Insurance Execs Embarrass Republicans During Hearing by Debunking Key Anti-ACA Talking Point

marsha-blackburnThe Republican propaganda against the Affordable Care Act is seemingly endless.  It’s like I’ve said before, I’ve forgotten more of it than I can even remember.  Be it the ridiculous “death panels” or the lie that it’s a government takeover of the health care system, Republicans have continually spouted off lie after lie when it comes to “Obamacare.”

One of their biggest talking points against the law has been that “premiums are going to skyrocket!”  A claim I often laugh at considering health care costs were already skyrocketing before, but now Republicans simply blame any increase on “the evil Obamacare.”

They also tend to ignore that for many Americans, health care costs have gone down.  And they completely ignore the millions of Americans who’ve gained access to health care, many for the very first time, thanks to Medicaid expansion.

Well, during a hearing where Republicans grilled key insurance executives about hikes in premiums, these executives essentially said that there was no way to say for certain what would happen to premiums.  Even when Republicans continually pushed these executives to “take a guess” what might happen, they refused to do so.

As reported by Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), chair of the subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that hosted the hearing, opened the questioning with what seemed like a laundry list of potential problem spots for the health care law.

Are people going to paying higher premiums in 2015?

“I can’t say for certain,” one of the executives replied. “I don’t have the exact numbers yet,” another said.

Do you know if your enrollees are paying more for insurance now under Obamacare? Do you know how many had their previous health plan canceled?

“We currently do not have that data,” one of the witnesses said.

A little while later, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of the more outspoken Obamacare critics in Congress, got audibly flustered as she continued to press insurers to reveal their business plans in front of their competitors, pressing the witnesses to give some indication of what Obamacare’s 2015 premiums will be.

“At this point, we can’t offer any guidance on where they’re going to fall,” Paul Wingle, a top executive at Aetna, told Blackburn.

“At this juncture, we do not have that information,” another witness said.

“A lot of uncertainty floating around up there,” Blackburn quipped. She then implored the witnesses to offer anything — even some kind of preliminary guess that might have been given to their top officials — of what was going to happen with the next year’s premiums.

“Have any of you conducted any interim analysis of what your organization’s premiums are going to look like?” she said. She asked for a show of hands. No witnesses volunteered.

“You have done no internal analysis on what the trend line is for these premiums? None?” Blackburn said, clearly exasperated. “It is baffling that we could have some of our nation’s largest insurers, and you all don’t have any internal analysis of what these rates are going to be.”

So here we had key insurance executives refusing to give into Republican efforts to get them to say that the Affordable Care Act is increasing premiums, which was clearly their intended goal during this hearing.

Even when they tried to pressure some of the witnesses to bash “Obamacare,” they couldn’t get them to do it.

But at the end of the day all we have is yet another instance where Republicans tried to set the stage for a round of “Obamacare” bashing to feed their talking points, but all they got was embarrassed instead.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • lindylou

    So they can stonewall! Big deal.

  • Pipercat

    Sucks when you put the cart before the horse…

    • regressive teaparty trash

      sucks even more to decry something in its infancy and then almost immediately have it turn into a ‘superhero’
      ” B E N G H A Z I “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      ————– silly republicans: all that crying

      • Pipercat

        It’s worked out well for me. These execs are not going to make predictions this early in the year. Anything they say will affect their companies in the markets. These Republican reps should know that…

      • regressive teaparty trash

        agreed———— they have to keep the stock price frothy to make shareholders happy and ; of course– get a nice bonus and raise

  • sfwm.son

    wait. they didn’t debunk anything. they didn’t say if the costs would go up or come down. How is that debunking anything? Do I have the definition of debunking wrong?

    • Scaramongus

      Did they confirm the Republican’s claims?

      • regressive teaparty trash

        republicans CRYING would be more accurate

    • KC

      I totally agree. They neither confirmed nor denied. That’s not debunking. That’s…simply not telling…

    • digitlburn

      Not debunking anything? Rethug lawmakers have been screeching to the high heavens that “OBAMACARE IS GOING TO MAKE INSURANCE PREMIUMS SKYROCKET!!!!!” since it’s implementation. So they ask the insurance executives, who are supposedly the experts on their costs and how it affects their profits, and they say they don’t know. And you’re asking how that doesn’t debunk their talking points? If the experts don’t know, how would a politician know?

    • D May

      No you just missed the whole Fn story! Try reading it first

  • shopper

    My premiums were cut in half and I have better benefits. My company was able to switch retirees from a company plan into a choice out of 6 AARP plans – bigger groups usually result in lower premiums. Premiums will go up if healthcare costs go up. That’s what has caused all of the increases before. Rates have to be approved by the states and companies base changes on their cost of doing business. It’s not done by guessing.

  • regressive teaparty trash

    my girlfriend– who works fulltime for LA fitness( who doesn’t give benefits) signed up for the ACA. NO out of pocket payments except 25dollars to see a specialist. her coverage is exceptional.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I suspect FOX “news” wont have her– or me– on its scumbag regressive crybaby lying shows

  • FD Brian

    insurance rates go up based on the what the insurance company expends in claims, how can they tell anything on what is possibly less than 3 months of having all these new people insured. It could possibly end up that all these new policy holders don’t have any claims and the insurance company just pockets the premiums. who knows.

    • Jerry Graybosch

      And if they spend less than 80% of premium revenue on claims the difference must be refunded to the policy holders.

  • Lee

    1. Health Care Billionaire emails Rupert Murdoch to tell him the narrative he wants to force on the public.

    2. Rupert Murdoch emails Roger Ailes with his list of demands that must be repeated at least 500 times on Fox News the next day.

    3. Fox News pushes its viewers to contact their senators and congressmen about this new “outrage”!

    4. Senators/Congressmen react to this “outrage” and call for hearings.

    5. Senators/Congressmen try to get industry execs to voice the same narrative Rupert Murdoch wrote a few weeks earlier.