FACT CHECK: Did Obama Really Say That About Obamacare?

Jun 12, 2012 3:33pm

ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and Devin Dwyer report:

Mitt Romney has been stretching the truth on the campaign trail today repeatedly saying President Obama admitted that he doesn’t “understand that Obamacare was hurting small businesses.” This revelation supposedly happened yesterday during an interview with a Sioux City, Iowa television station.

The only problem is that’s not what Obama said.

In Florida, Romney said this “shows just how much out of touch he is.”

“He said he didn’t understand that Obamacare was hurting small business, Romney said in Orlando. “He doesn’t understand that Obamacare impacts small business. And you have to scratch your head about that because about a year ago the Chamber of Commerce did a survey of some 1,500 small businesses. And of those small businesses, three-quarters, 75 percent, said Obamacare made it less likely for them to hire people.”

Romney said this survey proves the president’s health care plan is “having an impact on middle income families that want to have good jobs.”

“We also found out that 30 percent of employers in this country plan on dropping people once Obamacare is put in place, dropping them from their healthcare plan,” Romney said. “And then there were some other revelations about Obamacare – instead of costing a trillion dollars, it’s going to cost two trillion dollars. It’s not only bad policy and bad for small business, it’s simply unaffordable. And so the right course for us is to make sure the next president of the United States repeals Obamacare and replaces Obamacare.”

The survey Romney is citing is from a right-leaning pollster – Luntz Global, founded by Frank Luntz- that is more than a year old. In 1997, Luntz received a rare censure from the American Association for Public Opinion Research for violating its code of ethics. It’s important to note the Chamber of Commerce also tends to support Republican candidates and has not been shy to voice its opposition to the president. The Democrats have been critical of the Chamber as well.

In the interview with KTIV-TV yesterday, Obama was asked for his reaction when told about a local business that told the reporter they were leaving Sioux City and going to Wisconsin as “a direct result of the health care reform that you initiated.”

“That would be kind of hard to explain, because the only folks that have been impacted in terms of the health care bill are insurance companies who are required to make sure that they’re providing preventive care, or they’re not dropping your coverage when you get sick,” Obama answered. “And so, this particular company probably wouldn’t have been impacted by that. I know that there’s a perception sometimes that there’s all kinds of regulations coming out of Washington, the truth is actually we’ve seen fewer regulations coming out of my administration than the previous administration.”

Obama was referring to the fact that most of the health care law provisions directly affecting employers, including a new fee on those with 51 employees or more who don’t offer health insurance coverage,  have not yet taken effect.  Many are set to go online in 2014. The law has, however, already provided new tax credits to businesses with 25 employees or less and an average annual payroll of $50,000 or less to help coverage insurance plans.

Obama added “it’s tough running a small business no matter what.”

“And we’re going to make sure that we continue to provide whatever financing help that we can provide,” Obama said.

Romney said the same thing on Fox News this morning repeating the president “didn’t realize that Obamacare is having any impact on small business” and pointing the president to the Chamber of Commerce survey.

This story was updated since it was originally posted. 

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