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Over the past few weeks, Rand Paul has racked up an impressive list of things he doesn’t understand, including Abraham Lincoln, why people like Medicarethe deficit and reality.

You can now add Obamacare to that list, along with health care in general — even though he is an ophthalmologist.

When the senator visited The Daily Show this week, host John Oliver asked Paul to do something he apparently has never had to do before: defend his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

After making one decent point –that the reason most people aren’t insured because of “the expense” — he offered terrible example after terrible example to justify his opposition to the law.

He blamed government for the high cost of care and then used an example of the two “products” he offered as an eye doctor that went down every year because they weren’t covered by insurance: LASIK and contact lenses. He credited market forces for the drop in costs without pointing out that neither of these things is often purchased in an emergency, the way heart surgery or an appendectomy is. You can shop for contacts but you can’t shop for a cast when you need a broken bone set.

That was pretty bad, but at least the power of market forces in health care is debatable.

Actual costs aren’t.

Paul engaged in exactly the kind of misinformation the right is trafficking in to dissuade people from actually signing up for coverage when open enrollment begins on October 1.

“You have a young audience and you tell them ‘Oh you must buy insurance,'” he said. “But they say ‘but I only make $30,000 a year and your insurance now costs $15,000. So how is that mandate going to work?’ I have employees for a small business and there is no insurance. How can they buy insurance if they make $30,000 and insurance costs $15,000?”

Well, good thing insurance won’t cost $15,000 or even near half that. How do we know this 100 percent for sure?

By law — yes, the Affordable Care Act — it can’t.

At $30,000 a year, buying insurance on your own through an exchange, you can’t pay more than 8.37 percent of your income, or $2,512, for health insurance. And in the worst-case scenario where you become sick and need to see a doctor often, you won’t spend more than $6,350 a year out of your own pocket.

This is why Occupy Democrats‘ Courtney Lynn wrote that Rand Paul accidentally made the case for Obamacare while trying to bash it.

Rand Paul could have used the real numbers if he’d visited the Kaiser Foundation’s Subsidy Calculator.

But making up his own Randian reality is the senator’s specialty.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 4.07.14 PMPhoto: Screenshot via The Daily Show

 

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President Joe Biden

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Two tiresome realities about being president of the United States: first, everybody blames you for things over which you have little or no control: such as the worldwide price of oil, and international shipping schedules. Should there be too few electronic gee-gaws on store shelves to pacify American teenagers this Christmas, it will be Joe Biden’s fault.

Second, everybody gives you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Everywhere you look, Democrats and Democratically-inclined pundits are tempted to panic. “The cold reality for Biden,” writes New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait “is that his presidency is on the brink of failure.” A return to Trumpism, and essentially the end of American democracy, strikes Chait as altogether likely.

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