President Barack Obama recently asserted, "Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, also known as 'Obamacare,' the cost of health care is now growing at the slowest rate in 50 years." So, you may be losing your health care coverage, and you may end up paying more -- but, hey, rising costs are slowing overall "in part" because of Obamacare.
True, as Obama says, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- the agency that administers Medicaid and Medicare -- "estimated that ... (in) the three years since Obamacare passed, we've seen the slowest growth in health care costs on record."
But is this due "in part" to Obamacare?
About Obama's claim, the Washington Post said: "The President, in his comment, used the word 'helped,' which is sufficiently vague that in theory it could mean any impact, no matter how slight. Yet he also cited this as a reason for not walking away from the law, which suggests he thinks it had more than a modest impact. In fact, some listeners might interpret his statement as suggesting the law has had a significant impact. However, 'help' could also simply mean 'contributed.'" In other words, this is similar to the President's pre-"stimulus" push. He claimed it would "save or create" 3.5 million jobs -- a claim sufficiently slippery and vague so as to escape measurement.
Here, the President wants us to believe that: millions now have subsidized health care insurance; carriers cannot decline based on pre-existing illness; carriers cannot "discriminate" when setting rates; carriers must allow "children" under 26 to remain on their parents' policies -- all of which has been accomplished while "slowing down the rise in costs"?
The Obama-sympathetic ABC News "fact-checked" it. Yes, increases are more modest, as the President claims, "but many independent experts believe the slowdown is largely due to the economy and a contraction of spending during the recession. The role of the Affordable Care Act has been limited and hard to measure, they say. ... Experts note that changes under ACA could ultimately (SET ITAL) increase (END ITAL) the growth rate of health care costs initially, since more people will be covered (and paying for) health plans and treatments. The continued economic recovery is expected to contribute, as well, as more Americans have increased income to spend on health care."
The "fact checker" from the Obama-friendly Washington Post said, "The evidence has become too murky to reach a firm conclusion. Clearly, even economists are unsure why health care inflation has continued to remain low so long."