A recent Fox News poll found that 64 percent of voters do not think Obamacare would have become law if Americans knew in 2009 what we know about it today. Given all of the broken promises that have come to light since its rollout, this is very likely the case. However, if it were not for the continued misinformation campaign coming from the administration and proponents of Obamacare, that figure would likely be much greater than 64 percent. The following are just three examples of how Obamacare supporters continue to mislead:
Healthcare.gov is now “working the way it’s supposed to.”
First of all, no one predicted that with four years and hundreds of millions of dollars, the most tech savvy Administration in history would fail so badly at launching a website. And it is without a doubt that Healthcare.gov is working much better today that it was when it first launched on October 1st. However, working better is hardly a barometer of success, and the website clearly is not working “the way it’s supposed to.”
For instance, 22,000 people have filed appeals to get mistakes corrected with Healthcare.gov, but the appeals system is not yet working so they are stuck in limbo. Also, an Associated Press poll released at the end of January found that just 8 percent of those who have used the website to sign up say it worked well. And despite arguments that the root of the problem with the federal website was resistance from Republicans, Democrat-led states such as Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts have actually created worse exchange websites than the federal government.
Additionally, the White House has now confirmed that the back end of the website that processes payments is still months away from being built. This hardly speaks to a website that is working the way it’s supposed to, and leads us to the next misleading claim surrounding Obamacare.
Misleading enrollment figures
In the insurance industry, an enrollment occurs when someone chooses a plan and pays their first month’s premium. But much like the president’s distorted metric of jobs “saved or created,” the Obama administration claims anyone who has merely selected a plan as a successful enrollment when they release Obamacare numbers. Because the back end of the website has not been built, they say they have no way to know who has paid for their plans. This makes their claim of 3.3 million enrollees almost meaningless, as these are just the number of people who have gone online and placed a plan in their shopping cart.
This figure includes those who may have decided against purchasing the plan, or simply failed to pay for their first premium on time. An analysis from the New York Times estimates that 20 percent of enrollees fall into this category, while data from some state exchanges, such as in Minnesota, find that almost half of those who have selected plans have failed to make their first payment. Without payment, these people are not covered and should not be counted.
Additionally, this does not take into account those that already had coverage that was cancelled due to Obamacare. Millions of policies in the individual market have been cancelled, and being forced into the exchanges is hardly a cause for celebration for proponents of this law. Furthermore, it is likely that many of these people were happy with their prior coverage, and even though they are now enrolled, they may still be unhappy with Obamacare. One study from McKinsey & Co. in January found that “only 11 percent of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured.”
Even worse for Obamacare’s prospects is that it is incredibly unpopular with the uninsured. One Kaiser Family Foundation study found that almost twice as many uninsured have an unfavorable view of the law than a favorable one, and this is before any of them have even been forced to pay the individual mandate tax for not purchasing adequate Obamacare coverage. Even under the Congressional Budget Office’s rosy estimations, 31 million Americans will still remain uninsured a decade from now, though it is impossible to project where things will stand when the Administration constantly changes Obamacare.
Republicans have no alternative
It is true that there is no Republican alternative that is 2,000 pages long and costs $2 trillion over the next decade, but members of our party have put forth a number of alternative plans that seek to expand access and reduce costs. We have plans to help those with preexisting conditions get coverage, and House Republican Leadership has signaled that we will be moving forward with alternative legislation this year. Obamacare advocates should know that an alternative does not require the harmful mandates and taxes in the president’s health care law, and that those of us who oppose the president’s health care law do have our own ideas for reforms.
After misleading the American public for years about the harmful effects that Obamacare would have, it is very disappointing that we are still being misled. The remedy for dishonesty is not more dishonesty, and as long as support for this law is built upon myth versus reality it will only continue to become more unpopular as the truth comes to surface.