GOPocrisy — June 19, 2013 at 5:52 am

5 Things Republicans Won’t Tell You About Obamacare Rates


ILikeObamacareThe biggest problem Democrats have  had in selling the Affordable Care Act is about to become its greatest strength.

Approximately 85% of American adults are insured through their employer or the government. The vast majority of the insured will barely notice when Obamacare goes into effect in January of 2014.

That doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from the law.

Obamacare makes it so their insurance companies can’t cap their lifetime coverage or rescind their plan when they get sick. The currently insured are already getting free preventative care that to the ACA, and insurance companies, for the first time, have to prove that they are spending 80-85% of what they charge customers is spent on actual medical care.

Of course, this won’t stop Republicans from blaming every rate increase, slow elevator and grumpy doctor on the president’s signature legislative achievement — even though the growth of health care costs continues to slow.

Obamacare is primarily designed to help the 15% of America that isn’t currently insured — the people we pay for when they show up in the emergency rooms at the worst possible moments.

I was briefly part of that 15% when I found myself denied by my old insurer for a pre-existing condition that they knew about because it was my old insurer. I’ve never gotten over the feeling that I should avoid going to the doctor and when I get there, I can’t help but feel I still should hold back information that might be relevant to my care. I’ve never felt less free than when I think these thoughts. And for those who earn less and have a family to support, the feeling must be infinitely worse.

For the uninsured, entrepreneurs and those chained to a job for insurance, the ACA frees us to seek better opportunities and the best care available without the fear of going broke if we have to see a doctor.

Of course, Republicans still have a huge advantages in their propaganda war against the Obamacare. Not only do they have former vice-presidential candidates willing to lie about the law using the scariest words possible, they get to compare the costs regulated, guaranteed plans offered in the Obamacare marketplaces to the sh*tty insurance many of us have today.

That’s why even when we get great news about the rates being offered in California’s exchange, Republicans can offer distorted examples to make it seem as if the costs of insurance are skyrocketing.

So here are 5 things you need to know and tell everyone you know about Obamacare rates:

1. Everyone earning up to $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four will get subsidies to help them pay for their health care.
Hopefully you’re in the 62% of Americans who are aware that this help is coming for those who need it their most, guaranteeing you will not pay more than  9.5% of your family’s income on health insurance. Figure out what you’ll be paying here.

2. For the first time, insurers can’t turn you down.
This makes it impossible to compare today’s rates to next year’s rates when people with pre-existing conditions must be offered comprehensive coverage. It’s not just comparing apples to oranges, says The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, “It’s comparing apples to oranges that the fruit guy may not even let you buy.”

3. For the first time, the coverage insurers offer will have to meet actual standards.
The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn explains:

Next year, when you go to buy coverage in an Obamacare exchange, you will know that your plan will include a set of “essential health benefits.”  You’ll have a choice over how much financial protection you want: You can go for a “bronze” plan, which will have high co-payments and deductibles, or you can pay more to get a “silver,” “gold,” or “platinum” plan that would leave you paying less out of pocket once you get care. But even if you opt for a bronze plan, the law will limit what you pay in out-of-pocket expenses to $6,350 for an individual. Your exposure will be lower if, because of your low income, you qualify for additional financial protection from the government.

4. The poorest will still be covered under Medicaid, which should be expanding.
Obamacare was designed to cover everyone earning 133 percent or below the poverty level with fully-subsidized Medicaid. More than two dozen Republican-led states are turning this nearly federally funded expansion down, even though their residents will still be paying for it. Only Arizona’s Jan Brewer has overcome her state’s Republican Party to implement expansion — though we are close in Michigan. Remember: It took until the early 1980s until all states accepted basic Medicaid so this fight isn’t over.

5. We already pay for each other’s insurance in the dumbest way possible.
Thanks to a 1986 law signed by Ronald Reagan, the costs of the uninsured already factored into your coverage. Republicans are preventing this law from covering as many people as it could — because of this at least 19,000 Americans could die each year. But the fact that several million more Americans will have coverage next  year is the beginning of an experiment that we know works. Just about every other industrialized country in the world covers all of their citizens and they all pay less for care.

  • The_Magic_M

    > Just about every other industrialized country in the world covers all of their citizens

    Which is the key phrase here. Even countries nobody could even remotely suspect of being “socialist” have such a system.
    On the contrary, the entire industrialized world looks with shock to the current US system which allows poor people to go totally uncovered.

