Why Obamacare’s ‘20 Million’ Number Is Fake

Genevieve Wood / / /

New research estimates that between 2 and 7 million people who are now on Medicaid still would have been eligible for the program prior to Obamacare. (Photo: Cheriss May /NurPhoto/Sipa USA/Newscom)

Liberals are notorious for caring about “groups” of people, but when it gets down to individual persons, not so much. You’re about to see this play out in spades as Democrats cry crocodile tears over the coming repeal of Obamacare.

You hear it over and over again: “This will be catastrophic for the 20 million people who were previously uninsured but now have coverage! You can’t take away their health care!”

First of all, no one is talking about doing that. Any repeal legislation will have a transition period for those who got coverage through Obamacare to move to new plans. And second, they will have more choices and better options. Win. Win.

But liberals would rather focus on quantity, how many millions we’ve given something to, versus quality, what does that “gift” mean for individual people.

The Obama administration claims 20 million more Americans today have health care due to Obamacare. The reality is that when you look at the actual net gains over the past two years since the program was fully implemented, the number is 14 million, and of that, 11.8 million (84 percent) were people given the “gift” of Medicaid.

And new research shows that even fewer people will be left without insurance after the repeal of Obamacare. Numbers are still being crunched, but between statistics released by the Congressional Budget Office and one of the infamous architects of Obamacare, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Jonathan Gruber, it’s estimated that anywhere from 2 to 7 million people now on Medicaid would have qualified for the program even without Obamacare.

That further discredits the administration’s claim of 20 million more Americans having health insurance because of Obamacare.

Multiple studies have also shown that even those who are uninsured often have better outcomes than those with Medicaid. A University of Virginia study found that for eight different surgical procedures, Medicaid patients were more likely to die than privately insured or uninsured patients. They were also more likely to suffer complications.

And it is important to note that this study focused on procedures done from 2003-2007, prior to the geniuses in Washington deciding it was a good idea to put even more people on the already overburdened Medicaid system.

Additionally, despite what proponents of the law promised, there is little evidence to show that the use of emergency rooms, which have a higher level of medical errors, has decreased due to Obamacare.

Then there is this reality: While Obamacare has handed out millions of new Medicaid cards, that does not mean the recipients now have quality health care. In fact, it doesn’t ensure they have health care at all. That’s because increasing numbers of doctors aren’t accepting Medicaid.

As a Louisiana woman told The New York Times, “My Medicaid card is useless for me right now. It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”

Keep that in mind every time liberal Democratic senators pull out the Kleenex boxes bemoaning the fact Republicans are the ones trying to take people’s health care away.

Speaking of which, a much underreported fact of Obamacare is how many truly needy and disabled Americans are NOT getting the services they need because of the expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults (aka healthy) of prime working age, 19-54.

So while the left talks about all the new people Obamacare is helping, it neglects to mention that over half a million disabled people, from those with developmental disabilities to traumatic brain injuries, are on waiting lists for care.

And many of them are on waiting lists because Obamacare gives states more money to enroll able-bodied adults than it does to take care of disabled children and adults who qualified for Medicaid prior to Obamacare.

If you think that doesn’t have a real-world perverse impact, note this. Since Arkansas expanded its Medicaid program under Obamacare, it’s rolls have grown by 25 percent. During that same time, 79 people on the Medicaid waiting list who suffered from developmental disabilities have died. I would encourage you to read my former Heritage Foundation colleague Chris Jacob’s full piece on this.

Finally, it’s not just those enrolled in Medicaid that are finding fewer health care provider options. For people who now have health plans through the Obamacare exchanges, new Heritage Foundation research shows that this year, in 70 percent of counties across the country, those consumers will have only one or two insurers to choose from.

Add to that the millions of people who lost the doctors and health plans they liked and are now paying higher premiums for less coverage, and you can see that quality health care and anything resembling “choice” has quickly disappeared for an increasing number of Americans due to Obamacare.

