The 10 Claims in White House’s New “Anti-Repeal” Obamacare Move

Obama Administration Shifts Gears in Defense of Obamacare

The battle over the Senate in 2014 might be somewhat over-rated. Since Obama has taken charge, he has

given himself quasi-authoritarian power to do anything he wants. He ignores the law. He creates the law.

He changes laws. Who needs a legislature at all? A week before Christmas, Obama once again changed

portions of Obamacare without any legislation. The changes were more drastic than those Republicans asked

for during the government shutdown. Oh yeah, and the Republicans were called terrorists then.

Obamacare-Greater-Premiums-SC_small3 The 10 Claims in White House's New "Anti-Repeal" Obamacare Move

Along with the new, new, new unilateral “changes” to the Obamacare came a somewhat bizarre shift by the

White House to start an anti-repeal campaign. Obama and Obamacare poll numbers are both dropping and

repeal sentiment is growing. So this is the administration’s attempt to stop the bleeding. The White

House dropped ten reasons why repeal would be just awful. More propaganda or reality? Let’s take a look.

In the face of rising opposition to Obamacare, the White House has launched a new anti-repeal offensive

to try to stop the bleeding. There’s a lot of “could save” and “up to” claims here, meaning they have

been presented in best-case scenario fashion. Let’s explore the claims: 

 

Claim: 71 million Americans on private insurance have gained coverage for at least one free preventive

health care service such as a mammogram, birth control…

Reality: These “free” services are not “free.” Most people on private plans received rate hikes in 2013

in part due to all of the new “free” stuff that insurance plans are now required to cover. In addition to

the “free” items listed, other goods including breast pumps and smoking-cessation drugs were also part of

the new “free” items required under Obamacare. Paying a larger fee upfront for products many people do

not want or need later during the year does not make that product “free.” Indeed, for people who do not

smoke, are unable to have children, and do not need “women’s health services” the addition of these

requirements is actually quite costly.

 

Claim: Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will no longer have to worry about being

denied health coverage…

Reality: 129 million Americans is roughly 40% of the population. Only 15% of the population went without

insurance in 2013 in total, and a large chunk of those people were voluntarily uninsured (imagine healthy

20-somethings who prefer spending money on cars and iPhones rather than insurance). Even worse, nearly 6

in 10 of the uninsured haven’t even bothered to look for insurance through the end of 2013! These are the

people Obamacare was intended to help and they do not even care. This means most people with pre-existing

conditions already had nondiscriminatory coverage through their employer. Even in the individual market

many people with pre-existing conditions have been kicked off of plans they liked into more expensive

plans with higher deductibles they now cannot afford. All while losing their doctors.

 

Claim: 41 million uninsured Americans will have new health insurance options through Medicaid or private

health plans in the Marketplace.

Reality: These 41 million people are the entire reason that Obamacare was supposedly set-up. The problem

is that either no on can sign up or, as previously noted, roughly 23 million of these people haven’t even

so much as looked into purchasing a plan. Worse, the law’s new demands actually cancelled the policies

of, and therefore added to uninsured tally, some 6 million more people. The only “effective” part of the

law enrollment-wise has been the Medicaid expansion, which is a sub-par insurance program with a huge

price-tag currently that is currently not being off-set by Obamacare enrollments as promised.

 

Claim: Consumers have saved $5 billion over the past two years due to a new requirement that insurance

companies have to spend at least 80% of premium dollars on care for patients…  In 2013, 8.5 million

enrollees will receive rebates averaging $100 per family.

Reality: Stop the presses! A small percentage of families will, theoretically, receive a rebate of an

average of $8 per month. Even if true – and since we were supposed to have saved $2,500 on premiums per

year I’m skeptical – it still doesn’t even cover a portion of just the reinsurance tax hitting insurance

plans for one person, much less “a family.” It probably doesn’t come close to covering the hikes in

premiums already seen, either. And the 8.5 million people “saving $100” could very well be fewer than the

number of people forced out of insurance altogether.

