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The Obama campaign depends on some false or dubious assumptions in its “Life of Julia” slide show. The infographic depicts a fictional woman whose life from age 3 to 67 is better under the president’s policies than under those of Republican Mitt Romney. But in reality, the contrasts are not so stark or simple as the Obama team would have viewers believe.
The campaign falsely claims Romney would leave Julia with “nothing but a voucher” to buy health insurance at age 65. Actually, the plan Romney has endorsed would let her choose between traditional Medicare fee-for-service coverage, or a variety of private plans with premiums partially paid by the government.
The slide show also contends that Julia, as a senior citizen, will have to pay “$6,350 extra per year” for a health care plan similar to Medicare. But that’s an out-of-date cost estimate based on a year-old plan that since has been made substantially more generous.
At age 67, Julia can “retire comfortably” under Obama but, “Under Mitt Romney: Julia’s benefits could be cut by 40%.” But the fact is Obama has not proposed any plan to avoid a 25 percent cut in benefits for all Social Security beneficiaries, which the system’s trustees say is looming in 2033 unless changes are made.
As a 22-year-old college student, Julia needs surgery that is covered “due to a provision in health care reform” keeping her on her parents’ insurance. Fair enough. But she’d probably be covered anyway: Thirty-seven states already have similar mandates on the books.
As a 31-year-old expectant mother, Julia “benefits from maternal checkups” required under the new health care law. But she would probably get that care anyway; 85 percent of full-time workers have health insurance now, and a 1978 federal law already requires that employer-provided insurance generally must “cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions.”