Democrats can get away with this nonsense when they appear on the Sunday morning babblehead shows since they know they won’t be questioned on their absurd assertions, especially by liberal fossils like Bob Schieffer. Yet surprisingly the fact-checker at the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, would like to keep some credibility. Durbin made the ridiculous claim Sunday that 10 million people have enrolled in ObamaCare, a boast that has no basis in fact whatsoever.
His lie has earned him four Pinocchios.
Durbin appears to be combining two figures released by the administration: more 3 million signing up for insurance through the federal HealthCare.gov and state exchanges and 6.3 million deemed eligible for Medicaid. Both figures are generally October through December, and so obviously have increased since then.
But there are two big problems with both numbers:
a) The troubled federal exchange counts people as enrolled if an individual has selected a plan, but it does not know if a person enrolled and paid a premium because that part of the system has yet to be built.
b) The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility, but no one really knows how many of the 6.3 million are in this expansion pool — or whether they are simply renewing or would have qualified for Medicaid before the new law. Indeed, the number also includes people joining Medicaid in states that chose not accept the expansion.
Obviously, then, these figures must be treated with caution. But Durbin went a step further and claimed that all of these people would not have had health insurance if not for the Affordable Care Act.
That’s simply ridiculous. For instance, members of Congress, such as Durbin, previously had health insurance and are now obligated to get it via the exchanges. But the problem goes deeper than that.
The Wall Street Journal in January detailed some of the surveys that have taken of people who obtained insurance through the exchanges, and the results so far indicate that the vast majority of enrollees were previously insured.
Caught in this obvious lie, Durbin’s office had no comment. You can be assured he’ll repeat this lie when given the chance since telling the truth isn’t how he rolls.
Even if one took the high end of these estimates, the most one could claim is that about 4 million people have gained insurance because the Affordable Care Act, but that’s being extraordinarily generous.
In the meantime, given the fuzzy nature of the numbers and the wide publicity devoted to the recent surveys, Durbin has little excuse for going on national television and claiming that every one of these people had been previously insured. This has now become a Four Pinocchio violation.
His name is Durbin, and he’s a Dick.