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Politifact finds Bachmann claim of hidden money in healthcare reform ‘barely true’

Rep. Michele Bachmann hit the cable news circuit this week alleging that the Affordable Care Act contained $105 billion in “hidden” spending. She dubbed the revelation a “bombshell” and announced the news on Meet the Press, Fox’s Sean Hannity show, Fox’s “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren and WCCO’s Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy over the last few days. Politifact found Bachmann’s claim to be “barely true,” but the Washington Post disagreed, giving Bachmann four of its “Pinocchios.”

Politifact said it was “deluged” with suggestions that the Pulitzer Prize–winning fact-checker rate Bachmann’s statements, and when it did, it found her claims to be barely true. Here’s why:

We added up the spending Bachmann was referring to and got $104 billion — very close to her number. Where our analysis diverges is her claim that the spending was “secret.”

We concluded that Bachmann has a point if you look at at the amount of media coverage the appropriations and transfers inspired. There was hardly any. However, she went further than that, charging that the provisions were passed “secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress.” And that was not accurate.

The spending provisions were in the plain language of the bill; they did not vary dramatically from past congressional practice; and the bill was made public for 72 hours before the vote. On balance, we rated Bachmann’s statement Barely True.

The Washington Post, however, found Bachmann’s claims to be very false, giving her four out of four “Pinocchios,” a reference to the chronically lying puppet of children’s story fame.

“There is no ‘bombshell’ except Bachmann’s bombast,” wrote the Post. “She is correct that Congress already has appropriated some spending in future years, but her claim that this money was ‘hidden’ does not have credibility. The money for these programs was clearly described and analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office before the legislation was voted into law.”

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