On Wednesday afternoon, as news was spreading that House Speaker John Boehner had surrendered and a no-conditions-attached bipartisan plan to end the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis would be approved later in the day by the Senate and House, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the tea party’s disrupter-in-chief, held an impromptu press conference in a Capitol hallway to declare victory, or something like it. The fellow who led the GOP further into a PR abyss hailed the political crisis that was ending (at least for now) as “a remarkable thing” and claimed that it showed that “millions upon millions” had risen up against Obamacare. Then Cruz, the tail that wagged the Republican dog, launched into a diatribe against the Affordable Care Act: “President Barack Obama promised the American people Obamacare would lower your health insurance premiums. I would venture to say that virtually every person across this country has seen exactly the opposite happen, has seen premiums going up and up and up.”
Really? Every American in every city, town, village, and hamlet? On my Twitter feed, I called on PolitiFact.com, the highly regarded fact-checking outfit, to vet this statement. But before the truth-chasers of that site could say “pants on fire,” I started to receive tweets from Americans across the country telling tales of how Obamacare has lowered premiums for them or provided better insurance at similar rates. As these reports poured in, I retweeted the most compelling testimonials, and more pro-ACA anecdotes appeared. I also received tweets from people who noted they have benefited from Obamacare in other ways, such as receiving coverage previously denied due to preexisting conditions. In several instances, tweeps cited the ACA as life-changing, if not life-saving. (At one point, I suggested that the White House might be smart to compile such tweets under the hashtag #ACAWorks.) A few respondents did note the ACA was not working for them, and I retweeted several of those tales.
Obviously, I cannot vouch for details zapped my way by strangers. But many of the pro-Obamacare anecdotes had a similar tone: thank God for this. This was, of course, not a scientific poll or professional collection of data. No doubt, my Twitter feed probably is followed by far more Obama supporters than detractors (though sometimes I wonder about that, given all the conservative trolling on it). Yet I would venture to say that this response contradicts Cruz’s extreme claim that “virtually every person” has been hit by a premium hike due to Obamacare.
Below are some of those tweets I received. Many of these abbreviated stories are rather heartening. Imagine if they do reflect the experiences of millions of Americans. By the way, PolitiFact did evaluate Cruz’s claim. It rated his assertion “false.”
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact Here in Maine, I can now buy Gold PPO coverage for less than a $6,500 deductible policy cost me before.
— Ellen Clair Lamb (@ECLamb) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC My company held premiums exactly the same for 2014. Very pleasant surpise! (Comapny also takes credit for good ACA things.)
— JLE (@J_L_E_) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact My insurance hasn’t gone up or been dropped as he stated. .
— Orlando Rivera (@BrokeRican) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC my premium went down substantially
— Melinda Newman (@HitfixMelinda) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact that’s funny, my premiums will be going from $1500 all the way *up* to $600.
— Kevin (@politicalnutz) October 16, 2013
.@HitfixMelinda @terri_georgia @DavidCornDC I get insurance thru my employer. The 2014 rates were just released. Shocker – they didn’t go up
— Captain Steve Rogers (@CaptainSRogers) October 16, 2013
Prem rebate checks & lower prems 4 2yrs RT @DavidCornDC: Cruz: every person across the country has seen premiums going up. Cue @PolitiFact.
— Tony Perkins (@perkinstony) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact According to the NYS Premium estimator I can get Platinum for less than I pay now for equivalent of Silver
— cynthia kouril (@cynthiakouril) October 16, 2013
@J_L_E_ @DavidCornDC increased coverage and price down moderately on my plan. Highest possible coverage for individual in California
— Yuri Thomas (@YuriThomas99) October 16, 2013
My neighbor, 2 heart attacks , 50 yrs old 350/ month, couldn’t get insurance before so he’s stoked!!! @DavidCornDC @PolitiFact
— June (@Today_June_says) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC 2 man law firm in NJ. AETNA raised premium 39% on 10/1/13. We are going to ACA
— John P Brennan Jr (@johnpbrennanjr) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact My wife’s carrier was forced to give a rebate because they exceeded the % overhead cap.
