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The Truth About ObamaCare!

There has been so much misinformation, outright lies and mischaracterizations of the Affordable Care Act that I don’t know where to start.

It has become known as “ObamaCare”, thanks to the media, including those on the left and of course, Republican politicians.

I remember the battle for health care reform during the early 90′s when the Clinton’s took on the issue and failed miserably. It sucked all the oxygen out of Washington, along with the wonderful compromise that President Clinton made that brought us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (sarcasm)

When President Obama announced that he was going to pass a health care law early on in his presidency, I thought it was a bad idea. I couldn’t help but picture a similar outcome as the Clinton’s produced. NADA!

Since I lived through the other attempt at health care reform and followed it closely, when the Obama administration was successful at passing the Affordable Care Act, I was elated. Even with all of it’s imperfections, the fact that President Obama set the standard that America cares about the health of ALL of its citizens was incredible. It was a monumental achievement, one that will go down as one of the most amazing political wins in the history of our country.

Given the opposition from both sides of the aisle and the huge amount of misinformation that was and still is being spread about it, I thought I’d take a minute to share with you some truth about what “ObamaCare” has accomplished so far. There is much more to come in the years ahead.

The provision that covers adult dependent children between the ages of 19 – 25 was already working in 2010.

More than 2.5 million young Americans under 26 now have health insurance who would otherwise not be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday morning.

Previously, the department had reported that 1 million young people were covered under the provision in the act, which also helps recent college graduates without a job but not on a parent’s plan stay insured.

I work at a university and supervise over 15 student workers. To them, the Affordable Care Act is kick-ass.

The Affordable Care Act has slowed the growth of Medicare spending.

And now for some good news: Medicare spending growth has been slowing noticeably. So far this fiscal year, expenditures have actually declined slightly, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Part of the decline this year reflects timing shifts in certain Medicare payments, which will soon be reversed. Even adjusting for these shifts, though, Medicare spending is still up less than 4 percent so far this year.

The 2011 numbers come on the heels of relatively slow growth in 2010 as well. Last year, Medicare spending rose just a little more than 4 percent.

Compare this with an almost 12 percent average annual growth rate in Medicare spending since the early 1970s.

The “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription coverage for senior citizens is shrinking, saving them nearly 40%.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare’s prescription coverage gap is getting noticeably smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs.

The “doughnut hole,” an anxiety-inducing catch in an otherwise popular benefit, will shrink about 40 percent for those unlucky enough to land in it, according to new Medicare figures provided in response to a request from The Associated Press.

The average beneficiary who falls into the coverage gap would have spent $1,504 this year on prescriptions. But thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, that cost fell to $901, according to Medicare’s Office of the Actuary, which handles economic estimates.

For people with pre-existing conditions, including my niece who had cancer at age 25, the Affordable Care Act rocks…as my niece would say. If you haven’t read Spike Dolomite Ward’s story from the LA Times, go read it now. She wrote an apology to President Obama.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

The small business tax credits are working and helping communities in the process.

With the economy still in a slump, small business owners like me are doing everything we can to keep our costs down. A particularly troublesome cost for my business is health insurance.

However, I recently learned there are tax credits in the new healthcare law specifically for small businesses that will help us pocket some extra cash. [...]

Under the Affordable Care Act, our store will receive a $15,000 tax credit. That’s not all the money in the world, but it means a lot to us and costs the government little or nothing.

Here’s how it worked for us. Last spring, when the tea leaves of commerce were hard to read, the tax credit gave me the confidence to hire a new full-time employee.

That employee is now paying taxes. That means thousands of dollars going into government coffers. [...]

Another employee had been paying nearly $20,000 for his family insurance. Our tax credit gave me the confidence to encourage him to switch to our policy, which now saves that family more than $8,000 per year.

That money is going right into a new roof on the house and education for their kids.

Community Health Centers are continuing to expand and service millions of Americans.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating: one of the most important things the Affordable Care Act did was to massively expand the community health centers. If one agrees that health care, at the end of the day,  should be a venture not waged for profit, then one cannot avoid the importance of the community health centers. The health centers currently serve over 20 million people, and are committed to doubling that capacity to 40 million by 2015.

