Debunking Another GOP ACA Scare Story

In the GOP Response to the President’s State of the Union Address, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers told a story about Bette from Spokane who was facing sharply higher health insurance costs supposedly as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

But McMorris Rodgers left out a few critical parts of Bette’s story – the replacement plan she was referring to was one of the more expensive choices offered and Bette refused to shop for less expensive options on Washington State’s Individual Marketplace.

From The Spokesman-Review:

But the “nearly $700 per month” increase in her premium that McMorris Rodgers cited in Tuesday night’s GOP response to the State of the Union address was based on one of the pricier options, a $1,200-a-month replacement plan that was pitched by Asuris Northwest to Grenier and her husband, Don.

The carrier also offered a less expensive, $1,052-per-month option in lieu of their soon-to-be-discontinued catastrophic coverage plan. And, Grenier acknowledged the couple probably could have shaved another $100 a month off the replacement policy costs by purchasing them from the state’s online portal, the Health Plan Finder website, but they chose to avoid the government health exchanges.

“I wouldn’t go on that Obama website at all,” said Grenier, 58, who lives in the Chattaroy area and owns a roofing company with her husband…

McMorris Rodgers’ office provided no explanation Wednesday on what steps were taken to verify the figures…

“I know some people seem to be getting good deals, but we’re not,” Grenier said. “I have a friend – she and I fight about this stuff all the time – and she got a great deal: $129 a month.”

In fact, people in McMorris Rodgers’ district are “flocking” to options offered through the Affordable Care Act – “well beyond the national average.”

Imagine how the people in her district would benefit if they had a Representative who was interested in helping them understand their options under the law instead of one actively working to undermine their access to health coverage.

From Timothy Egan at The New York Times:

And yet, in her district, people are flocking to Obamacare — well beyond the national average. Though she has been screening town hall meetings to highlight only critics of the new law, her constituents are doing something entirely different in making their personal health decisions.

In Spokane County, the most populous in the Fifth Congressional District with nearly half a million people, the rate of participation in the new health care law is even well above the state average. At the end of December, signups were 102 percent of the state target. That’s saying something, because Washington, with a big range of insurance choices and a well-run exchange, has been one of the nation’s success stories for the Affordable Care Act.

Ignoring what her own neighbors are doing, McMorris Rodgers said on Tuesday that new health care law “is not working.” But if that’s the case, why have nearly one in 12 people in her home county signed up for expanded Medicaid coverage or new private health insurance? It could be, as the state noted, because the average time it takes a poor person to apply for health care here has now been cut from 45 days to 45 minutes.

House Republicans should stop trying to scare and mislead the American people about the Affordable Care Act and stop wasting taxpayer dollars trying to undermine and repeal the law.  Let it be and let it work.

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