There has been a seemingly endless number of stories about Obamacare raising people's insurance rates, destroying their businesses and ruining their lives.
A Sean Hannity special that aired on Fox News on October 11 featured three couples with brand new "Obamacare train wreck" stories.
However, Eric Stern, a former adviser to Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, spoke to the same people who took part on the special and found that none of them had actually been harmed by Obamacare.
In fact, none of Hannity's guests had even attempted to shop on the Obamacare health care exchange for insurance.
Today, Stern wrote about his findings on Salon.com:
First I spoke with Paul Cox of Leicester, N.C. He and his wife Michelle had lamented to Hannity that because of Obamacare, they can't grow their construction business and they have kept their employees below a certain number of hours, so that they are part-timers.
Obamacare has no effect on businesses with 49 employees or less. But in our brief conversation on the phone, Paul revealed that he has only four employees. Why the cutback on his workforce? "Well," he said, "I haven't been forced to do so, it's just that I've chosen to do so. I have to deal with increased costs." What costs? And how, I asked him, is any of it due to Obamacare? There was a long pause, after which he said he'd call me back. He never did.
As Stern notes, the only requirement that business as small as Cox has is to notify his employees of the existence of the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov.
Next I called Allison Denijs. She’d told Hannity that she pays over $13,000 a year in premiums. Like the other guests, she said she had recently gotten a letter from Blue Cross saying that her policy was being terminated and a new, ACA-compliant policy would take its place. She says this shows that Obama lied when he promised Americans that we could keep our existing policies.
I asked Allison if she’d shopped on the exchange, to see what a plan might cost under the new law. She said she hadn’t done so because she’d heard the website was not working. Would she try it out when it’s up and running? Perhaps, she said. She told me she has long opposed Obamacare, and that the president should have focused on tort reform as a solution to bringing down the price of healthcare.
In 2003, Texas voters actually approved Proposition 12, tort reform, which limited medical malpractice awards and made it more difficult for patients to sue hospitals. However, health insurance prices did not go down as Republicans promised, according to a 2012 study led by University of Texas law professor Charles Silver, noted Statesman.com.
Stern shopped for health insurance for Allison and Kurt, who refused to do it themselves, and found they could be saving thousands if they chose to:
Assuming they don’t smoke and have a household income too high to be eligible for subsidies, I found that they would be able to get a plan for around $7,600, which would include coverage for their uninsured daughter. This would be about a 60 percent reduction from what they would have to pay on the pre-Obamacare market.
Stern then spoke to Robbie and Tina Robison from Franklin, Tenn., who also appeared on the Fox News special.
When I spoke to Robbie, he said he and Tina have been paying a little over $800 a month for their plan, about $10,000 a year. And the ACA-compliant policy will cost 50-75 percent more? They said this information was related to them by their insurance agent.
Had they shopped on the exchange yet, I asked? No, Tina said, nor would they. They oppose Obamacare and want nothing to do with it. Fair enough, but they should know that I found a plan for them for, at most, $3,700 a year, a 63 percent less than their current bill. It might cover things that they don’t need, but so does every insurance policy.
Beyond their refusal to even try Obamacare, none of the guests admitted or are even aware that the insurance companies set the rates, not Obamacare.