How the Right Was Wrong About Almost Everything on the ACA

How the Right Was Wrong About Almost Everything on the ACA December 31, 2014

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is hardly perfect legislation, but it has had a major positive effect on millions of lives and appears to be reducing healthcare costs. Probably a good time to look at some of the wildly inaccurate claims made by conservatives in 2014 about the law. Like this one:

KRAUTHAMMER: [Y]ou get this crazy paradox where the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, has projected that the number of uninsured Americans in 10 years will be 31 million. When Obama launched Obamacare in 2009, he explained the moral imperative was because there were 30 million uninsured Americans. So here we’re going to go through a complete revolution of one-sixth of the U.S. economy, the dislocation of doctors, hospitals, patients, and plans everywhere, including insurers, in order to achieve a result in a decade where we have essentially the same number of uninsured. So what was this all about? [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier2/12/14]

Reality: The number of uninsured Americans dropped from 17.7 percent to 12.4 percent of the population, a decline of more than 30%. And this one:

Rush Limbaugh Spins CBO Report To Claim ACA Will Eliminate Millions Of Jobs. After the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their 10-year Budget and Economic Outlook report in February, conservative media attempted to spin their finding that the ACA would create more job opportunities by freeing Americans from job lock by claiming that it would actually eliminate positions. On the February 6 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show Limbaugh pointed to the report to proclaim that “2.5 million jobs, minimum” would be lost, calling it a “literal tragedy for the country.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show2/6/14]

WSJ: Health Reform A “Job Destroyer” That Reduces “Economic Mobility.” In a February 4 editorial, The Wall Street Journal highlighted the CBO report to claim that Obamacare is a “job destroyer” and an “in-kind bonus for unemployment.” The Journal concluded that the law is “removing rungs from the ladder of upward economic mobility.” [The Wall Street Journal2/4/14]

And yet the economy grew fairly rapidly during the first year of the ACA and unemployment declined steadily. The rate of growth in overall health care costs has slowed considerably, hospitals are not losing nearly as much money due to having to treat uninsured patients and more insurance companies are signing up to be part of the exchanges. And guess what? Still no death panels.

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  • Damn! I miss death panels!!!

  • Nick Gotts

    You forgot to link to the retractions and apologies by Krauthammer and Limbaugh.

  • And yet the economy grew fairly rapidly during the first year of the ACA and unemployment declined steadily.

    Yes, but imagine how much faster the economy would have grown if the working poor did not get access to relatively standardized private healthcare insurance on a State-run exchange with government subsidies based on income! And look how much faster the economies of states that didn’t expand Medicaid have grown, compared to those that did! And, besides, everybody knows Obama’s CBO cooks the numbers! Come on, the Stock Market and Corporate Profits have been falling for six years for a reason! I mean, if they were both up while taxation was relatively flat and unemployment was falling then Trickle Down would be a lie, and we all know that can’t be true! And furthermore…

  • scienceavenger

    Not to mention that what was done wasn’t remotely “a complete revolution of one-sixth of the U.S. economy”, any more than lower capital gains taxes represented a complete revolution of the stock market.

  • Anri

    What was it Gandalf said about Saruman? “And now he has come to the final turn of the vice he has put his hand into” or suchlike.

    The right made absolutely sure to tag the ACA with Pres. Obama’s name – they sank that pile unpullably deep with “Obamacare”. Since that was done, the ACA must – MUST – be a failure, from their point of view. If it succeeds, it is likely to be the current president’s legacy, and they will be on record opposing it.

    Granted, the Memory Hole is rarely larger or more voracious than when dealing with the right’s voting base, but it still looks embarrassing when debating someone who can remember further back than the last Fox Special News Bulletin.

  • Loqi

    I’m amazed people still talk to me about death panels even when they know I’m a software engineer for a healthcare and health insurance company. I haven’t even gotten the requirements yet! The system won’t be ready for years!

  • raven

    The ACA is a minor fix to our kludged together health care system that would provide for a few more millions of people. According to the CBO it is supposed to save ca. $20 billion in the next 10 years. Save, not cost.

    It’s been a huge benefit for smaller and rural community hospitals. Instead of writing off a lot of unpaid care, they get paid by health insurance and Medicaid. Some of these hospitals were on the edge of bankruptcy.

    It’s also helped the insurance companies. They make a lot of money off of it. Not that they needed it but, money is money.

  • raven

    After the last election, the Tea Party/GOP now will control the House and Senate.

    This means they could repeal the ACA. Or at least get all the way up to Obama’s desk. He would, I’m guessing, veto it.

    Let’s see if they walk their talk on this. I don’t have any idea if they will do this. It seems rather stupid and pointless, but that hasn’t stopped them yet. And the voters don’t seem to care either.

  • raven “And the voters don’t seem to care either.”

    Here, in Kentucky, we’d cheer its repeal. We don’t need it. We’ve already got Kynect which, unlike Obamacare, promotes the Free Market, works and save us Kentuckianites money. If only other states would follow our example and abandon Obamacare.

  • Come on Ed! Don’t you know Obamacare was deliberately set up so that it would seem like a success while he was still in office? Just wait until January of 2017 when Sarah Palin’s son Trig will have to stand before a death panel. You betcha!

  • ambassadorfromverdammt

    What!!! Still no death panels? I’ve been sitting here outside Home Depot for months waiting for them to come in so I can build a fence between me and my obnoxious neighbor!

  • scienceavenger

    But, but, but, Obamacare is a total failure, dontcha know?

  • dingojack

    How is not expanding Medicaid affecting the hospital business?



    PS: the PoG, laser-focused on the needs of business

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    But with Obamacare, think about how many people will up and quit their jobs now that they don’t need their employer-based healthcare, and what that will do to the economy, just like what happened in Europe and Canada! Last I checked, those places might not even exist any more. Oh sure, people won’t be able to pay for food, shelter or clothing if they quit their jobs, which means — the economy will be damaged even further!

  • lorn

    Republicans, and their thought leaders, lie.

    In further news … it has been determined that the sun tends to rise in the east.