Obamacare Supporters Use Out of Date Statistics

Posted on October 14, 2013. Filed under: Obamacare, Politics | Tags: , |

English: US Capitol at night. A mosaic image o...

US Capitol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve got a headache.

I would say that politics in this country has got out of control with the rhetoric, but that isn’t true. You can go back as far as the Adams- Jefferson election of 1800. During that election, both sides slandered each other heavily.

Jefferson claimed that Adams of had a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

Adams fired back at Jefferson, saying he was “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

Wow.

Fast forward to today, with the claims that the President was not born here, that he is a Muslim in disguise, and that he sucks at golf.

I’m not defending the President. I don’t care for him or his policies.

What I’m saying is that it should come as no surprise that the right claims that everyone on the left are sheep, and the left claims that those on the right are woefully ignorant, and, as one friend of mine put it, sick in the head.

That comment came about because of an article by Joshua Holland, a “senior digital producer” for BillMoyers.com. Given the number of channels available today, I’m surprised that public television isn’t dead, and that people have actually heard of Bill Moyers.

Now, Holland may be correct, the rhetoric from the right may be a little unhinged and divorced from reality.

But if you read his article, so is he.

He starts his article with great irony, and this seems to be a battle cry for today’s liberals.

The old saying that ‘you’re welcome to your own opinions but not your own facts’ seems quaint in today’s political environment. 

Let’s keep in mind that at one time, it was a fact that the earth was the center of the universe. That was replaced with the fact that the sun was the center of the universe. Once, it was fact that the earth was flat.

Do you see where I am going with this? Facts are not immutable, they are not unchangeable. They are not necessarily truth.

Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently spoke with a straight face of “the enormous harms Obamacare is causing, all of the millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, being pushed into part-time work, losing their health insurance.”

It would be interesting to know what Cruz believes to be the mechanism for all these horrors, given that the employer mandate won’t go into effect for another year and health care costs are growing at the slowest rate since the government started tracking that data in 1960.

If you look at the report he linked to, the credit for the slowing costs is not because of Obamacare as he would like you to think, but due to the slowing economy.

While I am not a fan of Cruz, he is correct. I have documented on this blog people who have been laid off, have had their hours reduced, or losing their health insurance, mostly in the service industry. Democrats like tout that you can’t be denied for preexisting conditions, that you get to make your own healthcare decisions (except for what kind of coverage is right for you), but ignore that people are saying their healthcare premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses have all gone up. It’s like they don’t care, as long as the so called 12 to 50 million people who don’t have health insurance get subsidized health insurance.

But to claim that Obamacare has slowed the rise of medical costs is absolutely ludicrous. If you read that report, it says that costs have been rising at a rate of 3.9% per annum since 2009, before Obamacare was signed into law, up to 2011 when the law was just a year old!  How can you claim that this is the result of a law that didn’t even exist at the time? The report also goes on to say that, while it has increased about 4.3% in 2012, they expect that it will pick up as the economy recovers. In other words, costs will increase post 2014, when the law goes fully into effect.

There has been a significant focus on whether this slowdown in health spending is a result of broader economic factors (such as the Great Recession of 2007-2009), structural changes in the health system that could lead to slower growth in the future as well, or some combination of the two. To the extent this is a temporary phenomenon driven by the economic downturn and abnormally low inflation, we can expect health spending growth to bounce back up in the future as the economy recovers. To the extent structural changes are at play – i.e., that health spending is growing more slowly than what would be expected given the state of the economy – we may see a continuation of historically low rates of growth even as the economy returns to full employment.

In other words, the Kaiser Family Foundation hedged their bets. “We can expect health spending growth to bounce back as we return to full employment, or not.” No matter what happens, Kaiser can say they were right. No wonder their healthcare sucks.

You gotta love reports like that.

But Holland goes on to add a graph that shows the private sector has added jobs every month since Obamacare has been signed into law. What isn’t said on that graph is if that is full time employment, or full/part time employment. Makes a big difference. But this is Holland’s straw man, as, while the law was signed back in 2010, it is not fully in effect, and won’t be fully in effect until 2015.  The law was signed on March 23, 2010, when unemployment was 9.9%. Here we are almost finished with 2013, and the unemployment rate has dropped an amazing 2.6% in 3 1/2 years. Color me impressed. Never mind that the U-6 unemployment rate, the number the government doesn’t tell you about, is still at 13.7%. The government doesn’t like to tell you about the number of people who have given up on finding work, and how they aren’t included in the “official” government number.

But Holland goes on to say that the number of people without health insurance coverage dropped from 16.3% to 15.4% during that time.

Must have been because of Obamacare.

Oh, that’s right. Obamacare is still not implemented!

 And there’s no evidence other than anecdotal tales hyped by Fox News of employers cutting workers’ hours to less than 30 per week – the minimum before the employer mandate kicks in. That provision was supposed to go into effect in 2014, based on 2013 employment data, and when economists Helene Jorgenson and Dean Baker looked at the numbers, they found that the share of workers putting between 26-29 hours per week had actually fallen between 2012 and 2013.

As another columnist said, this has little to do with Obamacare. Of course, this is not going to happen on a major scale until the employer mandate kicks in, unless you are a joint like McDonald’s that got a special exemption from Obama. So, the numbers of part time workers fell from 2012 to 2013. What the hell does that prove? The employer mandate doesn’t kick in until 2015!

In the end, this article was written citing out of date statistics, and trying to create the impression that Obamacare has not had negative effects based on evidence from when Obamacare had not been passed or not implemented.

And yet, those on the left say that those to the right are sick in the head, and divorced from reality.

Mr. Holland’s reality seems to be a time before Obamacare was law and fully implemented.

 

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