Rep. Kevin McCarthy: Selling of Obamacare omits the reality that not everyone is paying
Eight million "enrollees" doesn't equal 8 million paid customers, he says
House Oversight Committee: Only 67% of enrollees had paid first month's premium
Editor’s Note: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, is House majority whip. You can follow him on Twitter @GOPWhip. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
President Barack Obama needs to learn a simple lesson: Saying something doesn’t make it true.
Though the President has claimed victory touting 8 million “enrollments” under his health care law, Americans cannot and will not wipe their memories clear of the botched rollout and continual failings of Obamacare.
Democrats have sustained their tactic of telling everyone the health care law is working, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Perhaps if they say it enough, their reasoning goes, it will become true.
Well, Obama can have his own opinions and he can even assert falsehoods as truth, but he can’t conjure fact.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll lays the facts out bare. The President’s approval rating has slipped to 41% – the lowest of his presidency in Post/ABC News polls. And only 37% approve of the President’s handling of Obamacare’s implementation. Despite the 8 million enrollees vaunted by the administration, a mere 44% of Americans approve of the President’s signature law.
This negative view of Obamacare persists even upon the assumption, parroted by many in the media, that the 8 million enrollment figure is accurate. However, the administration refuses to tell the American people any details about that number.
How many of those “enrollees” are insured, having paid their first month’s premium? How many were previously uninsured? How many were forced off their former coverage that they liked? What will the quality of coverage be for those who actually receive coverage?
These questions have been met with deaf ears and defensive posturing. “The debate over the repeal of the law is over,” the President said. “This law is doing what it’s supposed to do – it’s working.”
The President has confused reported high enrollment numbers with success, disregarding that while millions may be signed up under threat of penalty, Americans are not sold on the failed law.
To provide Americans answers to the unanswered questions, the House passed in January the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, which would require transparency from the administration regarding the Obamacare insurance exchange. Yet U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has blocked the bill in the Senate, unwilling to give the American people access to information they have a right to know.
In an attempt to get the data directly from the source, the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters in March to every insurance provider participating in the federal exchange requesting enrollment data, including the number of individuals who have paid their first month’s premium or were previously uninsured.
The results finally came in. As of April 15, only 67% of individuals and families that selected a plan had paid their first month’s premium, data provided to the committee by every provider in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace shows. Insurers informed the committee that, by the same date, only 2.45 million had paid their first month’s premium for coverage obtained through the FFM.
The purpose of Obamacare, if the President remembers, was to insure, not merely to sign up, and it seems the President’s enrollment numbers far surpass the number of insured.
Of those who have enrolled and paid their premiums, some surely liked their health insurance, were renewing their health insurance and were booted off their health insurance because of Obamacare regulations. This law is not a success.
Even before the Energy and Commerce Committee released their findings, Americans still viewed Obamacare unfavorably.
In Tuesday’s Post/ABC News poll, 47% of Americans reported that the ACA has raised their health care costs and 60% blame Obamacare for increasing costs nationally. Americans – faced with Obamacare’s burdens and disappointed with the president’s handling of the economy, foreign policy, and more – want a Republican-controlled Congress to act as a check on the president’s policies by 53 to 39%.
The debate is far from over, Mr. President.
Instead of taking responsibility for the failed health care law, Obama prefers to call major problems “glitches” and forced re-enrollment of millions who were previously insured “success.” He has claimed victory with a number that includes millions who remain uninsured.
The first step toward fixing a problem is admitting the problem exists. Instead of taking responsibility for the disaster they’ve created and the unnecessary hardships they’ve imposed on the American people, Obama and the Democrats are trying to rewrite the facts. Unfortunately for them, facts don’t work that way.