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It’s Amazing What the American People Will Believe About Obamacare

 

It’s amazing what people, especially conservatives, will believe. Recently, PoliticusUSA writer, Dennis S., has been covering the array of lies that have been spreading like weeds about Obamacare. Not surprisingly, these outright falsehoods are sponsored by well-funded billionaires and corporations who utilize newspapers, email hoaxes, rumors, and shills to get the job done. It shouldn’t have been surprising to see an alarmist blog post circulating around Facebook entitled, “Are You Ready for ObamaCare Home Visits?” This blog post is actually a variation on a slew of right wing blogs that cried, “Confirmed: Obamacare Authorizes Forced ‘Home Inspections‘” or “Obamacare Allows the Government to Use Force to Do Home Inspections.” Perhaps realizing that their hysterical blog posts about forced home inspections were as ridiculous as death panels, and likely to receive only derision from the American public, the author of the latest variation on the theme tempered his rhetoric and claimed that “evidence-based practices” were going to result in nurses and social workers forcing their way into people’s homes, because

“…if your kid gets poor grades. You will get a visit! Many of us warned of this sort of thing during the original debates. It’s bad enough that an insurance company gets to question you about this stuff, but when someone backed by the force of law can knock on your door and demand to know why you smoke . . . now do you see why Ted Cruz talked all those hours?”

It’s easy to roll your eyes at the stupidity of such claims, but the naïve woman who forwarded this “home visits” article to her Facebook newsfeed (and thus to my view) from another naïve woman was embracing the lies with all due sincerity. Again, it is amazing what people, especially conservatives, will believe. So, the right thing to do is seek out the fact-checkers at snopes.com, factcheck.org, or politifact.com and share their debunking truths, right? Surely, these sites will be sufficient to put this nonsense to rest. Don’t bet on it. Here’s what the author of the “home visits” blog post added to the bottom of his lies:

“UPDATE: Some on the left are responding to this by a) claiming the visits are “voluntary”; and b) passing around a Snopes link that claims the story is false. The response to both A and B is the same. The Snopes piece emphasizes that the home visits are not “forced,” and that is true, which technically makes it “voluntary” in the sense that you don’t have to let them in. But that is misleading and beside the point. It is not “voluntary” in the sense that you call up the government and say, “Hey, I can’t quit smoking, is there someone the government can send over?” They reach out to you and seek to arrange a visit. You don’t have to agree, but once the government has flagged your home as an issue worthy of a home visit, what happens after you refuse the visit? These are the people who are subsidizing your insurance, and they’ve just told you they need to speak with you. Yeah, sure, that’s “voluntary.”

Don’t confuse me with the facts, man. What is even more pathetic is the dissing of “evidence-based practices,” which is another way of saying scientifically backed methods of helping people. Science is highly unpopular with conservatives right now, as we know. For example, one evidence-based practice is that people with serious mental illnesses need case managers if they live in the community to prevent costly hospitalizations. The conclusion is based on years of research. It also enjoys the privilege of fitting common sense.

In the case of home visits for high-risk mothers during the early childhood of their children, the research has shown that having a nurse or social work visit their home improves the outcomes of both mother and child, preventing maternal postpartum depression, developmental delays in the child, and reducing child abuse/neglect. Infant mental health programs are already operating in most states. The programs are completely voluntary, and Obamacare makes the incredible sin of making these services more available to new mothers. Here is how Politifact describes it:

 

“The idea: fund visits from nurses and social workers to high-risk families to help them develop skills to keep kids healthy, get them ready for school, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Home-visit programs already existed in 40 states…Here’s what the Affordable Care Act says: Home-visiting programs must assure they’ll have procedures that ensure ‘the participation of each eligible family in the program is voluntary.’ Here’s how that might work, according to Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, who supports such programs. A low-income mom gets her prenatal care at a community health center. Her doctor asks if she would like visits from a nurse after the baby comes to offer tips and answer questions. Mom could say yes — or no. It’s like the old days of health care, Rosenbaum said, when nurses would visit families to show how to breastfeed, sterilize bottles, care for babies and cope when you’re exhausted.  “It’s real health education in the home, is the purpose of it,” she said.  Such programs have a long history backed by peer-reviewed research, she said. They work. “They make sure that you don’t go home to nothing. It’s done to help families, not to police them.”

Oh my, how menacing. The reality is that infant mental health home visits are a great idea, they improve lives, and mothers who already participate in the programs are more than happy with the services they receive. It is probably time to put on our seatbelts and get ready for a rough ride to the implementation of Obamacare, because the political forces working against it are pushing a slew of fictions to people who are all too eager to buy into them. Everyone with common sense and general knowledge of the Affordable Care Act will need to get ready to discredit a lot of bunk. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to convince people willing to believe just about anything, even the more ludicrous of drivel.

Deborah Foster

Deborah is a former social work professor who taught social policy, mental health policy, and human diversity. Proud to be called liberal, she happily pays her taxes after being raised in a home that needed long-term welfare. Contrary to the opinion of many, she is living proof that government investment in children leads them out of poverty having received services from Head Start to Pell Grants. Deborah works with low-income, first generation, and disabled college students who are at high-risk for dropping out of college in a program designed to help them graduate. She lives with her husband, stepson, and an aging cat.

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