PolitiFact looks at Clinton, Trump statements on health care

There’s only a few days left before the Nov. 8 election.

For the past week, PolitiFact Georgia has be looking at how Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have fared on fact-checks about major issues in the race for president of the United States.

PolitiFact has published nearly 500 fact-checks about the two candidates during this election cycle.

Today we look at some of their statements about health care. Abbreviated versions those fact checks are below.

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Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/.

Hillary Clinton on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 in the second 2016 presidential debate:

“Right now we are at 90 percent health insurance covered. That’s the highest we’ve ever been in our country.”

The most widely cited data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, which tabulates statistics annually on what percentage of Americans are covered by health insurance. The most recent report came out in September 2016, covering the year 2015.

The Census Bureau found that 90.9 percent of Americans had some type of health coverage, whether it was provided by their employer, purchased independently or through a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid. The remainder — 9.1 percent of Americans — were uninsured.

We rated Clinton’s claim True.

Donald Trump in the second 2016 presidential debate:

Says Hillary Clinton “wants to go to a single-payer plan” for health care

Clinton has consistently said she would fight efforts to repeal Obamacare and would try to improve it. She said she wants a public option to be “possible” but she has not called for moving to a system of only single payer.

Clinton has not called for a single-payer plan. At times, she has praised the health care systems of other countries that have a single-payer plan, but she has not advocated that plan for the United States.

We rated Trump’s claim False.

Hillary Clinton on Sunday, January 17th, 2016:

“We now have driven (health care) costs down to the lowest they’ve been in 50 years.”

Although the rate of growth has been at historic lows, the actual per-person cost of health care has increased steadily over the last half century.

Only the rate of decline has slowed, a very different measure. The Clinton campaign acknowledges that the candidate misspoke.

We rated Clinton claim as False.

Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 in a news conference:

“We’re losing thousands of (veterans) waiting on line” because they can’t get speedy health care from the Veterans Administration.

Similar claims that 300,000 died because of delays by the VA clearly don’t have hard evidence to back them up. Instances at individual VA hospitals seldom go into double digits, so there’s no hard evidence there that the number of deaths is in the thousands either. Trump dialed back the rhetoric, but the claim still leaves out important context. We rated Trump’s claim Half True.

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 in the NBC Commander-In-Chief Forum:

Says Donald Trump supports “an agenda out there” to privatize the Veterans Affairs health care system.

Trump does support allowing more privatized care in cases where treatment at the VA is delayed or inadequate. In some cases he’s talked about giving veterans a choice that would include doctors and hospitals outside the system.

But that’s not the same as privatizing the system, which would get the get the government out of the treatment business. Trump has never proposed that.

Because Clinton’s statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

We rated Clinton’s statement Mostly False.

Donald Trump on Sunday, February 21st, 2016 in an interview on “Meet the Press”:

With Obamacare, “You have no options .. you can’t get competitive bidding.”

That is true in about 10 percent of the counties where individuals buy their coverage on the government’s insurance exchange. In another 30 percent of counties, people have only two companies to choose between.

But the people living in about 60 percent of the rest of the counties have at least three insurance providers to compare.

There’s an element of truth in Trump’s words, but his statement leaves out a lot of information that would leave a different impression.

We rated Trump’s claim Mostly False.

Donald Trump on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 in a speech:

“In many instances, (people’s) health care costs are more than their mortgage costs or their rent, which, by the way, is a first in American history.”

This is a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison. He is comparing total health care costs but not total housing costs, looking at only mortgage and rental costs. To further complicate matters, per-person health care costs far more than what most households pay because many get their health insurance subsidized by employers or the government.

With those caveats in mind, the federal data show Trump is, on average, incorrect.

But the candidate fudged it a bit, and given individual circumstances it’s certainly possible that some households are, in fact, seeing higher health care bills than what they’re paying on their rent and mortgage.

We rated Trump’s claim Mostly False.

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