Last week, during his speech at the White House proclaiming the success of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama said that the ACA’s effort “didn’t have billions of dollars in commercials like some critics did,” and that “we didn’t make a hard sell” for the law. He also said that 7.1 million people had signed up for the law
It’s pretty clear by now that most things President Obama says about his signature law are false. For example, April 1 was the deadline to sign up for coverage. Except that it wasn’t. Here are three more falsehoods in just the three claims made above.
First, that 7.1 million might be only 858,000, for example. It certainly isn’t 7.1 million. But, hey, who’s counting in a law that’s been delayed, changed, modified, tweaked, and given non-existent deadlines?
Second, if you think President Obama didn’t “make a hard sell” on the Affordable Care Act, you’re living in a dream world. How many speeches, press releases, campaign stops, Executive Orders, and other measures were used by the White House over the last four-plus years to patch together the law’s alleged success? Just the 2010 and 2012 elections, as well as the 2014 elections so far, have seen untold amounts of money, time, and press thrown at convincing the American people that Obamacare’s a great law.
Finally, over at The Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler has taken on Obama’s “billions of dollars” claim, and found it lacking:
“If you are asking me, have billions of dollars been spent on ads attacking the ACA, the answer is no,” said Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president of Kantar Media Ad Intelligence with oversight of its Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG). “Several hundred million dollars, yes. Really an unprecedented sum. But not billions.”
An administration official tried to justify the president’s statement, according to Kessler:
“The point made in the speech was that we have been vastly outspent, and that is more than backed up by the facts below, including the Kantar Media report showing we were outspent 5 to 1,” a senior administration official said.
Kessler concluded that “‘billions’ is incorrect.”
I’ll add a bit more to Kessler’s conclusion: Not only is “billions” factually wrong, but Obama’s claim that ACA supporters were outspent is false. Obamacare opponents have been outspent in ways that can’t be counted monetarily. Consider the amount of support found in mainstream media, at the Center for American Progress and other think tanks, and among the many federal and state agencies that have sold constituents on the alleged benefits of the Affordable Care Act. To properly count the amount of money spent promoting the law, huge portions of the budgets of ABC, NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, and other media outlets would have to be added to what supporters of the law “officially” spent.
Then there’s the little matter of the $700 million in taxpayer dollars spent to promote the law.
It would be more accurate for the president to say billions were spent for Obamacare.