In 2010, then-U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) defended his self-described “deciding” vote in favor of ObamaCare with an editorial published in the LaCrosse Tribune. Feingold listed several questions that he said he was routinely asked about the federal healthcare reform, and then provided answers to the questions. Now, six years later Feingold is asking voters to send him back to Washington as his opponent, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) hammers him for his support of ObamaCare.
While more than a few of Feingold’s statements in the 2010 op-ed were questionable, here are several that proved to be egregiously wrong.
“If you like the plan you purchase, the health care reform bill does not force you to change it,” Feingold wrote in an attempt to reassure jittery Wisconsin health insurance consumers that the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare – would not lead to a change in their favored plan. This appears to be Feingold’s version of President Barack Obama‘s now-infamous “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
Feingold did temper his remark by saying ObamaCare “does not force you to change it” but while the ACA didn’t force anyone to change plans, it certainly regulated private insurers in such a way that they terminated many health insurance plans, hiked insurance premiums and stopped offering some of the plans people preferred.
In response to the charge that ObamaCare would cost jobs, Feingold pushed back with: “Actually, it could create thousands of new jobs. By slowing the growth rate of health care costs, it will be more profitable for businesses to expand employment.”
But ObamaCare did not slow the rate of health care costs – at least as measured by premium costs – and it did cost jobs. In Milwaukee, for example, Assurant Health shed 1,200 jobs as a result of ObamaCare.
Feingold also claimed that, “[E]xperts believe this reform will lower premiums by 14 percent to 20 percent compared to what the same plan would cost without health care insurance reform by 2016.”
It is now 2016, so how does that claim hold up?
Just for the next year, health insurance premiums in the Badger State are rising an average of 15.88%, and some plans are rising just over 30%. Back in 2013 – for the 2014 calendar year – some insurance premiums for comparable plans jumped 135%. In 2014, health insurance premiums for the following year rose by an average of 3% according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
The premium hikes are a far cry from Feingold’s claim that health insurance premiums would decrease by 14%-20% from 2013 to 2016.
While Feingold and other ObamaCare supporters believed the government regulatory takeover of health insurance would result in good things for consumers, the facts have since shown the landmark reform to be a debacle of large and consequential proportions.