Last fall was a wonderful time for Republicans. Their fortunes changed quickly after it looked like they were in serious trouble over another threat to shut down the government. Then healthcare.gov started out a failure and there were stories about people receiving letters canceling their insurance coverage.
The Republican luck didn’t last. The web site was fixed (with some work still to be done). Most of the people who received cancellation letters were either able to continue their current plans or receive better coverage at a lower rate. The Republicans made further predictions of doom for Obamacare but their predictions failed to come true and the Affordable Care Act is doing better than most supporters predicted. Instead of the unfavorable news headlines of last fall, we are now seeing headlines such as this one at The Hill: GOP struggles to land punches at ObamaCare insurance hearing.
Republicans struggled to land punches against ObamaCare in a hearing Wednesday, as responses from insurance companies deflated several lines of questioning.
Democratic lawmakers were emboldened to defend the Affordable Care Act with renewed vigor and levity, creating a dynamic rarely seen in the debate over ObamaCare…
But Republicans were visibly exasperated, as insurers failed to confirm certain claims about ObamaCare, such as the committee’s allegation that one-third of federal exchange enrollees have not paid their first premium.
Four out of five companies represented said more than 80 percent of their new customers had paid. The fifth, Cigna, did not offer an estimate.
Contrary to Republican claims that one-third have not paid their premium, reports available so far from insurance companies range from 80 percent to over 90 percent. As payment is not due for everyone who signed up at the last minute, and there is a ninety day grace period, we will not have an exact figure for a while longer. There is enough information to verify the White House claims that at least 80 percent are paying and debunk the Republican claims of only 67 percent.
The fact-checkers continue to demonstrate how Republican campaigns are based upon lies. For example, Glenn Kessler’s column exposes both Rand Paul and a Nebraska candidate for lying about the Affordable Care Act.
Of course the facts will not keep Republicans from claiming that customers aren’t paying their premiums, denying the number who have signed up, or even denying the benefits of obtaining health care coverage. False attacks on the Affordable Care Act are the same as Republican attacks on Obama’s birth certificate, Benghazi, or the IRS. While all these claims have been shown to be false, Republicans will keep up their lies because they fire up their base to vote, and Republicans have no concern about the facts.
Remember, Republicans are also the party which includes people who deny well-established science ranging from evolution to climate change. The world has probably never seen a more ignorant group in government than today’s Republican Party.
Update: More disappointment for the Republicans reported by The New York Times:
House Republicans summoned a half-dozen health insurance executives to a hearing Wednesday envisioned as another forum for criticism of the Affordable Care Act. But insurers refused to go along with the plan, and surprised Republican critics of the law by undercutting some of their arguments against it.
Insurers, appearing before a panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee, testified that the law had not led to a government takeover of their industry, as some Republicans had predicted. Indeed, several insurers said their stock prices had increased in the last few years.
The executives also declined to endorse Republican predictions of a sharp increase in insurance premiums next year, saying they did not have enough data or experience to forecast prices. And they said they were already receiving federal subsidy payments intended to make insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income people.
Representative Michael C. Burgess, Republican of Texas, sounded a bit disappointed at the end of the hearing. He marveled at the subdued testimony and complained that no one at the witness table “wanted to be forthcoming.”
But Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, appeared delighted.
“These companies were not the biggest supporters of the law,” she said. “They still oppose many provisions, but they do not live in a Republican echo chamber. They live in the real world.”