On Wednesday’s PoliticsNation, host Al Sharpton trotted out a pair of red-framed glasses, a podium, and the image of a chapel’s interior on the green screen behind him. The reverend was pretending to preside over a funeral for what he called “another bogus GOP talking point on the Affordable Care Act.” As somber organ music played in the background, Sharpton announced, somewhat inarticulately, “We're here tonight to celebrate the life of the people are paying not their premium's talking point.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
He was referring to House Republicans’ contention last week that only 67 percent of ObamaCare enrollees had actually paid their premiums as of April 15. After a few minutes of funeral minister theatricality, the MSNBC host finally explained why he was pronouncing this particular talking point dead: “A new report shows most who signed up under health law have paid. 80 to 90 percent of enrollees paid their bills on time.” Conveniently, however, Sharpton left out another nugget from that very same report that undercut one of his own favorite ObamaCare talking points.
The “report” that Sharpton referred to was in fact an article in Wednesday’s New York Times. The basic idea was that many of the roughly 33 percent of people who didn’t pay their initial premium by April 15 actually had more time to pay. Officials from three large insurance companies each claimed that, among their enrollees whose due dates have passed, between 80 and 90 percent have paid their initial premiums. So that’s where Sharpton got his information from.
However, the reverend conveniently ignored another revelation from that same New York Times article, a revelation that was reported in the second paragraph. Apparently the Obama administration is not correct in claiming that 8 million people have signed up for ObamaCare. According to the article:
But the health insurance industry said the total of eight million people who signed up included “many duplicate enrollments” for consumers who tried to enroll more than once because of problems on the website.
"Insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment,” said Mark Pratt, a senior vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.
"It may be a matter of months,” Mr. Pratt added, “before insurers know how many people activated their coverage by paying their share of premiums."
Well, it looks like the "8 million people have signed up for ObamaCare" talking point has met an untimely demise. Will Sharpton conduct a similar funeral for this Obama administration bragging point on his show? Given the reverend's track record, this talking point’s surviving family members may have to find another minister to perform last rites.
Below is a transcript of the segment:
AL SHARPTON: Dearly beloved, we're gathered here today to mourn a sad loss, the loss of another bogus GOP talking point on the Affordable Care Act. It was a good talking point, one that was thrown around without regard for a little something known as facts. We're here tonight to celebrate the life of the people are paying not their premiums talking point. It hit its peak just last week, when House Republicans claimed only 67 percent of enrollees had paid premiums, but tonight, it's dead. And this great talking point joins so many others that have perished before our eyes. Like this one.
JOHN BOEHNER: In my opinion, Obamacare is the biggest job killer we have in America today.
BOBBY JINDAL: Why not delay all of the mandates in Obamacare, which has become such a job killer in our economy?
TED CRUZ: Obamacare is the number one job killer in America.
MICHELE BACHMANN: The number one job killer in the United States. Do you know what it is? Obamacare.
SHARPTON: Sorry, Congresswoman, but the job killer talking point turned to dust, as millions of jobs have been created since the law passed. And tonight wouldn't be right unless we paid tribute to the original bogus talking point.
SARAH PALIN: Of course there are death panels.
BACHMANN: It will be very unpleasant if the death panels go into effect.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Death panels, this is how they're going to manifest themselves.
SEAN HANNITY: These so-called Obamacare death panels are, in fact, alive and well.
SHARPTON: Actually, it's not alive and well. The death panels talking point met its own death. But tonight, let us all remember what we're here for as we take a look back at the life of the not paying premiums talking point.
STUART VARNEY: One-third of Obamacare enrollees have not paid.
RICK SANTORUM: I talk to insurance companies, you're looking at anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of those folks who haven't made a premium payment yet, many of them are uninsured and probably won't make a premium payment.
PAT BUCHANAN: There may be an awful lot of deadbeats and freeloaders who have supposedly signed up but haven't paid their premiums yet.
HANNITY: We don’t know how many of these people paid. You can sign up all you want, you don't pay, you're not a part of it. According to one state exchange, in Maryland, 46 percent of enrollees have turned into Obamacare deadbeats. They haven't paid.
SHARPTON: Today, this talking point met its demise. A new report shows most who signed up under health law have paid. 80 to 90 percent of enrollees paid their bills on time. The not paying premiums talking point is survived by right wing radio hosts, Fox News anchors, and millions of conservative uncles at dinner tables across the country. May it rest in peace, because – we gotcha.