A few days ago I submitted a series of extremists local newspaper headlines designed to frightened, misrepresent and persuade readers to turn against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or ACA if you prefer). I pledged to rebut these special interest propaganda pieces stat.
Here’s what Obamacare is and is not, phony headlines notwithstanding. It is not socialized medicine. The government does not control the means of producing ACA health insurance or drugs, both private enterprises, with very few exceptions involving state catastrophic insurance and the like. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan to be a huge player in virtually every state health-exchange. Other major insurers are taking a more measured approach but their presence is virtually guaranteed.
Of this I can assure my readers; if subscribers to right-wing papers just skim headlines and subsequent stories, they don’t know s**t about Obamacare. Sadly, they aren’t in the least bit shy about spreading their ignorance around. Question! What are ACOs? If you voted Republican, you don’t know. If you take Obamacare seriously enough to research and learn, you’re aware that an ACO is an Accountable Care Organization, a lynchpin to corral health care costs. These are doctors and hospitals working in a network setting to best serve a large population of patients at a reasonable cost. It’s a thoughtful, intelligent approach to health care that’s been pretty much kept hidden from the public domain.
ACO’s are not to be confused with state American Health Benefit Exchanges. That’s where many individuals and SMALL BUSINESSES (there are more lies told about small businesses than any other single segment of ACA) can access 4 levels of health insurance plans with varying premiums and deductibles. For businesses employing 50 or fewer employees, you can visit the Small Business Health Options program (SHOP).
It’s kinda of interesting, as Harvard Applied Economics professor, David Cutler points out in the August 7th business section of the NY Times, that small businesses have ranked the cost of health insurance as the most critical problem they’ve faced over the last 25 years. That’s 25 years of getting eff’d over by the health insurance giants with their obscene premium increases with nobody to stop them and the right-wing Congressional tarts cheering them on for the fattening of their campaign coffers.
And you wonder why the likes of Boehner and Cruz (22 hours of proving you’re a fool) continue to transparently embarrass this country and decent people with their paid-for antics.
Soon, the big boys will have to insure pre-existing conditions. They can’t boot you out for being really sick or having hit some arbitrary annual or lifetime expense limit and you will be presented with a goodly number of options.
October 1 is the debut date for those who can’t afford their employer’s plans or those currently buying their own insurance (usually damn expensive) or have no insurance. You have until March 31 to make up your mind. Online access and call centers will play a major role in getting the exchanges up and running. There will likely be some delays so those dates might not hold in all cases. Remember, you’ve got an estimated 7 million newbies coming into the system in roughly a year with a total of 30 million newly insured likely over time.
One of the headlines I referenced in my last story was “Small businesses rush to renew health policies. Firms trying to avoid higher prices under Obamacare.” What nonsense. It’s likely many small businesses will find better deals with the exchanges with tax credits and if not, their current coverage is ‘grandfatherd’ back to 2010 and can’t be touched. If you want a White House thumbnail on how ACA helps small businesses, here is a two-page White House link that makes it all very clear.
As per usual California left the starting line before other states even flinched. And their program, “Covered California” of health insurance premiums from 13 major companies that had to meet highly restrictive criteria produced a reverse sticker shock. Premiums came in at an average of $321.00 per month, some $129 per lower than ‘expert’ estimates. Let’s put it this way; you’ve got millions of new customers coming through the turnstiles; many with a fiscal boost from the feds and you’re not going to chase that business? Try that strategy major insurer and see how far your stock drops in a period of weeks. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, puts the national premium estimate at $328.00, an average of plans covering five tiers. Here’s where to go for an expanded explanation.
Many headlines shed crocodile tears for the “poor” being short-changed by Obamacare. As if Republicans gave the least little damn about anything that impacts “lazy, good for nothing” low-income or jobless citizens. The fact is that there are a number of government subsidies to assist those who would have trouble paying for health insurance. Help with co-pays and deductibles are also included in Uncle Sam’s largess and if you’re at a certain level there no obligation whatsoever. If you’re a family, ACA will fund people making up to four times the poverty level.
Community Centers, helping the poor acquire coverage so the average insured doesn’t have to pay an extra $1,000 a year to make up the difference, free preventative services, thereby avoiding the really expensive stuff and a strong emphasis on women’s health issues makes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act one of the tastiest pieces of legislation to come out of Congress (thanks to the Democrats) in many a moon.
John Boehner screams that ACA will cost ‘millions of jobs’ around the country. Didn’t hear much from Boehner when the Bush recession, driven by the low-life crooks in the finance and mortgage industries (many are still there), cost America 6-7 million jobs. And how about the additional millions of jobs that sprinted overseas with the help of Boehner-encouraging tax breaks? In point of fact, ACA is a job creator. If some small business owners and a few huge retailers like Home Depot (even the Chinese tired of their orange lobster bibs) and UPS leading the way in gaming the health care system (part-time becomes the new full-time) so the bosses can add 10,000 square feet to their ego castles, that’s not the fault of the ACA. That’s the fault of greedy A-holes.
I’ll close with one more bit of right-wing slight-of-hand; polls indicating opposition to Obamacare. What you’re not told is a large percentage of many of those polling against ACA don’t think it’s liberal enough.
Obamacare: Bring it on!