Democratic spin on Medicare-for-all is too-good-to-be true

Democratic spin on Medicare-for-all is too-good-to-be true

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor in Florida, echoed something Democrats across the country have said in recent weeks: “We know that Medicaid expansion and Medicare-for-all actually save this state and this nation $2 trillion if it were fully implemented.”

We traced this factoid to a recently released working paper that examined the 10-year fiscal impact of the plan sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) which would transition everyone in the United States from a mostly employer-provided health system to Medicare over four years. The paper generously accepts the assumptions made in Sanders’ plan, and it found there would be $2 trillion in savings — if and only if — providers were be paid roughly 40 percent less than they are now.

The study’s author told us these were pretty unrealistic assumptions. Plus even if somehow this did happen, the study found the plan would still boost federal spending by $32.6 trillion over its first 10 years. This impact is notably omitted from Democratic spin.

For singling out a single fact and ignoring the overarching findings, Democrats earn Three Pinocchios.

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Did the trade deficit tumble $52 billion?

The president never saw a decrease in the trade deficit he didn’t like. And since the most recent GDP report, he has been repeatedly boasting about a new talking point: “The biggest and best results coming out of the good GDP report was that the quarterly Trade Deficit has been reduced by $52 Billion.”

The report shows difference in annual projections of the trade deficit after being adjusted for inflation is $52 billion. So it seems like Trump should be on track, except that he is talking about quarterly, not annual numbers. If you want to know what the difference is between two quarters, you need to divide by four; to find the actual trade deficit, you need to use current dollar figures not inflation adjusted dollars. We found the trade deficit fell by $21.7 billion — not $52 billion — between the first two quarters of 2018.

A separate report from the Commerce Department that calculated the quarterly trade deficit slightly differently found it decreased $20 billion, confirming our calculation was in the ballpark. But even that decline might not be anything to write home about, because many experts think that the second-quarter numbers were affected by the fact that companies overseas rushed to buy U.S. goods before Trump’s tariffs took effect. For the first half of 2018, the trade deficit is increasing — and will likely get worse in the third quarter.

Trump’s cherry-picked number earns him Four Pinocchios.

The strange case of an old news story, ICE and a presidential tweet

President Trump retweeted Katrina Pierson, in early July saying, “The stupidity of the left was on full display in Oakland. The #AbolishICE protest was actually the execution of a warrant from an ongoing criminal investigation of a child sex trafficking! Great job snowflakes.”

Pierson’s tweet linked to a July 5 article from the Federalist entitled “WATCH: Neighbors Protest ICE As It Breaks Up Child Sex Trafficking Ring,” which two paragraphs in points to a now removed local TV news report from last year. In other words, any protests were not connected to the recent call from some Democrats to abolish ICE.

So the timing and title is misleading, but what about the content of the tweet? It turns out there is a reason that the original breaking news story was removed. It was based on initial reports that were incorrect but quickly updated. The raid was not about alleged child sex trafficking at all and neighbors and activists said they were gathered there to support an immigrant family — not protest ICE.

This is a perfect case of a game of internet telephone gone awry, clearly demonstrating just how quickly false and misleading spin can take on a life of its own.

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Scroll down for this week’s Pinocchio roundup.

— Meg Kelly

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