On the Hill Politics

Fact Check: Trump’s State of the Union Address

President Donald J. Trump delivered his third State of the Union address this Tuesday and spent approximately one and a half hours lying to the attending members of Congress, witnesses in the gallery, and the American public.

Early on in his speech, Trump remarked that “jobs are booming” and “incomes are soaring,” but NPR Chief Economics Correspondent Scott Horsley noted that in reality, “in the 38 months since the 2016 election, the U.S. economy has added 7.3 million jobs”- which is “an impressive feat, but certainly not unprecedented.” According to Horsley, “the pace of job growth has slowed” as “employers added an average of 176,000 jobs a month in 2019 compared with an average of 233,000 the year before.”

According to Trump, “in eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working age people dropped out of the workforce” and “ in just three years of [his] administration, 3.5 million people, working age people, have joined the workforce.” NPR Correspondent Jim Zarroli notes that, “comparing the labor force participation rate under President Barack Obama with the number of jobs created under his own administration” is like “mixing apples and oranges” while also noting that in reality, “job creation has increased at a slightly lower rate under Trump.

Trump said that as a country, “we are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back.” In response to this lie, Horsley said that while “the U.S. economy grew 2.3% last year” that statistic matches the average annual rate for the last 10 years while also falling “short of the 3% growth target set by President Trump and his advisors.”

Trump also noted that once elected, he personally “moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy.” However, Zarroli made sure to note that “since the Great Recession, the economy has been growing at a steady, moderate pace” that actually matches “the growth rate in 2016.”

Trump remarked that he and his administration have “made an ironclad pledge to American families” that they “will always protect patients with preexisting conditions.” Selena Simmons-Duffin, NPR Health Policy Reporter, refutes this statement by pointing out that that the Trump administration is currently engaging in a legal battle to strike down the Affordable Care Act that already and explicitly “ensur[es] that people who have preexisting conditions can access health insurance.” This statement is ridiculous as Trump has proven to be against healthcare for those with preexisting conditions and has not offered up a health plan with details on how exactly these conditions would still be covered if the ACA were to be struck down.

Trump stated that he addressed the increasing cost of health insurance premiums by “mov[ing] quickly to provide affordable alternatives” and that “new plans are up to 16 percent less expensive, and better.” NPR Health Policy Reporter Selena Simmons-Duffin noted that Trump’s cheaper plans “don’t have to offer up the 10 essential benefits required by insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.” While these plans do have low premiums, their deductible rates are extremely high and “if you get really sick or into an accident, you could be in serious financial straits. Trump urged people “stand with [him] and pass legislation to prohibit free government health care for illegal aliens” in order to combat “forcing American taxpayers to provide free unlimited health care to illegal aliens.”

Once again, Simmons-Duffin of NPR responded by saying that, for starters, “no health care is free” and that “many undocumented people are uninsured, but they still have health needs” and that with this in mind, “they often delay care and utilize emergency rooms.”

According to Trump, his administration is “taking on the big pharmaceutical companies” to “approv[e] a record number of affordable generic drugs.” NPR Pharmaceuticals Correspondent noted that “many newly approved generics have not come to market,” and with this in mind, “can’t drive prices down.” On this note, Trump also claimed that “the cost of prescription drugs actually went down [last year],” but according to Simmons-Duffin, “drug spending overall has continued to climb.”

Sources: NPR 2/5

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