Suffering From Romnesia or Foxnewsia? The Affordable Care Act Covers Pre-Existing Conditions

bill-oreillyFor 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.

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!


Facebook comments

  • TitaniumFusedCynic

    In the study you cited, it says 30-40 Billion per year in the emergency dept.s from uninsured, not million.

    • Ilyssa

      It’s a typo we are working on fixing it now

  • jon

    who is going to pay for the people who cant afford insurance and go to the emergency room? those that opt out and pay the sorry fine?you are assuming there will be enough in the kitty to pay for this. is the law worth the loss of millions of jobs and labor hrs its going to cause?and its already starting

    • MrWereman

      So are you saying we should blame the millions of Americans who simply don’t have jobs that make $80k a year or should we blame the CEOs of these companies (Like Papa John’s CEO) who claims he has to make drastic cuts in his multi-billion dollar a year income so he can stay in business? Are you standing on the steps of his mansion right now? Should he have more nice things or should the thousands of workers he employs be able to … essentially… live?

      • jon

        all business owners dont have mansions. how about the millions of sm. bus. owners who cant afford to pay insurance for employees over 30 hrs…thats insane. so they will cut hrs. and jobs…is it worth it?

      • Al Hubbard

        Millions of small business owners have less than 50 employees. They are all exempt from the law.

      • jon

        i know. what about the ones that do? forgot to answer the question.

      • Al Hubbard

        Jon, the reports on businesses that are dropping employees or cutting hours are as reliable as next weeks weather forecast. Lots of phoney stories out there. Walmart is being accused of cutting hours but actually it will be hiring 1000’s of full time works eligible for healthcare. So yes there will be some impact on people, that’s true but the real story might not be as bad as you imagine. Polls of businesses indicate that perhaps 4-7% of businesses will modify hiring or hours as a result of Obamacare. That means that over 90% will not.

      • Ricki W.

        And many that are doing it are mainly doing it as a way to throw a temper tantrum just like Congress, not because they HAVE to, but just to do it so they can blame Obamacare for it to try to make Obamacare look bad.

      • Ricki W.,

        BINGO! Spot on analysis! The reality of the matter is this; If this would have been Romney in office, after he literally ran on repealing the law, only to turn 180 degrees in favor of keeping it, the conservatives and business owners would be applauding him.

        This has absolutely nothing to do about businesses losing jobs, as that story has been debunked a long time ago. But the conservative media entertainment complex keeps the lie alive, for one reason and one reason alone: They cannot stand the very fact that “this” President, who sits in “their” White House got the job done! Add to that the fact that they have only fake scandals to try to hang around his neck, and it incites them even more so.

      • jon

        why didnt the potus delay the mandate for individuals for a year? he is the champion of the people? the govt would not have shut down …correct?

      • Al Hubbard

        The simple answer is he’s trying to manage the cost of the program like any good conservative would. By exempting individuals the money the government would receive in taxes in 2015 would disappear. So really what the conservative as trying to do is make the program cost more than was planned. Remember Obamacare is the law and will proceed as planned, nothing short of repeal will stop it. With deficit spending always a big issue the GOP plan is simply adding to the problem.

      • Ringo Juna

        Why do you keep moving the goalposts?

      • Every law of this magnitude has adjustments made when being implemented. I am quite certain if you go back and look at the implementation of the New Deal, something those folks sitting in their hover-rounds and soggy diapers yelling the loudest about this law would fight tooth and nail to preserve, you know, their Meddycare, you will find the goal posts were moved there too.

      • Vee Gee

        the law has been passed. it is a law. The End. The President is compelled to move it forward. If the republicans hate obamacare they have the option of repealing the law. Repealing the law is the proper procedure. The President is not the King, he doesn’t get to do things on a whim…he has to follow procedure, and so, for that matter, does Congress, which is why so many people are furious about this shut down….the House is not following procedure.

      • Jon,

        Nice attempt at “spinning” why the government shut-down. No matter how one slices it or dices it, the GOP owns that baby and always will!

        The people voted in the election, and they had opportunity to see the law repealed with their candidate, and yet Americans chose to vote in the other direction! Go figure! So, how does the GOP respond? Simple: They ignore the very will of “we the people,” you know, the crowd they proclaim at near shrill level to “never underestimate,” and IGNORE that will by telling the President, “We will fund the government but we want Obamacare defunded.” Now, you can call me anything you wish, but I am not stupid, and for some strange reason, I believe you are not stupid either! But THAT is called extortion!

