Republicans aren’t telling the truth about Obamacare. So what else is new?
Ever since the news broke that the Obama Administration is delaying the mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance to their employees until 2015, the GOP has been salivating over the news like a junkyard dog that hasn’t eaten in weeks.
They see it as an “admission” from the White House that Obamacare is a failure. That it’s time to pull the plug on Obamacare and pull it for good. I see a 38th repeal attempt in our future. My own U.S. Representative, Kerry Bentivolio, has already called for repeal. Again. So-called fiscal conservatives like Rep. Bentivolio don’t seem to mind spending $55 million (and counting) of our tax dollars on failed repeal attempts.
Before I get to the fact that a host of independent experts are confident that delaying the employer mandate was a smart move to ease the implementation process, let’s consider this: The GOP has been screaming their heads off about the burden Obamacare places on “job creators” (a.k.a. businesses). But the minute the Administration addressed concerns from businesses that they needed more time and responded with a solution — giving them another year to prepare — the GOP exploded with outrage. Fist-shaking, “Obamacare is a train wreck!” outrage. If the GOP isn’t the staunch defender of big business’ interests anymore, I’m not sure who they represent.
But here’s what really matters. Delaying the employer mandate only impacts about 200,000 American businesses — those with more than 50 employees. More than 90 percent of those companies already provide healthcare insurance to employees. Obamacare was never going to change that, mandate or no mandate. That leaves between 1 and 1.5 million employees who will have to go another year without employer-provided coverage, but they can still buy private coverage from an insurance marketplace (a.k.a. exchange) to cover them during 2014.
As Jonathan Cohn pointed out last week, no one expected there wouldn’t be speed bumps during the implementation. And this isn’t really a huge one.
Truth is, delaying or modifying the employer mandate is exactly the kind of adjustment many experts expected the law would need–and that, in a less polarized environment, would happen through Congress without nearly this much fuss.
More recently, Ezra Klein reported that the delay in the employer mandate will actually make implementation easier. In his article, Klein quoted Larry Levitt, vice president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation:
There’s nothing about the delay in the employer requirement that suggests Obamacare can’t still be implemented. If anything the delay removes some potential administrative complexities from the plates of the implementers, and avoids the problem of some employers reducing the hours of part-time workers to get around the requirement.
But the GOP and their big-bucks supporters like the Koch Brothers never let a little thing like the facts get in the way. Americans for Prosperity has made a $1 million ad buy to spread misinformation about Obamacare.
Here, you can watch the ad, entitled “Questions,” and read factual answers to those questions provided by Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post.
Let’s face it: We’re in for a barrage of myths, scare tactics and outright lies from opponents of Obamacare. Sadly, it’s even spread to doctors’ offices, where one woman I know was told by her nurse that if she gained one more pound, Obamacare wouldn’t cover her anymore. I’m horrified a healthcare professional would perpetuate an outright lie.
Supporters of Obamacare and the White House are working hard to get the truth out to the public — like these great ads Oregon is running to educate its citizens about upcoming enrollment in their state-run health exchange.
It makes me sick to think how much good could be done with the money being poured into deceiving the public about Obamacare. How many people could be insured, fed and clothed? But the truth is this: Obamacare is the law of the land and it’s happening, whether some people like it or not. So for those of us who support it, it’s up to us to be smart enough to know — and share — the facts.