Democratic debate night 1: Fact-checking the candidates on the issues
Daniel Wright/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Here’s ABC News’ fact check of the first of two Democratic presidential debates in Detroit between Marianne Williamson, Rep. Tim Ryan, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Rep. John Delaney and Gov. Steve Bullock.
FACT CHECK | Warren: “So the problem is that right now the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents. It’s what gives him the ability to lock up people at our borders. We need to continue to have border security and we can do that, but what we can’t do is not live our values. I’ve been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies.”
U.S. border facilities have relied on chain-link fencing when housing migrants for processing, including in 2014 when the U.S. faced an influx of undocumented migrants during the Obama administration. In recent months, border crossings have reached unprecedented levels and immigration advocates and government investigators have sounded the alarms on massive overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.
On July 12, when Vice President Mike Pence toured facilities in Texas with news cameras, parents were seen cradling their children while others were lying on mats in a fenced-in pen that resembled a cage at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was not there with Pence earlier this month. Her last visit to a border facility was in June 2018 in McAllen, Texas. At the time, she described cages where “children have little mats to lie on” on a concrete floor and “mamas are now held with the babies.” An Associated Press report from the same month described hundreds of children being held in cages at a warehouse in South Texas. Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, toured a facility in Clint, Texas, earlier this month where they described similar conditions.
In June, ABC News was allowed inside a facility outside El Paso, Texas, where reporters saw children held in concrete cells who appeared to be toddlers, mingling with older female children in a crowded cell. The children appeared to have been issued thin foam mattresses and thin cotton blankets. The CBP prohibited ABC News and other news organizations from filming inside or speaking with any of the children at that time because of what the agency said were legal and privacy concerns.
FACT CHECK | Klobuchar: “Everyone wants to get elected but my point is this, I think when we have a guy in the white house who has now told over 10,000 lies that we better be very straightforward with the American people, and no, do I think that we are going to end up voting for a plan that kicks half of America off of their current insurance in four years, no, I don’t think we’re going to do that.”
Klobuchar was asked who she was referring to in her opening remarks when she said that viewers would hear “a lot of promises” from the debate stage. She said that it’s important that the Democrats be “straightforward” given the current occupant of the White House.
Her claim that President Donald Trump has told more than 10,000 lies — while difficult to know for certain if this is true — is likely referring to the count by The Washington Post’s Fact Check Database, which continually looks at statements from the president to determine their truthfulness. By the Post’s count, President Donald Trump has made 10,796 false or misleading claims as of June 7th, 2019 — the last time their count was updated.
FACT CHECK | Delaney: “His math is wrong. That’s all I’m saying. His math is wrong. It’s been well documented if all the bills were paid at Medicare rate, then many hospitals in this country would close. I’ve been going around rural America and ask rural hospital administrators one question, if all your bills were paid at the Medicare rate last year, what would happen? They all look at me and say we would close.”
One recent study by the free-market oriented Mercatus Center found that health care providers operating under Medicare for all would be reimbursed at rates more than 40% lower than those currently paid by private health insurance. Another from the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that “more than two-thirds of hospitals are losing money on Medicare inpatient services.”
However, proponents of Medicare for all argue that hospitals could see more patients under the bill, which would raise revenue, and that they could change the way they charge patients by, for example, lowering drug prices and reducing administrative costs — lowering prices — without sacrificing care.
“Under Medicare for all, the hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they not going to be spending a fortune doing billing and the other bureaucratic things they have to do today,” Sanders said in response to Delaney during the debate.
But because establishing a single-payer system would change health care for just about everyone, experts say the exact results are hard to predict. According to a Congressional Budget Office report, “Medicare for All” would effect “individuals, providers, insurers, employers, and manufacturers of drugs and medical devices — because a single-payer system would differ from the current system in many ways, including sources and extent of coverage, provider payment rates, and methods of financing,” the CBO report says.
According to Larry Levitt of the health policy research Kaiser Family Foundation, “hospitals would be affected very differently depending on who they serve.”
“Hospitals with many uninsured patients could end up doing better with universal coverage under Medicare for All. Hospitals with many privately insured patients would likely do worse as prices fall. Overall hospitals would have to lower their costs in order to stay financially sound,” Levitt said.
FACT CHECK | Sanders: 87 million Americans “are uninsured or under-insured” and 500,000 Americans “are sleeping on the street, and yet companies like Amazon that made billions in profits did not pay one nickel in federal income tax.”
Both comments and his condemnation of corporations like Amazon have become a staple of Sanders’ stump speech. For the uninsured rate of Americans, the senator may be citing a Commonwealth Fund study which revealed that compared to 2010, when the Affordable Care Act became law, “fewer people today are uninsured, but more people are underinsured. Of the 194 million U.S. adults ages 19 to 61 in 2018, an estimated 87 million, or 45%, were inadequately insured.”
In regards to the rates of homeless people, he is likely citing a 2015 study from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development which reported that 500,000 people were homeless during the year 2015.
FACT CHECK | Hickenlooper: “Last year Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House and not one of those 40 Democrats supported the policies of our front runners at center stage. Now I share their progressive values, but I’m a little more pragmatic.”
Hickenlooper was making an effort to raise questions about the policies pushed by the progressives at the center of the stage, but that’s not entirely accurate. At least four freshman House Democrats representing formerly Republican-held districts support Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare-for-all legislation as cosponsors: Reps. Katie Hill, Katie Porter, Mike Levin and Josh Harder, all from California.
FACT CHECK | Buttegieg: “Science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate.”
A U.N. report released late last year found that rising temperatures could reach a “tipping point” where the effects, such as melting polar ice, can’t be reversed by 2030 if carbon dioxide emissions aren’t dramatically reduced. That deadline has been cited frequently as a reason for the country to take urgent and transformative action like the ambitious goals laid out in the Green New Deal.
But climate scientists like Michael Mann, a professor at Penn State University, have said benchmarks like that portray climate change as a cliff where Americans could start seeing impacts all of a sudden rather than a minefield where new consequences happen at various times. Climate models can’t give precise information about exactly what rising temperatures will trigger and when.
But the vast majority of climate experts agree that the consequences of rising temperatures will continue to get more severe if the U.S. and other countries don’t make drastic changes to reduce the use of fossil fuels and other sources of greenhouse gases. A recent climate report from the U.S. government found that many impacts of climate change are already affecting various parts of the country, including more severe rain events that contributed to recent flooding in the central U.S. and the East Coast, and heat waves that contribute to droughts in western states.
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Democratic debate night 1: Fact-checking the candidates on the issues
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