False claims hurt obamacare

Published 1:57 pm Friday, October 3, 2014

Whether you love or hate Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, you should know the facts about the complex health care insurance program after its first year draws to a close.

And that will most likely mean reading facts you may not have heard under the steady stream of falsehoods told about the program by those who opposed it from the beginning.

Perhaps the most famous criticism of the ACA was that it would be a “government takeover” of 17percent of the economy. This claim, made by many Republicans including House Speaker John Boehner and ex-Presidential candidate Senator John McClain among others is simply and completely false.

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The claim is so untrue that it earned the Politifact.com 2010 “Lie of the Year” award for its outrageously false claim. Employers still provide a majority of health insurance and the state exchanges offer only private insurers. Government has not taken over operations of hospitals or doctors and there is no public option of European-type single-payer insurance.

The second biggest buzz word from opponents was that the ACA would create “Death Panels” as argued by ex-VP candidate Sarah Palin. The Death Panel statement won the Politifact.com “Lie of the Year” for 2009, and deservedly so, for its premise was entirely false. In fact, care coverage has increased under the ACA since pre-existing conditions can no longer be cause for rejection of insurance coverage.

More serious than the catchy phrase claims was the concerns raised about the potential costs of the ACA. Many Republicans argued the ACA would create huge deficits that we could not afford. That concern turned out to also be without merit. In April of 2014 the CBO reported that the ACA would “reduce deficits over the next 10 years and in the subsequent decade.”

The same CBO study indicated that anticipated increases in premium costs for 2015 would be only slight and that the 2014 premiums have been lower than expectes creating a federal savings of $190 billion.

Further, Health and Human Services reports that in 2015 there will be 77 additional insurers participating in the insurance exchanges increasing competition in the marketplace.

And, for those in the exchanges, fully 87 percent qualified for subsidies and had an average monthly insurance cost of $82. reducing their cost by 76 percent.

And those participants surveyed for their satisfaction with their coverage gave positive results. The satisfaction survey, conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, found 73 percent of insureds were satisfied with their coverages and costs, including 74 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of those who had previous insurance before the exchanges.

Finally many on the political Right have claimed that the ACA was a “job destroyer.” Speaker Boehner said he “expected it to destroy 2.3 million jobs.”

As of Oct. 2, 2014 the number of Americans receiving unemployment is now the lowest in the last eight years, the last period of economic growth in the U.S. Further, U.S. economic growth in the 2nd quarter of 2014 was a powerful 4.6 percent. If the 3rd quarter should achieve a 3.0percent growth rate the U.S. will experience its strongest economic growth since 2004-2005 according to the Wall Street Journal.

Obamacare remains unpopular with the general public because the claims made against it, though false, were not refuted effectively by the Obama administration.

But, politics aside, the results are good for America and have helped curb the costs of healthcare that threatened the national economy. In that we can all be happy.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.