The Right’s Obamacare Rhetoric Is Completely Detached from Reality

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a rally in front of the WWII Memorial Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The old saying that ‘you’re welcome to your own opinions but not your own facts’ seems quaint in today’s political environment. We’re a nation divided not only by partisanship and ideology, but also by wildly divergent realities.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the discourse around Obamacare. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms to be made of the Affordable Care Act, but many conservatives — including the dominant faction within today’s Republican Party — speak about Obamacare as if it were an ebola pandemic, melting the organs of the American heartland from within.

Some of the claims ostensibly respectable figures on the right make about the law are simply mind boggling. This week, Ben Carson, a conservative surgeon and activist — and the flavor-of-the-day at Fox News – told a crowd at this year’s “Values Voters Summit” that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” Forget two world wars, the Great Depression or coming within an inch of annihilation during the Cold War.

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita (R) reached back further in time to condemn the ACA as “one of the most insidious laws ever created by man,” which prompted Jon Stewart to point out that Rokita was, in effect, “putting Obamacare up with the Nuremberg laws, the Spanish Inquisition and prima nocta — the medieval law where on your wedding night the king gets to sleep with your wife.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), an enthusiastic promoter of Politifact’s Lies of the Year in 2009 (“death panels”) and 2010 (“government takeover of health care”), was more subtle, concluding merely that the ACA would eventually turn the US into a “police state” and “will ultimately be known as DeathCare.” For Rick Santorum, Obamacare is a direct “descendant of the French Revolution.” And Arizona state Rep. Brenda Barton told a reporter, “You better read your history. Germany started with national health care and gun control before [the Holocaust] happened. And Hitler was elected by a majority of people.”

This stuff is nothing short of comical when you recall that Obamacare was a conservative answer to the doomed “Hillarycare” plan (which would have mandated that most employers provide decent coverage for their workers). The Republican Party’s last presidential nominee called the very similar scheme he’d enacted as governor of Massachusetts, “the ultimate conservatism,” adding: “that’s why the Heritage Foundation worked with us… [they] recognized that the principles of free enterprise and personal responsibility were at work.” Of the provision that conservatives now decry as an egregious assault on Americans’ freedoms, Mitt Romney explained, “we got the idea of an individual mandate… from [Newt Gingrich], and [Newt] got it from the Heritage Foundation.”

When you get into the details, the health care law is complex, with a whole bunch of moving parts (it’s certainly a lot more complex than “Medicare for all” would have been). But the broad strokes are relatively simple: there are a number of (highly popular) new regulations on insurers; there are exchanges where private companies offer a variety of insurance plans; it’s got subsidies that make those plans more affordable for the middle class; there’s an expansion of Medicaid for the poor, and a mandate – Romney referred to it as his “personal responsibility program” – which makes those popular regulations work.

While people who don’t consume an enormous amount of Fox News can easily laugh off the Hitler comparisons, another line of argument made by virtually every conservative in America is just as unmoored from reality: the claim that the law has already proven to be a calamity. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently spoke with a straight face of “the enormous harms Obamacare is causing, all of the millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, being pushed into part-time work, losing their health insurance.”

It would be interesting to know what Cruz believes to be the mechanism for all these horrors, given that the employer mandate won’t go into effect for another year and health care costs are growing at the slowest rate since the government started tracking that data in 1960.

Nothing Cruz said is reflected in any objective reality. The private sector has added jobs in every single month since Obamacare was signed in March of 2010. After rising over the previous decade, the share of Americans without health insurance declined from 16.3 percent in 2010 to 15.4 percent last year. And there’s no evidence other than anecdotal tales hyped by Fox News of employers cutting workers’ hours to less than 30 per week – the minimum before the employer mandate kicks in. That provision was supposed to go into effect in 2014, based on 2013 employment data, and when economists Helene Jorgenson and Dean Baker looked at the numbers, they found that the share of workers putting between 26-29 hours per week had actually fallen between 2012 and 2013.

“The fundamental problem in Washington is Washington is not listening to America,” Cruz said last week. But even the widespread belief among conservatives that public opinion is on their side is detached from what nonpartisan polling reveals. A recent CBS poll, for example, found that 51 percent of respondents disapproved of the law compared to 43 percent who liked it. But 20 percent of those polled said the ACA did “not go far enough in changing the health care system,” and only 25 percent approved of shutting down the government to block the law.

Also, many Americans haven’t a clue what’s in Obamacare – a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll conducted in April found that four-in-ten thought that it had been repealed or struck down by the courts. That means a significant number of those who disapprove of the law think it’s casting millions of people out of work and driving the cost of health care through the roof – or that it’s akin to slavery, the French Revolution and the Holocaust. Another KFF poll, conducted in March, asked people what they thought of 11 of Obamacare’s provisions, and found that ten of them enjoyed the support of significant majorities – only the “personal responsibility program” Newt Gingrich got from the Heritage Foundation and then passed on to Mitt Romney proved unpopular. What’s more, the elements of the law people liked best were among those that the fewest respondents knew about.

