met all quality standards.