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TRUTH TEST QUICK HIT: Outside group hits Perlmutter

5:00 PM, Oct 19, 2010   |    comments
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In this analysis, we'll look at a claim being made by the American Action Network which describes itself on its website as "a 501(c)(4) 'action tank' that will create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security." (Source: American Action Network website: http://americanactionnetwork.org/content/about).

The 501(c)(4) status means the group is registered with the IRS as a non-profit that is registered as a "social welfare tax exempt organization." It can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors who will remain private.

The organization is run by Fred Malek, who served under President George H.W. Bush and as the national finance chairman for John McCain's 2008 McCain Presidential Campaign. On its board are also two former Republican senators: Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) and George Allen (R-Virginia). It is running a series of commercials around the country targeting Democratic members of Congress.

In this particular case, the ad attacks Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) in the state's 7th Congressional District. His opponents are Ryan Frazier (R-Colorado) and Buck Bailey (L-Colorado).

QUOTE: "[He] cut $500 billion in Medicare for seniors and then spent our money on health insurance for illegal immigrants."

TRUTH: Both of these claims are false.

To pay in part for the new health care reform law, Congress said it would find $500 billion in efficiencies in the future growth of Medicare. That's not a cut. (Source: Congressional Budget Office: http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10851)

If anything, seniors who are on basic Medicare will now have more access to things like preventive services and eight million will also be spared significant prescription drug costs if they fell into the so-called doughnut hole created by Medicare Part D. (Source: New York Times, June 18: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/in-the-doughnut-hole-the-checks-in-the-mail/)

In fact, Colorado's Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck acknowledged as much during an October debate with his opponent, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), when he criticized the senator for taking his remarks out of context.

"Republicans did it to you during the health care debate when they said you wanted to cut $500 billion out of Medicare," Buck said in the Pueblo event. "It was wrong of the Republicans then and it's wrong of you to [take me out of context] now." (Source: Pueblo Chieftain, Oct. 8: http://www.chieftain.com/article_672390ce-d2ad-11df-a177-001cc4c03286.html)

In regards to the coverage of illegal immigrants under the new health care law, language "expressly exempts them from the mandate to have health coverage and bars them from the health insurance exchange." That's the determination from the Congressional Research Service which is Congress's non-partisan think tank, its policy research arm. (Source: CRS: http://healthcarereform.procon.org/sourcefiles/CRS_Noncitizen_Eligibility_HR3590.pdf).

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