Fact Check: Steve Daines Lies by Omission on Health Care Costs

Steve Daines is so eager to push is far right ideology that he’s taken to lying to do it.

He recently tweeted that the Affordable Care Act is “leaving 11 million Americans with higher premiums,” but left out the fact that here in Montana, insurance prices are lower than they would have been without the Affordable Care Act. 

Here’s Daines’ tweet:

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 7.31.42 AM

And here are the facts:

Montana’s securities and insurance regulator asked and independent actuary to analyze the prices of insurance companies in Montana creating an average range of prices for individuals and businesses. They then compared those averages with figures Montanans would have expected to pay for similar insurance products had the Affordable Care Act not become law.

According to the study, a Montanan buying health insurance in the individual market can expect to pay an average of $273 a month for comprehensive health insurance purchased in the Marketplace, compared to an estimated average of $290 a month had Obamacare not passed. A small business consumer can expect to pay and average of $375 a month per employee for a comprehensive small group plan in the Marketplace, compared to an average of $450 a month per employee had Obamacare not passed.

The fact is, insurance companies were raising our prices so regularly that the euphemism they created to describe their price hikes is actually called “trend.” When the companies say “here’s the trend this year” what they are really saying “here’s how much we’re raising your prices.”

Now, with the additional consumer protections in place under the federal reform law, insurance companies must offer more benefits, and have less ability to raise prices, and are required by law to limit how much they can make us pay out of pocket.

Plus, now that the Affordable Care Act is in place, Montana has seen an increase in competition in the insurance market.  As KRTV reported this week:

“You know, Montana, compared to the rest of the inland Northwest is very blessed. We have more insurance competition,” said Richard Miltenberger, co-owner of the Leavitt Group, a major broker in the state. “So in Wyoming, for example, in many counties’ there’s one alternative for consumers on these new health care exchanges; but in Montana we have three alternatives (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pacific Source and the Montana Health Cooperative) and they cover the entire state, not just a few counties. So competition’s the biggie.”

Daines also neglects to mention the price breaks now available to individuals and small businesses buying in the Marketplace. The most recent data from the federal marketplace showed that 85% of Montanans who applied for health care coverage through the marketplace qualified for price breaks on insurance (page 23), meaning how much they have to spend on health care now will be significantly lower.

So once again, we see that Daines is willing to skew the facts to promote his far right-wing ideology. A recent analysis by an MSU political scientist found that Steve Daines is the most extreme-right conservative Montana has ever had in Congress.  The same analysis found that Republicans have moved much further to the right than Democrats have moved to the left –in fact, Montana’s democrats have also moved to the right.

Posted: March 5, 2014 at 6:25 am

3 thoughts on “Fact Check: Steve Daines Lies by Omission on Health Care Costs

  1. Craig Moore

    So Montana is an island, and the rest of the nation be damned? Come on! http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/01/11-million-examples-of-obamacares-higher-costs.aspx

    How many Americans will pay higher insurance premiums as a result of Obamacare?

    That’s the question posed by Congress to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS. More specifically, Congress required the Chief Actuary of CMS to give an estimated count of the number of Americans who will pay more, and how many will pay less as a result of three sections of the Public Health Service Act that were amended by the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. And now the numbers are in.
    11 million examples of paying more
    Actuaries with the government agency estimate that around 11 million individuals will pay higher rates because of the health reform law’s impact. Six million Americans will pay less as a result of Obamacare.

    CMS focused only on the small employer market. That’s because the specific sections it was required to research didn’t have a big impact on rates paid by employees of larger organizations. Also, the directive from Congress didn’t require CMS to evaluate several significant components of Obamacare, including extension of dependent coverage to age 26, the individual mandate, and the employer mandate.

    The actuaries found that nearly two-thirds of employees of organizations with 50 or fewer workers will experience insurance premium increases.

    By the way until all conditions are normalized comparisons are rather suspect in my opinion. http://missoulian.com/news/local/consumers-get-first-look-at-obamacare-premiums-in-montana/article_90121e6a-08e2-11e3-96c1-001a4bcf887a.html

  2. Turner

    Daines’ probable opponent, John Walsh, just voted with several other right-wing Democrats in the Senate to kill the confirmation of Debo Adegbile as head of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ. Adegbile’s extensive work with the ACLU was apparently the reason.

    Tester voted to confirm.

    Dirk Adams is looking better and better to me.

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