The great irony here is that the rollout of the new health care exchanges has been a complete disaster. There are any number of reasoned criticisms opponents of the law could make were they grounded in the real world, but from inside the conservative media bubble, Obamacare is not just an unnecesarily complicated scheme that’s had big-time implementation problems due to cronyism, bad management and too many cooks in the kitchen – it’s a planet-killing asteroid hurtling right at us.

Which leads to an even greater irony: by throwing an epic tantrum and shutting down the government, Obamacare’s fiercest opponents have sucked media coverage away from all the glitches and screw-ups that marked the first two weeks of enrollment. In fact, according to the NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll released last week, the showdown has had a “boomerang effect,” raising the law’s popularity by seven percentage points and prompting one liberal group to send Ted Cruz a lovely fruit basket and a warm note of thanks.

Joshua Holland is a senior digital producer for BillMoyers.com. He’s the author of The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything Else the Right Doesn’t Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America) (Wiley: 2010), and host of Politics and Reality Radio. Follow him on Twitter or drop him an email at hollandj [at] moyersmedia [dot] com.
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  • Anonymous

    In regards to Obamacare, look up YOUR monthly health rate and its deductible. You may be shocked like I was. Look before you judge the business community.

  • Anonymous

    I’m highly skeptical about this comment. But some people will see their rates rise — depends on their employment and insurance status. We can also expect to see employers use Obamacare as an excuse to shift more costs onto their workers when they’re not paying more themselves.

    Anyway, the “business community,” by in large, didn’t oppose the reforms.

  • Steve Clark

    I’m loving the irony in having an idea conceived by a conservative think-tank and implemented by a Republican governor now being demonized by the right as “Obama-care”. They were for it before they were against it.

  • Neil Forte

    How & what we human speak is a reflection of what’s in our souls,immaturity shows

  • David

    Yeah, its called me saving $90 bucks a month.

  • Uncle Jed

    Just for giggles, let’s look at your article a little closer
    for the embedded facts inside this liberal opinion piece (if you don’t believe
    Moyer’s site is a liberals’ only soapbox, just take a look at the site map and
    the titles):

    “It would be interesting to know what Cruz believes to
    be the mechanism for all these horrors, given that the employer mandate won’t
    go into effect for another year and health care costs are growing at the
    slowest rate since the government started tracking that data in 1960.”

    Interesting how in the same sentence, you rightly
    state the ACA hasn’t been implemented yet, yet you appear to claim it’s
    success in lowering the rate of medical care increase.

    “A recent CBS poll,
    for example, found that 51 percent of respondents disapproved of the law
    compared to 43 percent who liked it. But 20 percent of those polled said the
    ACA did “not go far enough in changing the health care system,” and only 25 percent
    approved of shutting down the government to block the law.”

    There’s nothing to infer that the 20% who don’t think ACA
    went far enough aren’t already embedded in the 43% who like it. Surprise! A minority
    of American’s are in favor of this debacle the Administration and Congress have
    jointly accomplished.

    “Also, many Americans haven’t a
    clue what’s in Obamacare – a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll conducted in
    April found that four-in-ten thought that it had been repealed or
    struck down by the courts. That means a significant number of those who
    disapprove of the law think it’s casting millions of people out of work and
    driving the cost of health care through the roof – or that it’s akin to
    slavery, the French Revolution and the Holocaust.”

    First, you didn’t even finish this sentence, but that
    notwithstanding, the corollary (of what I think you are getting at) is
    just as true; a significant number of those who approve of the law don’t know
    much about the law either.

    Politicians on both sides say the sky is falling when we’re
    really just in the middle of a deluge. That doesn’t mean this expensive bill
    won’t show it’s ugly self very quickly as more and more of it’s costly (in jobs
    and premium increases) provisions come into effect.

  • Anonymous

    My rates don’t change at all, as is the case for more than 80% of the people in the country, because I have employer provided healthcare that doesn’t change.

  • WallStreetWindow

    Agree. Employers shifting more cost onto employees and retirees has been ongoing long before Obamacare. Given the volume and magnitude of lies tolled every day by right-wing Taliban terrorist it’s hard to trust a word of their daily-propaganda.

    As a fiscal conservative I do have serious concerns about adding (ACA) new government entitlements and expanding welfare (e.g. EITC, Head Start) while both parties seek to cut benefits to those who (with their employer) paid a lifetime of FICA taxes to earn Social Security.

    No doubt there are cases where families healthcare cost have gone up. The State of Ohio has eliminated all healthcare benefits for spouses of future retirees. But is that directly related to Obamacare or newly elected Republican TP members who hate giving government worker benefits? Hard to know the truth. But it’s obvious these Waco wacko statements you’ve called-out are made by TP zealots to please the Obama haters and raise money. And we know social media is the breeding ground for concocting lies and exaggerations as it requires no proof or verification.

  • mimilissy

    The ACA will be defunded by repeal of medical device tax for two years. If you chip at the foundation, it becomes a burden. The conservatives decry budget deficits and debt, pass bills and then fail to fund them. The SS and medicare trust fund goes into the general fund to pay obligations. I find the republican agenda is to chip away at the foundations of programs and then call them entitlements and make people fear them and call them a handout. Our system is so broken. They all need to be thrown out.

