Reality Check: Trump and Pence get a lot wrong about Obamacare

Story highlights

  • Donald Trump and Mike Pence tore into Obamacare on the trail Tuesday
  • There were a number of times when their statements were either untrue or wildly misleading

Washington (CNN)In Pennsylvania Tuesday, the Republican ticket had a lot to say about the Affordable Care Act.

Actually, Donald Trump let his running mate, Mike Pence, do much of the talking. Some of their criticisms of President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement were accurate, especially with regard to rising deductibles and insurance companies opting out of the government-run exchanges.
But there also were a number of times when their statements were either untrue or wildly misleading.
    For example:
    "The truth is, premiums for employer plans have gone up by almost $5,000 since Obama took office," Pence said.
    Pence's figures are correct. Premiums for employee-based health insurance plans went up by nearly $4,800 since Obama took office in 2009, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the ACA wasn't passed until 2010 and really didn't start having an impact on the market until the following year. In that timeframe, Kaiser estimated that employer-based premiums increased by 20%. That compares to an increase of 31% in the previous five-year period.
    So Pence's figure is true. Premiums for employer-based plans have increased under Obama. But, as a criticism of the ACA, the figure is misleading since premiums have gone up at a slower rate since the law was implemented.
    "It is also true that Obamacare is killing jobs and it's destroying small business job growth all across this country," Pence added.
    So what did job growth look like starting from 2011, once the ACA's impact was clear? By 2016, the US economy had created about 10 million jobs in those five years. During a comparable five-year period (2003-2007) during the presidency of George W. Bush, 8 million jobs were created. However, it is difficult to blame Obamacare for sluggish job growth in small business since companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the law's mandate to provide insurance for their employees.
    "Workers' hours are being cut; hiring is frozen -- totally frozen -- and wages are being slashed," Trump claimed.
    Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that workers' hours have remained fairly constant since the ACA was implemented. According to BLS, annual public and private sector hiring rose by about 11.4% from 2011 to 2015, compared to an 8.7% rise during a comparable period in the George W. Bush Administration. Not much of a hiring freeze there. And, of course, the Census Bureau recently reported that wages saw their biggest recorded jump ever in 2015.
    So these claims are false.