Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Footnote to a fact-checked false impression

The Note's Chris Good flags an anti-Obamacare ad aimed at young adults by Crossroads Generation, a younguns' auxilliary of Karl Rove's American Crossroads.  This 1-minute font of information nyaah-nyaahs that while Obamacare enables adults under 26 to remain on their parents' insurance, 
...actually, states already allowed kids to stay on their parents' insurance before Obamacare.
I want to add one key point and one minor to Good's debunk below:

Crossroads Generation includes some partially misleading information on the 25-year-old coverage provision. “Actually…many states already allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance before Obamacare,” the ad states, and Crossroads Generation pointed to 2010 research by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to back up its claim.

The group’s claim is true, but only because it omitted a reference to age. While 12 states allowed young people to remain covered by their parents’ plans at age 25 or beyond as of 2009, in most cases that policy did not apply if young adults were married or not enrolled as full-time students.

No state allowed coverage until age 26 without those or other conditions attached, according to NCSL’s study. As of 2014, the Democratic health law will make all young people eligible for coverage on their parents’ plans, regardless of student, marital, or state-residency status, according to, the administration’s website dedicated to promoting the law and its implementation timeline.
Perhaps the greatest limitation on states' coverage mandates, including those mandating that plans offer coverage to members' adult children, is that employers' self-funded health plans are not subject to such mandates; they are regulated under ERISA, the Employment Retirement Security Act of 1974.  More than half of Americans who get their health insurance from their employers are in self-funded plans, which are popular in part because they are not subject to state mandates.  Self-funded plans are subject to most of the new coverage rules implemented in the ACA, though, including the provision that they off coverage to plan members' children to age 26.

So, not to mention the little caveat that more than three quarters of states lack a provision mandating that parents be allowed to keep young adult children on their plans, and that those states that do mandate such coverage impose limits not present in the ACA, it's also true that in states that do have such a mandate on their books, less than half of those of eligible age and status whose parents have insurance would be able to access it.

One last footnote: Mr. Good erroneously adds the word "many" to the ad script. The ad does not make the relatively modest claim that "many states already allowed young adults to stay on their parents' insurance before Obamacare," but the more willfully misleading "states allowed...etc."  The full Rove, natch  -- in full moral tune with Romney Rules.

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