Tim Kaine, the Democrat U.S. Senate candidate, was in Hanover County when P. Henry and I had the opportunity to discuss the merits of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with the former Virginia Governor and DNC Chair. We fully expected that Kaine, with his extensive background and high level connections would be a formidable advocate for the Presidents flagship legislation, instead he came across at best as woefully ignorant and at worst deceptively dishonest.
P. Henry asked the former Richmond Mayor, “if the Affordable Care Act is so affordable why are so many people opting out”, referring to the 1400 waivers from Obamacare that have been issued, including McDonalds and numerous unions. Kaine responded by acknowledging there have been some waivers that the real story is that 7 million companies are taking advantage of the Small Business tax credit provided for by the ACA.Kaine made this claim three times during the interview, the last time after I asked for clarification at the end of the interview. The credit is intended to offset some of the cost of providing health insurance to employees of very small businesses that employ low wage employees, a business must have fewer than 25 full-time workers or the equivalent (the hours worked by part-timers count), pay an average annual wage of less than $50,000 and cover at least half the cost of health insurance premiums for their workers.The credit is phased with credits reduced proportionately for firms with average wages over $25,000.
Kaine’s claim that 7 million businesses were taking advantage of the credit didn’t sound right so we at DTN decided to conduct a fact check and this is what we learned.
1. The IRS sent postcards to 4 million businesses they estimated to be eligible for some level of credit. CNN- Money
2. More than 4 million (4,015,300) small businesses will be eligible to receive a tax credit for the purchase of employee health insurance in 2010. – Families USA and Small Business Majority Study
3. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council conducted a poll that showed only 7% of eligible businesses were taking advantage of the credit citing it was too small or complex to bother. – Wall Street Journal
4. Due to the strict criteria, many small businesses can’t take advantage of a tax credit designed to reduce the cost of providing health insurance – Bloomberg Business Week
It appears that even if every small business eligible for the tax credit was taking advantage of it, Governor Kaine’s 7 million business claim is blatantly false.
Governor Kaine then went on to claim that another positive attribute of the ACA is that now 26 million American kids aged 21 – 26 can stay on their family policies that otherwise would not have been able to without the new law. He went on to say, “So you know an awful lot of kids don’t have their own health insurance yet, through a job or something. So the fact that that means 26 million kids stay on.” Again, we questioned this 26 million figure and this is what we learned.
1.Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 2.37 million young adults will be affected by the new law, out of which 1.83 million are currently uninsured. – NCSL
I don’t think we need to go any farther than that, the HHS as Timmy calls them, has definitively determined that Kaine’s claim that 26 million 21 – 26 year olds have health care insurance who would not, if not for ACA, is blatantly, ridiculously, and incontrovertibly false.