Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The REAL Truth about Obamacare

Secretary Sebelius has an op-ed in this morning’s Washington Post entitled “The Truth about Obamacare.”  Unfortunately, the op-ed makes several statements about Obamacare that warrant fact-checking and rebuttal.  Herewith, decoded from the Administration’s spin, the REAL truth about Obamacare:

Claim #1: “The Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was a turning point in the health-care debate, a chance to stop refighting old political battles…”

This claim misleads in two key respects.  First, as we pointed out the day of the ruling, the Supreme Court upheld some of the law – and overturned other portions.  The Court explicitly ruled that “The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part.”   And in its ruling, the Court threw more than half of the law’s coverage expansions into doubt – because it said Obamacare was unconstitutionally coercive on the part of the states by forcing them to expand their Medicaid programs.

Second, even as the Court upheld the individual mandate under the taxing power, President Obama and the Administration seem pathologically unwilling to concede that the mandate is a tax increase – “fighting old political battles” by re-litigating the basis for the Court’s decision in a vain attempt to avoid an admission that Obamacare broke the President’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.  If the President doesn’t want to “refight old political battles,” why won’t he publicly accept that the mandate is a multi-billion dollar tax increase?

Claim #2: “One claim is that the Affordable Care Act is driving up Americans’ health-care costs.  The facts tell a different story.”

The Department’s own actuary noted just last month that Obamacare will increase spending on health care by $478,000,000,000 in its first seven years alone.  That means that costs are going UP even as candidate Obama repeatedly promised that they would go DOWN.  While candidate Obama promised that premiums would go DOWN by $2,500, they actually have gone UP by nearly as much – from $12,680 in 2008 to $15,073 in 2011, according to Kaiser data.  And the Congressional Budget Office found that Obamacare’s new insurance mandates will raise premiums on the individual market by an additional $2,100 per family.  The Secretary’s attempt to argue that premium costs are going up by slightly less is a misleading attempt to define the President’s campaign promise downward and avoid admitting yet another broken campaign promise.

Claim #3: “Another falsehood repeated by opponents of the law is that it is putting a greater burden on small businesses.  Again, the facts show that the opposite is true.”

The facts show that between the time of enactment and last month, the Administration has released a whopping 12,825 pages of Obamacare-related regulations and notices in the Federal Register – and thousands more are likely on the way.  If the Secretary really believes her Department issuing thousands of pages of mandates, regulations, and diktats helps small business, perhaps she should look for opportunities to work in private industry herself – because she would quickly find out that thanks to Obamacare, the private sector is not “doing fine.”

Claim #4: “A third false attack recycled in recent weeks is that the Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare benefits.  In truth, Medicare is stronger than ever.”

That’s not what Nancy Pelosi said.  In an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo last November, Pelosi admitted that Democrats “took a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare in [Obamacare], the health care bill.”  That is EXACTLY what Obamacare did – it resulted in $500 billion in Medicare spending reductions, savings that in the words of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office “will not enhance the ability of the government to pay for future Medicare benefits” – because those savings will be used to fund other unsustainable entitlements. 

In short, Secretary Sebelius is 0-for-4 on her claims when it comes to Obamacare being upheld, lowering costs, helping small business, and preserving Medicare.  It’s as good an argument as any for why the law should be repealed – because if these incomplete and misleading statements are the best arguments the Administration can put forward to support the law, there’s no reason not to repeal it.