On New Year’s Eve, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, published a report showing that the Republican claim that 5 million people have had their health insurance policies canceled due to the ACA is flat out false. While many have probably thought that these claims were dubious at best and most likely dishonest and exaggerated, this report is the first instance of Republicans being taken to task for continuously pushing this false narrative.
Recently, the Obama Administration has pushed back on these numbers, stating that far fewer people have actually received cancellation notices and that those who have will be able to receive similar or better coverage through the marketplaces or even find themselves eligible for Medicaid. However, even having said this, Republican lawmakers still kept touting the 5 million number without any real proof.
Finally, the Democrats are able to point to an accredited report that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that 5 million people are not the victims of the evilness of Obamacare and will be prevented from having insurance now. The report takes the claims of the GOP at face value, using the assumption that 4.7 million people have received cancellation notices from their insurers. Among that number, the report shows that half of those people can immediately renew their plans due to fixes that the administration put forth over the past weeks and months.
Now, of those remaining that received cancellation notices (remember, again, this is a made-up number from the Republicans), 1.4 million would be able to receive subsidies on the individual marketplaces or would be eligible for Medicaid, therefore receiving free or greatly discounted health insurance. Now, that still leaves a little less than one million consumers. Of those 900,000+, all but 10,000 of them would be able to purchase another plan on the health exchanges.
In other words, this Republican talking point is complete and utter BS. With this report, the Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee proved that there is no widespread epidemic of policy cancellations due to the ACA. And, even if we take the Republicans’ statements as completely true, in the end, only 0.2% of those who received cancellation notices would fall through the cracks and be unable to purchase a new policy. Per the report, the only reason that is the case is because those people live in rural counties (mostly in Red states) where there are no other insurance carriers.
Is this going to stop conservative pundits and Republicans Congressmen from saying that 5 million people have been thrown off of their insurance due to Obamacare? Probably not. But, at least Democrats can point to a fully researched report and tell them they are full of crap. Much like everything else the GOP has said regarding the ACA, when you hold it up to scrutiny, it falls completely apart.