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Obama's Rose Garden Distortion

Yesterday I had an article at The Federalist titled “The Eight Biggest Falsehoods in Obama’s Rose Garden Speech.”

Today I want to look at another of President Obama’s claims in that speech, one that isn’t a falsehood but does qualify as a distortion:

In states where governors and legislatures have wisely allowed it, the Affordable Care Act provides the opportunity for many Americans to get covered under Medicaid for the first time.

So in Oregon, for example, that’s helped cut the number of uninsured people by 10 percent just in the last three weeks.

Think about that. That’s 56,000 more Americans — (applause) — who now have health care. That doesn’t depend on a website.

Health care and health insurance (in this case Medicaid) are not the same thing: “Health care is the products and services used for the prevention, treatment and management of illness. Health insurance, on the other hand, is a way of paying for health care. Specifically, it is an agreement whereby the insurer pays for the health care costs of the insured.”

The extent to which health insurance results in access to health care is in part determined by the willingness of providers to accept health insurance.  This is a particularly acute problem with Medicaid.  Because of Medicaid’s low reimbursement rates, 31% of physicians nationwide won’t accept new Medicaid patients and about 21% in Oregon won’t.  Medicaid is health insurance, but to say that people with Medicaid have “health care” leaves a very misleading impression.

And one other thing that the President left out:  While 56,000 have signed up for Medicaid in Oregon, thus far it appears that no one has enrolled in any private policies offered on the Oregon exchange.  Can’t imagine why that little factoid didn’t make it into Obama’s speech.

Photo: iStockPhoto

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