For weeks leading up to the opening of the healthcare exchanges, I’ve been posting information about the Affordable Care Act to my page, Politically Preposterous, to try to help my fans better understand the law. Of course, this has clearly been met with much disbelief from people on the right, who have come to my page to post one silly piece of misinformation after another. Moreover, when I try to explain to them why they are incorrect or tell them they have bad information, they tell me I’m the one who is crazy. I call this condition Romnesia (a phrase President Obama made popular after borrowing it from some witty bloggers last year), but some of my fans like to refer to it as Foxnewsia. Luckily, the Affordable Care Act covers those with pre-existing conditions.
How do you know if you are suffering from one of these conditions? Well, if you can answer “yes” to at least 7 of these 12 questions but you still dislike the ACA (and not because you would prefer single payer), you probably have a case of Romnesia or Foxnewsia.
Do you like the idea that health insurance companies cannot drop people for having pre-existing conditions?
Do you like the idea that all new health insurance plans must cover preventive services and provide new essential health benefits — including everything from yearly check-ups, to maternity care, to mental health, to mammograms and colonoscopies — at no out-of-pocket costs?
Do you like the idea that insurance companies cannot drop you when you are sick or if you make an honest mistake on your application?
Do you like the idea that insurance companies cannot discriminate based on gender?
Do you like the idea that insurance companies cannot make unjustified rate hikes?
Do you like the idea that insurance companies shouldn’t be able to make lifetime and annual limits on what they will cover?
Do you like the idea that employers with over 50 full time employees have to provide health insurance to their workers?
Do you like the idea of allowing young adults (26 and below) to stay on their parent’s insurance even if they aren’t in school?
Do you like the idea of capitalism and allowing private companies to compete with each other for your business, thereby driving down costs?
Do you like the idea of providing cost assistance for those below the poverty line to buy health insurance (so they don’t have to use the ER for minor things and can go to a doctor instead), making it so taxpayers don’t have to pick up their exorbitant ER bills?
Do you like the idea of fewer out-of-pocket expenses for doctor visits?
Do you like the idea that insurance companies have to spend at least 80% on your care or they have to send you a refund check?
I repeat, if you answered “yes” to at least 7 of these questions, you like the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). You still might want single payer (I know I do) and you still might even think there are some problems with the law that need to be worked out (I do too). Nonetheless, if you answered “yes” to at least 7 of these questions, you like “Obamacare.”
Now that we have gone through a bit of what the Affordable Care Act does, it’s time to bust a few myths and misconceptions.
1) According to a study done by Illinois Wesleyan University in 2012, 30-40 billion dollars worth of taxpayer money a year goes to pay for people who go to the ER without insurance. So, for those of you who complain about “giving your money away to others” due to the individual mandate, you are already giving your money away – this prevents that and makes it so people are individually responsible for their own bills.
2) The ACA is a capitalist healthcare law that allows people to buy their insurance from private companies rather than a socialist plan where all health insurance is provided by the government. Anyone with any clue about what the word “socialist” actually means, wouldn’t be using it in this context. It is not a generic phrase that can just be substituted in place of another insult, it’s an actual word with an actual definition which many are ignoring. Those that understand what the word really means realize that if President Obama were a socialist, he’d be the worst socialist of all time. Corporate profits have more than doubled under his tenure, and income inequality has risen rather sharply. He has not nationalized any major industries, and feels that taxpayer money should be used to bail out major corporations with no expectation of a repayment. Those things are all literally the exact opposite of what a socialist would be doing if he was in charge of the country. Nationalized healthcare would be Medicaid for all, not exchanges where everyone goes and buys private insurance. Nationalized healthcare (socialist healthcare) conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. However, the law Congress passed relies on the free market. Moreover, while it is true that the law increases government regulation on health insurers, at its core, it is a system that relies on private companies and the free market.
3) The individual mandate was a conservative plan as was this entire healthcare bill (it used to be called RomneyCare) – Democrats wanted single payer European-style healthcare. So, when people say this bill was passed without conservative support, that might be true to a large extent when it comes to votes, but it isn’t actually true. The ACA is in fact a conservative healthcare law.
4) The only people getting exemptions are certain businesses (based on their size) and the only reason they are getting them is to give them a little extra time to buy a healthcare plan for their employees, and work out all the details to make their business operations run smoothly.
5) Making health insurance mandatory is essential to the ACA because under the system we have right now, when a “healthy” American gets sick, or breaks their arm and has to use the ER, we the taxpayers end up picking up the tab and it costs us as a country more money (see #1). When people are personally accountable for themselves it doesn’t burden the rest of us. For example, I am 27 and “healthy,” but last year I had kidney stones and had to go to the ER. My bill came to over $25,000 for a 7 hour ER visit. Thankfully I had insurance, but if I didn’t, you (the taxpayer) would have ended up paying for my care — which leads to the government spending more money, bigger deficits, and more money added to the debt. By making it mandatory that people have insurance, the taxpayer is no longer burdened by those that still choose not to have insurance (which I personally think is a bad choice – but nonetheless one that people make). They have to pay a penalty because that money goes into a fund set up to pay for ER visits for the uninsured, so that the rest of us don’t have to pick up their tab (again see #1).
6) No politicians are exempt! That is just a flat-out lie. President Obama and all other politicians and federal employees get their insurance through the government by the sole fact the government is their employer. Thus, just like other employers that have been given a bit of extra time to make it work, so has the government – as an employer.
I hope this clears things up for people. Unfortunately, the people who need to read this the most probably won’t. But, as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
The information in this article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied.
Bill O’Reilly image via Fox News.