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October 4, 2012

In stats-filled debate, who said what -- and was it true?

(Continued)

DENVER —

— Romney

Romney said he was unaware of any provision that gives companies a tax deduction for moving operations overseas. But Obama is right, there is such a provision.

Yet it is pretty small beer given the attention Democrats pay to it. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that ending the deduction for moving operations overseas would raise just $168 million over a decade.

In the federal government with an annual budget deficit of more than $1 trillion, that's what you call a rounding error.

- - -

"And over the last two years, health-care premiums have gone up — it's true — but they've gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years."

— Obama

Obama tried to attribute a 50-year decline in health costs to the health-care law, but much of it has not yet been implemented. Most economists say the slowdown is more likely because of the lousy economy.

"It's tempting to think that provider initiatives are truly denting costs, but it's hard for changes in provider behavior to influence costs before they occur," said a recent article in Modern Healthcare magazine. "Instead, the drop in healthcare cost growth is primarily attributable to the Great Recession's impact on employment, private health insurance, government revenues and budgets."

Meanwhile, Romney blamed a rise in insurance premiums on the health-care law. This is also overstated, since much of the health-care law has not been implemented yet.

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