I got the missive below in my email yesterday – Donald Trump’s first effort to come out swinging in favor of Paul Ryan’s Dump and Dupe Obamacare replacement. Notice that the staffers doing the
President’s thinking White House’s healthcare PR outreach don’t have much to say about Trumpcare (a.k.a. Ryancare, the American Health Care Act or the AHCA) – which is understandable since the only parties that don’t hold Trumpcare in contempt are the bill’s two sponsors and Paul Ryan – and evidently Donald Trump who tweeted that it’s “wonderful” regardless of the fact that it violates every promise he made to his supporters about replacing Obamacare with something better.
So what do you do when you haven’t really got anything nice to say about the program you’re offering as a replacement for Obamacare? Why you keep on trashing Obamacare. You blast out emails like the one below – which I have presented below in sections annotated with italicized interpositions pointing out the more obvious lies and half-truths:
It’s been seven years since Obamacare was passed, and now, more than ever, we are seeing the harmful effects of this disastrous law.
Obamacare (ACA) insured 20 million previously uninsured people through Medicaid expansion and in the private individual health care market through the exchanges. It enacted a tax on those earning over $200,000/yr that shored up the Medicare system, extending its life by four years at this point – a gain that will be lost if the ACA is repealed in favor of the AHCA which eliminates that high-income tax. Some harmful effects!
Obamacare has led to higher costs and fewer health insurance options for millions of hard-working Americans. Independent analysis found 41 states faced higher average healthcare deductibles last year, with 17 states facing double-digit rate increases. Nearly one in five Americans have only one insurer offering Obamacare exchange plans.
In just the past year, Obamacare premiums have increased by 25 percent on the typical plan and coverage choices have dropped by 28 percent as insurers have left the market.
Obamacare did not negatively affect costs for those who receive insurance through their employers; in fact, it slowed the increasing price trajectory in the pre-Obamacare insurance industry. Premiums were rising by an average of 10% a year before Obamacare – and those who had serious illnesses could be charged considerably more – a practice that Obamacare ended. While premiums for those on the exchanges did increase considerably in 2017, the increase was offset by increased subsidies based on income – and consumers were able to use the exchanges to find competitive alternative insurers.
Things are only getting worse. This past year, nearly 20 million American citizens opted not to get healthcare insurance, with 6.5 million paying the penalty and millions more asking for a hardship exemption from the penalty.
Over 48 million people were uninsured before the major provisions of Obamacare took effect. Those with preexisting conditions can get affordable insurance and don’t face lifetime caps thanks to Obamacare. Seems like things have gotten better, not worse.
A higher penalty for refusing to buy insurance, along with more generous subsidies would have brought more younger, healthier people into the exchanges, which would, in turn, have incentivized more insurers to remain in the exchange. Republicans, however, refused to consider fixing these obvious problems. Congress could still decide to fix Obamacare instead of replacing it with the vastly inferior AHCA – a much worse system that will cost more and provide less – or nothing in many cases. But, given the GOP adherence to ideology over pragmatic policy, it’s not likely that a Republican-dominated congress would ever act to make the system better instead of worse
Americans were promised that Obamacare would bring down healthcare costs — that promise was broken. Americans were promised they could keep their healthcare plans under Obamacare – that promise was broken. Americans were promised that Obamacare would not raise taxes on the middle-class – that promise was broken.
The American people want change and President Donald J. Trump promised to repeal and replace this disaster. That is exactly what the President is working with Congress to achieve. Step up and support the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
Obamacare did slow the growth of healthcare costs as we noted above. Its subsidies made insurance affordable for many in the individual market. Politifact rated the claim that Obamacare raised taxes on the middle class “mostly false,” noting that a few minor associated taxes, like those on tanning salons, might affect the middle class.
Obamacare had problems to be sure – but in most instances they could easily be fixed if Republican in congress were willing to work in good faith with Democrats to insure the program’s success.
So what about Trumpcare? Estimates are that it could leave more than 15,000 people who are currently insured under Obamacare without coverage, cause premiums to raise for even those in the employer-based market, and perhaps ultimately destroy the entire individual market. Pretty clear why the White House doesn’t want to talk about Trumpcare, but prefers to resort to the type of lies about Obamacare they’ve been peddling for the past seven years. Nancy LeTourneau best describes what we get in Trump’s surrender to the Republican ideology that he has ipso facto endorsed – despite his earlier promises to do the opposite:
This embrace of ideology over competence is exactly how we’ve arrived at a post-truth era. An abandonment of facts/data coupled with emotional appeals (often based on lies) have been the tools used to promote ideology. The Republican Party remains devoid of any principles based on the pragmatism of what works. It is possible that, in their zeal, they will be able to destroy Obamacare and maybe even pass their massive tax cuts for the most wealthy among us — all while ignoring the facts about what a disaster those policies will be.
*Formatting revised for readability, text with links to White House Web Page eliminated) (3/11/2017; 11:31)