  • Uncle Jed

    If by “they” you mean the Democrats and Republicans, I agree. Kick them all out. We’ve become a polarized society, when, in fact, most Americans are close to the right/left centerline and go back and forth across that line based on the individual subject. Personally, I’m a fiscal conservative, but left-of-line on most social issues.

  • Anonymous

    “Interesting how in the same sentence, you rightlystate the ACA hasn’t been implemented yet, yet you appear to claim it’s
    success in lowering the rate of medical care increase.”

    First, I said the employer mandate — the mechanism by which it presumably would be destroying jobs — hasn’t been implemented. Second, while some cost containment measures have been in effect for several years, I didn’t claim that there is a direct causal relationship, because that would be premature.

    “There’s nothing to infer that the 20% who don’t think ACAwent far enough aren’t already embedded in the 43% who like it.”

    It’s one of many polls that have yielded similar results over the past three years. A number have asked only of those who opposed the plan whether they thought it went too far or not far enough.

  • Anonymous

    This is a big part of it. People who had almost no coverage will end up paying more because of new minimum requirements for what plans must pay for.

  • Anonymous

    If you click on the link I provided, you’ll find a piece by the president of KFF looking at the likely causes for the slow-down in health care costs.

  • Uncle Jed

    You were very careful not to outright misrepresent those facts, but you manipulated your already left-leaning audience with inferences that required critical thought to discern. I realize it’s an opinion piece and you only are obligated to show facts that reinforce your POV, but it’s still not the whole truth. The truth is the ACA was forced through without a single Republican vote or willingness to compromise. The Republican party has done similar things when it had the power, but it’s disengenuous to act like the Democrats have the high ground in this debacle. Both sides are to blame for our current situation.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that you have used the very “facts’ to support your agrument that arte actually in support of the ACA. Mr. Moyers was presenting actual true evidence to attack the unsupptable claims of self-important fools like Mr Cruz — Clearly you have been watching far too much “Fox News” so you sense of reality is warped. Thus you have proven Mt. Moyer very point better than he himself did.

  • Uncle Jed

    While I won’t get into whether KFF polls are distorted, it is interesting to note the foundation has long led the lobby for health reform, so it has historically used it’s polls to promote it’s position. It is not an independent polling organization.

  • Uncle Jed

    a) Mr Moyers did not write this article.
    b) You offer no facts in your comment.
    c) I don’t watch Fox News at all; I review a cross-section of many online news media and discern for myself where the facts are within the deluge of garbage propaganda from both the extreme right and left.

    Your attack would best be characterized as a “nanny nanny boo boo” as you’re standing behind the playground bully. When you have facts to offer, your comments might be more relevant.

  • Anonymous

    It’s an article, not a poll. And KFF’s research is highly respected by experts on both sides.

  • Uncle Jed

    I guess you edited your previous comment vice posting a new one. I’ll let this post/edit speak for itself, although I’m not sure what it says.

    Trying to use ad hominem attacks to discredit your counterpart is not very effective, except on a site where 95% already are as blind to other perspectives as you appear to be. Wake up and think for yourself and argue based on facts, rather than “You’re conservative, so you must be ignorant/evil/(you pick the disparaging remark)!” Until we realize that educated, well-intentioned folks are on both sides of political debates, we won’t make progress. Your side has significant valid points, but so does the other side. Too many lemmings just follow blindly what the propagandists tell them to believe.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do assume an audience with a relatively high degree of reading comprehension.

    Anyway, I don’t see you addressing the point of the piece. Do you want to defend the comparisons to slavery or claims that millions of people have lost their jobs as a result of ACA?

  • Uncle Jed

    Now I’m really confused. You quoted a couple of KFF polls in your article, yet you now are saying it’s not a poll. I’m sure KFF is respected for what it does, but it primarily does promote health reform, so its polls will largely be designed to support its primary function.

  • Uncle Jed

    If you notice I did address your primary premise in my original post. Politicians exaggerate and claim the sky is falling. You pull out extremist claims and try to paint everyone against the ACA with the same broad brush. You are part of the extremist propaganda problem, not the solution.

  • Anonymous

    “Trying to use ad hominem attacks to discredit your counterpart is not very effective, except on a site where 95% already are as blind to other perspectives as you appear to be.”

    That’s hilarious. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

  • Anonymous

    Oh, please. Politicians don’t go around comparing things to slavery and the Holocaust every day. And these are elected officials, not bloggers.

  • Anonymous

    “If you click on the link I provided, you’ll find a piece by the president of KFF looking at the likely causes for the slow-down in health care costs.”

    The polls cited in the piece are polls. The linked article is an article.

  • Uncle Jed

    You obviously need to review the definitions of your trade. All my comments have been based on the article you provided and the responses to my post. I have not personally attacked anyone; I have addressed pertinent facts.

  • Uncle Jed

    I couldn’t care less about data you provided after the fact. That precisely gets to the heart of what my original issue with your piece was. You led people to believe the the numbers in your article had value justifying your position, when they really didn’t .

  • Uncle Jed

    I didn’t claim to defend their comments…they are extremists that are twisting facts to fit their purpose. Liberals are doing the same thing (recall a senior official equating conservative obstructionists to terrorists).

