Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul made misleading or exaggerated claims in their responses to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Rubio claimed that the federal health care law was causing people to lose “the health insurance they were happy with,” but that glosses over the fact that 27 million uninsured Americans are expected to gain coverage. Paul claimed the federal government borrows “$50,000 every second,” but the true figure is about $30,000. And he made a reference to an Internet rumor about Obama giving out free phones to the poor.
Rubio Lambasts Health Care Law
Rubio gave the Republican response immediately after Obama’s address, and he criticized the Affordable Care Act.
Rubio, Feb. 12: And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class often end up hurting them. For example, ObamaCare, it was supposed to help middle-class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with.
The fact is, the Affordable Care Act is expected to cause tens of millions of uninsured Americans — many of them likely falling under the vague “middle class” label — to gain health insurance, not lose it. In a fact sheet on his speech, Rubio’s office points to a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report that said 27 million of the uninsured would have coverage as early as 2017 (as shown in this more detailed CBO chart).
Rubio’s claim about some people losing “the health insurance they were happy with” references the CBO’s estimate that the number with employer-sponsored coverage would decline by 7 million, also as early as 2017. That’s a net reduction, with some workers gaining coverage, some losing it, and others deciding to obtain other insurance on their own.