Media Keep Butchering the Facts About Obamacare

There's little daylight between the average liberal activist and the average healthcare reporter.


Since its passage, and in a way that is unlike any policy issue in modern American history, the press have rallied to the defense of Obamacare. From day one, there has been almost no light between the average liberal activist and average health care reporter.

Or the average "fact-checker," for that matter. "Fact-checking" has evolved from an occasionally useful medium to an exercise in revisionism and diversion. Take the Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler's recent article titled "President Trump's Mangled 'Facts' About Obamacare." Those who read the headline might assume it's just Trump doing what Trump does most of the time. Yet it turns out that all these supposedly "mangled" contentions about Obamacare are, at the very least, debatable assertions.

Kessler, for example, doesn't approve of Trump stating: "Americans were told that premiums would go down by $2,500 per year. And instead, their premiums went up to levels that nobody thought even possible." Other than the hyperbole ("nobody thought even possible") tacked on, this statement is substantively true.

The ostensive debunking of the "premiums are soaring" claim is really just a confirmation that premiums have indeed risen. Sure, Kessler blames the vagaries of modern life and demographics—because these things apparently didn't exist when Democrats were making their big unrealistic promises in 2009.

More interestingly, he contends that when then-President Obama promised Americans that their insurance premiums would drop by $2,500 per year per family, what he really meant was premiums would be $2,500 less than the anticipated rise. So, in other words, according to estimates, the average family is now supposedly paying $3,600 less than what it would have paid if Obamacare hadn't been passed.

When Republicans bother to defend Obamacare repeal bills, they are pretty explicit in explaining that Medicaid "cuts" are merely a slowing of spending growth. But Obama repeatedly stated—probably hundreds of times over a two-year span—that the bill would "reduce" the cost of premiums by $2,500 per family. I can't find a single instance anywhere of Obama, or anyone else selling the legislation, offering a nuanced context for this claim.

According to Kessler, Obama didn't lie or "mangle facts" or mislead anyone. Rather, he gave a "misguided… pledge." The word "misguided" intimates that Obama wasn't misleading anyone on purpose. Moreover, the promise of lower premiums and the lie that you could keep your insurance if you liked it were the central political selling points of the Affordable Care Act to the middle class. They were the only aspects of the law that would have benefited those who already had health insurance.

Trump has also said: "Insurers are fleeing the market. Last week it was announced that one of the largest insurers is pulling out of Ohio—the great state of Ohio." The fact-checker Kessler does not approve. He argues: "Trump decries that some insurance companies have announced they are leaving the Obamacare marketplace. But he ignores that many say they are exiting the business because of uncertainty created by the Trump administration, in particular whether it will continue to pay 'cost-sharing reductions' to insurance companies."

Kessler accidentally forgot to mention that the uncertainty created by the "cost-sharing reduction" subsidies meant to entice insurance companies to participate in Obamacare's fabricated exchanges exists because they are unconstitutional. After all, the president can't overturn a law. Trump has no duty to pay these subsidies; in fact, he probably has a duty not to pay them. Congress never appropriated any funding for such payments. A federal court found that the Obama administration was acting unconstitutionally when it created them.

Whatever the case, despite Kessler's non sequitur, Trump's core contention that insurers are "fleeing" is well within the boundaries of a political truth. Insurers were bolting before he became president.

You'd think someone would have written a comprehensive fact-check of the Democrats' lie that 24 million people will "lose" their health insurance due to repeal bills. Who knows? Maybe fact-checkers will get around to pointing out that the Congressional Budget Office believes 14 million of the 24 million are people who will choose not to buy it in 2018 in the absence of a penalty. No doubt, fact-checkers will point out that around six million or more of those 24 million are people the CBO just assumes would have left Obamacare markets anyway. You know, baselines and all.

It is true that Obamacare repeal legislation—whatever the specifics happen to be—is going to be unpopular. Why wouldn't it be? There isn't a single Republican lawmaker out there effectively slapping down these misleading claims. Voters will be. Republicans certainly can't rely on fact-checkers.


NEXT: Senate Won't Pass Health Care Bill Until House Agrees Not To Pass It

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  1. So kicking the shit out of a sloppy Glenn Kessler gets generalized to “the average healthcare reporter?” What an intellectually dishonest headline and subhead.

    1. Actually, Kessler seems to be regarded as something of a paragon of non-partisan fact-checking, so hardly a straw man.

    2. OK, how about:

      “Obamacare Repeal Would Leave 18 Million Uninsured, Send Premiums Soaring: Report”

      When the facts are that 18million would lose the ‘free shit’ now paid for by others.
      Does that cover it Stanley?

      1. Every article I read suggests that those left uninsured will be those who choose not to buy health insurance. The headlines leave that part out. Hardly an existential nightmare the lefties make it out to be.