    • Truth Sayer

      Not just poor people. Many of the middle class are without medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions that insurance kicked them out. Many of them have declared bankruptcy due illness and annual and lifetime catastrophic coverage limits, as well as junk policies. Second, the word “socialist” have been used unfairly by right wingers. For example, schools, police, libraries, and just about all our public institutions are based upon socialist concepts. Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland, and Denmark have one of the highest per-caps income; better educated; excellent medical care, yet they are considered as having more government socialist programs.

  • splantastic

    Check the facts as more republican govs have.come.along,.natably.fkorida and new.jersey.

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  • ggb

    #1 not “everyone”. until they fix the wording interpretation for those on a family plan. But great article.

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  • When Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) in April blamed ObamaCare for the fact that it was cutting some of its workers’ hours, backers of the law mounted a furious backlash against the theater chain, among other things filling its Facebook page with boycott threats.

    “Greed and selfishness make me sick,” one of them said.

    Darden Restaurants (DRI) felt this intense heat last year after suggesting it might shift to more part-time work to minimize the cost of the law’s mandate that companies offer coverage to all their full-time workers. CEO Clarence Otis even blamed its lowered outlook for 2013 in part on “recent negative media coverage” over “how we might accommodate health care reform.”

    Yet while private companies are getting all this unwelcome and hostile attention, local governments across the country have been quietly doing exactly the same thing — cutting part-time hours specifically so they can skirt ObamaCare’s costly employer mandate, while complaining about the law in some of the harshest terms anyone has uttered in public.

    The result is that part-time government workers — many of them low-income — face pay cuts that can top $3,000 a year, and yet will still be left without employer-provided benefits.

    Here is just a small sampling of local news reports about what local government officials are saying about ObamaCare, and the steps they’re taking to avoid or minimize its costs.

    Phillipsburg, Kan.: “School administrators here say they are alarmed and confounded by the looming new costs they face with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” according to the Kaiser Health Institute News Service. Chris Hipp, director of a Kansas special education cooperative, warned that ObamaCare’s costs “could put us all out of business or change significantly how we do business,” adding that “we are not built to pay full health benefits for noncertified folks who work a little more than 1,000 hours a year.”

    Dearborn, Mich.: “If we had to provide health care and other benefits to all of our employees, the burden on the city would be tremendous,” said Mayor John O’Reilly, explaining why the city is cutting its more than 700 part-time and seasonal workers down to 28 hours a week. “The city is like any private or public employer having to adjust to changes in the law.”

    Indiana: “What I’m seeing across the state is school districts, unfortunately, having to reduce the hours that they are having some of their folks work, primarily so they don’t have to worry about the (ObamaCare) penalties, or they don’t have to provide them health insurance, which would be very, very costly,” said Dennis Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials. Ft. Wayne Community Schools, for example, are cutting yours for nearly three-quarters of its part-time aides.

    Omaha, Neb.: “The biggest problem is everyone said that ObamaCare is only going to help cut costs. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Mike Kennedy , who serves on the board of Millard Public Schools, just outside the city, and figures ObamaCare will raise its costs by $400,000. A neighboring school district is reducing hours for up to 281 part-time employees to avoid $2.5 million in new costs, which will result in pay cuts of up to $3,300.

    Long Beach, Calif.: “We are in the same boat as many employers,” said Tom Modica, Long Beach’s director of government affairs. “We need to maintain the programs and service levels we have now.” So the city is going to cut hours for 200 part-time workers so it doesn’t have to pay $2 million to provide health benefits.

    Salt Lake City: “With new provisions in the Affordable Care Act, there was going to be a significant burden upon Granite School District and our taxpayers to offset the cost of benefits,” said spokesman Ben Horsley. He says covering the district’s part-time workers would cost about $14 million, and so about 1,000 will have their hours cut to 29 a week.

    Cape May County, N.J.: “A number of people in the nation who read it are recognizing how detrimental (ObamaCare is) to government and private employers out there,” said Gerald Thornton, the county’s finance director who is trying to figure out how to budget for the law.

    Virginia: “The Commonwealth of Virginia is grappling with the same issues that many businesses in the private sector are as they struggle to deal with the costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act,” Paul Logan, a spokesman for Gov. McDonnell, said. The state is requiring that about 7,000 part-time government workers put in no more than 29 hours a week.

