To say that Mitt Romney’s response to today’s Supreme Court decision was brazenly dishonest is an understatement:
“Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today. Let me tell you why I say that. Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare, cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt and pushes those obligations on to coming generations.
“Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.”
From beginning to end, this is incredibly misleading. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t cut $500 billion from Medicare services; it ends the Medicare Advantage program, which cost the government a huge amount of money with few benefits. Likewise, the law doesn’t add “trillions to our deficits.” By most accounts, the law reduces the deficit over the next decade and works to reduce the overall rate of health care spending by the federal government. And on the claims that the law will cause “up to 20 million Americans” to lose their insurance, and make it harder for businesses to hire, Romney is simply lying. Under the law, you can maintain your current health insurance if you like it. As for small businesses, since the Affordable Care Act hasn’t actually been implemented, there’s no way that it can be responsible for sluggish hiring.
The fact that Romney has decided to fabricate knocks against the Affordable Care Act is a sure sign that this ruling was bad for his campaign. The focus is no longer on whether the law is constitutional, but on whether the policy is good, and on a provision-by-provision basis, the Affordable Care Act is fairly popular with the public. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s ruling gives the Obama campaign a chance to reframe the law, and highlight its benefits for ordinary Americans. If this works, then the focus will be on what people might lose if Republicans are elected in November. This is terrible ground for a challenger to fight on.
Of course, if Romney can muddy the waters, then he might keep Obama from capitalizing on any post-SCOTUS boost. So his best bet is to lie constantly about what’s actually in the bill.