So the next time a defender of Obamacare tries to take the moral high ground about the millions of people the law has helped, ask them to define what “help” looks like.

Democrats have Presided Over Destruction Of Black America

Ex-Black Panther: John Lewis ‘Presided Over Destruction Of Black America’

Mason Weaver, an author and former member of the Black Panther movement, said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) presided over the “destruction of black America” in the years following his march with other Civil Rights leaders across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

Responding to Lewis’ contention that President-elect Donald Trump is “not a legitimate president”, Weaver called Lewis an “illegitimate Congressman.”

Weaver called Lewis a “Civil Rights turncoat” who has “collaborated with the Democratic Party to oppress black America.”


He said the people who beat and ran over Lewis and his fellow marchers that day were Democrats, also pointing to the party affiliation of former Gov. George Wallace (D-Ala.), an avowed segregationist of the time.

“After they beat his behind on that bridge… he got up and joined them,” Weaver said of Lewis. “He joined the oppressors and became a stooge for them.”

Weaver said he could not understand why any African-American could identify as a Democrat, calling them the “party of the Klan” and the “party that went to war to keep slaves.”

“If you’re a real man, John Lewis, you stand up tomorrow and you apologize,” Weaver said.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Holding Obamacare Repeal Hostage for Replace Guarantees Its Defeat

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Holding Obamacare Repeal Hostage for Replace Guarantees Its Defeat

Holding repeal hostage for replace perpetuates the current market instability, increasing premiums, and coverage losses that have been the result of Obamacare. This poses significant political risks for the GOP.

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Meet 2 Hurting Americans Who Are Ready for Congress to Repeal Obamacare

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The left’s sudden awakening to the possibility that elections can in fact be rigged is welcome. But their epiphany seems limited only to pie-in-the-sky fantasies that would deprive conservatives of their electoral gains.

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How Republicans Can Start to Dismantle Obamacare With a Trump Presidency

Melissa Quinn / / /

With Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, it’s become more likely that Republicans will be able to successfully repeal Obamacare. (Photo: Nate Chute/Reuters/Newscom)

The GOP’s long-discussed dreams of repealing Obamacare became closer to reality early Wednesday morning when Donald Trump was elected president.

Six years after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law and after more than 60 attempts to repeal it, Republicans now have a good chance to advance their own agenda.

While on the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promised voters that he would repeal Obamacare if he was elected president and even called on congressional Republicans to call a “special session” to move forward with rolling back the law.

“Obamacare has to be replaced,” Trump said earlier this month during a stop in Pennsylvania. “And we will do it, and we will do it very, very quickly. It is a catastrophe.”

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.

Now, following Trump’s defeat of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Republicans are laying the groundwork for dismantling the Affordable Care Act next year.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a sentence-per-sentence destruction of the bill, but I do think that substantial chunks of it are in really grave danger,” Seth Chandler, a visiting scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, told The Daily Signal.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to pass a bill repealing the health care law and would fall short of that threshold in the new Congress, where the GOP will hold at least 52 seats.

But GOP lawmakers are likely to use a budget tool called reconciliation—a procedure used in the Senate that allows a bill to pass with 51 votes—to roll back key provisions of Obamacare and avoid a Democratic filibuster.

The GOP-led House and Senate passed a budget resolution last year that included instructions to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare and were ultimately successful in getting it to Obama’s desk, where it was vetoed.

The bill called for the repeal of the individual and employer mandates, Medicaid expansion, tax credits, medical device tax, and Cadillac tax. It also stripped the government of its authority to run the exchanges set up under the law and lessened the fine for failing to comply with the mandates to $0, which was needed to abide by Senate rules.

GOP leaders in the House and Senate haven’t committed to using reconciliation again next year to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday the law is “collapsing under its own weight.”

“This Congress, this House majority, this Senate majority has already demonstrated and proven we’re able to pass legislation and put it on the president’s desk,” Ryan, R-Wis., said during a press conference. “Problem is, President Obama vetoed it. Now, we have a President Trump who has promised to fix this.”