        Imagine when the Civil Rights Act of 1965 was passed, the opposing party going to the President, after of course, they attempted to repeal the Act over 45 damned times, only to tell him, “Look, we will fund the government, but any monies allocated towards laws which protect minorities, we are defunding.” Once again, a great example of extortion, and your comment is reflective of precisely what the author set forth to explain: No matter what, you refuse to see the truth because for you, at least, the truth is inconvenient.

      • jon

        Go figure he was re-elected because he lied about obamacare.

      • Jon,

        Oh, another spin! I believe I heard the conservatives argue that same point when they lost. Nice try though! I will give you an A for effort Sparky!

  • Concerned

    You write this like no one pays their emergency room visit if they don’t have insurance. Most people work out payment arrangements with the hospitals and pay their bill over time. Rising costs have made it more difficult to pay the bills off in a short period of time. However, with the statement “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.” it sounds as if you would have not even worked out an arrangement to attempt to pay your own bill had you not had insurance.

    • Miguel

      You do understand, I hope, that the single biggest cause of bankruptcy in America is health care bills?

    • motherunit

      Some people pay over time. Some can’t or won’t. The hospital can send them to collection, and can eventually sue for the money. If the person has nothing, there is nothing to take. Can’t get blood from a stone, as the saying goes. The hospital is stuck for the bill. That expense gets passed along to PAYING customers with insurance. That’s why you see itemized hospital bills charging $20 for one Tylenol tablet. When an insurance company has to pay stuff like that, it passes that cost along to their customers. No hospital or insurance company will just absorb those costs.

    • Cemetery Girl

      You do understand the the willingness to work out a payment plan varies on the hospital? Our local hospital refuses to make arrangements or accept partial payments if your bill (the portion due by the patient) is less than $5,000. They consider less than $5,000 too small to accept anything less than the full amount. If your bill is over $5,000 then you make arrangements, for as little as $10 a month, but below that they will only accept full payment.

    • Vee Gee

      Although many people do pay their medical bills, many more do not because they cannot. If I had to pay for my chemo I could never have paid it off. I have a friend with more than 1 million dollars in medical bills hanging around her neck.

    • Mother of Dog! Where do you folks come up with crap like this? To imply that the writer had no willingness nor intent to work out an arrangement with the hospital, is not only non-sequitor, but also reflective of the deeper issue going on with those who associate with conservativism.

      The implication you make is not only insulting but also tinged with innuendo, that “responsible” people do work out arrangements when encountering medical issues, which they are not prepared to pay for.

      How is this for a reference point? At the ripe old age of 24 I had the first of many heart-attacks to come. I was diagnosed with a major illness, and told I was terminal. For one year alone, in order to remain alive, I needed to spend nearly one half of one year in the Hospital due to my illness coming out of remission. At one point, I received a bill for over 125,000 dollars, and this was for MY Portion, that is, the portion I WAS PERSONALLY responsible to pay. And get this; I tried to make an “arrangement” with those providers but they decided to send all my bills into collections, only for me to end up in a bankruptcy court.

      You people truly DO lack any sort of empathy for anyone and are about the most judgmental people I have ever encountered. But I will tell you this much; Karma is a MF. Good luck when she comes knocking at your door! Because guess what? She will, sooner or later!

  • jon

    i like the up to 26yr olds on my coverage . why? there is no jobs for college graduates!

    • Vee Gee

      I like that I can get insurance for a pre-existing condition and especially I like that I can get mammograms, colonoscopies for free! As a stage 3 colon cancer survivor, that is a great relief!

  • jon

    congress is not on obamacare !

    • Al Hubbard

      Yes it is. Read the law.

      • jon

        why do they get a subsidy? i dont . is that fair? a person making 100,000 plus a year doesnt get a subsidy on obamacare! so are the really on it?

      • Al Hubbard

        Jon, this is really simply. Most every Employer plan that covers employees pays a portion of (if not all of) the employees insurance cost. The same has always been true for government employees (like congress and the president and all of their staffs). Before Obamacare the government provided these people subsidized health insurance. For example a family plan for a congressman might be 10,000 per year with the government paying 80% and the congressman paying 20%. Pretty typical for employer healthcare.

        Now along comes Obamacare and every congressman and his staff as well as the president and his staff must buy insurance from an Obamacare exchange. Well guess what no one considered the cost of these plans for people who have been paying just 20% for insurance. They are now required to pay 100%.

