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By Greg Young
August 8, 2013
Jim DeMint
Caption : Jim DeMint     Credit : Flickr/Gage SKidmore

Over the last week, The Heritage Foundation and its leader, former Senator Jim DeMint, have made some absurd and incorrect comments about how the Affordable Care Act will impact young Americans.

Let’s take the latest folly first. Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” on Tuesday, DeMint claimed that young people would be “hung” by Obamacare.

Aside from the unfortunate choice of rhetoric, DeMint is wrong about basic facts of how young Americans will be affected by the Affordable Care Act. In fact, just 3 percent of young people could be impacted by rate increases, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, our parent organization. And what’s more, the legislation will provide dramatically improved coverage, as detailed in this recent infographic from Generation Progress.

Plus, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 will represent about 36 percent of those eligible for tax credits to help pay for healthcare costs under the new law, ThinkProgress notes. In essence, the vast majority of young people will not see large increases—if any—in health care costs, and coverage will either stay the same or dramatically improve.

DeMint’s offensive comments come on the heels of another attempt to scare young people into falsely thinking Obamacare will harm them.

Last week, The Heritage Foundation published a GIF-packed post on Buzzfeed, purporting to explain exactly how the Affordable Care Act would hurt young people. The piece, which didn’t list a specific Heritage staffer on the byline, was titled, “That One Time I Was Really, Really Excited About Obamacare,” and failed to include much substance or links to supporting data. And the article was not only bland—it was also awash with basic facutal errors, which prompted Wonkette to call it “a bunch of dumb fucking lie-GIFs.”

Here’s one example from the post, in which a caption reads: “When Obama said Obamacare would bring down crazy health care costs, I was like:” followed by “But then I found out Obamacare actually costs BILLIONS of dollars.” What the post is doing is conflating two unrelated ideas. Yes, Obamacare costs money—about $1.375 trillion according to the Congressional Budget Office—because it extends health benefits to 30 million more Americans. Yet, it’s important to note that the law will not increase the deficit, according to CBO estimates. And just because the bill spends money doesn’t mean it won’t reduce overall health care costs for the United States. In fact, according to recent studies by Harvard University, Obamacare may already be bringing down health care costs.

At the end of the day, perhaps it’s the reaction from Buzzfeed readers that sums it up best: 149 users rated that article as FAIL, compared with just 14 who said it was worth an LOL.

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