WASHINGTON – As the Obama administration scrambles to roll out the health care exchanges for their Tuesday debut, it's worth a look back on the conflicting claims the White House has made on how the exchanges help, who they benefit and what they promise.
The following are some of President Obama's better-known claims, and how they stack up to the facts.
When stumping for the health care overhaul, Obama repeatedly told people that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” It’s even on the White House web site. So is this true? Not quite.
While the Affordable Care Act doesn’t force insured Americans to pick new plans or doctors, it also doesn’t ensure that your employer won’t decide to switch plans.
If that happens, the insured individual will have to go with what the employer decides. Similarly, if someone gets a new job, there is no guarantee that the new coverage will offer the same doctor as an in-network provider.
A shake-up of providers is likely, experts say. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says it’s hearing that many carriers will cancel policies and issue new ones because it would be administratively easier to do so than changing existing plans.
Obama has claimed that the uninsured will pay less on the government exchanges than they would on the individual market. So is it true?
During an Aug. 9 press conference, the president said that the 15 percent of the country’s population that’s uninsured would be able to “sign up for affordable quality health insurance at a significantly cheaper rate than what they can get right now on the individual market.” He noted they'll get additional tax credits if "even with lower premiums they still can’t afford it."
But even his own team admits to some fuzzy math on that one.
Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has acknowledged that younger people will likely pay more and older people will pay less on the insurance exchanges. The cost of premiums will also be based on geography and other determining factors like smoking.
Economist Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was a paid adviser on the Obama administration’s health care plans, goes so far as saying that a small share of the uninsured would actually pay higher premiums on the exchanges.
When ObamaCare was initially presented to the public in 2009, it was said that the new law would provide health insurance for every man, woman and child in America. So is it true? The law will cover many more, but not everyone.
While ObamaCare is expected to extend coverage to 25 million Americans over the next 10 years, it will leave a projected 31 million people without insurance by 2023, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Though the law requires individuals to buy health insurance, many are expected to buck that mandate and risk the possibility of a fine. Most of the 31 million will be people living below the poverty line in the 21 states that have decided against expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare.
Part of the president’s push with ObamaCare has been that it will create new jobs. But Obama scaled back his promise of job creation during a speech in Largo, Md., on Thursday. Instead, he said his health care overhaul wouldn’t hurt jobs.
“There's no widespread evidence that the Affordable Care Act is hurting jobs,” he said.
But critics have sharply challenged that claim.
A recent report in Investor’s Business Daily shows that as a direct result of ObamaCare, more than 300 companies have either eliminated jobs or reduced full-time jobs to part-time jobs. The administration describes this evidence as anecdotal.
But it’s not just the administration that’s been caught stretching the truth when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has repeatedly claimed that Obama let lawmakers off the hook by allowing them to opt out of using the exchanges.
“Look, the wheels are coming off this,” Cruz said during a conservative summit in Iowa on Aug. 10. “The teamsters are abandoning it. President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception. And he did it because Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats who passed this thing came begging and said, ‘Please, please, please let us out of ObamaCare.’ This thing ain’t working.”
Again, not quite.
The truth is that the new law requires lawmakers to use marketplaces set up through ObamaCare. They aren’t exempt from participating -- however, the administration did issue a change allowing Congress and their staff to continue to receive employer subsidies to pay for insurance.