It's unclear whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) deliberately chose March 23 -- the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act -- to announce his candidacy for president, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. After all, Cruz has made a name for himself by lying about Obamacare. In fact, I would argue that point literally. It was his anti-Obamacare filibuster in 2013 that put Cruz on the map and established him a tea party messiah.
Shocking to no one, Cruz is probably the most mendacious Obamacare opponent on the right, which is saying a lot given the ubiquity of Fox News Channel. When I set out to research for this article, I had no idea how often he's been called out for lying about the law -- all the while criticizing President Obama for his "if you like your insurance, you can keep it" misstatement. Indeed nearly everything Cruz has said about the law has been evaluated by both FactCheck.org and Politifact as being, at best, mostly false.
Let's review, shall we?
The Filibuster Lies (via FactCheck)
1) The UPS lie:
Just a few weeks ago UPS sent a letter to some 15,000 employees saying: We are dropping spousal health insurance because of ObamaCare. That is 15,000 UPS employees who had insurance for their husbands and wives, and suddenly those husbands and wives are left without health insurance and being told: Go on an exchange with no employer subsidy.
Wrong. UPS discontinued coverage for spouses who are employed and eligible for insurance through their own employer. Not all spouses.
2) The IRS employees union lie:
There is a reason why the IRS employees union has asked to be exempted from Obamacare. These are the guys who are in charge of enforcing it on the rest of us. They have asked to be exempt because it is not working. The facts are clear. It is a train wreck. As the lead author Democratic senator put it: It is a train wreck.
Nope. Wrong again. The employees union opposed a bill that would strip IRS employees of their existing government coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. In other words, they're already not using Obamacare plans.
3) The Government-Run Healthcare Lie:
Obamacare has a philosophy: empower government over your life, put a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor.
For the gazillionth time, it'd be great to have a government-run single payer health insurance system. Unfortunately, Obamacare isn't that. The only interference the government plays in the process is to make sure your insurance provider doesn't screw you by capping your coverage or denying you for having a pre-existing condition.
4) The Hiring Slowdown Lie:
In May 2013 Moody’s economist Mark Zandi noted a slowdown in small business hiring due to Obamacare.
Sure, but it was actually April when Zandi said that. However, in September, Zandi completely revised his assessment and determined that there wouldn't be a slowdown at all.
Other Ted Cruz Obamacare Lies:
5) The Obamacare Price Tag Lie. While running his campaign for U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz tweeted:
Did you know ObamaCare will cost nearly twice as much as initially expected - $1.8 TRILLION?
Did you know Ted Cruz lied about that? Of course he did. The Congressional Budget Office evaluated the price tag as $938 billion -- and that's gross. The law was billed as revenue neutral, and has since contributed to an overall reduction in the federal budget deficit. Politifact: False.
6) The Medicaid Options Lie. During an event with Rick Perry in 2013, Cruz said:
Our friends who are saying they want health care do not realize that expanding Medicaid will worsen health care options for the most vulnerable among us in Texas.
This is horseshit. How can anyone possibly be worse off by having health coverage after not having any at all? Cruz intentionally twisted a study cited by The Wall Street Journal to conform to his position. The study claimed that the outcomes of Medicaid recipients aren't as good as those with better policies. In other words: no insurance < Medicaid < regular insurance policy. Instead, Cruz said: no insurance > Medicaid, which is totally wrong. Politifact: False.
7) The Obamacare Exemption Lie. This is a really familiar one, and we've covered it here before. During a 2013 event in Iowa, Cruz said:
President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception. And he did it because Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats who passed this thing came begging and said, ‘Please, please, please let us out of Obamacare.’ This thing ain't working.
Big fat lie. The exact opposite is the truth: Congress and its staff are explicitly required to buy insurance through the D.C. Obamacare marketplace. No one asked to be exempt from the law. Actually, mandating that congressional employees have an Obamacare policy was originally proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). No one was "let out of Obamacare." The government helps pay the monthly premiums, just as it did with the FEHBP system. But that's not an exemption in any way. Politifact: False.
8) The Lost Insurance Lie. In a written statement, Cruz said:
According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, under Obamacare, 7 million people will lose their employer-sponsored insurance.
First of all, the CBO report he referenced doesn't cite exactly how many people will lose coverage. Second of all, there's a chart showing seven million fewer Americans with employee-based coverage in 2017, but the reduction is based on multiple factors -- it doesn't suggest that workers will "lose" their coverage, just that there will be fewer people that year who are covered. Politifact: Mostly False.
9) The Mount Rushmore Lie. While delivering remarks on the Senate floor, Cruz said:
According to federal agency estimates, Obamacare will add paperwork burdens totaling nearly 190 million hours or more every year. And... to put that in perspective, Mount Rushmore, which took 14 years to build, could be constructed 1,547 times with the paperwork.
Politifact determined that the law would only add 75 million hours of paperwork, not 190 million. The fact checking site also determined that Rushmore only required around 1,248,000 hours to build, and only around 152 could be built in the 190 million hours Cruz stated. Politifact: Mostly False.
10) The Bipartisan Defunding of Obamacare Lie. After passing another Obamacare defunding measure, Cruz said in a written statement:
Today, the House of Representatives did what Washington pundits only a few weeks ago said was impossible: a strong bipartisan majority voted to defund Obamacare. This is a victory for House conservatives, and it is a victory for Speaker (John) Boehner and Republican leadership.
"A strong bipartisan majority?" Nope. Just two House Democrats voted for the bill. Two. Hardly a "strong bipartisan" vote. Politifact: False.
11) The Obamacare Referendum Lie. After the 2014 midterms, Cruz repeated a popular meme after the Democrats lost their majority in the Senate:
There were two issues that dominated this last election. Number one, Obamacare. And number two, amnesty. This was a referendum on amnesty. And the American people overwhelmingly said we don't want Obamacare.
Exit polling contradicts Cruz. Obviously. One poll cited by Politifact showed that 46 percent of voters thought Obamacare was "just right" or "didn't go far enough." 49 percent said it "went too far." That's hardly overwhelming and absolutely falls well within the margin of error. I'd go one step further by noting that a significant majority of voters last year had nothing to do with Obamacare, given how there were 91 million voters who cast ballots and only around 41 million uninsured Americans last year, and only 16 million who have signed up for an Obamacare plan. Politifact: False.
I'm sure if we scrounged around, we could find many more lies, but this just about covers all of the major ones, which Cruz likes to repeat over and over, as if no one has access to the internet. Actually, it's not really about the rest of us. His lies are intended as Pavlovian hard-on inducing food pellets for the epistemic bubble. Whether his statements are lies is irrelevant to the impact the remarks have on the intended audience, made up of unthinking Obama Derangement suffering automatons. And get ready, because we're about to hear from Cruz on this and other topics with greater frequency and volume over the next year or so.