        Remember now that it’s only congress, their staffs, the President and his staff that are forced by the Law to purchase Obamacare even though they had insurance. No one else in the country who has current insurance is required to get Obamacare. In fact 90% of the people getting Obamacare will be people who never had insurance or who have lost it.

        So congress etc are in a unique situation, they’ve had subsidized insurance forever but must shift to Obamacare (remember the public pretty much demanded this). The issue now comes down to what’s fair for them to pay. No one else is in this situation.

        So to answer your question Congress and the Executive branch are under Obamacare. We’re just discussing what they have to pay for it. Many of the congress staff members earn little and they have been paying a subsidized amount for their insurance. Should they now be responsible for 100% of the cost??

      • jon

        ok thank you!

      • Ricki W.

        Awesome, best, clearest explanation of this I’ve seen! Thank you!

      • Vee Gee

        Al Hubbard corrected me so ignore my comment. Thank you Al.

    • Vee Gee

      because Congress already has medical insurance which is subsidized by us, the US taxpayer….btw, we also pay their ENTIRE salary and subsidize their pensions.

  • Martin

    My laugh starts in the comment from the ignorant trolls like Jon just 3 comments down. They will not listen they refuse to listen and anything even resembling reason is trashed and tossed. This is the issue with Repugnitards they are repugnant and retarded. They will not read or listen to the law for themselves and because it was a black guy who proposed it it is something to hate. STUPID. Come on Over, Jon. Come back to the light this is the good side of the force you are on the other side…lol

    • jon

      martin , the truth hurts. the lousy economy is the repubs fault! nimrods like you have to bring up race cause you have nothing else! There is no jobs for college grads i have 2 of them!

    • Cindy Mello

      Forget it, Martin. Asking a republican to understand facts is like smelling the color 9.

    • the man

      SCUM support the ACA

      • Bill Gilliland

        Well reasoned response!

  • Bebo

    Can you explain why the people insured or the government has to pay for people who go to the ER and can’t pay?

    • Ilyssa

      If you are not insured and you go to the ER, the hospital will first try to bill you or work out a payment plan. Sometimes the hospital will be able to offer you a break. Other times charity organizations pick up some of the costs. But ultimately, if you cannot pay or get assistance paying, the government (tax dollars) usually ends up picking up the windfall to the tune of 30-40 billion per year.

    • Vee Gee

      yes, I can explain. As long as health care is for profit, hospitals, doctors, drug companies will raise their rates to help cover the costs of people who cannot pay. The ERs charge a fortune specifically because they know they will treat a feverish child whose parents cannot pay. I quit my job and was looking for another job when I was blindsided with a cancer diagnosis; I was uninsured for a month! Once diagnosed, I couldn’t get insurance. Chemo, which for me would have run about $30,000 a month, was impossible for me to pay. The drug company provided it gratis….everybody with insurance helped pay for that chemo which saved my life and when I was insured, my premiums paid for others. The drug company knows it will have people who cannot pay, they don’t want to be seen refusing a life saving drug so they boost their prices to pay for the poor. You don’t really think $7000 for one dose of anti-nausea chemo medicine reflects it’s cost and a small profit, do you? We don’t want a child (or a parent of a child for that matter) to die of an untreated infection because they can’t afford to see a doctor. At least, I don’t.

  • nogeeksadmin

    Makes way too much sense

  • bwkdad

    Why do I pay medicare taxes when medicare is going to be cut by billions to fund obamacare? Isn’t medicare in the red already? How will that work out when I’m old and have to rely on medicare? will I have to buy one of those high risk plans from obamacare because medicare is broke? Will the government run Obamacare as well as social security and medicare and stay within budget? Oh yeah, the government take over of our health care is going to be so wonderful.

    • kernel85

      You and I have the same Medicare coverage that we had before Obamacare, except that the Part D donut hole is gradually closing, and healthcare providers are being encouraged to be more efficient by being paid for outcome rather than piling on test after test that provide no real benefit.

    • Matt N Jen Stewart

      You need to get informed sir.

  • Bill Gilliland

    Oh my gosh! Someone who actually understands the ACA! So refreshing.

    One thing to add. The true genius of this new law is that, for the first time in history, consumers are actually able to compare policies from different companies because they basically have the same coverage. Heretofore, no two policies ANYWHERE could be effectively analyzed and compared. Insurance companies could put any price they wanted on their policies because YOU COULD NOT TRULY COMPARE to other policies. Now you can.

    So, how brain dead do you have to be to say no to any of your posited questions?