This story has been updated to clarify sourcing.
While Republicans on Capitol Hill are proving to be ineffective at drafting a good plan for health care in America, the past eight years have shown that they are, at least, very proficient at obfuscating the facts surrounding existing health care legislation.
For one, millions of Americans do not realize that Obamacare — a portmanteau of Obama's name and the words “health care” designed by Republicans to inspire hatred among a certain population of Americans — is the same thing as the Affordable Care Act, which ensures health care for millions of Americans.
Among the many pieces of misinformation about the Affordable Care Act, like death panels, an ushering in of socialism, and tremendous tax burdens, the most seemingly logical was the idea that the law would push the national debt into untenable territory. Early estimates of the law’s costs provided enormous figures that, without context, surely meant this thing was too expensive.
Except, that was not the case. On Friday, following a hearing conducted by the House Committee on the Budget, members of Congress asked the Congressional Budget Office about their estimates on the Affordable Care Act. Some key points, according to Talking Points Memo:
- The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) project that the cost to the federal government for the ACA will be $148 billion in 2019.
- Initial projections, before the law was passed, had the cost at $214 billion.
- The CBO cites a number of reasons, including “technical revisions and updates to CBO’s economic projections,” as potential factors.
- New data suggest that the growth of enrollment through health insurance marketplaces was slower than first anticipated.
- There has also been slower overall growth in costs for private insurance and for Medicare and Medicaid.
- The Supreme Court ruling that Medicaid expansions under the ACA were optional for states also reduced the financial burden of the law.
Republicans are believed to have a replacement bill ready this week that will dramatically reduce the number of insured people in America. Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet that Republicans are bringing "individual responsibility" back to health care. The party that turned the Affordable Care Act, which insured millions of Americans for the first time, into a boogeyman are now looking to turn a monstrous health care law into a superhero. It's the last gasp of a strategy of misinformation from a party that, for years, has perfected it.