        1. Nobody is forced to buy insurance today, nitwit. The so-called individual mandate is nothing of the sort. It’s a $700 tax paid by those 26 and older who make sufficient income and yet refuse to buy insurance. And itt only exists in theory, since nobody has enforced it since the law’s inception.

          So when people “voluntarily” decline to buy insurance in a world where Obamacare has been repealed, it’s because the changes made to the subsidies and the elimination of the exchanges have made insurance unaffordable. Which seems like an existential nightmare to me. But hey, I’ve got kids and like living.

          Republicans need to get used to a concept that seems to be giving them a bit of trouble: none of your plans will allow more people to buy insurance or to be insured than Obamacare. That’s because you think people should take care of themselves and government should get out of the way. That’s a defensible position. But only if you actually come clean and admit it. If you’re going to claim that people are somehow worse off with respect to healthcare costs than they were before Obamacare well, then you have a problem. Because it’s not true. Worse, your plans would definitely ensure that costs go up and that the level of insured goes down. If you come clean and admit that, you can defend it. But your web of lies is choking you now.

          1. As trolls go, you get a C, with a gold star for effort. Alas, dead thread fucking washes it all away……so F for Fail.

          2. You had me in agreement right up to the moment you tried to claim nobody is worse off because of health care costs. Pretty much every single year for the last five years either my premium or my deductible or both have increased. And until the mandate to cover prescriptions took effect, the increases damn near bankrupted me. At times it came down to deciding if it was worth the risk going off critical medications or paying for heat.

            Prior to Obamacare, my medical expenses where high, but always something I could budget for. Under Obamacare, every time I went in to pick up my prescription, it was more expensive than the last time. Several times it was over a $100 increase in the price in a one month period. In a period of a couple years I went from paying 100% of my medication costs at about $200/month to switching to a less expensive medication, with worse side effects and paying 15% of my medication costs, but the bill was $350/month. At the same time what I pay for my health insurance more than doubled.

            I absolutely hate Obamacare, but at least the dust has mostly settled. The Republicans have not sold me on their Obama light plan as being an improvement, for me or anyone else. But that does not mean, that Obamacare has not come with huge increases in costs.

    3. Obamacare created “free” health insurance for millions of people who could not pay for their own health insurance. This was done by forcing the middle class to bear those costs. The insurance provided is not very useful because the copay and deductible is not affordable.

      On paper, “millions are now provided healthcare”. What’s not to love?

      In reality, Obamacare totally fucked up the health insurance market for nearly everybody. The only winners were the insurance providers who took their mandated premiums then bailed out of the market.

      The Democrats are solely to blame for creating this crisis. Boehner is right, the free shit has become part of the fabric of American life and it ain’t going away. The only “solution” is single payer, which is what the socialists wanted in the first place.

      Well played, Democrats. Very well played!

      1. The only “solution” is single payer, which is what the socialists wanted in the first place.

        Scare quotes noted for sarcasm, but obviously the left’s religious devotion to government-run healthcare at the expense of any other ideas prevents them from considering alternatives that don’t involve a metastasizing bureaucracy.

        1. A mestastasizing bureaucracy is their life blood. It is what they live for.

        2. A mestastasizing bureaucracy is their life blood. It is what they live for.

          1. They live to eat? Shame.

      2. But, collapsing the health industry isn’t a solution. And single payer will do that. There are places right now where it is happening, and it will be very easy to use them as cautionary examples.

        I mean, I still expect single payer here. I just don’t think it is the foregone conclusion many others do.

        1. And single payer will do that.

          Nah, it will just make a lot of people very poor. And the left is perfectly fine with that.

          1. We’ll agree to disagree.

            1. We’ll agree to disagree.

              I guess it depends on how you define “collapsing the health industry”. I don’t consider any of the existing implementations anywhere close to that. Rather, they just make everyone much poorer and deliver terrible results. America *might* be the only country where people won’t put up with that for very long, but I’m not a betting man.

              1. I’m using it in the same way I’d say the grocery market has collapsed in Venezuela, i.e. it still exists, but the products are nothing anyone wants or can use, even when you can get them.

                1. Fair enough.

          2. Better for everyone* to be equally poor than for anyone to get richer than anyone else.

            *excepting the Top Men, for their purehearted nobility must be rewarded

          3. I meant about the collapsing part, the rest you’re quite correct about.

          4. Single payer means equality of misery. Especially if it’s the friendly European kind of single payer where supplemental private healthcare is forbidden. Make the rich suffer under the same crappy healthcare they are forced to fund for the poor.

            1. The proggies love that. “I don’t mind standing in line for 10 hours to get one crumbling, moldy aspirin, just so long as Bill Gates is in line behind me!”

