On May 16, the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives held its 37th vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act that was enacted in 2010. Because the U.S. Senate is controlled by Democrats, the House had no real chance to repeal the law. As the Washington Post reported that day, its main purpose was to give Republicans a platform to bring up their objections to the law they call "Obamacare."
Holmes County Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs was eager to take advantage of that opportunity. Before the vote, he delivered a House of Representatives floor speech in which he described the law as "detrimental to all Americans" and said that if the U.S. Senate "really wants to pass a jobs bill, then they should listen to the American people and support repeal and replace."
The next day, Gibbs used his Twitter account to decry the law further. "If #Obamacare is fully implemented, 30 million people will still be without health insurance," Gibbs tweeted.
We decided to check out Gibbs’ claim that so many people would still be without health insurance after the bill is fully implemented. Although Gibbs’ office did not respond to requests to document his information, we found a Congressional Budget Office analysis released three days before Gibbs’ remark that stated: "In our current projections for 2023, the ACA reduces the number of people without health insurance by 25 million, leaving 31 million uninsured (compared with 30 million in our February estimate)." That’s close to the number that Gibbs provided.
A widely circulated CBO report from last summer said the "ACA, in comparison with prior law before the enactment of the ACA, will reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 14 million in 2014 and by 29 million or 30 million in the latter part of the coming decade, leaving 30 million nonelderly residents uninsured by the end of the period."
Gibbs’ statement that 30 million people will be uninsured after the health care law’s full implementation is close to the CBO’s latest estimate, but it ignores a key fact: the number of people without insurance would be much higher without the law. In the next 10 years, 25 million nonelderly people who don’t have insurance now would gain insurance under the bill. That’s important context that Gibbs overlooks in his tweet. According to CBO, the insurance rate for the nation’s non-elderly residents is predicted to rise from 80 percent this year to 90 percent in 2023.
While Gibbs is right that many people will not have insurance after the law is implemented, his statement fails to acknowledge that it will enable millions of people to get insurance. We rule his statement Mostly True.