Think about it, conspiracy theorists. What better way to educate 41 million uninsured Americans about the Affordable Care Act than to lure your political opponents into talking about nothing else?
Ever since the problems at HealthCare.gov surfaced in early October, conservative politicians and their media mouthpieces have launched wave after wave of dishonest or distorted propaganda attacks.
Most of the glitches are now fixed and in the interim the uninsured have had little choice but to learn what Obamacare is and, more important, what it isn’t.
For example, it won’t “destroy everything in America,” as GOP Senate hopeful Rep. Paul Broun continues to insist.
There are no “death panels” and there is no “health care rationing,” nonsense pushed by Sarah Palin and relentlessly repeated by the conservative media.
We know now the law regulates insurers that have gamed America’s health care system for decades. Insurance companies can no longer turn you down if you have a pre-existing condition. They can’t terminate your coverage if you become sick or get injured. And there are no annual or lifetime limits on health insurance coverage.
These egregious practices were standard procedure when the insurance industry called the shots, the “quality health care system” lamented by U.S. Reps. Tom Price and Phil Gingrey.
Thanks to conservatives, we’ve learned uninsured families may get tax credits to help pay for their health insurance the same way big oil companies are subsidized by taxpayers.
They’re going to the tax credit calculator at kff.org to see if they qualify. A middle class Cobb County family of four with an annual household income of $50,000, for example, can purchase an $8,290 Silver Plan at the federal health insurance exchange for just $3,365 after receiving a $4,925 tax credit.
With that quality health insurance, the family can now see a doctor regularly for preventative care. They’ll stop ignoring symptoms until they’re forced into the emergency room for the most expensive health care there is — paid for by you and me through higher local taxes and insurance premiums.
The cost of health insurance would likely be lower except Gov. Nathan Deal is deliberately obstructing the law, refusing to set up a state-run exchange like the successful ones in Kentucky, New York and California.
Conservatives bellowed when companies cancelled the plans of fewer than five percent of all Americans (Obama lied!), which informed us about what Consumer Reports calls “junk insurance.”
CBS News profiled Floridian Dianne Barrette whose $54 per month junk policy was cancelled. “I just want to know why I can’t keep what I have,” said Barrette. Here’s why: it paid $50 for doctor visits — but nothing for hospitalization, tests or labs.
Thus, if Barrette gets cancer she wouldn’t receive any treatment unless somebody else paid for it.
The Affordable Care Act outlaws junk insurance. Barrette, who makes $30,000 annually, can now buy a Bronze Plan at HealthCare.gov for $94 per month after tax credits.
Why should I pay for her health care? Why should you?
Knowing 2014 was coming, my company’s insurance provider jacked up our rates 42 percent in just three years. Now insurers have to justify their rate hikes, something they never had to do before.
But the best thing that’s come out of all the hysterical Obamacare fear-mongering are the millions of uninsured Americans flocking to the federal and state exchanges to sign up for health care plans.
Just as Democrats couldn’t have won the White House in 2014 without conservatives bashing anyone who wasn’t white and wealthy, Obamacare wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it promises to be without their help.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.