We’ve all heard horror stories perpetuated by TEApublicans about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) is going to do; how it will bring the economy to its knees, establish death panels for grandma and grandpa and raise everyone’s taxes through the roof. Kathleen Sebelius spoke to this misinformation campaign on Monday in Atlanta stating that these lies are the greatest impediment to the implementation of the new law. I, for one, think she’s absolutely right and the widely-spread lies are due in no small part to the ongoing efforts of our “friends” at Faux News and such illustrious personages as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
Why don’t we take a look at some of the Wingnut-peddled myths about Obamacare and see how they compare to the actual facts?
Let’s start with one of my favorites, simply because it’s so silly that no one should even consider it a viable possibility: death panels. There will be no death panels and such a preposterous notion was, of course, never even considered. There is a provision for financial advisory panels which are intended and designed to keep costs down. In the original bill there was also a provision that would have paid doctors for providing counseling on end-of-life care options to Medicare patients. This provision was removed because of the claims that it would constitute a “death panel.” How they came up with that absurd conclusion is anyone’s guess.
Another of my favorite lies about Obamacare is that Americans will be sacrificing privacy because the IRS will be given access to all of our medical records. Those who I have challenged on this one invariably tell me that it has to be true since the IRS will need to access our records to know whether or not we have insurance. The truth is that all the IRS is empowered to ascertain that we have insurance and assess the penalty if we do not, nothing more.
Probably one of the most commonly heard Obamacare myths of all is that it will send insurance premiums sky high. I’ve heard many people cite an increase in their premiums since the law was passed. I would ask them when the last year was that their premiums did not increase. This has been going on for a very long time. Premiums are not suddenly rising due to the implementation of Obamacare, but rather are actually being brought under control by the law. Insurance companies are limited as to how much they can raise premiums on ill people and those with preexisting conditions. In many states, my own state of NY among them, rates have actually declined and we can expect similar results in most other states as the law is fully implemented.
There seems to be no end to the misinformation being put out there by conservative and Tea Party groups such as FreedomWorks to discredit what will be the signature legislation of the Obama administration, but it all comes down to the fact that the enemies of the President, those who are willing to bring the entire nation down to deny this President a legacy of any kind of success will say whatever they must to accomplish their goal. Is the law as it stands perfect? No, far from it. But it’s the first step on the path to single-payer.
Watch the video about Kathleen Sebelius’s criticism of Obamacare detractors here: