Some Republicans will say anything to see the Affordable Care Act fail. The best defense is the truth.
Now I’ve heard everything. Well, probably not, when it comes to myths the GOP invents about Obamacare. But this one’s a doozy.
On the May 29 edition of The Last Word, I saw Tea Party Republicans leading citizens at a town hall meeting to believe that the IRS will get to make decisions about whether or not they receive healthcare coverage or treatment. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist was, “If they don’t like your politics or your religion, they won’t let you get care!”
Here’s the clip:
It’s so preposterous it’s hardly worth mentioning. But the trouble is, there are plenty of people who will believe it. That’s why it’s so important to get the facts out there.
The only involvement the IRS has in Obamacare is enforcing the penalty imposed on people who choose not to buy health insurance, if they can afford it. Oh, and by the way, the maximum penalty is about $800 per year. Right now, I pay $1,200 a month as a self-employed person with type 2 diabetes. So if someone chooses not to buy insurance and pays the penalty instead, they’re getting a deal. Because they still get to go to the emergency room and get care when they absolutely need it. People like me help pay for that.
Getting more people coverage is one of the reasons premiums will go down for countless Americans starting in 2014. We won’t be paying for as many other people’s care. States that accept Medicaid expansion will reduce even more of the burden on people who buy insurance. I’m looking at you, Michigan, among others.
Another myth that’s been spreading like wildfire, thanks in large part to Tea Party Republicans, is that premiums will go up because of Obamacare. That’s simply not the case. I’ve estimated my premiums will drop by nearly 40 percent once I’m no longer penalized for being a woman with type 2 diabetes who is self-employed — all black marks against me under the current system. Premiums are not set by Obamacare or the federal government. Premiums are set by insurance companies. In an open marketplace where insurers must now compete in state or federal healthcare exchanges, they must set market-friendly rates or suffer the consequences. Consumers get to choose the coverage that fits their needs and budget. This article from The New Republic by the always-excellent Jonathan Cohn explains it beautifully.
Look, I get it. Obamacare is a complicated law and there’s a lot to know. But it’s worth learning about — and it’s certainly worth getting the facts out there so the Republicans can’t succeed in what seems to be a plan to sabotage Obamacare through a strategy of misinformation and fear. First, there were death panels and now, the myth that the IRS will be pulling the plug if they don’t like you. I know you’re not that gullible. Let’s make sure everyone else isn’t, either.
There’s more to come. On the one hand, there’s sure to be continued attacks from Obamacare’s opponents. Having lost 37 attempts at repealing the law, they’ll apparently stop at nothing to see the law fail. On the other hand, as Obamacare implementation continues, there’s more and more evidence that it works. We just have to make sure the facts speak louder than the misinformation. Surely a good law that helps millions of Americans can stand up to a pack of lies.
I’ll be writing a lot about Obamacare here in the months to come, sharing new proof of its benefits that are being revealed with increasing frequency as implementation continues. I’ll also be providing facts to disprove any ridiculous lies being spread. So stay tuned and pass on the truth.
Questions are welcome in the comments section if there are topics you’d like to see covered in future posts. In the meantime, this site on health reform from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a great resource for independent facts.
[Photo credit: Chris Savage | Eclectablog]