    Texas: “The Affordable Care Act has added so much complexity and administrative burden that there is nothing affordable about it,” said Jared Pope, who is consulting with Texas municipal governments on ObamaCare. Dallas expects its health costs to climb $2.1 million next year. Plano is cutting hours to avoid $1 million in new costs.

    Kern County, Calif.: “It will affect multiple departments, a majority of departments,” said the county’s deputy administrative officer Eric Nisbett, explaining that unless the county cut worker hours for 800 employees, ObamaCare would cost it up to $8 million a year.

    Allegheny County, Pa.: “There’s frustration and anger and sadness and resentment, you know, but you don’t have a voice,” said adjunct English professor Clint Benjamin in the wake of the Community College of Allegheny County’s decision to cut hours for about 400 adjunct faculty and other employees so it wouldn’t have to pay $6 million in ObamaCare-related fees next year.

    Medina, Ohio: “We feel bad as a city administration and as a council in having to cut hours from 35 to 29,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said. “We have the budget to pay the people, but we do not have the budget to pay for the health care.” If they hadn’t made that cut, the city faced up to $1 million in new health costs courtesy of ObamaCare.

    Birmingham, Mich. Commissioner Gordon Rinschler may have summed up best the reaction that countless businesses and governments are having to ObamaCare, saying: “We simply can’t afford the Affordable Care Act.”

    • Sharon Stanford

      And the way the law is written, part-time employees are still counted in determining the amount of full-time equivalents the company uses. These businesses must be run by morons.

      • No offense, but it seems you’re the one who’s not informed:

        “Employers who offer health coverage that is deemed either too pricey or too skimpy will owe $3,000 (nondeductible) for each full-time, 30-hour-per-week, worker who taps ObamaCare subsidies.”

        “ObamaCare could tack on as much as $48 per hour for a worker clocking 31 hours, or two hours beyond ObamaCare’s care-free threshold of 29 hours per week.”

        “even for those clocking 40 hours, the incremental cost of ObamaCare… could effectively add 55% to a $16/hour wage.”

        “Not surprisingly, there’s evidence that employers are already taking steps to dodge ObamaCare’s penalties. Retailers have been cutting hours for nonsupervisory workers at the sharpest rate in more than three decades, Labor Department data show.”

        • Truth Sayer

          Here is a fact that you completely ignore; as I ran a business. The most successful and the least successful businesses are based on its employees. When businesses offer health insurance as a benefit, they have the opportunity to get the best and the most productive employees that give 100% every day. Those who do not end up with employees from hell who will cost them thousands time more than they are worth due to repeated and unfounded workers’s compensation claims; EEOC complaints; Union complaints; OSHA Complaints: tardiness; theft; laziness; and I can mention a thousand other problems. Simply put, if a company have health benefits, they can get and keep the best employees who will stay. thereby less cost for training replacements. What I stated is based upon facts, not because of Obama Care which you do not like.

    • So, your position is that it’s better that all of these people go without healthcare coverage? All the anti-ACA people go on and on about people should just get a job to get healthcare and the examples you provide in this article show the mythology of that whole idea.
      BTW, pease do not cut and paste entire articles here. It’s a violation of fair use laws.

      • Sorry about the cut/paste.

        • Truth Sayer

          Here is another fact that you ignore. Medical cost is the principle cost of bankruptcy in the U.S. Which cost all Americans. Why have you not mention this as a plus? why have you not mention that prevention care is pro-active, and is the crux of Obama care, which saves us all. See link below.

      • Marty Holden

        it was properly cited and linked.

        • The manner in which it was cited is irrelevant and doesn’t matter. It was reprinted in its entirety and that’s illegal. He’s lucky I didn’t delete it entirely. I could get into legal trouble because of it.

          • Like I said, I apologize for the cut/paste. I will edit it down to the salient points.

          • You’re forgiven.

          • Marty Holden

            I apologize too, I looked up the rules. I couldn’t go back to delete my own comment to save you the aggravation.

      • Truth Sayer

        How sad it is that so many people suggest that americans can’t have full time employment if the Affordable Care Act is implemented. Especially when the principle emphasis of the Affordable Care Act is prevention; and the principle recipients are our children under 26 years old.

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