    I understand you work for a liberal site and you’re preaching to your congregation, but I just get frustrated that sites like this serve as “news” to the faithful when it’s an editorial page at best.

    I have nothing against you, but we have created a society that refuses to look at things from multiple perspectives. Both left and right extremes are to blame, but we all make our choices daily.

  • Uncle Jed

    You’re painting a picture just from one perspective…that is exactly what your job is on this site. As below, I understand the position you’re in, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.

  • Uncle Jed

    Mr. Holland,
    I’m sure you have better things to do than continuing this Lufbery with me. I know I have more important issues with which to attend. My best to you and yours.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t provide anything after the fact — I’m suggesting that you and others click on a link in the piece if you’re interested in a discussion of why the growth in health care costs is slowing dramatically. That link was already there.

    The data in the piece obviously do support my position, which is that there is no coherent narrative about how Obamacare has supposedly destroyed millions of jobs and left millions uninsured. The private sector has added jobs every single month, healthcare costs are slowing and the rate of the uninsured has fallen since 2010 after rising for a decade. So where is the factual grounding for Cruz’s claims? It clearly doesn’t exist in the data.

  • Anonymous

    for the Teabaggers and righteous right opposed to “Obamacare”, the end justifies the means. Being caught telling outrageous lies only chastens those who feel shame, and feeling shame is not something these people can do. Facts do not dissuade them because facts are disregarded as a part of a “liberal bias” in the media. These people, defiant within their cocoon of willful ignorance and lies, are within a hair’s breadth of sedition and/or treason.

  • Uncle Jed

    Mr. Gilroy,

    Perhaps you should reread that same poll. Those were completely separate questions and their numbers didn’t relate to one another. In fact, the notes clearly state:

    “…One in 10 who disapprove of the law do so because they
    don’t think it goes far enough.”

    Believe what you want, but don’t misrepresent the facts.

  • Anonymous

    There are no exemptions for government — that’s a rather silly talking-point. A full explanation is here: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/reid-hopeful-that-debt-deal-will-be-ready-by-monday-afternoon

    Short version: Congressional staffers will enroll in the exchanges, but continue to have their employers pick up part of the bill, like a hundred million other Americans with employer-sponsored coverage.

    As for those left uninsured, the majority live in Red States that have refused the Medicaid expansion. Blame the Supreme Court for that one.

  • Anonymous

    Parts of ACA were enacted already like no denial for pre existing conditions. The unions are not exempt – there will be cadillac plan taxes potentially unless employers reduce the level of subsidy. Sen. Cruz is covered on his Wife’s Cadillac Plan from Goldman Sachs 40K/yr subsidy.

  • NotARedneck

    “today’s Republican Party — speak about Obamacare as if it were an Ebola
    pandemic, melting the organs of the American heartland from within.”

    For the right, health care for all is very scary. Where ever it has been brought in, it limits the opportunities for the imbeciles from the right to gain unconditional support from the uninformed. Since nearly all now see the benefits of having this care, any RepubliCON ideas to steal from the poor to give to the rich will necessitate harming a public policy that has broad support. Consequently, RepubliCON criminals are desperate to prevent even a poor substitute for universal health care from being enacted. Remember, they’ve ALL been paid a lot to do this.

  • Anonymous

    Both the Canadians and Brits like their health care much better than ours. And I’m not sure how it’s relevant to this discussion — ACA isn’t even remotely similar to those systems.

  • Uncle Jed

    a) No, ACA goes into effect after the first of the year for individuals…they could sign up starting in Oct.
    b) Look at the source data on your second paragraph and you will see you’re completely wrong. The numbers are completely separate.
    and
    c) You appear to be correct on my mistake on his sentence style. I read a sequence into it that was actually two separate thoughts.

    So your insult (even if implied) to my intelligence (another ad hominem attack) may be based on some evidence, but shows more about your character than my flaws. BTW, I fully know the difference between uses of its and it’s…I either made a mistake or didn’t catch a spell-check change. I’ve got a Chemistry BS, an MS in Mgmt and an MS in National Security Strategy, so I think can add and comprehend.

  • NotARedneck

    “My guess is those in the insurance business are hating the fact they can
    no longer skim ALL the gravy off the top of their billing cycles.
    They’re forced to apply 80% of the money they take in on actual
    health care rather than CEO pay hikes.”

    That’s not much of a “win”. Recently, the average was 77%. It was close to 97% a few decades back when health insurance was usually a co-op type non profit activity.

    The insurance industry (along with other parasites in the health care sector) found out how extremely profitable this was and moved in with their corruption and incompetence. This is the reason why health care in the US costs 2 to 3 timed the percent of GNP as other countries, while providing very poor care and related outcomes for at least half the population.

  • Anonymous

    The ACA is very different than what either the Canadians or Brits currently have; their systems are both much more like Medicare. Besides, I know Canadians who very much like their healthcare — one of whom is self-employed and going through extensive cancer treatment, and won’t wind up bankrupt and with no retirement in order to pay for it. I also know a woman here who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28; she worked three part-time jobs in order to make ends meet and couldn’t afford health insurance. Her state had a special fund for women who had breast cancer and no insurance — but it was for women aged 35 and over. She will likely be paying for the minimal treatment she got for the rest of her life, or will have to declare bankruptcy. She would have benefitted from having Obamacare, or having healthcare under either the Canadian or British system. Nations are frequently judged on how we treat our poorest or most vulnerable members; it speaks volumes that the U.S. has ignored the health needs of some of our most vulnerable, even when they’re dying for lack of it.

