PHILADELPHIA — On a night headlined by President Bill Clinton’s admiration for his wife — the now official Democratic nominee — there was a less-than-glowing treatment of some facts.
- Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean claimed that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “whole” health care plan was to replace the Affordable Care Act with “quote, ‘Something so much better.'” In fact, Trump has released a seven-point health care plan
- Bill Clinton said that the United States’ approval rating soared 20 percentage points during the time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But analyses of the U.S.’s global ratings don’t support such a claim.
- Former Attorney General Eric Holder said “1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in their lifetimes,” an outdated projection based on the incarceration rate for black males as of 2001. That rate has declined since then.
- Bill Clinton said that Arkansas schools went from “worst” when he started as governor to one of two “most improved,” and he gave Hillary Clinton much of the credit. The record is mixed: An expert did say in 1992 that the state had made progress, but the The York Times reported then that the state was “still near the bottom in most national ratings.”
- Sen. Barbara Boxer repeated a convention talking point, claiming that Trump said that “wages are too high.” He was talking about a $15 minimum wage being too high.
- Dean said that GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence “voted to end Medicare as we know it.” Pence did vote for a budget plan that called for a major change to Medicare, but it would have retained a health insurance system for seniors.
Note to Readers
This story was written with the help of the entire staff, including some of those based in Philadelphia who are at the convention site. As we did for the Republican National Convention, we intend to vet the major speeches at the Democratic National Convention for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.
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Trump’s Health Care Plan
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said Donald Trump’s “whole plan” for health care was to replace Obamacare with “quote, ‘Something so much better.'” Dean added: “Six-word plan for health care.” In fact, Trump has more than 1,000 words on his plans for health care on his campaign website.
Dean: Now, Donald Trump has a plan, too. He would rip up Obamacare and throw 20 million people off their health insurance; Donald Trump will take us back to a time when insurance companies could deny you coverage if you have a preexisting condition, or he will take you back to the time where insurance companies could charge you more just because you are a woman. And what is he going to replace this with? Quote: “Something so much better.” “Yuge,” no doubt. That’s it. That’s the whole plan right there. Six-word plan for health care.
Dean was referring to comments from Trump at a debate in February, when he said, “We are going to replace Obamacare with something so much better.” Even then, he went on to say the replacement should rely on private insurance and do something to help low-income Americans. And in March, he released a seven-point plan.
It calls for: repealing the Affordable Care Act, allowing the sale of insurance across state lines, allowing individuals who buy their own health insurance to take a tax deduction for the cost of premiums, enabling health savings accounts that could be used by other family members or inherited by heirs, changing Medicaid to a block-grant program, instituting price transparency, and allowing the sale of imported drugs.
Trump’s plan calls these ideas “simply a place to start,” but it’s far from a “six-word plan.”
The list of proposals doesn’t include subsidies or other aid to low-income Americans. It doesn’t say anything about keeping the ACA provisions that Dean mentions — requiring insurance companies to cover those with preexisting conditions and not charge higher premiums based on gender. And an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget supports Dean’s claim that Trump’s repeal-and-replace plan would “throw 20 million people off their health insurance.”
CRFB said that the two aspects of the plan that would increase insurance coverage — selling insurance across state lines and allowing a tax deduction for premiums — would “only cover 5 percent of the 22 million individuals who would lose coverage upon the repeal of Obamacare.” That estimate relies on past figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on the impact of similar proposals.
So far, the number of uninsured has dropped by 15.2 million people since 2008, before President Obama took office, through 2015, according to the most recent data from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Obama administration puts the total who have gained coverage under the ACA at 20 million through early 2016.
U.S. Approval Ratings
Bill Clinton said that the United States’ approval rating soared 20 percentage points during the time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But analyses of the U.S.’s global ratings don’t support such a claim.
Bill Clinton: That’s why the approval of the United States was 20 points higher when she left the Secretary of State’s office than when she took it.
Hillary Clinton served as the United States secretary of state from January 21, 2009, to February 1, 2013.
We asked the Clinton campaign to support this claim, but got no response.
But three different international polls show the country’s approval ratings went up during Clinton’s tenure, but then dipped again before the end of her term, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Politics.
Weighting the poll data from several different countries by their populations, Bloomberg found mixed results.
The Toronto-based GlobeScan poll, which asks whether the U.S. is “having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world,” found that sentiment improved during the first two years of Clinton’s tenure, but fell to nearly the point where it was when she took office.
The Pew Research Center, which asks, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S.?” found the favorability rating of the U.S. rose steeply in 2009 and continued to improve through April 2010. But then “net favorability fell steeply, and continued to decline until just after her departure,” Bloomberg stated.
Gallup’s U.S.-Global Leadership Project, which asks, “Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United States?” didn’t start polling until August 2009, seven months after Secretary Clinton’s start date. Bloomberg found that from August 2009 until the summer of 2011, the Gallup measure declined — and then essentially remained flat for the next two years.
None of this supports former President Clinton’s claim of a 20-point boost in U.S. approval. Furthermore, none of the polls asked specifically about the role of the secretary of State, as opposed to that of her boss, President Obama.