— Joe Cesare (@OneSixtyToOne) October 16, 2013
@ECLamb @DavidCornDC @PolitiFact in Maryland got insurance with 2500 less deductible, cheaper office visits for 30 less/month.Existing afib
— Scott (@scottlstuart) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Our company sent letter stating they thought their plan cheaper for employees but we were free to explore ACA. No change.
— drmaggiesa (@drmaggiesa) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Our family of 3 w/2 full time employed adults & a 15yo r fully covered thru @WAplanfinder no way we could afford previously
— JS Martin II (@JSMartinII) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact I work for a NFP, no group plan. Under ACA,my premium is half, with maternity coverage, unheard of before ACA.
— Suzanne Kulperger (@suzannegypsy) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Their hlth ins. costs have gone up because their GOP governors in their respective states opted out of the exchanges.
— aspirational12 (@aspirational12) October 16, 2013
@lorenjones @DavidCornDC Mine is United HC high-deduct through my employer. It is up 9% next year, but it seems to go up every year.
— Some Guy (@dorpdx) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Got a rebate and small increase. Have had small to big increase for years running so long term TBD.
— Joe Neves (@JoeNeves7) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC My mom & sister, who both have chronic health conditions, will save thousands a year due to ACA. They are excited.
— Nathan Henry (@NJHenryWI) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact I’m in AZ. My premium stayed the same.
— MaryEllen Meadows (@ManaMeadows) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact That’s funny because my premiums went down.
— r m (@rm27315078) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact Just got R co. plans ystdy. For 23K ppl: same plans as last yr, very slight (2%) increase, keep vision & dental.
— Mel Eckert (@58isthenew40) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact Several factors in play, but my employer-provided plan lowered premiums & deductibles for 1st time in 15 years.
— Cat Lady Darcy (@CatLadyDarcy) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC People who held ridiculous catastrophic plans for $95/mth might see their premiums go up. But they also get actual coverage.
— Celia Jones (@celiamariejones) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC According to the http://t.co/20pIPmUJ9C website, my premium for a Humana policy is $400/mo less than what I was paying.
— Steve Beste (@stevebeste) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC my dad & uncle retired At&T & IBM –Ca Exchange saved them $106 a month – United Healthcare was previous carrier
— HippIE Killer (@HESHNSON) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact my premiums are going from 850 to 650 plus a much lower deductible.
— Kati Mohammad-Zadeh (@katimz) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC I carry indiv from work. Wife carries family from work. No change in premiums. Know several people launching businesses bc ACA
— Cracker Brief (@TheCrackerBrief) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC mine went up 7.4% which it always does. We were told it has nothing to do with the #ACA but is standard
— Alex (@fierybubbles) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC My mom is 63 pays $1800.00 per month now. With ACA will pay $350.00 with better coverage and lower deductible.
— Smokin Jay (@SsMokinJay) October 16, 2013
@pnuts_mama @mbyhoff @DavidCornDC My premiums will go down on ACA next yr AND I’m getting a rebate from current insurer.
— txvoodoo (@txvoodoo) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @TheDemocrats Fm Wash State: My premium for good coverage less than $300/mo vs over $1000 Cobra. Site works fine.
— william trejo (@poochhouse) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC family of 4 we are paying $1500 a year now w will be paying $975
— BJ Gutierrez (@bjthemole) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Some peoples insur has gone up b/c they had policies which covered almost nothing, now policies must meet minimum standards
— Tina Winsett (@tmwinsett) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC BCBS premiums for MI state govt retirees: no increase in 2014 despite improved coverage required by Obamacare
— Walt Sorg (@WaltSorg) October 16, 2013
.@DavidCornDC my sis works for the largest HMO in CA & people are signing up, renewing their policies & pleased with the subsidies
— Jane (@criticjane) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact My BCBS policy went down 2%. Will go down more when hubby/son get ACA (I’ll keep my policy).