  • NotARedneck

    “Tax and Spend” has become a pejorative among the criminals of the extreme right but the “Borrow and spend (and cut taxes a lot for the wealthy)” approach should be considered treason.

  • Uncle Jed

    As I said in another part, I don’t watch Fox News and am a socially liberal centrist who is conservative fiscally. If you think you get “facts” on sites like this, you don’t. You get perspectives on the facts and that is different. All I proposed is that people should search out the facts, realize those on the other side of an issue are not imbeciles and try to think for themselves after consideration of multiple perspectives. Open your mind to the fact that you won’t always be right.

  • Uncle Jed

    Again, please refrain from ad hominem attacks. You’ll see, if you review the article and his sources closely, my interpretations were based firmly on what was available in his article. Just because it doesn’t fit your perspective is no reason to resort to personal attacks.

  • Anonymous

    there is also no exemption for unions…

    On the other hand, your self-description seems to be accurate…

  • Anonymous

    and many of those that don’t like it, don;t because of stuff that’s not even in the ACA, like “death panels.” It’s like noting that the Smithsonian should close the national zoo because 40% of people think the zoo mistreats its unicorns…

  • http://terrythecensor.blogspot.com/ terry the censor

    Canadians don’t like their healthcare? We have complaints, sure, because nothing is perfect, but we would never go back to a private system. Any party that campaigned on repealing public healthcare — as the Republicans did in the US — would get a few seats in the Prairies and be shut out in all the other provinces. It would take them generations to undo the political damage.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of one of my sillier — but fun! — pieces, “
    10 Big Surprises in Store For Tea Partiers Fleeing to Canada if Obama Wins
    .”

  • GrumpyDave

    I happen to know a number of Canadian, British, and Australian citizens, all of whom are perfectly satisfied with the level and quality of their health care. They also think the GOP is totally nutters for opposing the ACA.

  • Anonymous

    Mary Kay It isn’t like Canada or the UK. They have single payer and the only ones who have anything bad to say about it is American Conservatives. The people who I know from those countries are musicians, construction workers, electricians, and sound engineer as well as my sister in law and her husband who are college professors. None of them have many complaints other than having to fill out a bunch of forms at first. .As for free market and competition, the difference between those other countries and us is that the insurance companies are the ones that will be the big winners from Obamacare. They are now being funneled millions of people, comparing prices, and getting ready to comply with the law taking effect

  • Anonymous

    We all have our crosses to bear :-)

  • Anonymous

    Swiss system is much more heavily regulated, with strict price controls. But, yes, the general structure is somewhat similar. The Swiss also pay more for health care per person than any country but the US and Norway.

  • Anonymous

    The ACA went into effect in 2010, with various parts of the law being rolled out in subsequent years. The insurance exchanges rolled out this month, and the insurance will go into effect Jan 1, 2014.

  • Kyle

    So in addition to being a self-serving opportunist who apparently cares not a whit about what’s in the best interest of this nation, Ted Cruz is also a liar. Or am I just being too blunt? The more press he receives, I suspect, the greater his opportunity to be the darling of the GOP in 2016. Heaven help us! Let’s hope more rational heads prevail.

  • Pete Joachim

    Everyday I have to explain to people what the ACA is (the same as Obamacare) and how it works. Many people voted against it in 2012 by voting against Obama and yet still don’t know anything about the ACA. Ignorance is not bliss – it’s just ignorant. The dumbing down of American is in full force, even from those with 4 yr college degrees. We take our education for granted in this country. Everyone should listen to 16 yr old Malala – the Pakastani girl who takes her education as serious as the air she thankfully and miraculously still gets to breathe.

  • scat

    You are absolutely right. Insurance companies are financial institutions that are designed to make money for thier shareholders. They do not belong in the health care business and the only reason they are in it at all is because it has been profitable for them.

  • Anonymous

    Dates of going into effect are staggered. The parts in effect which people like ( as referenced without being identified ) are all over the net: 1. children being kept on policies till 26. 2. no black balling for pre-existing conditions, 3. no cap 4. Insurance companies must use 80% of charges must be used for insurance…Just to name a few that were implemented upon approval. And they are very popular. Last year, people got checks for overcharges the insurance companies had collected which exceeded that 80%..

    With respect, those who knock the bill, without a suggestion as to correction should be ignored as trolls.

  • Anonymous

    OOPS, the “It was forced through” half truth. Of the 163 changes, including the mandate, half were from the right.
    So you just proved you are from the right wing extreme…or use them as a source, because..only they believe that lie.

  • Anonymous

    my vote is meaningless because the republicans have taken over North Carolina. gerrymandering.

  • Anonymous

    Me too. From Vancouver Island. I love my healthcare and cannot understand why so many in the US don’t want decent healthcare. We have great coverage and it costs very little. We can choose our own doctors, get any tests the doc wants or we want ( within reason. My doctor would not order and MRI for a simple broken bone, even if I insisted), can go to the hospital for an emergency and not have to pay anything. Get any needed surgery or procedure done, and it doesn’t cost a dime. What’s not to like?

