Look around Twitter, television, Facebook and other places where news and statements are made, and you’ll likely see a Democrat saying, “Since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, 20 million people have gained coverage.” Democratic Vice Presidential candidate (Loser – VA), Tim Kaine tweeted it recently:
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, 20 million Americans have gained health insurance #CoverageMatters
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) December 7, 2016
The figure is total nonsense and what’s worse is, the media, who are having a collective cow over “fake news,” repeat the claim without challenge. Worse yet, they repeat it in two different directions. They parrot the coverage number and have been repeating the false claim that “20 million people would lose coverage under Donald Trump’s plan.”
The 20 million figure comes from two different sources. The first is the Obama administration itself who use their own “fuzzy math” to arrive at the total using a Gallup survey and then adjusting the numbers to meet their totals. Investors Business Daily says a good number of the gains have come from increased enrollment in Medicaid, not people purchasing plans via the healthcare exchange and they’re right. They also say other government reports differ from the Obama administration:
Other government reports, meanwhile, show a far smaller decline in the number of uninsured since ObamaCare took effect in 2014.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that the number dropped by 8.7 million between 2013 and 2014. The Census Bureau says it declined by 12.8 million from 2013-2015. The Congressional Budget Office figures that the uninsured fell by 17 million in 2015.
Most of the gains in coverage, it’s worth noting, came from ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, not from its ban on insurance underwriting or its heavy subsidies. CMS data show that in ObamaCare’s first year, Medicaid expansion accounted for 88% of the gains in coverage. Enrollment has climbed by 14 million since ObamaCare took effect.
The second source for the 20 million figure comes from a report by the CommonWealth Fund. The Daily Signal looked at the numbers and guess what? The number is fiction:
First, the authors, Dr. David Blumenthal, president of Commonwealth, and Vice President Sara Collins, get to the 20 million by adding together 1 million young adults who gained coverage under a parent’s policy, 8 million consumers who selected a marketplace plan, 5 million who purchased directly from an insurer, and 6 million who enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Also, the authors admit the 20 million figure does not distinguish between those who were previously insured and those who were not – even though the previously insured would not be “gaining” coverage but merely replacing one form of coverage with another.
Worse yet, the 5 million who purchased directly from an insurer would have been 9 to 10 million in the absence of the law.
Like the IBD story, The Daily Signal makes a note of the number of people enrolled in Medicaid. To Democrats, who want the government to control healthcare in its entirety that may seem like good news. But the fact is, more and more doctors are choosing not to accept Medicaid patients because the reimbursement is too low and is not worth all of the time and paperwork. There are also rampant fraud and abuse within the Medicaid system, not to mention the cost overruns.
Finally, there is one last consideration to keep in mind when Democrats are touting these figures. Anybody who purchases a health care plan outside of Medicaid, falling under their parent’s coverage or gaining coverage from their employer is doing so because they are compelled by the law to do so.
The mainstream media, who are up in arms over “fake news,” allow this figure to be touted without looking into it and without asking them to cite the evidence. The media just repeats the figure, without question. That does a greater disservice to the public than some yahoo creating a fake news site.