The GOP's 5 Most Absurd Lies About Health-Care Reform, Debunked
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
The newly Republican-controlled House voted 245 to 189 on Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama. By now, it should be clear to all of us that the GOP's rhetoric about repealing health care is little more than political theater, because the party's repeal measure is almost certain to fail. Even if the measure made it through the Senate, which is still majority Democratic of course, Obama would surely veto it. Without two-thirds majorities, which the GOP doesn't have, the party would not be able to override that veto. And at any rate, Republicans haven't cobbled together the replacement part of their "repeal and replace" plan, so it's clear that even the Republicans don't think an all-out repeal is possible.
But there is still a credible GOP threat to the Affordable Care Act -- the party's plan, after the initial repeal effort surely fails, to de-fund and/or dismantle the law piece by piece. De-funding key portions of the bill could strip millions of people of the health care access they were promised and could have a negative effect on the nation's economy.
As it stands now, most Americans either support health-care reform or want to make it more progressive. So I have this to say to anyone on the left who may be worn out from years of combating right-wing lies about health-care reform: now is not the time to give up! Now is the time to brush up on the facts so you can keep the latest crop of lies -- debunked below -- from taking hold.
Lie #1: Health-care reform will kill jobs. The right has really been pushing this myth hard. They even called their repeal measure the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health-Care Law Act," which, aside from being awkwardly worded, is a misnomer. The "job-killing" part of the name came from the GOP's blatant misrepresentation of a Congressional Budget Office report, with Republicans claiming that health-care reform could cost the nation 650,000 jobs. The Associated Press fact-checked that claim earlier this week and found that "the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced that number. What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health-care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of the lost jobs would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job."
In other words, the relatively small number of people who are expected to vacate jobs as a direct result of health-care reform will do so not because their jobs were "lost," but because people will no longer be beholden to any job they may have taken just so they could get employer-sponsored health insurance. Have you ever met anyone who got a part-time job at Starbucks, not because they wanted or needed the extra income, but because they couldn't afford health insurance on their own? Those are the people the CBO was talking about.
Here's Rachel Maddow with a more thorough take-down of the job-killing lie:
Lie #2: Health-care reform will bankrupt the country. Republicans love to argue that health-care reform is irresponsible because it will cost the nation hundreds of millions of dollars at a time of widespread economic hardship. The economy is at the forefront of many Americans' minds, and with good reason -- unemployment and poverty rates are abysmal right now. "If our constituents have to cut back, the government should have to cut back too," GOP leaders like to say. They've also released a report, which they've given the incendiary title "Obama-Care: A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law," claiming that health-care reform will have an overall negative financial effect on the country.