  • NonReligious Red

    We want decent healthcare, but our voices are drowned out by lots and lots of money. Many of us wished for and screamed our heads off for a single-payer option, but our wonderful representatives took it off the table before negotiations even began. Extremely disappointing.

  • NonReligious Red

    Can I move up to Canada? Pretty please? I have a college education and I promise I’ll do good things!

  • Uncle Jed

    Mr Holland,
    I expected nothing less from your congregation here, but you seemed to be looking for facts and not dogma. Those who are blind to the fact that there are at least two sides to every truth and observed event can’t grasp the subtleties of the universe. As I indicated previously, sites like this are just as bad as Fox News, Breitbart, and MSNBC. Hosts/columnists are playing to their audience and not looking for ways forward/ solutions. Blame is ugly whether it comes from your extremists or theirs.

  • Anonymous

    If you already have insurance, you do not have to buy a second policy. I don’t understand why your costs have doubled. In fact, there may now be subsidies available, depending upon which state you live in, that could reduce your costs.

  • Skip Moreland

    So you are now being chained up and forced to work in the fields, whipped, separated from your family, raped, and are the property of your master with absolutely no rights. Because that is what slavery really is. Not your fake outrage at having to buy insurance. Pure BS on your part.

  • Jurisrachel

    Great post, balanced with bad and good – and no palpable partisanship. Refreshing.

  • Jurisrachel

    Awesome.

  • Anonymous

    When interpreting the Right Wing, keep in mind that these are people who are at base totally anti-social. Being expected to actually contribute to society is no different than slavery (except that in slavery the slaveowner actually profits, which is capitalism and therefore profitable); being required to comply with laws they don’t support is the moral equivalent of being chained to a post, whipped, and starved into submission.

    Oh… and Somalia really would be paradise if it weren’t full of THOSE people.

  • Baddog1234

    OK, he said “since” slavery. That is not comparison, my friend, it’s a demarcation. We all agree slavery is worse. That’s not the point. The fact that the government can order us to buy a particular product in the “MARKET PLACE” and fine us if we do not – that’s not just BS its unconstitutional! Be assured, my outrage is NOT fake!
    Please research this law. It is very important. Instead of squabbling
    over verbiage, please do the research. If you think one side is better than the other you just need to read more. This is Republican legislation
    passed and championed by Democrats. They, both of the parties, keep “we the people” fighting over nonsense, while they laugh all the way to the Bank and Wall Street! We must be crazy!

  • Armey Dean

    I agree with the last sentence, but take a more optimistic view. I think a public option will be implemented and will drive costs down further. In order for that to happen, the political will of the majority will have to be represented. I think the Dems have a real shot at taking back the House in 2014, and that holds promise for the addition of a public option.

    I think problems with private insurance might swing the public in favor of more government insurance, not less–like the expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans, which would have been the simplest and least costly route in the first place.

  • Armey Dean

    You’ve gotta love a post that begs people to inform themselves and then proceeds to spew misinformation about the ACA.

  • Armey Dean

    Don’t be a defeatist. Your vote is not meaningless even if you live in a gerrymandered district. They’ve given themselves a demographic advantage in one election cycle, but people move and opinions change and we need your vote cast if we are going to turn the tide in those districts. Sometimes one vote is all it takes.

  • Anonymous

    Obamacare is already bending the cost curve for the nation. Our premiums dropped substantially when we signed up for a 10,000 dollar deductible a few years ago. My premiums are going up because Obamacare does not allow high deductible plans. I am okay with that. The employer will still contribute to a different plan, and we will have more coverage.

  • Armey Dean

    British Columbia! While we, living a bit to the east of Victoria in Washington State, had to have a fundraiser and bake sales for a kid in our town who needed a lifesaving surgical procedure, a civilized country was taking responsibility for the healthcare of all of its citizens not 100 miles away. I will never forget that as long as I live.

  • Robert

    If you vote to defund Obamacare, then you and everyone that needs health insurance but can’t get it will be left with nothing. Obamacare passed with no votes to spare and no Republican support at all. A public option WAS put to a vote and failed during the Obamacare debate. Today, half of our states refuse to expand a public option (Medicaid) to cover even our most destitute citizens. Do you really think a public option would pass Congress today? A public option in American healthcare is decades away. If you believe in increased healthcare access for people today, then you should accept the compromise that resulted in Obamacare and work to improve it, not defund it.

  • Robert

    You are “ordered to buy a particular product” all the time. For example, car insurance, a license plate, a new muffler, a child safety seat, insurance for your home loan, a leash for your dog, etc. You are also required to pay increased insurance premiums to cover the cost of medical expenses incurred by those without insurance – don’t you want freedom from that? Besides, the requirement to buy insurance only applies to those do not have insurance, can afford it (defined as less than 8% of income) but still choose not to buy it. That is a very small, irresponsible group of people. Even then, their only punishment is a small fine that can only be withheld from a tax refund. There are no criminal or civil penalties and a collection agency cannot even be used to collect the fine. Further, failure to pay the fine doesn’t even effect your credit rating. Does all that really sound outrageous or unconstitutional? Hardly, my friend.