Ryan’s counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also said Wednesday that Obamacare’s repeal is a priority for the GOP-led Senate.

“It’s pretty high on our agenda as you know,” McConnell, R-Ky., said. “I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”

As Congress considers and crafts a reconciliation bill rolling back key aspects of Obamacare, Trump can take steps on his own to “make the Affordable Care Act’s life miserable,” Chandler said.

The first thing the president-elect can do is end cost-sharing reductions, Chandler said, which are payments the federal government makes to insurance companies that provide silver-level plans to consumers.

“The Affordable Care Act is fragile enough that doing this one thing of refusing to pay the cost-sharing reduction payments will be enough to strike a mortal blow,” he said.

The House filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in 2014 over the cost-sharing reductions on the grounds that the Department of Health and Human Services was using money that Congress never appropriated.

That lawsuit is currently weaving its way through the courts, but Chandler argued that Trump can stop cost-sharing reductions on his first day in office. Doing so would likely cause insurance companies to leave Obamacare’s exchanges and cancel policies, Chandler said.

Such action on the part of insurers would have a significant impact on consumers, but it could be used as a “starting point” for negotiations with congressional Democrats over a replacement for the health care law.

“Trump holds a very powerful card in his hand,” Chandler said.

In addition to ending cost-sharing reductions, Trump can also begin the rulemaking process to roll back several regulations implemented under Obamacare, including the contraception mandate and the essential benefits requirement.

The controversial contraception mandate, which was challenged before the Supreme Court this year, requires employers to provide their workers with health insurance plans that cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

Under the essential benefits requirement, health insurance plans must cover a number of health care services, which include ambulatory patient services, emergency services, maternity and newborn care, and preventive and wellness services.

After Obamacare became law in 2010, Republicans pledged to repeal it while campaigning during the 2014 midterm and 2016 general elections but haven’t been successful.

Obamacare’s fourth open enrollment period began last week, and consumers have until Dec. 15 to purchase coverage that begins in January.

Though 20 million Americans gained health insurance coverage under Obamacare, many consumers have seen their premiums and deductibles increase over the last three years.

Monthly premiums for plans sold on Obamacare’s federal exchange next year will rise by an average of 25 percent, and consumers have fewer choices than they have had in the past.

Ryan and House Republicans rolled out the House GOP’s replacement plan for Obamacare in June, which starts with repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The plan, part of Ryan’s “A Better Way” agenda, maintains few of Obamacare’s provisions, such as a measure allowing those under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ plans, but would also reform Medicaid and loosen regulations on health savings accounts.

Trump unveiled his own health care plan during the campaign, which includes measures to allow insurers to sell policies across state lines and to turn Medicaid into a state block grant program.

Republicans haven’t coalesced around one alternative to the health care law. But Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Wednesday the GOP would ensure consumers have a “smooth transition” from the current health care system to a new one once Obamacare is repealed.

“People had significant disruption in their lives already,” Barrasso said. “We want a smooth transition—as smooth as possible. We’re moving away from Obamacare to patient-centered care and putting competition back in the system.”

The People Have Spoken

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The People Have Spoken: Change Must Start Now

The American people soundly rejected the failed liberal policies of Hillary Clinton and the broken legacy of President Barack Obama, writes Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint.

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Trump Defeats Clinton in Dramatic Finish to 2016 Race

Republicans also maintained control of the House and the Senate, which could provide a boost for Trump’s policy agenda.

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Watch The Daily Signal’s Live Post-Election Show

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Obamacare is in its “death spiral.”

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Stopping Another Obamacare Bailout

The Obama administration is plotting to illegally funnel your money to insurance companies.

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Words and phrases like “tolerance,” “live and let live,” and “no one should be forced by government” go a long way in illustrating what we have in common despite party affiliation.

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Blue States Pursue Public Option Using Obamacare ‘Innovation’ Waivers, as Red States Proceed With Caution

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The political landscape today has been heavily influenced by someone whose name most people do not even know: the late Harvard University political theorist John Rawls.

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Clinton Estate Tax Plan Would Affect Many Families, Not Just the Very Rich

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Hillary Clinton as a crook and as the “Queen of Deception.”

In this weekly column and in my on-air work at Fox News, I have characterized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a crook and as the “Queen of Deception.” I have argued that there is enough credible evidence in the public domain to indict, prosecute and convict her of espionage, perjury, misleading Congress, public corruption, providing material assistance to terrorist organizations and obstruction of justice.

I can point to five times when she lied under oath. I know of FBI agents who believe that their hands were tied by the Obama administration in the criminal investigation of her. And I know of American intelligence agents who firmly believe that Americans died because Clinton failed to keep state secrets secure.

She sent emails containing state secrets to a former aide whom she knew lacked any security clearance and whose emails were hacked by hostile foreign governments, and she left classified documents in a bedroom in a foreign embassy where personnel without clearances had access to them.

She refused to use government-secured email devices because she wanted to keep her behavior hidden from the public and from the president. Some of that behavior had to do with using the power of the government to enrich her family’s foundation. I have argued that there is strong, credible evidence to demonstrate that she exercised her official behavior as secretary of state in accordance with the financial needs of her family’s foundation. She refused to see some foreign dignitaries until they gave money to the foundation.

She had her close personal aide, Huma Abedin, employed by the foundation while she was employed by the State Department, such that folks who dealt with Abedin knew that she would ask them for money for the foundation as Clinton’s official gatekeeper; and they’d need to make those payments in return for favorable treatment from the secretary of state.

She even permitted Russian President Vladimir Putin to gain control of a Utah uranium mine in return for the payment by an intermediary of $145 million to her family’s foundation.

Some of the behavior Clinton hid involved her waging an illegal and disastrous war in Libya, in which she used the American intelligence community rather than the U.S. military so as to keep Congress largely in the dark. She conspired with a dozen members of Congress and with President Barack Obama to fight the secret war to topple Libyan strongman and American ally Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

She used her lawful authority as secretary of state to authorize exemptions to the U.N. embargo of arms to Libya by American and foreign arms dealers. She permitted the sale of arms to groups in Libya that were masquerading as anti-Gadhafi militias but — according to the CIA — were actually terrorist organizations.

She rejected the advice of the CIA and thereby provided material aid to terrorist organizations — a felony under U.S. law. The result of her secret war was the destruction of all order and culture in Libya, the institution of mob rule and the assassination of the American ambassador.

Yet none of the above was articulated by Donald Trump in his debate with Clinton earlier this week.

Trump utterly failed to capitalize on her greatest vulnerabilities — the widespread and largely well-grounded belief that she is untrustworthy and her well-documented record as a failure as secretary of state. I know one of his debate coaches very well. I suspect that the coach gave him superb ideas and one-line zingers, none of which he used. I also suspect that the coach’s advice went in one of Trump’s ears and out the other.

Presidential debates are not won on points and counterpoints. They are won on general impressions. The general impression from Monday’s highly anticipated debate is that Clinton brilliantly controlled the ball and Trump came utterly unprepared. She succeeded in arresting her fall in the polls and reassuring her Democratic base. He failed to give independents and wavering Republicans a good reason to back him.

She clobbered him.

But both candidates’ performances deeply disappointed me. I confess to a moral preference for personal liberty in our supposedly free society. Did you hear the word “freedom” or any of its variants or the Constitution mentioned by either debater? I did not.

Neither talked about natural rights — personal liberties coming from our humanity and untouchable by the government. Trump argued for letting the police stop you on a whim. Clinton argued for massive increases in wealth transfers.