The Affordable Care Act is helping states and making the process more transparent for the insured.

The Affordable Care Act establishes common-sense consumer protections and requires insurers to operate in a more transparent manner.  Fair rules and transparency help create a more level playing field between consumers and insurers. The law also empowers States by putting them in the driver’s seat in implementing many of these new consumer protections.

On July 23, 2010, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued an interim final rule regarding internal claims and appeals and external review processes for group health plans and health insurance issuers offering coverage in the group and individual markets.  This rule works to give people in most plans better information about what their rights are and why their claims were denied or coverage rescinded. Under the rule, consumers have the:

  • Right to information about why a claim or coverage has been denied.  Health plans and insurance companies have to tell you why they’ve decided to deny a claim or chosen to end your coverage – and how you can appeal that decision.
  • Right to appeal to the insurance company.  If you’ve had a claim denied or had your coverage rescinded, you have the right to an internal appeals process, a process in which you ask your insurance company to conduct a full and fair review of its decision.  If the case is urgent, your insurance company must speed up this process.
  • Right to an independent review.  Often, insurers and their policyholders can resolve disputes during the internal appeals process.  If you can’t work it out through the internal appeals process, you now have the right to take your appeal to an independent third-party for review of the insurer’s decision.  This is called “external review.”  This way, the insurance company no longer gets the final say regarding your benefits, and patients and doctors get a greater measure of control over health care.

These protections and standards are an important step forward in reforming the health care system to make sure it works for consumers, not just insurance companies.

New rules announced on October 20, 2011 by HHS will save millions of dollars and improve care for patients.

The new rules establish a new voluntary Medicare Shared Savings Program that helps doctors, hospitals, and other providers improve their ability to coordinate care across all health care settings. Providers who meet certain quality standards can share in any resulting savings.

The quality measures are organized into four domains:

  • Patient experience
  • Care coordination and patient safety
  • Preventive health
  • Caring for at-risk populations

The higher the quality of care providers deliver and the greater the effectiveness of their care coordination, the more savings they may keep.  Federal savings could be up to $940 million over four years.

And then there is this breaking news, hot off the presses. There is this hidden trigger thing that may just lead to single payer health care or Medicare for all.

Believe it or not, I could go on and on with the many provisions that are working from the Affordable Care Act, but I will leave it at that for now.

I hope you bookmark this post and refer people who have fallen for the misinformation being peddled by Republicans and even many on the left who are using their carefully crafted propaganda against this landmark legislation — to further their own selfish interests.

I remember talking to a friend from Germany over 25 years ago about the difference between European countries and America when it comes to health coverage. He couldn’t understand the attitude of the then Reagan brigade. He said to me something to the effect that “in Europe, we want our fellow citizens to be healthy”. He was 17 years old at the time.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

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January 3, 2012 - Posted by | Accomplishments, Health Care Reform, President Barack Obama, The Truth |

21 Comments »

  1. Excellent summary.

    Comment by Jerry Critter | January 3, 2012 | Reply

  2. Lot of promising claims for a program not started. Seems to be contradictory to say Medicare payments are down while only rising 4%. How can you be down and up at the same time?
    You further illustrate one of this countries biggest, accept personal responsibility. You teach higher education to students so they can better themselves than applaud them for continuing to rely on their parents for everything.

    Obamacare does one thing, provide for a small minority who don’t want healthinsurance (less than 10%) and raise costs while lowering availability and quality for the remaining 90%. Guess the OWS people, we need to go after the 10%. Everyone has healthcare but some don’t have health insurance.

    Comment by skudrunner | January 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Do you have trouble reading? Did someone type that comment for you?

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | January 4, 2012 | Reply

    • That post makes no sense.

      Comment by Hockley | January 5, 2012 | Reply

  3. Anecdote, as my grad-school stats prof frequently reminded us, is not “data.”
    I read a lot of anecdotal information.
    None of it would I consider data sufficient to support the author’s claims.

