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Hey, Mama, I Done Self-Fulfilled A Prophecy!

By Jesse Taylor
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:13 EDT
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Michael F. Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru write an article called “You Mislead!”, which is apparently the NRO method of sympathizing with Joe Wilson, two weeks late and with a lot more lying.

You see, they’re going to “fact check” Obama’s healthcare speech, which is so full of terrible, glaring missteps that even reports cited misleadingly and out of context disprove every point he tried to make. That is how bad it is, my friends. Let’s look at their first couple of points (the italicized portions are Obama quotes):

1. “Buying insurance on your own costs you three times as much as the coverage you get from your employer.” The Congressional Budget Office writes, “Premiums for policies purchased in the individual insurance market are, on average, much lower — about one-third lower for single coverage and one-half lower for family policies.” It is true that individual insurance policies are generally 30 percent less comprehensive than employer-provided insurance, and comparable individual policies are about twice as expensive. But much of the extra cost is a function of the tax penalty on purchasing such insurance and the stunted market that penalty has yielded.

Actually, the authors leave out the next part of the CBO’s argument, which I’ve reproduced in full:

Premiums for policies purchased in the individual insurance market are much lower—about one-third lower for single cover- age and half that level for family policies. In large
part, those differences reflect the fact that policies purchased in the individual market cover a lower share of enrollees’ health care costs, on average, which also encourages enrollees to use somewhat fewer services. At the same time, average administrative costs are higher for individually purchased policies. The remainder of the difference in premiums probably arises because people
who purchase individual coverage have lower expected costs for health care to begin with.

There’s no support for the tax penalty contention from the CBO. Whatsoever. More importantly, the major reasons that individual policies cost any less is because they’re generally worse insurance for younger and healthier people. In other words, Obama was completely right about the drastically increased expense for purchasing comprehensive health insurance individually…but it doesn’t count because of something something ACORN.

2. “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”An outright falsehood, whether you use the president’s noncitizen-free estimate or the standard, questionable estimate of 46 million uninsured residents.

A study prepared for the federal government estimates that 9 million people counted as “uninsured” in the standard estimate are in fact enrolled in Medicaid. The left-leaning Urban Institute estimates that 12 million are eligible but not enrolled, meaning they could get coverage at any time. Health economists Mark Pauly of the University of Pennsylvania and Kate Bundorf of Stanford estimate that one quarter to three quarters of the uninsured can afford to purchase coverage, but choose not to do so.

I really wish we were in the middle of a game of Mortal Kombat right now so that a distorted, bass-driven voice could yell out, “DEVASTATING” right now. And then I wish the arcade operator would come over and reset the machine, because it’s malfunctioning rather terribly.

Is saying there are 30 million uninsured, particularly based on the sources cited, an “outright falsehood”? Well, technically, yes, because the sources cited all say there are more uninsured than that, even with the exclusions. For instance, the government report:

For CY 2003, correcting for an undercount of 17 million persons lowers the full year uninsured estimate by just over 9 million persons. For CY 2003, with this adjustment, the almost 36 million uninsured (as compared to an unadjusted 45.0 million) is more consistent with the full year uninsured count reported by MEPS of 31.7 million (although for an earlier year).

In 2003, years before the economy took its current tumble, there were somewhere between 32 and 36 million uninsured. And Barack Obama said 30 million in 2009, which is basically akin to saying the Holocaust didn’t happen, except with a greater chance of killing your grandmother.

Now, the Urban Institute piece, which is actually from the Kaiser Foundation, but whatever, because Bill Ayers runs the whole thing. Its first page shows the following graph:

image

44.6 million uninsured, 25% of which (11.15 million, but what’s an extra million between people who are ideologically opposed to each other?) are eligible for public assistance, leaving 33.45 million who are uninsured and ineligible for public assistance. And that was in 2007. (Also remember that, from their initial contention, the authors preferably wanted you to subtract the covered-but-not-insured from the 30 million number, assuming that the only difference between the higher number and the lower number was illegal immigrants.)

There are two explanations for why Cannon and Ponnuru are unfailingly dishonest in “correcting” Obama. The first is that they’re hoping that a gullible yet uninformed audience buys into everything they say and harasses your libtard face with it every chance it gets. The second is that Cannon and Ponnuru took the affirmative action-bake sale route through undergrad and never went to class enough to learn that you can’t prove your point just by yelling at minorities and liberals with made up numbers.

My vote is both.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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