  • Barbara Cooper

    And don’t even get me started on the newest profit making idea – long-term care insurance. With the boomers coming, they are cashing in. But filing a claim is another story. How will they pay all the coming claims & not raise premiums? Frankly, I think most will go out of business after their profits start to dwindle. I’m not giving them a dime. I’m a nurse. Recently, I met an old couple who were living in a hotel. Much cheaper with cleaning & laundry service. One of them still drives & can go out for their needs. Free continental breakfast. It’s a no brainer.

  • Anonymous

    You say what you have done in the past to justify not carrying insurance, but you didn’t say anything about the future. It might take a little imagination, but many of us have had catastrophic medical expenses. I had a premature child whose medical bills were over $100,000 before he died at 10 weeks (more than 20 years ago). Believe me, that was not planned. Why do you suppose medical bills are the number one reason folks file for bankruptcy? This lack of planning on your part makes the rest of your concerns seem trivial….and I haven’t even gotten to the hidden tax all of us are paying for deadbeats (like you?) who do not have insurance. Better to suggest a better plan than tear this one down.

  • Anonymous

    Am I the only one fed up with paying a “hidden tax” to cover those who “can’t afford” to carry insurance? Talk about unfair!

  • http://flatustheelder.com/wordpress/ Clifton Kerr

    Equality is grossly unfair to the privileged.

  • JDS

    Bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and all the other radical right wing donors and PAC’s.

    These lunatics have no interest in the welfare of the country or it’s citizens.
    They are absolutely disgraceful.

    VOTE OUT ALL REPUBLICANS IN 2014! GIVE THE HOUSE BACK TO THE DEMS!

  • Carl Madrazo Jr

    LOGICAL THINKING OR COMMON SENSE IS BEYOND THE REACH OF FANATIC POLITICIANS IN BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES BUT MORE SO WITH THE LATTER AS DEMOSTRATED BY THE RECENT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. VOTE FOR MORE FANATIC POLITICIANS AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF SHUTTING DOWN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT PERMANENTLY IS VERY HIGH INDEED.

  • Anonymous

    High monthly premiums and high deductibles? I don’t know what reality you’re living in but I checked BCBS Tx rates yesterday & glory hallelujah I can afford the plan with a $500 deductible & $30 copay! I haven’t had that good coverage….EVER!

  • Anonymous

    And that’s in TEXAS!

  • Bernie

    We have to implement it to find out how it works! or doesn’t work.

  • Anonymous

    “Nothing Cruz said is reflected in any objective reality.”____this sentence has universal applicability and needs no context.

  • Anonymous

    Probably not, but most people are simply unaware that the poor, who happen to live in places with county hospitals, are given medical treatment anyway. That cost, high-dollar hospital cost, is borne by the tax-payer. We could call it the Republican healthcare plan since their “repeal and replace” mantra only has the “repeal” element and not one word of “replace”.

  • Anonymous

    I know, to many people, “Obamacare” sounds like an insurance plan, but, it is not. The actual name of the bill is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. You will not be making premium payments to “Obamacare”.

  • Anonymous

    Government pay-out does not mean government funded. A single-payer system would simply remove insurance companies from the equation. It is assumed that premiums for single-payer plans would be cheaper due to the savings in overhead and no profit.

  • pennyroyal

    Tea Party leaders have always been a scurrilous bunch of thugs. Funded by Koch brothers, not grassroots at all, this outgrowth of the John Birchers has inflicted Cruz on the nation. He’s a demagogue and shills for the Koch brothers, ALEC, “Turd Blossom” which is what Bush43 called Carl Rove.

  • pennyroyal

    shut the caps lock off otherwise people just skip your entry

  • pennyroyal

    Tea Potty/wealthy would prefer to pass by the injured man and leave him by the side of the road….

  • pennyroyal

    how nice for you….

  • pennyroyal

    they’d rather see the 46 million who have gone without any health care continue to go without. Bob: quityerbellyachin

  • pennyroyal

    Texas where 28.8% of the population has no healthcare
    whereas I live in MA where only 5.6 are without.

  • pennyroyal

    Republicans are just afraid it will be popular and they won’t get the credit. Medicare was a life saver and was and is hugely popular. What else should a government be spending its money on–enhancing the health and wellbeing of its citizens. Canada doesn’t go around starting wars, here, there, and everywhere. They have money for real human needs.

  • pennyroyal

    administration costs for the 3000 healthcare companies are exceedingly expensive. Single payer would streamline all that and save money.

  • pennyroyal

    and congress a few years ago made it much higher to file for bankruptcy just to help out the banks

  • pennyroyal

    and what about a pregnant woman going to a Catholic with a partial miscarriage. She can bleed to death before they give her the care she needs. It’s already happened.

    The other point is that most of medicare costs go to people in the last 6 months of life. If patients and families got support and counseling and help in making medical decisions, people might choose hospice over another medical procedure that might increase pain and suffering. (I worked in a hospice). When I’m 89 and frail and tired and don’t want a feeding tube or breathing tube or artificial nutrition or major surgery (that is not really appropriate anyway), I have in place documents that will help prevent over-treatment.