    Comment by Dr.Woody | January 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Why don’t you trolls actually read the words on the page before commenting? You look awfully silly to the people who actually read the posts. Maybe you like looking silly. I would suggest you also click on the links, that is why they are provided.

      And where is your data? If you disagree, please support it. I provided numerous links to professionals and experts in the health field, you give us innuendo. Is that the best you got?

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | January 4, 2012 | Reply

      • It is the best that he has.

        Comment by Hockley | January 5, 2012 | Reply

  4. Michelle Bachmann got a national camera to announce her withdrawal from the GOP race using her speech to blast “Obamacare” (citing that word 11 times). She says combating “socialized medicine” was her main reason for entering the presidential race supposedly making her decision to run on the very day when the Affordable Care Act (which of course she called “Obamacare) passed in Congress. She ticked off her usual stump bullet points and warned that this coming election may be the most critical in our nation’s history….to prevent the “socialist Obama” from taking our nation down the road to ruin!

    Comment by grantinhouston | January 4, 2012 | Reply

  5. I am so glad our President finally bucked the Republicans in the Senate by granting a recess appointment for Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It should never have been a question that such a highly qualified and mainstream nominee should not have been given even an up-and-down vote by the obstructionist Republicans. The president had no other option but to make a recess appointment. President Obama has made a good faith effort to nominate mainstream, respected nominees for many executive and judicial positions, but he has been met at every turn by a Republican Congress unwilling to perform even its most basic duties of “advise and consent”. Obama had made 28 recess appointments before the Republicans in the Senate began their obstructionism by having someone come into the Senate Chamber DAILY while the body is in recess to “gavel down. The REICH is now screaming foul thinking they are technically “in session”, when actually nearly all Senators are in recess, back in their home states. This “gavel down” trick was not employed when George W. Bush and other presidents in the past made recess appointments. So let the GOP clowns fight the president making them look like they don’t wish to protect consumers.

    Here is a partial list of the 171 recess appointments made by George W. Bush:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Recess_appointments_made_by_President_George_W._Bush

    The first recess appointment was made in 1795 when President George Washington appointed South Carolina judge John Rutledge as Chief Justice of the United States during a congressional recess. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, states:

    blockquoteThe President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    Of course in a age of horses and carriages, travel back and forth to the Capitol took some time and once Senators were away, it was difficult to get them back in a called session. Even today it would be somewhat of a hardship in a far flung nation.

    Comment by grantinhouston | January 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Theodore Roosevelt did 193 recess appointments seconds after the gavel came down.

      Comment by jeff | January 9, 2012 | Reply

      • Our BLACK president isn’t allowed to do what white presidents have done!

        Comment by grantinhouston | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  6. Politifact gives Gov. Rick Perry a “pants on fire” citation for his BIG LIE during the weekend’s debates saying that President Obama is a “socialist”. These GOP clowns are hoping that most Americans have no idea of what socialism is all about except we have been raised to incorrectly believe it is the same as communism and therefore very evil. What most Americans don’t know is that the USA is probably one of the least socialist of all nations, that most of the nations of the world have a mixed-bag of capitalism and socialism, even CHINA!

    “In fact, the health care law relies largely on the free enterprise system, an economic approach that Perry usually speaks about fondly. To increase health care coverage for the uninsured and people in small business, the law sets up exchanges to encourage private health insurance companies to compete. (In 2010, we chose the Republican claim that the law was a “government takeover” as our Lie of the Year.)”