 

Claim: Insurance companies must submit premium increases of 10% or more for review by experts. In 2012,

6.8 million Americans saved an estimated $1.2 billion on health insurance premiums after their insurers

cut back on planned increases as a result of this process…

Reality: In 2013, insurance premiums rose by just 3.3%. Over the last 6 years, the premium hikes breached

6.2% just once (2011), but was still below 10%. So, again, this has little benefit to the 98% of

Americans not effected by extraordinarily high increases. But even with that 10% marker in place, the new

plans set for 2014 have already seen major hikes in deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket

expenses. If they don’t cover their costs through higher premiums, they cover them through other means.

Not long ago, the Obama Administration claimed that the 15-17 million Americans or so who could lose

insurance through the individual healthcare market was a small number and not such a big deal. Then, he

referred to “just 5%” of the population. This is now the second “big” claim in a row that benefits less

than 3% of the population – mildly at that – ad it’s a major reason why repealing Obamacare would be

devastating? In the end, this claim amount to little more than just throwing big numbers against a wall

with a liberal dose of magical unicorn theorizing of some random best-case scenario formulated in the

faculty lounge at Harvard.

 

Claim: Since the health care law was enacted more than 7 million seniors and people with disabilities

have saved an average of $1,200 per person on prescription drugs as the health care law closes Medicare’s

“donut hole.”

Reality: For one, this is something that did not require an overhaul of 1/6th of the entire economy and

could likely have been accomplished more effectively outside of Obamacare. But the reality of

prescription drug costs dives into a deep well of crony capitalism. The collusion between the Obama

Administration and non-coincidentally silent Big Pharmacy reaped a huge payoff for both sides.

 

Claim: Over three million young adults have gained health insurance because they can now stay on their

parents’ health plans until age 26.

Reality: The merits of forcing insurance companies to cover “young adults” who should be either four

years removed from college or 8 years into the workforce (assuming they can even find a job in this

economy) is a separate debate. Like many of these claims, it also doesn’t require 10,000 pages to

accomplish, cost millions of people their insurance, or force premiums and deductibles to sky-rocket. By

most accounts, this provision would remain in any replacement law offered by Republicans anyway given

both the Pandora’s Box effect and the reality it is one of the few Obamacare provisions voters are okay

with.

 

Claim: Individuals no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach a

lifetime limit on benefits. Starting in January,105 million Americans will no longer have to worry about

annual limits, either.

Reality: Like the previous claim, this is one that is not entirely disagreeable and could very well make

it into a Republican alternative. In an insurance market with free market principles, some plans like

this would very well exist right next to less expensive plans with lifetime limits. Again, this is

another minor provision wholly separate from the core purpose of Obamacare.

 

Claim: Using funds available through the Affordable Care Act, health centers are expanding access to care

by building new sites and renovating existing sites.

Reality: Obama really needed a 10th bullet point, and this was the best they coul d find out of 10,000

pages of law and regulations and some 3 years after passage.

 

Summary: The Obama’s “cost of repeal” offensive is a mush-mash of best-case scenario figures, theoretical

benefits, and claim after claim unrelated to the law’s main purported goal: insuring 41 million uninsured

Americans. By January 1, 2014, it is almost a certainty that there will be more uninsured people at the

start of the year than were uninsured on January 1st, 2013. The insured were made uninsured. The

uninsured are only signing up if they get bumped into Medicaid or the new plans are almost completely

subsidized by the taxpayer.

The benefits worksheet above does little to match with the promises of Obamacare. Americans have not been

able to keep their plans. Those that have kept their plans have seen their premiums and deductibles rise

to cover all the “free” stuff. Not found in the worksheet are previous promises that “Americans will save

$2,500 on their premiums.” That has been replaced with 2% of the population possibly getting a $100

rebate. Patients have lost access to their doctors as the new sub-par Obamacare plans limit options. This

is a sad list of accomplishments, even with their best attempts at exaggerating them.