The White House apparently felt compelled to try and counteract what they categorized as more undue and unruly grousing from the House of Representatives this week, which is why the president was playing some very obvious defense on the ostensible awesomeness that is the “Affordable” Care Act on Thursday and talking up the benefits that Americans should soon begin to witness raining down like manna from heaven.
Except that one of the biggest “benefits” of which the president spoke, and that the Democrats, Organizing for Action, et. al. have been touting hard in their respective arguments and advertisements, is the rebates that ObamaCare is going to begin bestowing upon Americans via the medical loss ratio rule. The law deems that “inefficient,” wanton insurance companies that spend less 80 percent of premiums on actual medical care (as opposed to administrative and other costs) must rebate the difference back to their customers — and as the president and others have reminded us, Americans have already begun to see those checks in the mail.
In his remarks, President Obama made some very conspicuous efforts to make those rebates sound a lot bigger and cooler than they actually are; the president’s “Americans saved $3.4 billion in premiums,” as Glenn Kessler at WaPo noted with a pinochhio, is a bit of a stretch, and the Associated Press straight-up called the president out for of crafty misrepresentation:
Obama was on solid ground in saying “millions of Americans” got rebate checks last year, but the number was not close to 13 million as he implied.
Of the 12.8 million rebates announced last year, health policy experts estimated 3 million would go directly to the insured. The government didn’t know how many.
Nearly two-thirds of the 12.8 million were only entitled to pro-rated and decidedly modest rebates, because they were covered by employers that pay most of their premiums. Workers typically pay about 20 percent of the premium for single coverage, 30 percent for a family plan. Employers pay the rest. …
Altogether, this year’s rebates are worth $500 million, down from $1.1 billion returned last year.
Question: Why, oh why is it turning out to be so much darn work to convince Americans that this law is as amazing as they say it is?