President Obama would have been remiss to not mention that his signature legislation at the State of the Union address last night. He did so with unwarranted aplomb, repeating the falsehood that Obamacare has insured nine million people–a number embellished by Medicaid and state exchange signups not representative of the ACA’s toll.
In a speech as notable for what he did not mention as for what he did, President Obama spent a compulsory amount of time on the Affordable Care Act. With the usual individual anecdote, the President insisted that the law was “about the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything.”
He did not mention the millions that did lose everything after their doctors were removed from their insurance networks, their employers could no longer afford insurance, or they otherwise found themselves uncovered because of the law, designated by the federal government as a “hardship” affecting people in itself.
He also tossed out some numbers: “because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 3 million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents’ plans. More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.”
This number is not news for those who cover the Democratic push to promote Obamacare. The White House has been pushing inflated Obamacare numbers since HealthCare.gov first launched in October, but statistics repeatedly find that administrators and the President alike use embellished numbers that call upon Medicaid and Medicare statistics to mask how few Americans are signing up. The most generous estimate finds that only 15% of the goal number of signups the White House expected to see has been met.
Even the smaller number the White House likes to use when it does not lump state exchanges and Medicare into the total–six million–is so suspect that the Washington Post suggested it be “ignored.” Glenn Kessler of the Post gave the Obama administration “three Pinocchios” for such a claim, calling it “ridiculous” for them to lump the numbers up and suggest “that the people who have selected a health plan in the exchanges are in anyway [sic] equivalent to the 3.9 to 4.2 million who were deemed eligible for Medicaid.”
The six million figure was “ridiculous” last week. This week, the President told the nation the number was actually nine million–even if it were, it pales in comparison to the 100 million cancellations under the law. But the President was not done with the topic yet; he had the audacity to appeal to Congress’s laziness to prevent a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“The American people are not interested in refighting old battles,” he claimed, discouraging Republicans from “another 40- something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans.” It would simply be too time-consuming and undo the work that benefits a minority of those that successfully navigated a chronically broken HealthCare.gov. Left unsaid: the damage a repeal would prevent to the millions of Americans in danger of losing their coverage because of receiving subpar coverage as the ACA provisions roll on.