In a 5 to 4 decision announced on Thursday, June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court said that Obamacare was Constitutional. What makes this decision stunning is that Conservative Chief Judge, John Roberts, wrote the majority decision joining the four open-minded judges. A huge win for the American people but the Republican Party along with its right-wing radical component has gone bananas. Willard Mitt Romney has declared that if elected President, his first order of business is to initiate repeal of Obamacare but he apparently has no replacement plan. In addition, the Republican leadership has decided to take another vote on July 11, 2012, to repeal this law. You may recall that the House conducted a similar vote several months ago that died in the Senate as this vote will.
Romney’s campaign and other Republicans will focus on “bad mouthing” Obamacare by continuing to lie about this remarkable piece of legislation that provides healthcare to over 33 million people. No matter what lies the Republicans and right-wing radicals tell about Obamacare, please get the facts for yourself as I have.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Romney repeated his lie that the health care bill cuts Medicare by $500 billion. However, that amount is actually a reduction in the future growth of spending over 10 years, not a slashing of Medicare. The health care law calls for a reduction in the currently projected growth of federal outlays of about 7 percent over the decade. However, claims that these cuts will “hurt the quality of our care” as represented by Republicans completely ignore the fact that the law adds benefits to Medicare such as free preventive care and more prescription drug coverage. The law also states that guaranteed Medicare benefits cannot be reduced.
Republicans including Romney continue their lies by claiming that under the law “costs will go up” or families will see “higher insurance premiums.” However, for most Americans with health insurance, premiums are expected to stay the same or decrease compared to what would have happened to costs without Obamacare. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, those in the large group market would see between no change and a 3 percent decrease in their average premium in 2016. The small group market would see between a 1 percent increase and a 2 percent drop in the average premium. Again, that’s in comparison to what premiums would do without the health care law. For those who buy insurance on their own, the average premium would increase by between 10 percent and 13 percent because the benefits in this non-group market would improve. In addition, 57 percent of those in this market would get federal subsidies; thus, the extra money would entice them to buy more expensive plans than they normally would, says CBO. The overall cost of health care is projected to increase by less than 1 percent in overall health spending over the next decade:
Republicans continue to call Obamacare a “government takeover” which is another lie. Obamacare is modeled after the Massachusetts health reform enacted in 2006 by then Governor Willard Mitt Romney. It builds on the existing private insurance structure but adds requirements and incentives to ensure that most people have some form of health insurance. Under Obamacare, there is no government alternative to the private system but the number of people who qualify for the existing federal-state Medicaid program for the poor will be expanded. States will run “exchanges” in which private insurers will sell insurance to individuals and small businesses. This means that more people will get private insurance. Tax credits will also be offered to people who have trouble buying private insurance. What Willard Mitt Romney and Republicans are not telling us is that repealing Obamacare will increase the deficit, not decrease it, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Here are a few of the benefits of Obamacare affecting you:
- Insurance companies cannot cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.
- You will never again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma. In other words, 129 million people with pre-existing conditions and millions of middle class families have the security of affordable health coverage.
- Preventive care is covered free of charge by insurance companies including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
- By August 2012, millions of Americans will receive a rebate check before their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
- 5.3 million Seniors save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.
- 6.6 million young people can stay on their parents insurance until they are age 26.
Willard Mitt Romney and other Republicans continue to falsely claim, without any evidence, that Obamacare will restrict employers hiring. The Urban Institute conducted a study on the economic impact of the Romney Massachusetts health care reforms which was a model for Obamacare. The Institute concluded that Massachusetts achieved its goal of universal health care with no indication of negative job consequences. Although both laws are not identical, they share so much in common that researchers concluded, based on their findings in Massachusetts that “national health reform will not lead to job loss or stymied economic growth.”
Having health insurance is a choice. If you can’t afford health insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you will get tax credits that make coverage affordable. But if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free. In other words, you will pay a fee although there is no enforcement provision in the law if you didn’t pay that fee. Romney and other Republicans call this fee a “tax” and technically, it is.
Romney’s campaign claims that it has taken in over $200,000 in online donations since the Supreme Court’s announcement. I suspect that much of these donations are from uninformed or poorly informed people who believe anything coming from Fox News. Once the announcement was made however, Fox News claimed initially that the court through out the mandate, but they got it wrong. Whether you support President Obama or not, the new health care law will benefit you especially if you are part of the 33 million Americans without health care, but also if you are one of the 200 million people who already have coverage because it stabilizes your premiums. Keep in mind that Republican Members of Congress already have many of the health benefits that they don’t want you to have. Doesn’t make sense to me, but that’s just my take.