As the tumultuous 2013 comes to a close and we head into an election year, we should reflect back on what the new GOP Congress brought us: failed, after failed, after failed repeal attempts on Obamacare. The world’s strongest government shut down for thirteen days because Republicans didn’t want to continue the funding of the healthcare law. In many ways, that was their last, desperate attempt at repealing the President’s signature piece of legislation. But none of that would have happened had the Republicans not held on to their outrageous and often debunked lies about Obamacare. It is their hope that the American people would latch onto their lies and believe every word that they said, and in many ways, they succeeded. When Obama’s promise that all Americans could keep their healthcare plans period wasn’t entirely all chalked up to what it seemed, Republicans quickly sprang into action and accused the President and the Democrats of being incompetent liars.
It was textbook example of pot calling the kettle black.
This year was marked by two things: the continuation of a House GOP majority, and their last ditch effort to deceive the American people on the healthcare law by spouting blatant inaccuracies. Let us take a trip down memory lane, and reflect back on the key moments of Republican desperation in 2013. One of the things that many Americans were led to believe, and still do, oozed from 2012 into 2013. Ted Cruz and others revived it almost monthly.
Lie number one: Congress is exempt from Obamacare. In August, before he got his spotlight with the shutdown two months later, Senator Cruz told a very conservative audience at the Family Leadership Summit that “the Teamsters are abandoning it [Obamacare]. President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception. And he did it because Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats who passed this thing came begging and said, ‘Please, please, please let us out of Obamacare.’ This thing ain’t working.”
And of course, they bought it.
However, in January, lawmakers and some staff will be required to pick from plans on the health care law’s new exchanges or marketplaces because of a specific Obamacare provision forcing lawmakers from their current plans into new marketplaces, something that doesn’t apply to other Americans. When Obamacare’s health care marketplaces continue into January 2014, members of Congress will begin to enroll in the marketplaces right alongside the uninsured. They’ll begin to use the new marketplaces, again, alongside the uninsured and small businesses, just as the law requires.
It’s not even close to being accurate when Cruz says they were exempted from “some provision” embedded the law, because the law itself was considered too vague until it was changed. Then, members of Congress got a clarification about the law’s effect on contributions toward their health insurance, which they will purchase on Obamacare’s marketplaces. Hey, if members of Congress were exempt, why did John Boehner just (successfully) enroll in the Obama marketplace.
Lie number two: Obamacare is causing part-time jobs So many Republicans are claiming this. From Maria Bartiromo to Ken Cuccinelli, conservatives seem to think that it’s Obamacare directly that’s causing part-time employment.
As it turns out, government numbers show that the fraction of part-timer workers in the workforce has actually declined since 2010 and in a longer, historical perspective. The share of part-timers was less during this recession, beginning in 2008, than in the downturn of 1983 (when Reagan was president). Now there are some companies and business who are or will reduce the hours of some their employees, but that is only because they do not want to cover their employees with adequate, affordable healthcare coverage. That is a fact, and it is on the record. Business owners don’t want to cover their employees because they want to make more money, and somehow it’s Obama’s fault. It’s because Obamacare is going to cost so much more that they don’t want to.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that since the signing of Obamacare in March 2010, there are 5 million more full-time workers and only 500,000 more part-time employees. The number of part-time jobs went from 27.5 million in March 2010 to just under 28 million in August 2013. More specifically, the U.S. had 111.2 million full-time workers in March 2010. That rose to 116.2 million by August 2013. Full-time jobs have actually grown 10 times faster than part-time employment since Obamacare was signed into law.
Lie number three: Premiums and healthcare costs are skyrocketing President Obama promised the American people Obamacare would lower your health insurance premiums, “media darling Ted Cruz said after the shutdown ended. “I would venture to say virtually every person across this country has seen exactly the opposite happen, has seen premiums going up and up and up.”
The fact is, the majority of Americans already have insurance and Obamacare has had and will have little impact on their premiums. That is nothing but fact, and you can take it to the bank. The people making less than 400 percent of the poverty level will be actually eligible for subsidies. If these people have been able to afford to buy their own insurance before the law, then they should see substantial decreases in their premiums thanks to the new regulations and subsidies.
That claim relied almost solely on a study that focused on the individual marketplaces for insurance set up under Obamacare, a subset of people who purchase insurance. It spoke to the experience of a small minority of Americans, and it did not factor in the subsidies that will cushion many people from increased premiums.
Speaking of subsidies, The Congressional Budget Office projects that about half the people buying health insurance through the marketplaces under Obamacare will be eligible for the subsidies in the form of tax credits, thus rendering their premiums as stable and not “skyrocketing.” New rules for insurance plans will tend to push some rates up, because the plans must provide better coverage.
Hey, aren’t the Republicans the ones who say better things aren’t free?
In case you missed it in 2013, here some of the most outrageous debunked GOP claims about Obamacare:
-“Obamacare will question your sex life.” – Betsy McCaughey. False.
-“No U.S.-trained doctors will accept Obamacare.” -Ann Coulter. False.
-“The IRS will keep a database of health secrets.” – Michele Bachmann. False.
-“Obamacare means forced home inspections.” – Conservative Anon. bloggers. False.
-“Muslims are exempt from Obamacare.” – Chain email. False.
-“The Affordable Care Act alters the “sensible doctor-patient-relationship-centered health care program … we see today.” – Sarah Palin. False.
-“Small businesses — 60 percent — will lose their health care, 45 percent of big business and a large percentage of individual health.” – Sean Hannity. False.
-“The insurance industry is actually run by mostly Democrats.” – Dana Perino. False.
-“Hidden language in healthcare.gov means users waive any reasonable right to privacy of your personal information.” – Joe Barton. False.
-“In 45 out of 50 states, on average men are seeing their premiums double, going up 99 percent. Women up 62 percent.” – Sean Hannity. False.
-“Local law enforcement . . . will have access to the [Obamacare] Data Hub’s treasure trove of personal info.” – Evan Feinberg. False.
-“President has given 1,100 special waivers to his friends” for Obamacare.” – Mick Mulvaney. False.
-“Virtually every person across this country has seen premiums going up and up and up” due to Obamacare.” – Ted Cruz. False.
-The health care marketplaces have “no privacy protections.” – Tom Cotton. False.
-“UPS left 15,000 employees’ spouses “without health insurance” and told them to, “go on an exchange with no employer subsidy.” – Ted Cruz. False.
-“Under Obamacare, people who “have a doctor they’ve been seeing for the last 15 or 20 years, they won’t be able to keep going to that doctor.” – Marco Rubio. False.
-“75 percent of small businesses now say they are going to be forced to either fire workers or cut their hours.” – Marco Rubio. False.
-“A hidden provision in Obamacare taxes sporting goods as medical devices.” -conservative chain email. False.
-“The IRS will have the ability potentially” to deny or delay health care.” -Michele Bachmann. False.
-“Expanding Medicaid will worsen health care options for the most vulnerable among us in Texas.” – Ted Cruz. False.
-Said the Democrats told the Catholic Church that they’ll use federal powers to shut down church charities and hospitals if the church doesn’t change its beliefs. – Ted Cruz. False.
And there you have it. 2013, a review of desperate lies by a desperate party. Congratulations, GOP, you built that!