Michigan Legislator Pens Highly Dishonest Op-Ed

Michigan Legislator Pens Highly Dishonest Op-Ed May 5, 2015

Charles Gaba, who runs the site acasignups.net, caught Patrick Colbeck, a very far-right state senator here in Michigan, writing an op-ed in the Detroit News full of lies about Obamacare. The Detroit News then let him change the op-ed, erasing all the comments on the first edition, without so much as a hint that it had been changed (after he called them out for that, they added a correction statement to the column). Here’s just a few of the things he got wrong:

Among the many factual errors included in Colbeck’s essay were such gems as:

  • He claimed that the ACA is costing $1.35 trillion per year. It’s actually priced at less than 1/10th that price ($120 billion per year).
  • He claimed that the ACA has insured an additional 19 million people, which is oddly generous as compared with my own estimate of 14 million or even the Obama administration’s estimate of 16.1 million.
  • He claimed that the ACA is “still leaving 36 million people” without insurance, while failing to acknowledge that 4 million of those are stuck in the Medicaid Gap created by Republican-run states, while another 6.3 million are undocumented immigrants who aren’t legally eligible for coverage under the law.
  • He claimed that the ACA is costing over $71,000 per enrollee per year, when the actual number is closer to $5,000 per person.
  • He claimed that a “high quality policy” can be purchased on the non-ACA market for $6,000/year, which may or may not be true depending on the person.
  • He claimed that “159 organizations” which stand “between a patient and a doctor” were created by the ACA, which is utter nonsense.
  • He claimed that the state of Washington launched a program which magically cut both costs and hospitalization rates in half, without citing any source or providing any information about what this mystery program might be.

So the News allowed him to change it, but he still left many inaccurate claims in it. And that “high quality policy” for $6000 that he mentioned in the first version suddenly morphed into “a health plan featuring direct primary care services and a high deductible plan for catastrophic care could be purchased on the open market for $2,052 per year.” That’s a virtually worthless policy, especially for anyone with chronic health problems or children. That the Detroit News allowed him to change the column and put it back up without any mention of it having been changed doesn’t speak well to their journalistic ethics. As for Colbeck’s ethics, he has never had any.

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