On Beck, Cato's Tanner falsely claimed Clinton's health plan would force small businesses to pay into health fund

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

On Glenn Beck, the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner falsely asserted that under Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care proposal, small business owners would have to provide health insurance to their employees, "or else pay an additional tax into a fund ... that the government will use to pay for that health insurance." In fact, Clinton's plan would provide tax credits to ensure that many small businesses offer health coverage to their employees.

During the September 17 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, Michael Tanner, director of the Cato Institute's health and welfare studies, asserted that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) health care plan would "require" that small business owners provide health insurance to their employees, "or else pay an additional tax into a fund ... that the government will use to pay for that health insurance." In fact, in a speech earlier that day announcing her plan, Clinton had stated: "Now, under my plan, we won't require small businesses to cover employees." Instead, she explained, "we will provide tax credits to ensure that many of them do."

In discussing the impact that Clinton's plan would have on small businesses, host Glenn Beck asked Tanner: "Why would a business ... 'cause I am a small business owner -- if the government is just going to pay for the health care, if I don't provide it, why would I provide it for my people?" Tanner replied: "Well, under her plan, they're actually going to make you. They're going to require every business in America to provide health insurance or else pay an additional tax into a fund ... that the government will use to pay for that health insurance."

But during her speech, Clinton explained how her proposal would affect small businesses:

CLINTON: Now, under my plan, we won't require small businesses to cover employees. Instead we will provide tax credits to ensure that many of them do. These tax credits will be based on size and average wages, so that small businesses can provide health care without destroying their bottom line. This credit could be as high as 50% of premiums for firms with fewer than 25 employees. It's a good start that small businesses are leading the way in creating new jobs. My goal is for them to create new jobs with good health care benefits as well.

The Washington Post's September 18 "Health-Care Score Card" explicitly noted that Clinton's plan does not "require[] small businesses to insure employees or pay tax."

Clinton appeared on the September 18 editions of NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America, and MSNBC's Morning Joe to discuss her plan. In none of these appearances did Clinton indicate that her plan would require small businesses that don't provide health insurance to "pay an additional tax" into a government fund, as Tanner asserted.

From the September 17 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Michael Tanner is the director of the health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute. Michael, let me ask you this: I noticed that she used the word health care -- universal health care insurance this weekend, which made me immediately think of SSI, Social Security Insurance. It's not insurance when it's guaranteed to pay out, right?

TANNER: Well, you're absolutely right, and insurance is supposed to be the idea of spreading risk among people. This is simply a way of prepaying health care for a great many people. It's going to be hugely expensive. It's going to limit patient choice. It's going to cost jobs, because of the huge mandate on business included in this. This is basically Hillarycare 1993 all over again.

BECK: Help me understand this one part: Why would a business -- let's say, 'cause I am a small business owner -- if the government is just going to pay for the health care, if I don't provide it, why would I provide it for my people?

TANNER: Well, under her plan, they're actually going to make you. They're going to require every business in America to provide health insurance or else pay an additional tax into a fund --

BECK: Ah! That sounds great.

TANNER: -- that the government will use to pay for that health insurance.

Network/Outlet
CNN Headline News
Person
Michael Tanner
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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