Neither understands the economy. Both want the government to force employers to pay higher wages, to impose higher taxes on the most productive in our society, to impose tariffs on goods we import and to increase our $19.5 trillion national debt. Aren’t those behaviors just what got us into our present precarious economic straits, where all federal tax revenue is now consumed by wealth transfers, the Pentagon and interest on the government debt, with the government being run on borrowed money and borrowed time?

Neither mentioned the primacy of the individual over the state, and neither spoke about the guarantees of liberty in the Bill of Rights. Both believe in a government that can right any wrong, regulate any behavior and tax any event.

Who really wants a choice between two proponents of monster government, bigger than it is now? Whatever became of “that government is best which governs least”? Who will protect us from a government that takes more than it gives?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.

Andrew NapolitanoBy

More Economic Freedom Could Mean Less Civil Strife in Ethiopia

James M. Roberts / /

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia—one of the oldest countries in the world—which has been wracked with civil strife. (Photo: picture alliance/Yannick Tylle/Newscom)

The Heritage Foundation has taken its message of economic freedom to Africa. Today’s stop is Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia—source of the Blue Nileriver and one of the oldest countries in the world that traces its history back to Biblical times 1,000 years before Christ. Remember the Queen of Sheba, in the time of King Solomon? She was from Axum, in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is also the second most populous country in Africa, with 95 million people.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom reports that economic expansion has averaged about 10 percent over the past five years, facilitated by improved infrastructure and more effective mining and farming techniques. Unfortunately, that economic growth has not been enjoyed evenly by all of the roughly 80 ethnic groups in the country.

As the BBC reports, Ethiopia has had civil unrest for the last year “in the Oromia region which has been unprecedented in its longevity and geographical spread.” The Oromo people account for one-third of Ethiopia’s population. As the BBC notes, however, the issues go far deeper than ethnicity: “frustrations over land ownership, corruption, political, and economic marginalization.”

That is consistent with the findings in the Heritage index, which reports that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies in the Tigray ethnic group claimed all 547 seats in the May 2015 parliamentary elections. Today, little remains of democracy in Ethiopia after the passage of laws that repress political opposition, tighten control of civil society, and suppress independent media.

The mastermind behind the rise of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front was the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a staunch ally of the United States in the war on terror but also an authoritarian African strongman who rose to power in the early 1990s and ruled until his early death in 2012 at the age of 57.

As The Huffington Post reported, Meles was a highly skilled political tactician who could weave together coalitions among the many Ethiopian factions. His successors have not been so skilled, or so creative, and have asserted the one-party rule of Ethiopia’s ascendant political party more brutishly in the years since Meles’ death. They also have suffered from the global decline of commodity prices.

In his early years in power, Meles advanced economic growth by dismantling the Soviet-style, five-year plans that had been put in place by the brutal military Derg government that had ruled since the mid-1970s, when it overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie.

Later, Meles was hailed for the strong economic growth his statist, “neoliberal” economic policies generated during the boom years for commodity prices.

As the index reports, economic growth beginning in the Meles years reduced the percentage of the population living in poverty by 33 percent, but per capita income remains among the world’s lowest, and many young people leave to seek opportunity elsewhere. The economy is based largely on agriculture—85 percent of workers are on millions of small and inefficient farms that are vulnerable to droughts.

Unfortunately, as faithful readers of the index know all too well, such neoliberal industrial policies—whereby the government picks winners and losers and subsidizes favored sectors—do not form a sustainable model for the long term. And, increasingly, the long term is now here for the current Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front leadership—who are increasingly dividing the economic pie mostly among their own Tigray brethren.

To turn things around, Ethiopia must return to the more inclusive governance structures that Meles pioneered and share political power. But it must also abandon the Meles neoliberal model, and address the deficiencies noted by the Index of Economic Freedom, especially with regard to stronger rule of law, more transparency in the investment regime, and more competition in the banking sector.

Ethiopia remains a fascinating country, as it was in biblical times, with numerous attractions for tourism that could be developed with better infrastructure and greater political stability. Ethiopians deserve a better government than the one they currently have.