Artur Davis on Obama's health care reform law
Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama who is now a Republican, slammed Obama for his health care reform law. Davis was one of 34 House Democrats to vote against the law in 2010.
Davis said the president was forcing middle-class Americans to buy health insurance “whether they can afford it or not.”
Not exactly. The Affordable Care Act‘s insurance-coverage requirement has an exemption for people with incomes below the tax-filing threshold ($9,350 for a single or $18,700 for a married couple in 2009) or if premiums exceed 8 percent of income.
He also said that the health care law took over “one-sixth of our economy.” While the health reform law puts the federal government squarely in the role of regulating what products private health insurance companies offer and how much profit they generate, doctors and hospitals will not be government-run. In addition, people will be able to buy health insurance plans from exchanges that will be manned by state governments and officials, should they choose to run them.
Davis said the law did not include “a single Republican idea,” a statement that is false. The policy that individuals must buy insurance originated with Republican think tanks during the Clinton administration, and insurance exchanges—marketplaces where private companies vie for customers—are built on the principle that competition will lower health care costs. Many Republican lawmakers also got some of their pet projects included in the mammoth law. For example, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, got a provision requiring doctors to report the income they get from pharmaceutical companies to the federal government into the law.
Finally, Davis says that Democrats’ health reform law got no votes from Republicans. Former Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-La., voted for the House version of the Affordable Care Act, but ultimately voted against the final law. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voted for the law in a markup of the bill in the Senate Finance Committee, but voted against the bill on the Senate floor.
Rick Santorum and Artur Davis on welfare
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Artur Davis echoed the themes of a Romney campaign ad that has accused the Obama administration of trying to gut the law requiring that welfare recipients to work.
Davis said that Obama “guts the welfare work requirement.”
Santorum said: “And this summer he showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare. I helped write welfare reform; we made the law crystal clear — no president can waive the work requirement.”
Davis’s statement is false and Santorum’s comment mischaracterizes a memo issued in July by the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Department. The memo informed states that the administration was willing to waive federal work requirements for state welfare programs, but only if the states come up with their own plans to “test alternative and innovative strategies, policies, and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes.”
In other words, if states think they have a better way of getting welfare recipients to work than the federal rules — which can get as specific as only counting a job search as “work” for four consecutive weeks — they can present that plan to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for approval. The move was an effort to offer flexibility, not an attempt to gut the work requirements.
GOP on Obama's 'You didn’t build that'
References to Obama’s now-infamous “you didn’t build that” comment were everywhere at the GOP convention. But, while excerpts of the comments preceding the line were included in montages played on the jumbotron, the full context was not. The line is from Obama’s remarks in Roanoke, Va., on July 17 and Republicans have seized on it to accuse Obama of being antibusiness. The full remarks indicate Obama was trying to point out that entrepreneurs benefit from education, good infrastructure to move goods, and so on. The Obama campaign has said that Republicans took the “you didn’t build that” phrase out of context. The president’s aides say the phrase referred to infrastructure and bridges, not businesses. Here is the phrase in context.
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.