Examining Mitch McConnell’s Claims on Health Care Overhaul

In Nation
It's only fair to share...Email this to someone
Print this page

But in the past, H.H.S. has estimated the number of people who paid for coverage by March. It is unclear why the government has chosen to limit the data to February this year, but the methodological difference can be significant. Those who signed up for a health care plan in the last two weeks of January — — did not actually have to pay until March. So it is premature to assume they all canceled their coverage.

Mr. McConnell’s claim that the “most common reason” for cancellations was high cost is also exaggerated.

In a separate , the department surveyed about 4,000 people who canceled before paying a premium, 46 percent of whom cited cost as the reason. About 14 percent receive coverage elsewhere, according to an H.H.S. spokeswoman.

The same report also surveyed 14,000 people who canceled coverage after paying at least a month’s premiums, 27 percent of whom said they canceled because of affordability. About 60 percent said they obtained insurance through their employer, and another 22 percent said they became eligible for .

He referred to a flawed report to claim individual marketplace premiums have doubled since the ’s passage.

A May from H.H.S. estimated that average exchange premiums in 2017 were 105 percent higher than average individual market premiums in 2013. That comparison, however, is imperfect, as H.H.S. itself acknowledges.

First, the report looks only at the sticker price of premiums, discounting the fact that a vast majority of exchange enrollees that helps blunt premium costs.

Second, the plans and the insurance pools of 2013 are not the same as those of 2017. Some plans may have been cheaper in 2013, but covered so little that they would now fail to meet the Congressional Budget Office’s . Under the health care law, insurers can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Predictably, more comprehensive plans that cover more and sicker people are costlier.

And perhaps most importantly, the report compares two fundamentally different universes of plans: those in the entire individual market in 2013 and those only in the federal exchange in 2017.

He falsely claimed Democrats have resisted Republican efforts to improve health care “over the past seven years.”

Mr. McConnell suggested Democrats repeatedly refused to cooperate with Republican “ideas on a better way forward.”

His office did not respond to a request for clarification, but whether he is referring to legislation to repeal, roll back or amend the current health care law, he is incorrect.

The Congressional Research Service legislative efforts to repeal, defund or delay the Affordable Care Act from 2011 to 2016. It listed 20 enacted bills that altered funding, of which overwhelming bipartisan support.

Democratic leadership, and most of the caucus, have consistently rejected efforts to repeal the health care law. But even a few of the approximately 40 bills passed in the House that sought to undo parts or all of the Affordable Care Act garnered .

A spokesman for Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate minority leader, gave of ’ requesting to be involved in the health care reform process.

He misleadingly said that Republicans are using the same process to pass their bill as Democrats used to to pass the Affordable Care Act.

Responding to that Senate Republicans are drafting the health care bill behind closed doors, Mr. McConnell charged Democrats with procedural hypocrisy.

Mr. McConnell, who Democrats for “going the partisan route” and for secrecy as the Affordable Care Act was being drafted, is right that part of the health care law was eventually passed through — a tactic that allows Congress to push through legislation with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes typically needed in the Senate.

But selectively focusing on the last step of the current health care ignores that included , at least 100 hours of committee meetings and markups, more than 130 amendments considered and at least 79 roll-call votes.

Mr. McConnell is also making misleading remarks about how reconciliation was used in the Affordable Care Act’s passage. Both the House and the Senate passed versions of the bill — by and by — before Democrats lost their 60th Senate vote and resorted to reconciliation.

In contrast, Senate Republicans intend to overhaul health care through a reconciliation bill, bypassing the 60-vote threshold entirely. The process would still allow senators to debate on the floor for 20 hours and offer amendments, but that would be significantly less than the time spent discussing the Affordable Care Act.

Continue reading the main story

It's only fair to share...Email this to someone
Print this page

Mobile Sliding Menu