— Char James-Tanny (@CharJTF) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC my ACA story?we moved to UK in ’11 NHS is a godsend. Wife and I both had cancer and waited 5 days from diagnosis to treatment
— Adrian (@Amjmelb) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC helped a friend sign up for ACA in NY. Will pay 98/m w/no deductible. Employer plan 90/m with 1500 deductible!!
— Amarlie (@marabout40) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact My story? 1 month supply of chemo pills $5000 – no insurance Insurance? Oh!!! Co-pay $30 #Obamacare
— June (@Today_June_says) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC CA. friend, 51, fem, Kaiser $450 to $108! Me, 51, no qualify to GREAT coverage, no deductible, $45. Happy!
— Simple Life (@MilDeseos) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact The most expensive Plat ACA plan is the same price as my current Bronze-equiv. plan.
— Alan Hamilton (@starfall42) October 16, 2013
Me, type 1 diabetic, ripped off from age 21-24, parental lifeline helped, exchange will let me change jobs safely at age 26 @DavidCornDC
— Amy (@feminudist) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC my sister,cancer survivor can get ins now too w/ #ACA
— Leigh Roche (@LeighRoche8) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC 5 yr old gdaughter born w/Transposition of Great Vessel heart pre-existing cond ACA will cover for life pic.twitter.com/qWxk5APrUm
— Lawrence E. Gasch (@larrygasch) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC New Obamacare policy will cost HALF of what I have been paying! and CoveredCA made it easy to apply. GO OBAMACARE!
— Crystal Di’Anno (@crystaldianno) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Wm (gop) who cuts my hair w/serious pre-extg condition found plan thru #ACA 1/3 of what was paying on COBRA b4 it was cancelled
— CCM722 (@Glic) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @BarackObama @pfeiffer44 I have spent 2 weeks trying to enroll at the ACA website. I have yet to see a single health plan.
— Ken Dukes (@BeyondKenny) October 16, 2013
@davidcornDC Many ppl don’t know ACA requires insur to provide these preventive tests, at no add’l cost https://t.co/m8NmMVQfGJ
— Tina Winsett (@tmwinsett) October 16, 2013
@Glic @DavidCornDC #ACA my cobra was almost $500 a month….its now $83…….
— Caring for Vets (@mama2fluffs) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC I work for a very large Telecom company and my 2014 Insurance is exactly the same as 2013. 1st time I recall cost not going up.
— Richard Lowery (@halo0801) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @PolitiFact UMN Blue Cross was $5,600 yr between premiums+copays+coinsurance+deductibles w chronic illness. Now just $2,100 !!
— Susan Kraemer (@dotcommodity) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC – I’m a 60 y.o.only employee of small co. Catastropic before for $460. Platinum plan now for $88. #ACAworks
— AnotherObamaMama47% (@ObamaOyeah) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC Mom’s caregiver needs surgery, was dropped by her ins. co. Enrolled in #ACA, her premium is lower for better coverage in FL! (:
— Anna (@TallyAnnaE) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC Work for University of California, one of the largest employers in the state, and my 2014 premium is about $12 lower than 2013
— Tor (@tor_berg) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC my mom couldn’t get insurance b4 ACA; has diabetes & COPD. Bc of #ACA, she’s able to get lifesaving meds, & I still have a mom.
— Zandt (@calonyction) October 16, 2013
@Glic @DavidCornDC I will save more than $400/mo through #ACA over existing COBRA plan.
— Jesus Rangel (@jrangel566) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC New employer insurance denied kids for pre-x cond. Quoted #ACA. Got kids covered & apology. Thanks @BarackObama
— Tipton Adaptive (@DVanderGaast) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @BarackObama @pfeiffer44 I’m in Texas and got 43 detailed quotes after signing up. Took 4 days trying, starting 10/1.
— Ken Wigginton (@kenwig0556) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC I work in a small co. of 30 mostly young people; been told that premiums will increase by 32% next yr; shaken my support of ACA
— BTBall (@BTBall88) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @BarackObama signed up the first week in New York. Got health and dental for $195/month. No subsidies.
