Conservatives, Lies, Obamacare — August 19, 2013 at 8:17 am

When it comes to Obamacare, the Heritage Foundation can’t handle the truth


The conservative Heritage Foundation is campaigning against Obamacare. But their arguments are unsubstantiated lies.

Do Republicans really think they can just willfully spread lies about the Affordable Care Act and get away with it? Sure they do, because their rabidly extremist supporters will believe anything they’re told by their spin masters.

They’d like you to believe that Obamacare is the devil incarnate, or the end of the world as we know it. You’d think so, if you took this graphic they posted on their blog at face value.

Let’s bust these false claims, one by one.

“If you buy private insurance, Obamacare is projected to increase the cost of premiums in the individual market by $2,100 per family.”

I’d love to know where they get this stuff. But, of course, they provide scant, if any, sources in their post.

However, the truth is that for most people who already buy private health insurance because they don’t get it at work, their premiums will decrease. This is partly because of the increased competition within the healthcare marketplaces created by Obamacare, where consumers can shop for plans that meet their needs and budgets. Also, conservative opponents of Obamacare conveniently overlook the tax subsidies many Americans will receive to help them pay for private insurance. These two factors are expected to drive costs down for a majority of Americans. Yes, some people may see higher premiums — but they’ll also be getting better insurance. But don’t just take my word for it. Jonathan Cohn explains how tax subsidies will save many Americans thousands of dollars on private insurance.

“If you’re young, you will be hit with higher costs from health benefits that you must purchase but may never use.”

Ah, someone’s legal department took a good look at this. You can tell by the fact that they said “may” never use. But what if you’re a 30-year-old man who gets hit by a bus and incurs tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills? You’ll sure use that insurance then. Plus, there’s increasing evidence that many young people want to buy health insurance, even if it’s simply a low-cost catastrophic coverage plan that would cost, on average, $100 a month. Not to mention that young people do not have to purchase coverage. They can simply pay the fee to opt out, which is about $100 per year in 2014 — a fraction of the estimated $1,000 per year those of us with insurance pay in our premiums to cover the cost of people racking up medical bills when they don’t have insurance. So much for the conservative principle of individual responsibility.

“If you like your coverage, an estimated 7 million people will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance.”

Obamacare doesn’t have any impact on employers who currently provide coverage for employees, unless they don’t meet the coverage provisions outlined by the law. However, a recent study demonstrated that two-thirds of employers already meet those requirements. That means two-thirds of employers will not have to change anything. The other one-third? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball. Neither does the Heritage Foundation. But there are plenty of good employers out there, like Costco, who believe offering their employees attractive benefits is a key to business success. Those are the true job creators.

“Even if you’re healthy, businesses are cutting employees’ hours because they cannot afford to implement Obamacare.”

Employers with more than 50 employees just got a one-year reprieve on the mandate requiring them to provide insurance. So why are they cutting employees’ hours now? Corporate greed, that’s why. Even before Obamacare was implemented, plenty of employers were holding their employees’ hours to 39 per week to avoid providing health benefits. That’s not going to change. It’s simply an excuse for boosting profits. And how convenient to blame Obamacare while they’re at it.

The fact is that 94 percent of employers who will be subject to the employer mandate in 2015 already provide health insurance to their employees and they did before Obamacare. Why would they change that now? There are a host of other factors contributing to the rise in part-time employment, including the economy and the furloughs caused by federal budget cuts due to the sequester.

That’s right: The sequester due, in large part, to Republicans’ refusal to negotiate. So maybe if conservatives stopped wasting time and money, including millions of our tax dollars, trying to repeal and defund Obamacare — even threatening an economy-bruising government shutdown — maybe job creators could create more jobs.

[Image credit: Heritage Foundation]