Democrats have spent the bulk of the Amy Coney Barrett hearings warning that she would overturn Obamacare if she makes it to the Supreme Court, causing 130 million Americans to lose protections for preexisting conditions and costs to skyrocket.
None of that is true. But then again, Obamacare was built on a Big Lie – “you can keep your plan.”
On Monday, Joe Biden warned that “This nominee has said she wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. … This is about less than one month (until) Americans are going to lose their health insurance.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., used his time at Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearings to spin a bizarre conspiracy theory in which “big donors” are trying to eliminate Obamacare by “stacking” the courts with conservative judges.
The truth is that the really “big donors” who care about Obamacare’s future are supporting Biden. Big Pharma, for example, gave more to Biden’s campaign this year than Trump’s. Hospitals and nursing home donations are running 2-to-1 in Biden’s favor. The health care sector overall has given $20 million to Biden, but only $11 million to Trump, according to Open Secrets.
But the lies go much deeper than that. First, the notion that a Justice Barrett is certain to vote to overturn all of Obamacare is false. Biden simply made up the claim that she “wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.” What Barrett has said was that Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn’t have rewritten the statute to turn the individual insurance mandate penalty (which most of the justices viewed as unconstitutional) into a tax penalty.
“He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power,” Barrett wrote.
But she’s never said she wants to get rid of the law. And the case heading to the Supreme Court could result in the mandate (which is no longer enforced) being stripped from the law, while the rest of it remains. In other words, nothing about Obamacare would change.
Democrats also used Barrett’s nomination to trot out another Big Lie about Obamacare. Namely, that without it 133 million would risk losing access to health care because of preexisting conditions.
That figure comes from an Obama administration report that found that – at most – 133 million people under age 65 have health conditions that could cause insurance companies to charge them more or deny them coverage. At the low end, it’s 51 million.
Whatever number you choose is wildly exaggerated because – even without Obamacare – the vast majority of those people – roughly 85% – are already protected because they get coverage from employer plans or from the government, neither of which allows coverage denials or higher premiums based on an individual’s health status. Only about 7% are buying coverage on their own, according to Census data.
The idea that Obamacare has made private health care more affordable is laughable, as well. Almost all of the gains in coverage from Obamacare have been the result of its expansion of Medicaid. But millions of families have been priced out of the individual market because of Obamacare’s benefit mandates and regulations.
A report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that, while the market for subsidized Obamacare policies has been steady since it launched in 2014, the market for unsubsidized policies has plunged.
“From 2016 to 2019, unsubsidized enrollment declined by 2.8 million people, representing a 45% drop nationally,” the report said.
What’s more, an ongoing Gallup survey finds that the share of people who say they’ve put off medical care because of costs is higher today than before Obamacare.
In 2019, a third said they’d done so, compared with 30% in 2013. A quarter of those surveyed in 2019 said they’d even put off treatment for a serious condition because of costs, compared with 17% who said so in 2013.
Among those making less than $40,000 – who are supposedly the main beneficiaries of Obamacare – 36% reported putting off treatments because of costs in 2019, up from 30% in 2013.
Lousy results like that are a big f-ing deal. Which is why Democrats have to keep lying about Obamacare. And why, regardless of what the Supreme Court rules, it should be repealed.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board