Bizzaro World Right-Wing Health-Care Attack: Obamacare Not Universal


Conservatives and Tea Partiers are now complaining the president's private-sector oriented health-care overhaul didn't go far enough.

Screen Shot 2012-08-16 at 11.03.07 AM.png

Updated 11:46 a.m. 8/18
File the above under least probable emails of 2010. But it's not 2010, anymore. It's 2012, and that means conservatives and Republicans are casting about for fresh critiques of the Obama administration, no matter how incongruent with past approaches they may seem. The latest novel critique: Obamacare was too small! Or at least, too small to cost as much as it is projected to.

The argument that Obamacare provides an inadequate decrease in the uninsured a decade out has been floating around for a while in conservative media. An earlier version of the story on, "Obamacare Will Leave 30 Million Uninsured" asserted:

Currently, according to CBO, there are 53 million uninsured persons in the United States, including uninsured illegal aliens. The CBO estimates that in 2022 -- 8 years after the Affordable Care Act has been fully implemented -- 30 million people will remain uninsured .... despite all the new government regulations and bureaucracies, taxes and subsidies created by Obamacare ....

A version of the story, "ObamaCare Will Leave 30 Million Without Health Insurance," quoted from the late-July Congressional Budget Office report that set off the critique:

"CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] now estimate that the ACA, in comparison with prior law before the enactment of the ACA, will reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 14 million in 2014 and by 29 million or 30 million in the latter part of the coming decade, leaving 30 million nonelderly residents uninsured by the end of the period," the report said.

What the articles fail to mention is that this CBO report was issued to examine the impact of Republican-led states rejecting the Medicaid expansion component of the president's Affordable Care Act in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that states could do so without penalty. Coverage would go down under this scenario, because many people Obamacare was written to cover under the Medicaid expansion would remain uninsured. All of which is to say that after the GOP-led court challenge to the ACA, GOP states could gut one of its central provisions.

The fact that the ACA won't cover everyone under that scenario has now become the latest conservative argument to get rid of it. Even with the opt-outs, the bill would provide an additional 29 to 30 million people with insurance by the end of the decade, according to the CBO report. But as an item in Liberty News complained earlier this month, even with the program "people will still be without health insurance. Heckuva job, Barry."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Politics

Just In