GOP Senator Ridiculously Claims Government Overcharged Student Loans to Pay for Obamacare

lamar-alexanderIn an effort to prove that Republicans will blame the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) on virtually everything, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander claimed that the government is overcharging student loans in order to help pay for “Obamacare.”

First, let’s look at his exact words and the numbers he used to make his asinine claim:

“The Democrats, when they passed the health care law, took $50 billion from over-charging students and used it to reduce the debt, pay for Pell grants, and to pay for the health-care bill. And they’re still doing that.”

And the numbers he’s using for his statement:

By eliminating banks from the process of giving out government loans to students, the non-partisan CBO estimates that it would yield a savings of $58 billion, or $5.8 billion per year, between 2010-2019.  So what did we do with that money?  Well:

  • $36 billion on increases in Pell college grants for low-income students.
  • $10.3 billion for deficit reduction.
  • $8.7 billion to support the health care law.
  • $3 billion for historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions.

So what Senator Alexander claims is that because we saved money, yet took the money we saved and put some of it towards the Affordable Care Act, somehow that equates to “overcharging students on their loans.”

Which of course makes absolutely no sense.

I’m willing to bet if we took that $8.7 billion which he claims is “overcharging students on their loans” and handed it over in the way of some big corporate tax break or tax cut for the wealthy, then he wouldn’t object at all.  In fact, he’d probably say it wasn’t enough.

But let’s look at what Senator Alexander essentially admits in his feeble attempt to try and attack the Affordable Care Act.

First, while Bush was in the White House (and Republicans mostly controlled Congress) he admits that students were essentially overcharged $46.4 billion dollars ($5.8 billion x 8 years in the White House).  And the “fiscally conservative government Republicans” did nothing about this.

But Obama did, didn’t he?

Second, he admits Obama passed a bill which saved $58 billion dollars and is using $10.3 billion of it on deficit reduction.  Mind you, really it’s insignificant when it comes to the size of our national debt, but surely a man Republicans claim is just out to “spend, spend spend” wouldn’t use some of the savings he supported and signed to pay towards our deficit, would he?

Well he did, as Mr. Alexander openly admits.

Third, he admits that the vast majority of the savings Obama created by eliminating banks from the process of giving government loans to students went back into providing more funding for Pell Grants, which help millions of Americans afford to go to college.

That son of a gun.  How dare Obama help Americans afford to go to college! He’s such an elitist fool!

So, in Senator Alexander’s pathetic attempt to tie in the Affordable Care Act with the cost of student loans, he essentially:

  • Admits the Bush administration overcharged students $46.4 billion during his time in office.
  • Admits President Obama passed a good policy which will save $58 billion.
  • Admits President Obama used some of that savings to pay down our deficit.
  • Admits President Obama invested the majority of it back into our education system through Pell Grants for students.


Oh, and $8.7 billion of it went into the Affordable Care Act, which gives people with pre-existing conditions affordable health care, expands Medicaid to include more low-income Americans, prevents women from being charged more for health care than a man simply because of their gender and has allowed millions of students to remain on their parents health care plan for a few more years.

That tricky thing called reality, it sure knows how to ruin a Republican trying to perpetuate a lie.

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.

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  • Craig West

    I’m not sure I see how students were ever overcharged at all. The change made the administration of the student loan program more efficient, and the money saved by that efficiency was used for the things you list. They saved the GOVERNMENT 8.7 Billion dollar, not the students.

    Yes, some more students got Pell Grants, but you’re making to sound like students bear the whole cost of the student loan program, and they don’t.

    So, you’re BOTH wrong. You’re BOTH trying to claim the other side is, or has been, cheating students. Isn’t the actual truth enough to make your point?

    • Carol Ann Hunigan Booher

      he is just another lying tpub working for the Koch brothers instead of the taxpayers who employed him. He is one of the group who decided to make Obama look bad if they had to break the country… this is just another one of his lies.

  • Nick

    Why do some people put idiots in office?!!!

  • Bjorn Sodergren

    Little surprised on the lack of the republican plans for increasing the interest rate on student loan debt.

    If that isn’t overcharging i don’t know what is.

  • BigTBone

    Southern Republican? Like they give two fucks about healthcare OR education. Epic douchebaggery on the daily.

  • rick dalton

    The republicans are Idiots

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