              1. “…just so long as Bill Gates is in line behind me!”

                And he won’t be.
                You’ll be in line for crummy care and Bill won’t be in line for his excellent care.
                Hahahah! You thought you were ‘sticking it to the man’ when you cut off your nose!
                (not you, EES).

            2. Expansion of misery is partially the goal. Expansion of the 47% is underlying goal of the Democrats.

            3. the friendly European kind of single payer where supplemental private healthcare is forbidden

              I thought that was Canada. It’s certainly not universal in Europe. I know that in Spain and the UK you can buy private insurance or go to private hospitals if you can pay.

              1. Wealthier people in Canada do too have a private healthcare option (for now, anyway). It’s called “driving to Buffalo.”

      3. Sorry, but John made it very clear that no one would be getting anything for free, and that it would never lead to single-payer once it failed.

        Shows what you know.

        1. John is right that “no one would be getting anything for free”. That is a universal truth.

          Single-payer is coming, despite John.

    4. Yes, because they are all exactly like him.

  2. Make no mistake, the Republican bill is awful and doesn’t fix anything and they’re a bunch of sleezy liars. However, the notion that Obamacare was a success by any means is a fucking fairy tale. People willfully pretend that there weren’t a dozen promises that never came close to happening, many of which weren’t naive optimism but outright lies.

    The Gruber tapes, criminally under-covered by the non-Fox News press, said everything you need to know about the administration’s approach.

    The only success was increasing the number of insured, which tends to happen when you fucking mandate something. The only thing that should matter is if overall health outcomes have improved over the last 7 years, and I have yet to see any evidence of such a thing. The only significant statistical change has been that life expectancy is decreasing. Is that Obamacare’s fault? No. But we can blame it on Obama if we play by their rules.

    1. The only success was increasing the number of insured

      And even then, it’s a hollow one–most of those “insured” simply went on to Medicaid, which is why the left was chimping out about this bill so badly, and there’s still about 20 million or so that remain uninsured, depending on what numbers are being thrown out.

      And it’s all because Congress and the last several administrations are too clueless to understand the fundamental causes behind the exponential increase in the cost of healthcare in this country for the last 40 years or so.

      1. Bannon?

        No wonder you sound muffled

        1. Sorry the facts are hurtful to your hyper-emotive sensibilities, soy-boy.

      2. Moreover, many of those put on MediCaid previously had private plans they lost. Could it be that making them a ward of the state was a goal of ObamaCare?

  3. Fully repeal and flush this turd called ObamaCare.

  4. Insurers are fleeing the market. Last week it was announced that one of the largest insurers is pulling out of Ohio?the great state of Ohio.

    Come on fact checkers. You missed an easy one. Ohio is not great.

    Fact-checkers are like lawyers. They will torture logic until it gives them the result they want.

  5. Aw, that’s so cute. Anger tantrum over misrepresentation. By the “media” no less.

    Suck on Drumpf’s cock, Dave. Then figure out how bad the administration is at misrepresenting Obamacare.

    1. Did your premiums go down? Did you keep your plan?

    2. The only administration to misrepresent Obamacare was Obama’s.

  6. “I can’t find a single instance anywhere of Obama, or anyone else selling the legislation, offering a nuanced context for this claim.”

    There’s no need to. In the Democratic lexicon, “cuts” always means “we won’t rape you as harder as we wanted to.”

    1. There’s no need to. In the Democratic lexicon, “cuts” always means “we won’t rape you as harder as we wanted to.”

      Yeah, the term ‘episiotomy’ usually comes to mind.

  7. Congressional Budget Office believes 14 million of the 24 million are people who will choose not to buy it in 2018 in the absence of a penalty

    Hey moron, the penalty is small enough that it will not cover more than a month or so of premiums. If they have insurance today, it is because it is useful, they need it, and they can afford it for it provides. Not because they are idiots paying for a full year when they do not need it, but like the 1/12th savings.
    With Drumpfcare, they will have junk, so yeas, they’d rather lose it.

    All you fellow Republicans had to do was repeal. Fucking morons could not pull that off.

    So they tried the nonsense of repealing it with a plan hashed out over lunch. One that they begged Ryan not to pass.

    Go Bannon yourselves

    1. Oh! Look! Our newest lefty imbecile is back!
      Fuck off.

    2. Ahahhahahah

      Obamacare is a failure and you hate it, but can’t do anything about it!!


      1. I guess it’s a sign of a rich inner life that you never get tired of talking to yourself.

        1. And I guess it’s a sign of no life that you care and follow me around posting your observations.

    3. Hey moron, the penalty is small enough that it will not cover more than a month or so of premiums.

      I think that’s only because the premiums are so high, not because the penalty is low, which kind of totally destroys your point.

