Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The truth about Obamacare redux

Rush Limbaugh may be correct not to trust the mainstream media. But when he says he and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are just interested in the truth that’s really stretching it.

“There no news in the media,” Limbaugh said in response to the latest report of 7 million people signing up for Obamacare.  “It's just propaganda.  It's the Democrat Party and the Regime talking points disguised as the news.” He continued:

“Ted Cruz, ladies and gentlemen, has just been firing both barrels on this, since he's been talking about it at all.  And this morning on Fox & Friends he was asked by Steve Doocy, ‘Okay, Sen. The White House is claiming victory out there.  They hit their seven million number.  What do you think?’

“The bulk of the people who are signing up had health insurance to begin with — and, you know what?” Cruz responded.  “They probably had their insurance canceled because of Obamacare 'cause we know that over six million people had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare. 

“It is abundantly clear this thing isn't working.  It has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, to be forced into part-time work, to lose their health insurance, or to see their premiums skyrocket.  It is the essence of pragmatism to recognize this thing isn't working. Let's start over. Let's repeal every word of it.”

Some observations:

• Note that Cruz does not use precise figures. Here are some exact figures, reported by The Washington Post, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office: “The large media focus in the first Obamacare enrollment period has been on whether the administration would hit CBO targets for exchange enrollment. The CBO has said it expects 6 million people to enroll through exchanges in 2014 - more than 6 million have signed up, so that target looks in reach if enough people pay their premiums. But about one-third of those exchange signups were previously uninsured people, according to the report findings. It also found about 4.5 million adults had newly enrolled in Medicaid; 9 million people, most who were previously insured, have signed up for individual plans off the exchanges; and fewer than 1 million people who had their coverage cancelled remain uninsured.”

• The millions who have signed up for Medicaid under Obamacare (and who are not counted among the 7 million) will now have their health care paid for by the federal government instead of we insurance premium payers. True, that means it is shifted to us taxpayers, but not in the form of higher taxes unless Congress fails to cut spending somewhere else, which we at least have a say in through elections. Besides, in choosing whether to trust insurance companies or the government, it’s like choosing between the devil you know and the devil you don’t know.

• Cruz’s suggestion that Obamacare — “every word of it” — can be repealed is either fiction or a downright lie. It would require a Republican in the White House and 60 votes in the Senate. By then, repeal would take away insurance from, as of today, roughly 11 million people.

• Cruz may or may not have a point about jobs, but again, he supplies no figures. And he fails to point out the savings Obamacare provides businesses either through lower premiums or not having to provide coverage at all, both of which leave more money for wages.

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