Senator Ted Cruz posted this on his Facebook page last week–but it's not actually true
It's been almost a week since the Republican government shutdown ended, and it's becoming clear that the shutdown was a massive failure for the GOP on every possible level. A Gallup poll released today found that Obamacare has actually increased in popularity due to the shutdown, which has left Republicans scrambling to find new ways to fight the health care law.
The Heritage Foundation chose to return to its usual misinformation tactics, and released a study last week that claimed most people will pay more for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Senator Ted Cruz quickly jumped on the new report, posting a link to it on his on his Facebook page last Friday.
There's just one problem with the Heritage Foundation's latest findings–they're not true.
Read about why the Heritage study was wrong after the jump.The Heritage Foundation's study had several major flaws in the methodology it used to calculate how much premiums would cost under the Affordable Care Act. The biggest was that the study failed to take into account the tax subsidies provided by the ACA to lower costs.
This is a major problem, because the tax subsidies will actually make insurance costs lower for most people. The law provides tax credits on a sliding scale for people making between 100% and 400% of the poverty line. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half of uninsured people fall within that range. Those who make below the poverty line, about 38% of uninsured people, should be covered by Medicaid expansion, except in Republican-controlled states like Texas who have refused to accept federal funding (which isn't the fault of the Affordable Care Act). That leaves only about 10% of uninsured people who might see premium increases as laid out in the Heritage Foundation report.
The Heritage report claimed that higher prices from insurance companies meant that consumers would pay higher premiums. However, the ACA tax credits that Heritage purposely ignored mean that most people will actually pay less out of pocket for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
In addition, the baseline numbers Heritage used are from 2013, which is a problem because the insurance landscape will be totally different starting in 2014 after many of the ACA's new rules kick in. As Talking Points Memo explained:
“Starting in 2014, the ACA prevents insurers from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, charging women more than men and jacking up premiums for older, sicker enrollees. It also establishes a baseline set of benefits that must be offered. That's a significant change in both the pricing model for insurers and the products being sold, compared to 2013.”
This will make a big difference for premium prices next year, and it's yet another thing the Heritage Foundation totally ignored. As health economist Sara Collins of the Commonwealth Fund told TPM, “It's really difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison from 2013 to 2014 because the rating rules are changing completely and the benefits packages are totally different.” Thus, the numbers Heritage came up with may be entirely different next year–but that's not something you'll see acknowledged in their latest report.
None of these facts seem to matter to Ted Cruz, who has proven time and time again that he's willing to say almost anything for political points. His positions aren't based in reality–if they were, he'd be trying to help Texans get insured, instead of continually promoting his own interests over those of his constituents.