      1. This douchebag had a point?

        1. On top of its head.

    4. Hey moron, the penalty is small enough that it will not cover more than a month or so of premiums.

      So Obamacare didn’t result in lower premium costs for everyone?

      Talk about an own-goal there.

    5. “With Drumpfcare, they will have junk, so yeas, they’d rather lose it.”

      Its only junk because its not liberal approved. Its actually better for many people than Obamacare, because 60 year old women shouldn’t have to pay for maternity coverage.

  8. >>>There isn’t a single Republican lawmaker out there effectively

    there isn’t a single effective Republican lawmaker.

    1. Yes, that’s why there are all those adverts for male potency pills whenever Limbaugh’s show is on.

  9. Uh, what happened to Peter Suderman? Is he still hung over from FreedomFest? Or did he make fun of Republicans too much?

    1. He’s making your wife feel like a natural woman.

      1. He was in jail? I was unaware.

        1. He hasn’t been around for a while, so i naturally assumed he finally tapped his foot under the wrong stall and got busted for solicitation.

          1. wide-stance defense fails.

            1. hahahaha that will never get old.

      2. So, I checked his wiki. It only really mentioned that he’s not notable enough for wiki…

        I loled.

        1. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
          – The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia’s notability guideline for biographies. (April 2017)
          – This article may contain improper references to self-published sources. (April 2017)
          – This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (April 2017)


          1. I guess they let you write articles about yourself…? That did not occur to me but now that I think about it, how they gonna stop you.

  10. I’m wondering what happened to the perfection that used to be Obamacare. Why are Democrats talking about “repairing” it? Was it not perfect when it was passed?

    1. It was perfect until the congressional GOP and GOP governors fucked it all up.

      Get it together.

  11. “…there has been almost no light between the average liberal activist and average health care reporter.”

    So in other words, Obamacare coverage is exactly like every other sort of coverage.

  12. I don’t know which is worse: the lazy biased media, or Republicans whining about the lazy biased media.

    1. Speaking of lazy media, when is Reason going to get around to posting something about Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s IT guy being arrested, smashed hard drives and her attempt to keep the cops from examining her laptop?

      1. They’ll post about it when they think they’ve found a way to skewer Republicans with it. They post all the time, but it’s far more important to them that they pose.

    2. If Republicans really wanted to do something about it, they’d become journalists. The bias comes from the people in the field.

  13. The comments show that the people who hate Reason are bi-partisan, which in my opinion is a good thing.

  14. within the boundaries of a political truth

    Truth matters not when one has an agenda.

  15. Charlie Gard has died. Single Payer fans rejoice.

    1. At least he was saved from the potentially nasty side-effects of those experimental drugs! What can they say, except “You’re Welcome”?

  16. National Review’s website uses a better font.

    1. Around the turn of the century, Reason decided to be edgy & to blow off readers of bifocals age, forgot form follows fx, & redesigned their magazine for unreadability. The online material followed suit.

  17. The CBO has released their report on every republican repeal proposal. It available to the public and can be downloaded.

    Nowhere in the report do they indicate that millions of people will lose their existing coverage. The coverage “loss” is almost completely voluntary. The rest of the victims who would lose out on medicaid once some states stop expanding medicaid – the kind of people who would not have been covered by medicaid in the days before Ocare.

    And yet, most players in the MSM parroted the line that millions of will coverage. I don’t recall any “will millions of Americans actually lose healthcare?” fact checks. They certainly don’t highlight the fact that the CBO won’t count you as “covered” if your plan isn’t comprehensive. So if you quit Obamacare and buy a catastrophic plan, you’re essentially uninsured or “lost” coverage. It’s better that you just join medicaid, adding to already astronomical cost. If you can’t find hospitals that take medicaid, too bad.

    1. Exactly, the hysteria about millions losing insurance bullshit, it gives people the option not to buy insurancr. The horror!

      1. Do those people also sign a contract opting out of receiving medical care when necessary?

        1. That’s shifting the goalposts. If we think people should be forced to have insurance, then let’s have that conversation. But to say they “lose” their insurance or will become uninsured is, well, Tony level dishonesty.

  18. This is the dumbest thing I’ve read all week. I’ll have to come up with some kind of token award.

    1. Nope.
      You just beat it.

  19. BTW, this morning the local rag was bemoaning what will happen to poor O-care in CA now that Trumps has said bad things about it or some such.
    You have to read to the end of the article before they admit it’s not that he’s bad-mouthing it, the real problem is that he won’t fix the mess that it is.
    Nor do they even have a hint of what could be done to salvage the train-wreck.

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  23. What is actually about Obamacare?

    1. Why is green?

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