On Sunday, January 17th, the Democratic presidential candidates held their latest debate in Charleston (SC). As usual, unfortunately, there was a difference between what they claimed as “true” and the facts. Here’s a look at a few discrepancies.
Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a taxpayer-paid healthcare care system that would not “tear down” the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”, aka ObamaCare) but rather built on it. To which, former State Department Secretary Mrs. Clinton replied that she did not want to start a “contentious debate.” In fact, Senator Sanders’ proposal would mean a radical change inasmuch as private insurance and Medicaid would be eliminated and the government would then cover everyone, not just members of the military (through the Veterans Administration, mostly), the poor and the elderly. The advantage would be no premiums and no deductibles — well, not visibly anyhow. Now if you could only get corporations to pay their fair share.
From this 4-leggeds’ point of view, every so-called healthcare system is taxpayer paid. Whether you pay it through taxes, or pay through co-pays, or in higher cost of medications, it all comes out of your pocket. We 4-leggeds are baffled as to why it’s called “healthcare”. Seems to us it’s more like “disease management” than healthcare.
Staying on the same subject, Mrs. Clinton offered that the ACA has “driven [healthcare] costs down to the lowest they’ve been in 50 years.” Huh… not really. “Healthcare” costs spending is far higher today than it was 50 years ago. However, Mrs. Clinton may have meant that the growth of “healthcare” costs is the lowest it has been in the last 50 years, a statement that President Obama has uttered many times, including in his last State of the Union address. Even so, that still would not be correct inasmuch as expanded coverage under the ACA and rising drug prices caused “healthcare” spending in 2014 to rise at the fastest rate since President Obama took office. In fact, “healthcare” spending grew faster than the economy and accounted for 17.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thus claiming an ever-growing share of our national resources.
From a 4-legged’s point of view, the cost of veterinary care has also been growing quite rapidly with cancer “treatments” the fastest and most profitable segment. More on that in a Pet Food column.
Both Mrs. Clinton and Senator Sanders debated their stance on gun control, each selectively picking on each other’s record. Senator Sanders stated that he had “a D-minus record voting for the NRA [and] supported [ ] and instant background check.” Mrs. Clinton replied that Senator Sanders “voted against the Brady Bill 5 times [and] was for allowing guns in national parks and for shielding the gun industry from lawsuits.”
Well, it depends on how you read “the record.” While Sanders did support an instant background check and a 3-day waiting period, he opposed longer waiting periods. This latter was part of the Brady Bill so, to that extent, he did “vote against” the Brady Bill. However, the NRA gives Senator Sanders poor grades indicating he leans towards stronger gun control. Also, Mrs. Clinton was referring to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 which provided some protection for gun and ammunition manufacturers, dealers, sellers and trade associations from civil lawsuits. However, the act did provide 6 exceptions where lawsuits could be brought against these entities. Furthermore, Senator Sanders has stated that he would allow legislation that would take away the protections of the act.
Mrs. Clinton asserted that “1 out of 3 African-Americans may well end up in prison.” Senator Sanders has echoed that statistic. Unfortunately, that statistic is 13 years old and it is not a statistic at all, but rather a projection made 13 years ago by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that projected possible incarceration rates. In fact, the 2003 report both Senator Sanders and Mrs. Clinton quoted actually provides that 16.6% of adult African-American men have actually ever gone to prison, or 1 in 6. According to the Sentencing Project, that rate has actually since decreased. It is, however, a fact that African-American males continue to be imprisoned at a higher rate than any other ethnicity.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley stated that President Obama made the US “more energy independent.” However, the increase in fracking production, which led to a decrease in imports, was mainly due to advances in technology not government policies.