  • pennyroyal

    the States that were prepared have fared the best….

  • pennyroyal

    Ted Cruz is dangerous because he’s a zealot and a demagogue. Don’t you think he looks like Joe McCarthy? Same modus operandi.

  • Anonymous

    Dude. One word: Decaf.

  • Anonymous

    The wicked witch of the west screams as she melts. The worst healthcare system in the industrial world comes to a close, depriving “providers” with the biggest how-to-make-money-off-of-dead-people operation since the SS skinned and shaved their victims to make pillows and lampshades. The scam was simple — collect trillions yearly in premiums and then just don’t pay when they get really sick.

    Now, the propaganda, just isn’t working anymore, because the naive baby boomer young is now the wiser elderly and they are living the nightmare. Fairy tales about being able to walk into any Emergency room where “they have to” give you free treatment and horror myths about Canadian and European healthcare don’t hack it with the people who are now living the health care scam, not just hearing about it.

    I’m melting! I’m melting!

  • scat

    Stop yelling.

  • scat

    To whom much is given, much is required.

  • scat

    If your prediction is true, why don’t the tea partiers, Cruz and company just sit back and let it happen. The truth is, once the ACA is up and running, people will be able to see its benefits for themselves. And eventually, when it is no longer profitable to insurance companies, we will go to a single payer system which is the one thing that will significantly reduce premiums.

  • Marsha Adamson

    At last some sanity! Yes, it’s not an insurance plan. I wish people understood that.

  • Chris Richardson

    Gee, it must be costing them a fortune spreading this much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Distrust). Obama won the election. Get over it. We suffered in silence during the George W. Years. Please return the courtesy.

  • Anonymous

    They will. Obama sold us out to corporate America who will have us by the throat using the IRS and government to get our money. I saw my rate and deductible and don’t like it at all.

  • Bob Sloan

    Democrats better pray Obamacare goes over well with the masses. Because if it doesn’t, it will put the Republicans back in power in future elections. If Obamacare goes down, so does the Democratic party.
    With the bait and switch performed by Obama allowing the insurance industry to taint the system, democrats will lose big time by voter dissatisfaction. The writing is on the wall.

  • Anonymous

    Excelllent points. Look – just enrolling people is causing headaches and costing money we should not have to be spending. Had we adopted expanded Medicare for all – the cost would be 2-3% as opposed to the 25% attributed to the ACA. But considering the riight wing coup we saw over the ACA – I doubt that Dems and moderates could have gotten the single payer option passed this time around. The ACA is a step – a small step. We will have expanded Medicare for all eventually. We won’t have a choice – our current system is on life support.

  • Anonymous

    Hardly. You assume the system as is is functional. It is not.

    Right now, we pay more per capita and get less for our health care doilars. Right wing propaganda would have you believe we have the best system in the world which is not true. Our system is in deep trouble; it is failing. If you think a health care system with $8000 deductibles is functional, a reality check is in order! We either fix it NOW or wait until it collapses – which invites lots of needless suffering. Your tune would be significantly different if you or someone you cared about were not receiving care.

    Tell me – if America is a world leader – why does just about every country with running water provide its citizens free health care? Why is the US incapable of accomplishing this? We can conquer other countries and impose “democracy” at the end of a gun – but when it comes to our own people, we are happy to watch them go without? I’m tired of my tax money paying to inflict death on people I don’t know and have no argument with. It is time for our taxes to be used for humanitarian purposes… As the old saying goes – charity begins at home!

  • A D

    I agree – and I think Pelosi and the Prez already knew this from the get-go, and they knew in that toxic environment that a public option might sink it. But when the Dems get back a majority and keep it for a while, many many changes can go through without tea-pub resistance. I think we’ll start with a public option and then things will move from there. We’ll end up with a Medicare for all, including private advantage plans that will keep the insurance companies happy and still involved. I think the latter compromise is as far as we’ll go for a while.

  • A D

    The GST is not for medical care alone, and in a non-profit-motivated system, you cut out considerable cost. Ultimately, what’s the big deal about paying a tax vs. a fee or premiums to a private corporation except that the corp wants to maximize profits for shareholders. Medicare has always been more efficient and cheaper than private health care. That’s why the insurance cos went apesheet over a public option.

  • A D

    All of the commenters here are so much smarter than the ones over at POLITICO. So refreshing.

  • Anonymous

    You are exactly correct!! Why are Democrats backing a corporate bait and switch in our Public Option health care system? I am non Republican too, but don’t like the hijacking that occurred. Now I get insurance where my premiums are way too high as well as the deductible. I would never have bought that insurance but now it is forced on me? No way do I support or want that.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think my last post went up. You are right AD. I will not stop voting just because they’re cheating.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Check out Politico and Forbes re: CBO’s forecast about Obamacare. I sent a link to Mr. Holland, but most likely, it will not be used. Don’t blame them for reviewing them – they could have messaging they don’t accept. This is just some factual prognostications about the effects of the O-Man’s healthcare plan. If you’re a user, it won’t upset you, but if you are like millions of Americans who will never use it but will pay dearly for it, it’s very upsetting.