Lies, Republicans — September 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

RNC fundraising email claims health insurance costs under Obama have gone up EIGHT TIMES higher than they actually have


Aren’t there laws against false advertising???

Yesterday, I published a piece titled “Debunking the Republican lie that health insurance costs have skyrocketed under Obama”. In it, I showed how the right is telling outright lies about the rate of cost increases of health insurance under President Obama. In that piece, I missed something. The GOP is claiming that the cost of health insurance for a family has increased by $3,500 since President Obama took office. Rereading their email (reproduced below), I realize that they weren’t just saying that health insurance costs went up that much during that time. In fact, they are claiming health insurance costs went up $3,500 PER YEAR since 2009. That would be a cost increase of $14,000 over the four years he’s been president.

Check it out. Here’s the email they sent out (click for a larger, more readable version):

This is an actual screenshot of the email I received from the Republican National Committee (RNC) on September 10th. Here’s the key sentence:

Since President Obama took office, the average family has seen their health care premiums increase by $3,500 a year.

As I pointed out in my piece yesterday, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health insurance costs for a family went up far less than that:

When President Obama took office in 2009, annual premiums for a family were $13,375 and four years later have risen to $16,351 for an average of $744 per year. Adjusting for inflation, costs started at $14,653.21 for an average increase of only $424.45 per year.

$424.45 a year, not $3,500. They inflated the number by over eight times. Even if you use the non-adjusted cost, it’s a factor of nearly five.

This was a fundraising email from the RNC that was sent to thousands and thousands of people on their mailing list. Yet (until now, I suppose) nobody has fact checked them on this and they have not retracted the claim. They are, simply put, raising money by telling a demonstrably false and blatant lie about the costs of health care insurance. In the process, they are continuing the disinformation campaign against the Affordable Care Act that has been ongoing since 2010.

I realize that we’re all worn to a bare nubbins with Republican lying, particularly about the Affordable Care Act. It’s what Greg Sargent at The Plum Line calls “falsehood fatigue”. Still, this should be big news. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus should be held accountable for this blatant lying, he should retract the statement publicly, and he should apologize.

(Ha ha ha ha ha. I know, I know. It’s not like I think he’d actually do it or anything.)

One last (lame) thing: the RNC appears to have gotten their “data” from a blog called “The Brenner Report” put out by some conservative radio host I’ve never heard of. She makes the same “$3,500 annually” claim. Great vetting, guys. Well done.

[CC Reince Priebus photo credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]