If you are a frequent reader of my blog then you know how the topic of Obamacare irritates me to the ends of the earth. I was one of those people in the individual market that watched my premiums and deductibles go up. Since Obamacare’s inception I had to go through the process of finding a new plan on a few occasions and even before I left California had to change my doctor of more than 15 years because he was no longer considered in my network. Like millions of Americans who were getting their care through the individual market Obamacare has been nothing, but a giant hassle and scam to redistribute wealth. It is no wonder that I get annoyed when I hear those on the Left tell me how Obamacare is candy and roses and now years later try to rewrite the history of how the law was passed. As Republicans spin up another run at repealing the ACA here are the most common lies that you will hear from the Left.
Number 1: The bill was debated for 2 years before passage. I find this lie especially egregious since it can be debunked with a calendar, Google search and 2 minutes. To the Leftist because the bill was introduced in 2009, but was not signed into law this means that it was debated for two years. The reality was the House version was introduced in September 2009, passed the House in November 2009, Senate Version was passed in December 2009 (On Christmas Eve when Americans were not looking no less) and President Obama signed the final version of the bill into law in March 2010. Now I will admit that there was a previous version of a house bill that had been working its way through the process for a few months, but that version of the bill was scrapped due to a procedural issue linked to the death of Ted Kennedy. The bill that ultimately became Obamacare was working its way through the process during period between September 2009 and March 2010 which constitutes 7 months not 2 years. yes healthcare was debated prior to the bill’s introduction, but the bill that ultimately became the ACA was not debated for 2 years. Whatever version of Repeal and Replace finally makes it through the process, you won’t find me 8 years down the road trying to claim that the bill was debated for 8 years.
Number 2: Obamacare is a bipartisan bill. This claim is based upon the claim that supposedly hundreds of Republican amendments made it into the final version of bill. It is important to note that this may have been the case in the earlier version of the House bill before it was scrapped, but reported by Politifact by September 2009 “…the bill was strictly a Democratic piece of legislation.” This is important because the bill that ultimately became law was not introduced until September 2009. While some amendments proposed by Republicans may have found their way into the final bill, “…many of the amendments Republicans introduced were technical in nature” and thus did not impact the substance of the bill that was passed. In the end NOT ONE Republican voted for Obamacare and trying to call it a bipartisan is laughable at best and willfully dishonest at worse.
Number 3: Obamacare is based upon Conservative Principles because it is a free market system. In order for you to believe this claim you have to believe two things. Mitt Romney was a Conservative and his signature legislation as governor was based upon a free market system. Mitt Romney at best is a RINO or Republican In Name Only. He may talk about some Conservative principles when he is running for election, but as soon as he gets the job he runs straight to the center and is just as likely to support Democratic legislation as Republican. Any system where we introduce government control in what you have to buy and sets standards and regulations instead of them being set by the buying public is antithetical to conservative principles. Just because you slap the words marketplace and exchange on something does not mean it is represents the free market when you underpin the entire thing with government mandates and subsidies. In a truly free market system it is the consumers that dictate what meets their needs not the government.
Number 4: Obamacare slowed the growth in premium increases. This claim is rife with dishonesty. I have seen people try to conflate the statistics from the employer sponsored and the individual markets. I have seen studies that conveniently only use data up to 2013 the first year that Obamacare regulations went into effect. The employer sponsored market has remained fairly stable since Obamacare did not touch much of that space. However, premiums in the individual market have exploded over the last two years.
Now many people want to blame Marco Rubio for this one, but the Risk Corridors were not meant to be permanent. They were put in place to help insurance companies guard against losses during the transition period. Since the government was guaranteeing against losses it is no wonder that every insurance company jumped into the pool. This initial influx of multiple companies and a couple of other factors helped keep premiums low through the first couple of years. Once the risk corridor money went away and companies began taking losing money they rightly pulled out of the exchanges. The regulations, the mandates in coverage and caps on premiums made attempting to operate in that space in a competitive manner far too risky for most insurance companies. A sluggish economy and flat wages also were in play in keeping the rate of premium increases low.
“The HHS report shows that premiums have increased significantly since the ACA’s key provisions took effect in 2013, when increased regulations and insurance requirements in the individual market were expected to spark increases. New Jersey had the lowest increase over the four-year period, at just 12 percent, while Alabama’s 222 percent premium hike was the highest. Overall, 16 states saw increases below the national average of 105 percent, 20 states were between 105 and 200 percent and three states saw premiums rise more than 200 percent, according to HHS.”
This becomes important because if we take the highest rate increases from the last three years of President Bush which were 14.7 percent in Wisconsin in 2008, 20.1 percent in Connecticut in 2009 and 21.8 percent in Nebraska and compare that to the national average of 105 percent over four years that gives us an average of around 26% per year. This shows us the overall rate increases for premiums were lower prior to Obamacare than after. In fact, even if the national average was at the highest percent of any state during that period that would have only had an 80.4 percent increase over four years. I am no statistical expert, but even using common core math 105 percent is still greater than 80.4 percent.
Here are the facts. Premiums are beginning to skyrocket, deductibles are 3-4 times higher and there are a lot of people paying more in taxes than before the ACA became law. In return we insured an additional 11 million people not counting those whose coverage became too expensive and decided to drop their insurance and pay the fine. Conservatives do not hate poor people, but we could have certainly found a better way to get 11 million people into the insurance market without kicking over the apple cart for the rest of the Americans that were already in the individual markets.