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jan/08/rick-perry/rick-perry-says-barack-obama-socialist/

    Comment by grantinhouston | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  7. I am looking for some input from the left. I am a right wing conservative college student looking for a civilized conversation. Please go to my article on squidoo and post a response. If you think name calling is the way to solve problems go ahead and keep trolling on the same blogs. I’m looking for a civilized conversation on the issues that face this country. http://www.squidoo.com/economy-politics

    Comment by Trent | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  8. The truth about Obamacare is not difficult to lay out unless you’ve got an agenda that makes emphasizing some parts and deemphasizing others necessary (as you seem to above):

    1. It eliminates some very undesirable practices by insurers, making insurance available to some people who previously could not obtain coverage. This is its main virtue and a worthwhile virtue it is, but it comes at great cost and could have been achieved by other means that avoided those costs – e.g., a single-payer system or at least a strong ‘public option’ that would force private insurers to compete seriously if they wanted to survive (how Obama kept any discussion of a single-payer approach completely off the table and actively sabotaged including a public option behind the scenes in multiple ways and at multiple points during the process is an illuminating topic but is not central to evaluating the travesty of ‘reform’ that resulted from this perfidy).

    2. It allows the insurers to pass on the full costs of this improved coverage (plus their overhead in providing it) to consumers, the result being that prices go up for those who already had coverage in order to help defray some of the additional costs of covering those people who previously could not obtain it. This makes the ‘reforms’ required above a wash for insurers and consumers alike in terms of total cost: insurer per-capita profits are not affected and average consumer prices per unit coverage are not affected, though some consumers pay more than they used to to help defray some of the costs for the newly-insured customers who can’t themselves be charged the full cost (plus overhead) of their new coverage (this is simply the way insurance works: when high-risk individuals must be covered at a level which their personal premiums cannot pay for that cost is spread out over the wider population of insured).

    3. It provides the private insurance industry with over 30,000,000 new customers who are required by law to purchase their products and will be subsidized by taxpayers to the extent that they cannot afford to. In so doing it enshrines this private (and historically greedy and unethical) industry in federal law. Both aspects are unpopular (to put it mildly) with much of our population; both aspects are (obviously) very popular indeed with the private insurance industry. The fact that more people who cannot currently afford private insurance (but who do not qualify for Medicaid assistance) will have coverage is a virtue, but again this is a virtue which could have been achieved by other means (expanding Medicare or Medicaid being perhaps the most obvious) without the accompanying drawback of shoveling additional hundreds of gigadollars annually into the maw of the inefficient (see below) private insurance industry. It’s also worth noting that coverage will remain far from complete (the CBO estimate is that well over 20,000,000 people will remain uncovered even as late as 2019, long after all provisions of the ACA have come on line).

    4. It does almost nothing to constrain service costs (save for Medicare, where its primary effect is to reduce historically high levels of Medicare fraud by better policing payouts – an action which should have occurred many years ago and which is completely unrelated to the health-care ‘reform’ of the rest of the package save that it was necessary in order to make the complete package fiscally acceptable).

    5. It does almost nothing to constrain insurance industry profit (the subject of your laughable ‘hidden trigger’ link above). Both you and your source don’t appear to understand what a ‘trigger’ is and your source misstates the ACA’s requirements in this area as well, which are not a flat 85% minimum medical loss ratio but an 85% minimum medical loss ratio for large group plans and an 80% minimum medical loss ratio for small-group and individual plans (individual plans being a relatively small percentage of the insured total and the only one where these requirements may improve things noticeably in at least some cases). Not by coincidence, these ‘requirements’ approximately reflect what UNCONSTRAINED average industry MLRs were in 2006 – 2009 (well, not quite: the new rules for calculating MLRs are more generous for insurers than the rules used to calculate MLRs before the ACA passed, so in actuality the new requirements are noticeably LOOSER than the earlier unconstrained behavior of the industry – see http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11711.pdf). As points of comparison, the MLR of Medicare is approximately 95% and the MLRs of private insurers in Europe (where they take regulation considerably more seriously) are well over 90%.

    6. By failing to constrain costs and reduce excessive insurer overheads it will require massive government subsidies for a large percentage of our population to achieve its ‘affordability’ targets. Given the bipartisan zeal for reducing deficits without significant tax increases this virtually guarantees that such subsidies will be primary targets for deficit reduction – and if the subsidies are gutted, we’ll very arguably be left in a significantly worse state than we would have been had this health-care ‘reform’ act never been passed (if somehow the subsidies don’t get gutted, we’ll just be paying the overall societal costs of shoveling those extra hundreds of annual gigadollars into the money pit that is the private health-insurance industry in this country).

