On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law, the Affordable Care Act, referred to by many as ObamaCare, putting in place comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumers from abusive insurance company practices. For those Americans who already have health insurance, the only changes they will see under ObamaCare are new benefits, better protections from insurance company abuses, and more value for every dollar they spend on health care. If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law. For the uninsured or those who don’t get their coverage through work, a key component of ObamaCare takes effect on October 1, 2013, when the new Health Insurance Marketplace opens for business, allowing millions of Americans to comparison shop for a variety of quality, affordable plans that best meet their health care needs.
For much too long, many Americans paid the price for policies that handed free rein to insurance companies. ObamaCAre gives hard-working families the security they deserve. Because of ObamaCare, 3.1 million more young adults have health insurance on their parent’s plan, three million seniors have received a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs, and millions of Americans now have access to no-cost preventive services to help them stay healthy. Abusive insurance practices are becoming a thing of the past. Additionally, ObamaCare helps small businesses with the cost of providing health insurance for their employees and helps doctors and other health providers care for their patients more effectively.
The goal of ObamaCare is to provide affordable health insurance for all US citizens and to reduce the growth in health care spending. It does not replace private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid as some wants us to believe. ObamaCare, among other things, gives 47 million women access to preventative health services and makes it illegal to charge women different rates than men. In addition, it gives seniors access to cheaper drugs, free preventive care, reforms Medicare Advantage, and closes the Medicare Part D donut hole. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) agrees, costs won’t rise because of ObamaCare. If anything, the improvements to the system will decrease the average cost of health care for seniors.
Despite the many benefits of ObamaCare, the radical right including many House and Senate Republicans, continue to mass orchestrated lies and fabrications about this most important legislation. House and some Senate Republicans are launching a fresh attack on ObamaCare claiming that the Internal Revenue Service cannot be trusted to implement it. They claim that the agency is unable to fairly oversee provisions of ObamaCare for which it is responsible, such as providing tax credits for the new insurance marketplaces. “As if Americans didn’t have enough reason to fear the IRS, we now know that it is in no position to implement the 47 new powers and authority given to it under the healthcare law,” House Ways and Means Chairman Republican Dave Camp said in recent hearing. “In fact, it is likely that Americans will be at even greater risk of having their identity stolen or private taxpayer information leaked as result of the law, “Camp said. “The law is becoming increasingly unfair, unworkable and untenable,” he added.
Danny Werfel, the acting head of the IRS, informed Camp and other lawmakers at this same hearing that officials are taking every precaution to make sure that individuals’ personal information is protected when the agency works to confirm that people qualify for the new healthcare tax credits. “There are all kinds of safeguards and procedures that we put in place when we share taxpayer information outside of the IRS,” Werfel said.
IRS already shares information about taxpayers with other federal agencies to confirm information for programs such as Medicaid, Werfel said. Though they are not perfect, Werfel said, those protections have “historically proven effective…in mitigating the risk of any taxpayer information being used or accessed for unauthorized purposes.”
Democrats rejected the Republican complaints saying that the information the IRS shares will be purely to tell whether or not applicants for assistance qualify for tax credits, not personal medical data. “They won’t have anything about anybody’s ingrown toenails in this report,” Democrat Jim McDermott said. He added that Republicans were engaging in “a desperate, 11th hour attempt to stop a law that will help Americans.”
Republicans also attacked the Obama Administration for delaying a provision of ObamaCare that would require businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide healthcare. “Is it fair that businesses–big businesses–are off the hook while the average taxpayer is going to be required to buy federally defined acceptable coverage through the individual mandate?” Camp asked. Werfel responded that the decision was made to accommodate business concerns. “The employers and the business community reached out, indicated a need for more time, and there was a balancing decision made that we should provide them that more time,” he said.
Why is it that the Republican Members of Congress are so against government sponsored healthcare for all Americans, yet every one of them has government sponsored healthcare, a benefit for all Federal workers? Republicans have never offered an alternative health plan. With their consistent unprecedented attacks on ObamaCare, voting to repeal its provisions 40 times in the House, are they implying that 31 million Americans should not be given the same access to quality health care as they enjoy?
Fueled by Congressional Republican lies, myths and fabrications as well as those from the radical right including Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Fox and Friends and others, in between calling for the President’s impeachment, angry white Americans have expressed their outrage over ObamaCare at recent Republican Town Hall meetings. It is unfortunate that these citizens have been fed so many lies and myths about ObamaCare that they have apparently overlooked how this law will benefit them and their families. We can all have our own opinions but not our own facts.
Here are a few of the right-wing lies and myths about ObamaCare and the facts:
· ObamaCare will use tax dollars to fund abortions. Fact: ObamaCare maintains the status quo of no federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the women is endangered. A federal judge recently wrote, “the express language of the [Affordable Care Act] does not provide for taxpayer funded abortion. That is a fact and it is clear on its face.”
· ObamaCare will increase the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. Fact: More than 5.1 million people on Medicare have saved over $3.1 billion on prescription drugs, including a one-time $250 rebate check to seniors who fell into the prescription coverage gap or “donut hole” in 2010, and a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs worth an average of $604 per person in 2011.
· ObamaCare will lead to a government takeover of health care. Fact: One independent group actually called this myth the “lie of the year.” ObamaCare puts people, not health insurance companies or government, in charge of health care. The new law strengthens the existing employer-based health insurance market while making the market fair for consumers by implementing landmark consumer protections. Families and individuals that don’t have access to affordable coverage can receive tax credits to help them purchase coverage in the private health insurance market. There is no government-sponsored, public or “single payer” plan in the law.
· ObamaCare will increase the cost of health care. Fact: The health policy experts and economists who have looked at this legislation have said that every possible mechanism to reduce health care costs is being pursued. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit by $210 billion in this decade and by more than $1 trillion over the following 10 years. And a family of four would save as much as $2,300 on their premiums in 2014 compared to what they would have paid without reform.
· Businesses will suffer under health care reform. Fact: ObamaCare lowers cost for American businesses–especially small businesses–who are struggling to remain profitable and competitive under the status quo. The independent CBO confirmed that the bill would lower health insurance premiums for the same insurance plan by up to 4 percent for small businesses and 3 percent for large businesses, and estimates indicate that reform could save businesses $2,000 per person in health costs.
· ObamaCare is unconstitutional. Fact: On June 28, 2012, the U. S. Supreme Court held that ObamaCare is constitutional.
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