by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
David Catron writes at the American Spectator about the Affordable Care Act’s recent six-year anniversary.
Obamacare just turned six and the president is still attempting to convince a skeptical public that his “reform” law is working. On the anniversary of its passage, the White House issued a statement from Obama containing all manner of hilarious claims including the following howler: “Thanks in part to this law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years … premiums for a family with job-based coverage are almost $2,600 lower than if trends from the decade before the law had continued.” As Emily Zanotti pointed out in this space, not even Chelsea Clinton buys that whopper.
The president’s claim that job-based family coverage costs less than it would had he refrained from meddling with health care flunks the laugh test. Employer-based health insurance premiums have continued to rise unabated. And, as the Kaiser Family Foundation reports, “Since 2010, both the share of workers with deductibles and the size of those deductibles have increased sharply. These two trends together result in a 67 percent increase in deductibles since 2010.” In his statement, however, Obama makes a specious claim about premiums while studiously ignoring skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs.
The claims the president makes about Obamacare are rife with such omissions. His claim that it has contributed to a slowdown in health care inflation, for example, is an Orwellian fantasy. According to a report produced by his own health care bureaucrats, the slowdown to which he refers began before the “reform” law was passed. In reality, Obamacare actually reversed the trend: “In 2014, U.S. health care spending increased 5.3 percent following growth of 2.9 percent in 2013 … The faster growth experienced in 2014 was primarily due to the major coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act.”
The president’s sixth anniversary statement also claims that Obamacare has made dramatic cuts in the uninsured rate, but that too conflicts with the facts. On September 9, 2009, Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to push his health reform agenda, and said this about the uninsured: “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.” Naturally, he claimed his reform plan would drastically reduce this number. According to the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “On average, about 27 million people … will be uninsured in 2016.”