Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Obama, Romney stumble in reactions to SCOTUS decision

The Supreme Court was the center of the political and policy universe this week as it upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court was the center of the political and policy universe this week as it upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The two men running for president wasted little time responding to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In fact, both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney zeroed in on how the law would, or wouldn’t, affect Americans’ ability to keep the health insurance they currently have. Neither was entirely accurate.

Romney claimed in a speech that "Obamacare … means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep."

We concluded the number is cherry-picked, and Romney was wrong to describe it as only including people who "like" their coverage, since many of those 20 million will be leaving employer coverage voluntarily for better options. Romney also ignored that under the status quo, many more people today "lose" coverage than even the highest, cherry-picked estimate. So we rated his statement False.

Meanwhile, Obama said in a speech that "if you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."

Obama has a point that the health care law takes pains to allow Americans to keep their health plan if they want to remain on it. But his claim goes too far. Americans are not simply able to keep their insurance through thick and thin. Even before the law has taken effect, the rate of forced plan-switching among policyholders every year is substantial, and independent projections suggest that the law could increase that rate, at least modestly. We rated Obama’s claim Half True.