To Paraphrase The Eagles: “You Can’t Hide Your Ryan Lies”

To quote the always awesome Eclectablog:

“Dude totally got Bidened”.

The epic performance last night by Vice President Joe Biden is destined to go down in history as one of the finest debate showings ever. Three things conspired against Congressman Paul Ryan: the truth, a debate opponent well prepared with facts and a ‘tude, and a debate moderator that was skilled and educated enough not to put up with any bullshit. This perfect storm left Ryan flopping on the beach like a fish, mouth gawping for air, completely knocked out of his zone.

It’s not easy to debate someone who tells lie after lie after lie. You risk spending your entire time refuting the lies without ever getting your own message out. Last night, Joe Biden taught us how to do it. He started out grinning whenever Ryan lied. By the end, he was openly laughing and, in what was almost like a live-tweeting of his own debate, responded in the background to each lie that rolled out of Ryan’s mouth with a refutation so that, when it was his own turn, he could actually deliver his message.

He made Ryan look foolish on foreign policy. He made Ryan look foolish on domestic policy. He made Ryan look almost irreligious on the question of abortion. And the entire time, he was openly derisive of Ryan when he lied. It was a pitch perfect performance.

Here’s a classic example in a discussion about defense. By the end, confronted with direct questions, Ryan was stumbling and saying they won’t increase defense spending (which directly contradicts Mitt Romney on this topic):

Perhaps the most enjoyable moment was when Biden pointed out Ryan’s hypocrisy on the Stimulus, telling us that he got not one but TWO letters from Ryan asking for Stimulus money for his state.

Why? Because it would create jobs!

This is how you handle liars.

You show the perfect amount of derision for someone who is lying to the American people and then refute his lies with facts, openly, aggressively and with humor. When I defended President Obama’s debate performance last week, I said that it freed him up to be more aggressive in the next debate because people were expecting him to.

What I didn’t consider is that it also freed up Vice President Biden to do the same thing. Biden was already in the role of being more of an aggressor but, after last week, nearly everyone paying attention to the debates was saying he’d have to come out swinging.

And, wow, did he ever.

He has shown us a new way to contend with politicians who have based their entire campaign on lies.

You just have to Biden them.

Here are some of the “factually challenged” Ryan high-lights low-lights:

Says Obama was in New York City the same day as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but went on a TV show instead of meeting with him.

During the debate Ryan said that Obama was in New York City the same day as Netanyahu and “instead of meeting with him, goes on a daily talk show.”

The two leaders were not there on the same day: Obama was there Monday and Tuesday, and Netanyahu was there later in the week, on Thursday and Friday. Obama taped The View on Monday.

We rate this claim False.

Says the Obama administration spent taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland (and) windmills in China.

Paul Ryan said stimulus dollars were spent on electric cars in Finland and windmills in China.

In fact, the program that provided loan guarantees for the Fisker cars was not part of the stimulus — and the money went toward engineering and design in the United States.

As for the windmills in China, it’s true that a small number of windmills and components to build them came from China. But the statement greatly exaggerates China’s role in the overall use of stimulus money.

On balance, we rate the claim Mostly False.

Says Obama promised unemployment would never go above 8 percent.

Ryan said the Obama administration promised “unemployment would never get to 8 percent.”

Obama didn’t say that. Rather, his Council of Economic Advisers predicted that the stimulus would hold it to that level. Their report included heavy disclaimers that the projections had “significant margins of error” and a high degree of uncertainty due to a recession that is “unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity.”

The sub-8 percent prediction did not hold true, but it’s still incorrect to characterize it as a promise or guarantee.

We rate Ryan’s statement Mostly False.

Scranton Unemployment

Ryan rapped Biden for the unemployment rate in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa., but Ryan was wrong when he said, “that’s how it’s going all around America.”

Ryan: Joe and I are from similar towns. He’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I’m from Janesville, Wisconsin. You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?

Biden: I sure do.

Ryan: It’s 10 percent.You know what it was the day you guys came in — 8.5 percent. That’s how it’s going all around America.

Biden: You don’t read the statistics. That’s not how it’s going. It’s going down.

Ryan correctly cited the unemployment statistics for Scranton, Pa. The city’s unemployment rate was, in fact, 8.5 percent in January 2009, and it was 10 percent in August.

But Ryan was incorrect when he said, “That’s how it’s going all around America.” In fact, the unemployment rate nationwide is now exactly the same as it was when Obama took office – 7.8 percent (and as Biden said, has been going down — slowly and at times fitfully – since it hit a peak of 10 percent in October 2009).

In other words, for every town like Scranton that has seen its unemployment rise, there are others that have seen a decline. In fact, Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. — which Ryan mentioned immediately before Scranton — has seen its unemployment rate drop from 13.5 percent in January 2009 to 9.2 percent in August.

We rate this comment as False.

Hospitals ‘Going out of Business’

Ryan said that the actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business” as a result of the federal health care law. But that’s not what the actuary said.

Medicare’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, has said that his office’s economic simulations “suggest that roughly 15 percent of Part A providers [which include hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and home health care providers] would become unprofitable within the 10-year projection period as a result of the productivity adjustments” in Medicare payment rates. That could lead some providers to “end their participation in the program,” he said.