    There are a few other more minor virtues of Obamacare which you mentioned above, but, yet again, they in no way depended upon enshrining the tender ministrations of our inefficient and predatory private insurance industry into law and are not worth that price in the opinion of many. Better to have scrapped the whole thing (as Howard Dean suggested once the public option appeared unlikely to be included) and started over with REAL reform while there was still strong public support for it.

    Comment by - bill | January 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Your last line says it all and should have read “Fuck all those people who benefit from ACA, who gives a shit about them anyway?”

      And it also shows clearly that you have no clue how the legislative process works and apparently don’t know that there is a Republican Party in this country.

      Where’s my magic wand?

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | January 17, 2012 | Reply

      • Well, it’s reassuring (if a bit disappointing) to know that my initial impression of your incompetence was correct. I’ll leave it to readers to sort out which of us they think has a better handle on the OVERALL cost/benefit outcome of this bill.

        Comment by - bill | January 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Oh, and I dare you to go read this post about the same subject. No amount of hyperbole can stop people from benefiting from the bill, so you are fighting an uphill battle. Go READ! http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2012/01/comprehensive-achievements-of-obamacare.html

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | January 17, 2012 | Reply

      • Plus to hear the REICH talk about “Obamacare” you’d think it was already in place and ruining this nation. when MOST of it hasn’t even gone into effect yet.

        2013

        – Increases the Medicare payroll tax and expands it to dividend, interest and other unearned income for singles earning more than $200,000 and joint filers making more than $250,000.

        2014

        – Provides subsidies for families earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level — or, under current guidelines, about $88,000 a year — to purchase health insurance.

        – Requires most employers to provide coverage or face penalties.

        – Requires most people to obtain coverage or face penalties.

        2018

        – Imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high-end insurance policies.

        By 2019

        – Expands health insurance coverage to 32 million people.

        So far it has only…

        – Provided a $250 rebate to Medicare prescription drug plan beneficiaries whose initial benefits run out.

        – Provided immediate access to high-risk pools for people who have no insurance because of preexisting
        conditions.

        – Bars insurers from denying people coverage when they get sick.

        – Bars insurers from denying coverage to children who have preexisting conditions.

        – Bars insurers from imposing lifetime caps on coverage.

        – Requires insurers to allow young people to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.

        – Requires individual and small group market insurance plans to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on
        medical services. Large group plans would have to spend at least 85 percent.

        Comment by grantinhouston | January 17, 2012 | Reply

  9. Today, the Obama administration courageously approved a rule that requires insurance companies to cover contraception in the face of intense lobbying from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and vicious attacks from the religious right (and you can be sure more attacks will come). Thankfully the administration put the health of women ahead of politics.
    Now, all women, even our very poor will have access to such family planning.

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/01/20/407994/obama-administration-approves-rule-that-guarantees-near-universal-contraceptive-coverage/

    Comment by grantinhouston | January 20, 2012 | Reply

  10. Howard Dean (democrat) says obalmycare is a bailout of the insurance companies in return for bribes (contributions) they paid out to BOTH democrats and republicans. That’s why republicans only put up token resistance to it.

    What industry wouldn’t want the government to force 50,000,000 people to become customers overnight?

    Of course, none of these “conservatives” bitched when auto insurance became mandatory. This is largely modeled after that.

    “People get the government they deserve.” – John Updike/Author

    http://dev.fixhealthcarepolicy.com/health-care-news/howard-dean-obamacare-bigger-bailout-for-insurance-companies-than-aig/

    Comment by DeanBerryMinistries | October 22, 2013 | Reply

    • Have to laugh when opponents decry that Obamacare is “socialism” when this will be a boon to capitalist insurance companies. Socialism is found in most nation’s single payer healthcare systems like the “evil” systems in the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, etc.

      Comment by grantinhouston | October 23, 2013 | Reply


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