The real Obamacare horror story for the GOP? It helps the people it’s supposed to help
A new ad featuring a Grand Rapids resident complaining that her new health insurance plan is “not affordable” due to Obamacare leaves out an important fact. Shannon Wendt turned down Medicaid coverage for family, according to posts she made on her Facebook wall.
The ad from Koch-backed “social welfare” non-profit Americans for Prosperity neglects to mention that the Wendt family could be enjoying nearly fully subsidized government insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Hmmm. Seems kind of important.
Wendt preferred her old plan and wanted to keep her family’s doctor, which are completely understandable desires. The promise that people can always keep the plan and doctor they want was’t true before or after the law passed. And Wendt has a point, this was a broken promise.
But even in a pre-Obamacare era, millions lost their coverage and their doctors. The number of uninsured Americans went up by 7.9 million under George W. Bush. And if Republicans have a plan where everyone can keep the plan and doctor they want forever, they should offer it now.
In defending the ad, Wendt — a Republican precinct delegate who has taken strident stands against Obamacare in the past — and AFP justify refusing to mention her family is eligible for Medicaid by parroting right talking points against the program that’s a crucial lifeline for millions of Americans.
A recent study in Oregon found that Medicaid recipients were better off both financially and mentally after brief periods of coverage.
On Facebook, Wednt said she didn’t feel that a family that earns as much as hers should qualify for Medicaid. A spokesperson for AFP said that family had not been happy with MICHild coverage they had for “a short time” in the past.
Medicaid could definitely be improved by increasing spending on the program so that reimbursement rates more closely resemble Medicare. Instead, the GOP is denying an expansion coverage to millions of working Americans and Paul Ryan’s budget includes huge cuts to Medicaid that would make the problems the right complains about far worse.
Wendt put her family in the Medicaid gap — a situation millions find themselves in unwillingly. Thus, she has to pay more to get coverage, by her choice. Families in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and even Maine would be jealous of this predicament.
Wendt had a low premium, high deductible plan where costs could have skyrocketed out of control if someone in her family had gotten sick. (We can’t say this for sure as she hasn’t released the details of her old plan.)
Obamacare was designed to help families like Shannon Wendt’s. But she didn’t want it. AFP’s ad has to hide the truth to make a point Wendt’s story doesn’t justify.
This is the second ad to air in Michigan in as many months with a person with connections to the Republican partty who actually could benefit from the law posing as an Obamacare victim. Julie Boonstra will likely pay less to treat her cancer thanks to Obamacare, which could also help millions of cancer victims who weren’t lucky enough to have insurance get covered. Shannon Wendt has volunteered to pay more to protest Obamacare and she blames Obamacare for her protest.
Clearly, there are many people who have been put in uncomfortable positions because of the failed roll out of Healthcare.gov, which has now been fixed. And of Americans who lost their plans and had to get new ones, there may be a few million who have to pay more to get the guaranteed cover Obamacare offers.
But an upper-middle class person being asked to pay more for coverage that offers more consumer protections isn’t exactly a tragedy. The Kochs are using Republican activists to fake horror stories for a simple reason, they’re having a hard time finding actual horror stories.
In her commercial, Wendt laughably says that Obamacare is “destroying the middle class.” In reality, Obamacare — along with the earned income tax credit — is the only thing the government has done to push people into the middle class and keep them there since the 1960s.
Tens of millions of Americans are benefiting from Obamacare and Republican activists still hate it. Tell us something we don’t know, Koch brothers.