— Garret Walter (@gfunkkkkk) October 16, 2013
@DavidCornDC @BarackObama @pfeiffer44 My catastrophic plan is $160 cheaper due to Obamacare refund check #ACAWorks
— Bill (@tomservo10) October 16, 2013
@BeyondKenny @DavidCornDC @BarackObama @pfeiffer44 Wonder what state he’s in?? I signed up on 1st day in Calif and saved $3,000.
— Juliezzz Friends (@JuliezzzFriends) October 16, 2013
@BarackObama @DavidCornDC my family will save $2400 for no deductible PPO covg thru the xchg. No subsidies apply. Obamacare helps everyone.
— Ravi Mahalingam (@GlobalShakedown) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC I have a mitral valve prolapse – a harmless heart condition. But I still couldn’t get insurance because of it. Now I can!
— Kamrom Dechu (@Kamrom) October 17, 2013
No rise in my Grandfathered plan premium @politicalnutz @DavidCornDC @PolitiFact but I’ll save thousands per year in Exchange plan
— AlwaysThink (@AlwaysThinkHow) October 17, 2013
@DAbitty @Dudette9t9 @tomservo10 @DavidCornDC @BarackObama @pfeiffer44 W/O ACA husband’s ins.$495. mo. W-$75. #acaworks.
— kathi clayton (@claytonkathi) October 17, 2013
My health ins is almost 1/2 off with #Obamacare #ACAWorks @DavidCornDC @BarackObama
— BW (@BWheatnyc) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC @BarackObama How about the unhappy campers? My SF Kaiser premiums jumped 27% under #CoveredCA to $8K. Not affordable.
— Wander (@itsWanda) October 17, 2013
@SsMokinJay @timthesocialist @DavidCornDC I don’t pay any health insurance bc I’m Canadian. Yes we pay thru our taxes – 1/2 what you pay.
— James McLaren (@JamesHMcLaren) October 17, 2013
@politicalnutz @davidcorndc @politifact Ours are $1627 and “Skyrocketing” to $520!!
— Kimm Murphy (@Proudliberal65) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC I have Multiple Sclerosis and not eligible for Medicare for another year. Thanks to the ACA I can now get health Insurance!
— Tyeast Pettit (@TyeastP) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC My aunt will save more than $400 a month on her health insurance thru the #ACA
— Grace Tenkay (@gracie28) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC I’m part of the “young and healthy” group and it’s completely unaffordable for me with my school debt and no benefits job
— Guy Incognito (@haassauce) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC self employed w pre existing conditions, our family was paying $2300/mo Now will save $500 w better choices!
— Angela Doll Carlson (@mrsmetaphor) October 17, 2013
@claytonkathi @DavidCornDC @DAbitty @Dudette9t9 @tomservo10 @BarackObama WO ACA 687.00 a month for wife and I. With ACA 173.29 #ACAWorks
— Richard Dawber (@radawber) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC Sorry but the ACA isnt working for me because there wernt any changes to Medicare like Dental for Diabetics with pre existing
— Don Griffith (@RSN4LIFE) October 17, 2013
Here in CA @DavidCornDC @PolitiFact a “Silver” like plan had a base around $1300 for 60 yo in 2013 b4 underwriting, now $683 in Exchange
— AlwaysThink (@AlwaysThinkHow) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC Premium was $494 for PPO. Same plan under MD health exchange $286. BTW, am self-ins. & can’t afford ins. offered by employer.
— Jay Dem (@JayDen5210) October 17, 2013
@DavidCornDC family of 3 was $886 geisinger choice no eye or dental now $603 w/eye and dental same company with ACA
— tamara amato (@kadacat) October 17, 2013
my family of 3 can get ‘platinum’ coverage for nearly $500/mo LESS than current COBRA premium. Will be enrolling this week. @DavidCornDC
— janice s/s (@jsavite) October 17, 2013