On Monday, The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn admitted that President Obama “made a misleading statement about Obamacare rates” during his press conference on Friday. The magazine’s Twitter feed (@tnr) announced:
Whoops! The president (accidentally, we think) told a little #Obamacare lie on Friday.
During his press conference, the president said:
[When it comes to people without access to employer-sponsored coverage,] they’re going to be able to go on a website or call up a call center and sign up for affordable quality health insurance at a significantly cheaper rate than what they can get right now on the individual market. And if even with lower premiums they still can’t afford it, we’re going to be able to provide them with a tax credit to help them buy it. [Emphasis added.]
The problem, Cohn writes, is that:
while some people will pay less than they pay today, some will pay more. They will primarily be young, healthy men who benefited from preferential pricing in the past, were content with coverage that had huge gaps, and are too wealthy to qualify for the law’s tax credits—which are substantial but phase out at higher incomes…
But somebody listening to Obama’s press conference probably wouldn’t grasp that distinction. They’d come away thinking their insurance will be cheaper next year. For some, it won’t be. Obama isn’t doing himself, or the law, any favors by fostering a false expectation.