Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Surprise! Americans for Prosperity continues to mislead on Obamacare

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 1:09 PM

click to enlarge FUDGING THE NUMBERS: Cline
  • FUDGING THE NUMBERS: Cline
We’ve already seen that when it comes to Obamacare, Americans for Prosperity has offered up misleading arguments (not to mention bizarre ads). No surprise that with the premiums released earlier this week, they’re at it again.

After the plans were released, AFP Arkansas Director Jason Cline tweeted out a supposed comparison between rates pre- and post-Obamacare:

27 yr old male per month pre-#aca in #AR - $54.96/ post ACA-PO per month $299 bronze, $344 silver, $394 gold

According to Avik Roy’s Obamacare map tool at Forbes, $54 is the price of the cheapest non-smoking plans available in Arkansas pre-Obamacare for a 27-year-old male. So to do a fair comparison, Cline picked the cheapest Obamacare non-smoking plan, right? Nope.

In fact, the cheapest Bronze plans are between $170-190 for a 27-year-old, depending where you live. Even if you wanted to create a somewhat uneven comparison and take the average of all Bronze plans, that’s around $200.(Comparing Silver or Gold plans to barebones coverage available pre-Obamacare doesn't make sense, so let's just ignore that bit.) So where on earth did Cline come up with $299? I asked, and he triumphantly tweeted out a picture of one particular plan.

Guess what? He had picked the most expensive Bronze plan in one particular region (which happened to be one of the most expensive). Oh, and he chosen a plan for a smoker, whereas the $54 rate would be for a non-smoker.

In other words, he chose the cheapest pre-Obamacare coverage and compared it to the most expensive post-Obamacare coverage. I cannot know whether he was intentionally attempting to mislead; I do know for certain that he was making precisely the sort of argument that someone attempting to mislead would make. But hey, mistakes happen, and maybe Cline just didn't read through the full document listing the various plans. Unfortunately, when confronted, Cline — along with whoever operates the AFP Arkansas Twitter account — didn't just say "my bad." They simply asserted that the numbers used were "real" because, hey, $299 is the price of a plan. 

Now there are lots of other problems with the kind of comparison Cline was ineptly attempting — it doesn’t take into account subsidies which will lower the sticker price for many, it doesn’t take into account that healthy young males were advantaged by the price discrimination of the status quo to the detriment of others, it doesn't take into account that folks with serious pre-existing conditions can't get anywhere near those cheap rates today, it doesn't take into account that the Obamacare plans will offer additional coverage and protection. But all that aside, if Obamacare opponents want to compare sticker prices, any honest Obamacare proponent will concede that the sticker-price premiums are higher for many healthy folks on the new plans compared to cheaper plans available on the private market today (as we’ve reported and acknowledged).

But if you’re going to compare sticker prices, you have to do it honestly. Imagine if I found the most expensive pre-Obamacare plan possible available today — the lowest deductible, gold-plated coverage, and let’s give our consumer a highly risky pre-existing condition. If I compared that price to the price of the cheapest possible Obamacare plan — say, catastrophic coverage in the least expensive region…I think it’s fair to say that I would either be laughed at, or simply called dishonest.

It’s especially bizarre that AFP would fudge the numbers since the actual numbers could have made the point they were trying to make, albeit less dramatically. The clumsy execution of this attempted ruse is funny, and we can all have a good laugh. But the spread of misleading information is also pernicious. Obamacare really is complicated. These plans don't impact most people, but for those that are impacted, it can be confusing. When you have groups like AFP putting out inaccurate information likely to confuse people further (and desperately trying to stop outreach to inform folks and help them through the process), that ultimately just hurts the real people whose lives this law affects.

Tags: ,

Favorite

Speaking of Health Care

Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • Mike Huckabee, meet James Madison

    Not that it will do much good, but Times columnist Ernest Dumas this week provides some useful Founding Father history, plus a little bit of Bible, for how wrong-headed Mike Huckabee, Asa Hutchinson, the Republican legislature and others are in using government to enforce their religious views.
    • May 26, 2015
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Cosmopolitan: Why were the Duggars made famous in the first place?

    A writer in Cosmopolitan wonders why it took so long for attention to the "disturbingly misogynistic" dimension of the Jim Bob Duggar family.
    • May 28, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation