Why do Chicago readers have to turn to an out-of-town newspaper to nail Sen. Dick Durbin for another outrageous exaggeration?
Here's what he said Feb. 9 on CBS's "Face the Nation:
“Bob, let’s look at the bottom line. The bottom line is this: 10 million Americans have health insurance today who would not have had it without the Affordable Care Act. Ten million.”
The Washington Post's "The Fact Checker" quickly nailed Durbin, awarding him Four Pinocchios, the most possible for the biggest "whopper," (to put it kindly) for his false claim.
The Fact Checker has writtenoften about the problems with claims based on the number of new insurance enrollees under the Affordable Care Act. Yet here is the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate trotting out the same tired talking point. So let’s review what’s wrong with this figure, especially if someone is using it to claim that these people are all newly insured. Read on.
Durbin initially failed to comment for the column but after it appeared, Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman provided this statement:
Fact check after fact check has confirmed that more than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage through Affordable Care Act. Many of the more than 9 million Americans are being covered for the first time. No matter the number of new enrollees, there is no question that the law is working and millions of people are realizing the benefits of affordable health coverage and the protections it guarantees.
The Post added:
[The Fact Checker is unaware of any fact checks that have confirmed these figures as all ACA enrollments or evidence that "many" of the enrollees are being covered for the first time.]
My apologies in advance if I've missed any Chicago media outlet that has covered this deception as well. Certainly, if someone had, it hasn't been picked up and given the attention it deserves, especially in a year when Durbin is up for re-election.
But this is far from the first time that Durbin's--say we say?--inventions weren't highlighted. While President Barack Obama is rightly getting slammed from his imagined guarantees about Obamacare allowing Americans to keep their doctors or health insurance coverage, Durbin is escaping virtually unscathed for making the same claim. As I wrote here and in my Chicago Tribune op-ed column, he promised the same in 2009 when the ironically named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare) was being debated:
Many people say: I like my health insurance right now. I don't want to change. I don't want to go into Medicare or Medicaid. I like what I have. Would you please leave people alone.
The answer is yes. In fact, we guarantee it. We are going to put in any legislation considered by the House and Senate the protection of you, as an individual, to keep the health insurance you have, if that is what you want. What we are trying to create are voluntary choices and opportunities.
Durbin might be ignorant or dishonest, and I wouldn't rule out both. He is more than an embarrassment for Illinois, but I suppose in the pantheon of smucks, goniffs and idiots that Chicago and Illinois voters habitually elect, he fits right in.
The New York Times doesn't bother to challenge another, more recent exaggeration by Durbin.
Hat tip to Taxpayers United of America.
What was America's greatest come-from-behind war? Go here to find out.
To subscribe to The Barbershop, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.