But becoming “unprofitable” isn’t the same thing as “going to go out of business.” And Foster added that “this policy could be monitored over time to avoid such an outcome.”

Also worth noting is that the budget Ryan proposed, and House Republicans adopted, contains the same reductions in the future growth of Medicare Part A spending as the Affordable Care Act. The only difference is that the savings would be applied differently.

So a hospital that would “go out of business” because of the ACA would be just as likely to close its doors under Ryan’s budget. Mitt Romney has rejected those Medicare reductions, but Ryan is being inconsistent, to say the least, when he criticizes the administration on that point.

We rate this comment as False.

Taxpayer-Funding of Abortions?

Ryan said that there was “taxpayer funding” of abortion “in Obamacare.” There’s no direct funding allowed, but it’s a matter of interpretation whether federal dollars will be supporting abortion indirectly.

The Affordable Care Act provides no direct federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Those are the same rules that have applied for many years to Medicaid coverage.

Furthermore, even when it comes to low-income workers who will be buying their own private insurance with the help of federal subsidies, the law requires that any premium dollars that could go toward abortion coverage must come from their own pockets, not from taxpayers.

We rate this comment as False.

Bureaucrats and ‘Death Panels’

Ryan: And then they put this new Obamacare board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors. This board, by the way, it’s 15 people, the president’s supposed to appoint them next year. And not one of them even has to have medical training. …

We would rather have 50 million future seniors determine how their Medicare is delivered to them instead of 15 bureaucrats deciding what, if, when, where they get it.

This claim has been repeated throughout the 2012 campaign, as we’ve reported multiple times. But, in fact, the law specifically forbids rationing or restriction of benefits, and the board is quite limited in the scope of the binding, cost-saving recommendations it is allowed to make.

According to the text of the Affordable Care Act, the board can’t restrict benefits or eligibility, increase premiums or taxes, or “ration” health care. And a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis said that the IPAB would be effectively restricted to finding savings from “Medicare Advantage, the Part D prescription drug program, skilled nursing facility, home health, dialysis, ambulance and ambulatory surgical center services, and durable medical equipment.”

Ryan is also wrong to claim that “not one of [the board members] even has to have medical training.” As we’ve pointed out many times, the law says the members must include national health care experts, physicians and other health care professionals, economists, and representatives of consumers and seniors.

We rate this comment as False.

Health Care Hooey

Ryan rattled off several false and misleading claims about the Affordable Care Act, greatly overstating the law’s effect on premiums and the likely impact on the number of Americans with work-based coverage.

Ryan: Look at all the string of broken promises. If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Try telling that to the 20 million people who are projected to lose their health insurance if Obamacare goes through or the … 7.4 million seniors who are going to lose it. … Or remember when he said health insurance premiums will go down $2,500 per family, per year? They’ve gone up $3,000, and they’re expected to go up another $2,400.

Ryan was wrong when he said premiums had “gone up $3,000″ because of the health care law. First, the average premium for a family work-based policy has gone up $1,975 between 2010 and 2012, and the average single policy has gone up $566, according to an annual survey of employer plans by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust. On the campaign trail, Romney has claimed premiums have gone up by $2,500, but that’s still too high.

Second, that’s the total increase, paid by employers and employees combined. And both the 2011 and 2012 reports said that the amount and percentage paid by employees hadn’t changed much, if at all. And third, when we looked into this issue a year ago, experts told us the federal health care law was responsible for a 1 percent to 3 percent increase because of more generous coverage requirements. The total increase from 2010 to 2011 was 9 percent, most of which was due to rising medical costs. In the past year, however, the average family premium went up just 4 percent. In a press release on the premium survey, the president of Health Research & Educational Trust said that “[p]remium growth is at historic lows, which greatly benefits workers.”

Ryan also exaggerated with the claim that “20 million people … are projected to lose their health insurance if Obamacare goes through.” That comes from a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis that actually said it was likely that 3 million to 5 million would no longer get insurance through their employers, with some of those individuals dropping their insurance voluntarily to “instead choose to obtain coverage from another source.” Ryan’s 20 million figure came from a pessimistic scenario that the March 2012 report said relied on extreme assumptions. An optimistic scenario found that the number on work-based coverage would increase by 3 million.

The claim that 7.4 million seniors would lose their coverage refers to an estimate of the number that would normally be expected to take a Medicare Advantage plan but would instead chose traditional Medicare in 2017. Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private insurers, have been paid more on average than traditional fee-for-service Medicare, 9 percent more in 2010. The health care law reduces those extra payments over time to bring Medicare Advantage payments in line with traditional Medicare. As a result, those plans could shed extra benefits that they now offer seniors — so they are expected to attract fewer seniors. The chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimated a 50 percent lower enrollment — from 14.8 million seniors to 7.4 million — in 2017, compared with what would have happened without the law.

As of 2011, there were 11.5 million seniors on Medicare Advantage, an increase of about 500,000 from 2010. So, the 7.4 million is a projection of the number of seniors, who normally would have been expected to take Medicare Advantage, but who will stick with traditional Medicare as a result of the law. It’s not an estimate of the number “who are going to lose” their health care plan, as Ryan said.

We rate this comment as False.

Sources: Eclectablog, FactCheck.Org & Politifact

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