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“Boehner Struggles With His Failed ACA Predictions”: He Should At Least Try To Discuss The Substance Of The Issue Honestly

House Speaker John Boehner sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” yesterday, and the host asked a good question about the Republican leader’s failed predictions about the Affordable Care Act. Regrettably, the Speaker couldn’t respond with an equally good answer.

TODD: You made some dire predictions about health care. 2014 you said fewer people would have health insurance. According to plenty of surveys, more people have health insurance today than they did before it went down from – the uninsured rate went down 17 percent to just under 12 percent. You said it would destroy jobs. The first year it was implemented, the country added 3 million jobs. Why…

BOEHNER: Obamacare made it harder for employers to hire people. The economy expands and as a result, you are going to have more employees because businesses have to. But if you can ask any employer in America, and ask them whether Obamacare has made it harder for them to hire employees, they’ll tell you yes. Because it’s a fact.

When you look at – you know why there are more people insured? Because a lot more people are on Medicaid. And giving – you know, we expanded Medicaid in a big way. And giving people Medicaid insurance is almost like giving them nothing. Because there aren’t – you can’t find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients.

The Speaker soon added that, as far as he’s concerned, the Affordable Care Act is “not working.”

Boehner might have a credible argument, if we abandoned the agreed upon meaning of “working.”

Look, I realize that health care policy has never been the Ohio Republican’s strong suit, and the Speaker isn’t a wonk deeply engaged in policy details. I can also appreciate why he’s a little embarrassed about making all kinds of ACA predictions, each of which turned out to be wrong. It’s just not realistic to think Boehner will fess up on national television to getting the entire fight over health care backwards.

There’s just no avoiding the fact, however, that Boehner’s comments on “Meet the Press” were woefully incorrect.

According to the Speaker, “it’s a fact” that the Affordable Care Act has “made it harder for employers to hire people.” There’s simply no evidence to support this. None. The U.S. economy saw a jobs boom coincide with the implementation of the ACA. Indeed, the reform law has actually created plenty of jobs within the health care industry by spurring “unprecedented” levels of “entrepreneurial activity.”

At the same time, Boehner believes the drop in the uninsured rate is the result of Medicaid expansion, but that’s wrong, too – millions of consumers have gained private coverage by way of exchange marketplaces. This is even true of the Speaker’s home state of Ohio, which is prepared to create its own exchange if the Supreme Court makes it necessary.

As for the benefits of Medicaid, coverage through the program is not the practical equivalent of “nothing.” Many Americans who’ve gained health security through Medicaid have benefited greatly from affordable care.

Boehner’s conclusion – that “Obamacare” is “not working” – is only true if one closes their eyes, sticks their fingers in their ears, and refuses to consider the evidence. The law is pushing the uninsured rate to new lows; it’s succeeding in satisfying consumers; the law’s price tag is lower than expected; it’s producing impressive results on premiums and enrollment totals; we’re seeing the lowest increase in health care spending in 50 years; the number of insurers who want to participate in exchange marketplaces keeps growing; there’s reduced financial stress on families, the efficacy of Medicaid expansion is obvious, as is the efficacy of the medical-loss ratio and efforts to reduce medical errors system-wide.

The maligned law is even becoming more popular.

Boehner doesn’t have to like the law. He doesn’t even have to admit he was wrong. But he should at least try to discuss the substance of the issue honestly.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 4, 2015

May 5, 2015 - Posted by | Affordable Care Act, John Boehner, Obamacare | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good post. He could not answer the question well as the ACA is working pretty well by numerous measures including the RAND Corporation, Economic Policy Institute, The Commonwealth Fund, and Kaiser Family Foundation. Per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), they have reduced their health care projections three times, in part due to the success of the ACA. PricewaterhouseCoopers also has noted that premiums have dampened.

    His comment about Medicaid expansion intrigues me and Todd missed a golden opportunity. About twenty some odd states (led by GOP) have NOT expanded Medicaid like he noted, leaving millions of Americans who are below poverty in a lurch. Per a George Mason University study, it was noted that expanding Medicaid would help people in need, the rural hospitals and the economies in those states. So, the ACA could be working even better if it were not for some of his colleagues making a political statement. The Ohio governor said expanding Medicaid was a “no brainer” as it brought $13 Billion to his state over a few years.

    The irony of all this is the ACA is largely a GOP idea that the president modified that was supported by Tea Party leadership when it was Romneycare, for the whole country. When Obama patterned after Romneycare and Romney ran for President, former Senator JIm DeMint, who was the strongest advocate noted BOTH Romneycare and Obamacare are unconstitutional. But, don’t take my word for it, Google “Jim DeMint and Romneycare” and read until your heart is content.

    Like

    Comment by btg5885 | May 5, 2015 | Reply


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