Donald Trump made a speech in Valley Forge, PA this week in front of a modest crowd, and trotted out one of his favorite whipping boys: Obamacare. It’s pretty easy to do this week, with the announcement that premiums will be jumping considerably next year. But Donald Trump’s hyperbole over shot the mark a bit when he said that premiums will be more than most people’s rent.
“People all across the country are devastated. In many instances, their health care costs are more than their mortgage costs or their rent which, by the way, is a first in American history,” Trump told the gathered crowd. “This is particularly unfair to millennials and younger Americans generally who will be totally crushed by these massive health care costs before they even get started on their journey through life.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing costs (rent and mortgage interest only, as mortgage principle payments were not included in the study) made up nearly one third of household expenses, at 32.9%. Healthcare costs on the other hand, made up only 7.8%.
But Politifact points out that there are hidden costs not reflected in these numbers. The housing number includes appliances, cleaning supplies, utilities and taxes. Much of the insurance in this country is paid by employers, so that is not reflected in that 7.8% number, but Trump said “in many instances, their health care costs are more than their mortgage costs or their rent.” The average does not seem to bare that out.
He’s also wrong that this is a “first in American history.” Rent and healthcare have been going up as a portion of income for a decade, but the separation is pretty stark. Here’s a graph that I copied from Politifact that they copied from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
While Trump is right to criticize the ballooning costs of the Affordable Care Act, his assertion that the average American pays more in health care than in rent is a fallacy.