Latest Scare Story On Obamacare Uses Funny Math, A Deceptive Headline, And Misquotation Of Obama

Forbes is spreading a story using very bizarre math claiming that “Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending By $7,450 For A Typical Family of Four.” The authored played around with numbers, taking a projection as to the increase in health care spending and then pretending in the headline that this will be divided up into the average family’s health care premiums. Beware when people cite averages. After all, statistically the average human has one breast and one testicle. The article later makes lower claims about the premium increases, but fails to provide justification for the more modest predictions.

Think Progress debunked this funny math, concentrating on the fact that those who receive health care coverage through their employers are not going to pay more due to the Affordable Care Act. In addition, those who obtain health care through the exchanges are likely to be able to obtain health care coverage at a lower price than is now possible on the individual market (unless you live in a red state where the state government is working to sabotage the new exchanges and increase costs). Those currently who are unable to obtain coverage, often due to having a pre-existing condition, will be paying more than they are now. Some people with crappy insurance which doesn’t actually cover much will also be paying more for better coverage. This is far different than what is suggested in the headline, as if the increase in health care spending will be paid by the average family of four. Overall health care spending will go up, but that is note really relevant to the average family.

Chris Conovor, the author of the Forbes article, responded by saying that a campaign promise from Obama did not come about: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

While the Affordable Care Act will not cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by $2,500 a year, this is not at all relevant to the arguments contrary to his wild claims. If Obama’s prediction as to savings was too high, this does not justify Conovor inventing a fiction about increased spending for a typical family of four.

Also note that Conovor misquoted Obama in his article, when he said Obama promised the “typical family will see their premiums go down by $2500 (per year!!!!)” Obama actually said “up to 2,5000 a year” not making a definite promise that savings would be this great. Savings will be less, but also keep in mind that it was the Republicans who opposed measures which would have increased the potential savings under the Affordable Care Act, such as the public option.

Update: Middle Class Political Economist shows further errors in the right wing claims.