I am sick and damn tired of all these uninformed, misinformed, sanctimonious President Obama-haters who are using the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as a whipping post to try to get rid of the President and all Democrats now holding elective office.
The elected office holders and candidates, like Romney and McConnell and Boehner and Berg, know better than to spout their venom against the law of the land, but they do it and get away with it because no one in the media challenges them. And it stirs the letter-to-the-editor writers and radio talk show callers who DON’T know any better, and who stretch what those who do know better say even further, to the point of absurdity. At times, you can hear them actually frothing at the mouth as they talk to the Limbaughs of radioland.
Dammit! What’s happening is that we are turning into a mean, angry country. I hate it. We are better than this. We are good people in a great country, and we deserve better from our leaders. I don’t understand the anti-Obama vitriol. I’m almost 65 years old and I have never, ever seen the people of our country sink to the depths of outright hatred that conservative leaders are taking us into now.
Obamacare is their rallying point. Most of these Hate-spouters have no idea of what it really is. So, with the help of some credible sources, I’m going to try to explain it. Not that any of them will read it and believe it. But so you can counter their rhetoric when you get the chance. Here are real facts:
First, the law DOES NOT create a new government-run insurance plan. Period. What DOES it do? The existing Medicaid program will be expanded to cover more low income people, government regulation of the health insurance industry will be increased, and tax credits will be provided to make private health insurance more affordable. Here are the specifics:
- Starting in 2014, most U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to obtain health insurance, or pay a penalty. Here’s why. Presently, people who have no health insurance and cannot afford to go to a doctor, end up in emergency rooms, where they cannot be turned away, instead of in a doctor’s office. The hospitals have to get these services paid for somehow, so we end up paying through higher insurance rates and co-payments. When everyone has health insurance, medical costs should go down. Should. All we have to do is trust the hospitals to do the right thing. I wish I felt a little better about that part.
- Individual states and the federal government will set up Insurance Exchanges where people who do not have insurance now can purchase insurance. Low and moderate income people who have to purchase insurance through the new Insurance Exchanges will get tax credits, based on their income, to help them cover the cost of their insurance.
- Medicaid will be expanded to cover nearly all low income people, regardless of age. Poor people will be able to get health care under Medicaid. Period.
- Starting in 2014, all health insurers will be required to sell coverage to everyone who applies, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
That’s what it DOES. Here‘s what it DOES NOT do:
- The new law DOES NOT require employers to provide health benefits. Large employers, those with more than 50 employees who don’t provide coverage will pay a penalty, however. Small businesses with less than 50 employees are not affected. But small businesses who DO provide health insurance for their employees will get tax credits to help them pay for it.
- The health reform law does not cut Medicare benefits. Period.
- The myth that there will be “death panels” who will make decisions about end-of-life care is just that—a myth. Congress considered some kind of end-of-life panels and rejected them early in the process.
- Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any financial help from the government to buy health insurance. Nor are they eligible for Medicaid if they buy insurance through Exchanges with their own money.
Okay, that’s the truth about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The facts are provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, which is “a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communications, dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the health issues facing our nation and its people,” according to its website.
The Foundation also says on its website “The health reform law promises to deliver big changes in the U.S. health care system. But, as with other sweeping pieces of legislation, it can be hard to get the real facts about what it does. And it is all too easy for misinformation about the law to spread. Take our short, 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of the law, and then find out how you compare to the rest of the country, as represented by the findings of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly Health Tracking Poll.”
Okay, so you’ve read the primer. Heard the lecture. Now go here to take the quiz. And then next time your neighborhood right wing Democrat-hating loudmouth nutcase starts ranting about a government takeover of health care, challenge him with the facts. Because if you don’t, he surely won’t get them anywhere else, and he’ll just keep it up, right through Election Day. That’s a long time to listen to this crap.