Since last Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, politicians have had a lot to say about the effect the law likely will have on Americans. Some of it is true, but opponents are filling the airwaves with half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies. So, here are the facts.
Let’s start with something said by President Obama.
True or False?: If you like your current insurance plan, you can keep it. (President Obama, June 28)
Half true. If your health coverage is provided by your employer, the choice isn’t yours; it belongs to your employer. If you buy your own policy, the statement is true.
True or False?: ”Obamacare … means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep.” (Mitt Romney, June 28)
False. Romney got his numbers by cherry-picking information from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which says 20 million is a worst-case scenario and not likely to happen; its real estimate was closer to 3 million. Four other estimates by the Urban Institute, the Lewin Group, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Rand Corp., estimated closer to the 3 million and none of them projected anything close to 20 million. Some people will give up what is offered by their employers and get policies they like better, and they are included in the estimates.
True or False? Some companies with 20 or fewer employees will go out of business because of the costs of complying with the law. (Florida Gov. Rick Scott)
False. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from having to offer coverage. Employers with fewer than 25 employees, whose average annual wages are below $50,000 and offer health insurance, qualify for a tax break of no more than 35 percent. That cap will be lifted to 50 percent in 2014. Either Scott hasn’t read the law or his pants are on fire.
True or False? “Obamacare is the biggest tax hike in the history of the world. (Rush Limbaugh)
False. President Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike was bigger, as was Ronald Reagan’s 1982 tax increase, according to PolitiFact, which cited Jerry Tempalski, an analyst in the Office of Tax Analysis with the U.S. Department of the Treasury. There have been plenty of bigger increases; these are just two of them.
True or False? Those who don’t buy insurance under the new law will face the threat of jail time. (Del. State Rep. Bob Marshall)
False. Completely false. Marshall said this when he was introducing a bill to exempt the state from complying with the law. He lost his fight, although he did help set in motion the lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court, where the entire ACA was upheld.
True or False? The law will add trillions to our national deficit. (Mitt Romney)
False. The Congressional Budget Office has said the new health care law would actually reduce the federal budget deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years. In the following decade, the law should continue to reduce deficits by about one-half of one percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.