Lies, Obamacare — August 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Fight the falsehoods: Get the facts about Obamacare


Truth is stronger than fiction. It just needs to speak louder than the absurd.

Obamacare’s opponents will say anything — no matter how ridiculously untrue — in an effort to sabotage the law. Worse yet, plenty of people believe the lies.

The scare tactics aren’t going to stop the law from being implemented. But they may prevent people from signing up for coverage or taking advantage of benefits that are good for their physical and financial health.

Anti-Obamacare zealots, including extremist Republicans and even, sadly, some healthcare professionals, may think they’re sabotaging President Obama. But what they’re really doing is sabotaging the American public.

Fortunately, the American people have the power to keep that from happening. Armed with some knowledge, we can expose the lies and get the truth out there. Argue though they might, your friends and neighbors are more likely to listen to you than they are a talking head on TV. Plus, it’s good to have ammunition when the Internet trolls come out to play.

Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing some of the most common misinformation about Obamacare — and providing the facts, along with tips you can use to spread the good word. Always remember: Truth is stronger than fiction, especially when we make it speak louder than lies.

“Obamacare is going to cost everyone more money.”

I have no idea where people come up with this stuff. There’s a reason the official name of Obamacare is “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It’s designed to make healthcare, um, more affordable. If you get insurance through your employer, Obamacare has no impact on you. If you buy your own insurance, shopping the marketplaces established by Obamacare will let you find coverage that fits your needs and your budget. In states like California and New York, where marketplaces have already introduced their plans, rates are lower than predicted. Some Republican-led states are fudging the numbers, while others haven’t released rates yet. But the trend is toward lower rates overall.

Starting January 1, 2014, insurers can no longer charge you more because you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes, asthma or heart disease. They can’t charge you more because you’re a woman, which they could before. Many preventive services — such as annual check-ups and cancer screenings — are free. Oh, and if your insurer spends more than 20 to 25 percent of your premium costs on anything other than services related to your care, you get a refund at the end of the year. Plus, many Americans will earn tax credits to help offset the cost of insurance. Find out what yours might be here.

As for the individual mandate, which requires everyone above a certain income level to buy insurance? Yes, if you don’t have insurance that will mean an additional cost for you. But unless you’re exempt because you live in poverty (and would be eligible for a program like Medicaid), the maximum, income-based cost per year of about $700 per person is a small price to pay for the luxury of unlimited visits to the emergency room when you do need care. When you don’t have insurance, the rest of us who do have coverage pay for that. You’d think the Republicans, who trumpet the importance of individual responsibility, would consider this a reasonable requirement. But, no. Because Obama. Seriously, though, ask your right-wing uncle if he supports individual responsibility the next time he brings this up.

By the way, if you don’t like having to pay the penalty for not carrying insurance, consider this: Most people who buy their own insurance pay $500 a month or more for coverage. You’ll only have to pay that fee once a year. A bargain for mooching off the rest of us.

“My insurance rates are already going up because of Obamacare.”

Insurance rates are not set by the government — except for the fact that there are limits on how much an insurer can increase your premiums under Obamacare. Insurers set their own rates. Some insurers have unquestionably been jacking up rates before those limits kick in on January 1, 2014. (My premiums are set to go up by $150 a month next year.) If you choose to keep your expensive plan, insurers are allowed to continue charging that same premium. But thanks to the healthcare marketplace, you don’t have to be stuck with that plan. You can shop for a comparable, but less expensive, one. I personally can’t wait. The marketplaces create more competition which means the insurers who overcharge for coverage will soon find themselves losing customers. Tell your cranky Republican neighbor Obamacare marketplaces are the competitive free market at work!

Some states have set up their own marketplaces. Michigan will be using the federal marketplace. You can create an online account, find more information and get updates on enrollment (which begins October 1) at

“The IRS is going to decide what healthcare services I can have.”

No, they’re not. Seriously, that’s just silly and a thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to keep their manufactured IRS scandal alive. The IRS will enforce the individual mandate for people who don’t buy health insurance. But that has nothing to do with making decisions about your healthcare coverage. If you hear this nonsense, just remind folks that Democrats and most healthcare providers believe care decisions should be between patients and their doctors. But since so many Republicans don’t respect that, it’s not surprising they think the government might meddle in your healthcare decisions. Too bad they probably won’t read this post to learn the truth.

Have specific questions you’d like to see addressed in a future myth-busting post? Leave them in the comments. Want more information in the meantime? Check out the excellent nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation website.

[Photo credit: Chris Savage | Eclectablog]