ObamaCare Myths: Myths About the Affordable Care Act
Separating the ObamaCare Facts from the ObamaCare Myths 2013 and Beyond
The ObamaCare Myths about health care aren't just confusing, they are wrong. ObamaCare myths range from premium increases to ObamaCare implanting RFID chips in all Americans. ObamaCare Facts aims find out the truth behind the myths about ObamaCare. When it comes to the well being of Americans, there is no room for opinions and rhetoric.
The Following Are Some Common Myths About ObamaCare (The Affordable Care Act)
New ObamaCare myths are coming out every day. Keep checking back as we fact check the rhetoric.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare and the Affordable Care Act are Different
The idea that the ObamaCare is different form the Affordable Care Act isn't so much a myth as it is a misconception. ObamaCare is the unofficial name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010.
Healthcare reform, ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) , the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and HR3590 are all the same thing. Although ObamaCare was originally meant as a pejorative term, it has become a common shorthand way of saying "the new health care law".
ObamaCare Myth: The Majority Of Americans Want to Repeal ObamaCare
A common ObamaCare myth is that the majority of Americans want to see the law repealed. What polls really show is that many Americans don't understand what the Affordable Care Act does, in many cases those who say they "don't approve of ObamaCare" show overwhelming support when polled on the actual provisions contained in the law. Since the law contains hundreds of provisions, a full support or full repeal stance usually stems from Media influence or one's association of the law with the President or the Democratic party rather than research. Check out a summary of each provision in the PPACA here.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Creates Health Insurance
ObamaCare does’t create health insurance, it regulates the health insurance industry and helps to increase the quality, affordability, and availability of private insurance and expand and improve public health insurance options like Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP. The law does this by creating new rules for insurers, expanding Medicaid eligibility to tens of millions of Americans, improving Medicare coverage and by implementing a Health Insurance Marketplace where Americans can buy subsidized, regulated health insurance in a competitive private market as well as many more reforms to the health insurance and health care systems.
ObamaCare doesn’t create a government-run healthcare system or Government insurance. It greatly expands business for the private for-profit health insurance industry, creating about 12 million new customers. In other words ObamaCare regulates the "free market", it doesn't replace it. It does however expand and improve Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP which are types of Government health insurance. It also expands private employer based insurance.
ObamaCare Myth: You Have to Use the Health Insurance Marketplace
No one has to use the marketplace. The fact is anyone who likes their current insurance can keep it, assuming it complies with the ACA or it has a grandfathered status. If you have Government based insurance like Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP then you are covered. If you like your work based insurance, you can keep that too. The marketplace is for uninsured Americans and those who don't like their current plan. Those making under 400% of the Federal Poverty Level may get help with monthly premium costs and reduced out-of-pocket costs on insurance purchased through the marketplace. Please be aware that if you have access to affordable employer based coverage that provides at least the coverage of a "bronze" plan sold on the marketplace, you won't be able to get cost assistance on the exchange.
ObamaCare Myth: The ObamaCare Website Doesn't Work
Sometimes it feels like the ObamaCare myth about technical issues with the website is spread to create news stories. Although we get many letters from readers noting issues with the early stages of health insurance marketplaces, we get far more success stories about folks signing up.
Healthcare.gov has had some technical issues, so not everyone who has signed up and enrolled has had a smooth ride. However, many Americans have used the site successfully and did everything from apply to enroll in a plan in less than 15 minutes. Many Americans report better deals and better plans, while some report that their options weren't as affordable.
In State's that set up their own exchanges you can simply sign up and not worry about it, if your State didn't then give healthcare.gov a shot. You can also sign up for the marketplace by mailing in an online application (read these instructions first), get in person help, or call the 24/7 helpline (800) 318-2596. Learn more about other ways to sign up for health insurance.
Since December 20th, 2013 the number of Americans reporting issues with the site has decreased dramatically and over a million Americans enrolled in a new private insurance plan that would start by January 1st, 2014. That number doesn't include sign-ups from State based exchanges or Medicaid.
ObamaCare Myth: I Missed the Sign-up Deadline!
If you don't have insurance already then you missed the December 24, 2013 deadline to get insurance that started January 1st, 2014. However open enrollment in the marketplace doesn't end until March 31st, 2014. Learn more about signing up for the health insurance marketplace.
ObamaCare Myth: I Don't Have Insurance So I Owe a Fee
First off, the fee for not enrolling in a plan in 2014 is a per month fee. You owe a fee for each month you aren't enrolled in a plan. You are allowed up to three months in a row without coverage in 2014 due to a "coverage gap" exemption, so if you plan on keeping your plan you technically have until April 1st, 2014 until the fee for not having insurance will kick in. Even then it is your individual responsibility to pay your fee on your year end federal income taxes.
Over 20 million Americans will be exempt from the mandate to obtain insurance in 2014. Reasons for exemption include a basic plan costing more than 8% of your family income and having your plan canceled due to the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about ObamaCare exemptions.
ObamaCare Myth: You Will Go to Jail If You Don't Pay the Fee for Not Buying Health Insurance
The only way for the IRS to collect the fee for not having health insurance, if you choose not to pay it, is for them to withhold the money you would get back from the IRS after filing your income tax returns. The IRS cannot enforce the Individual Shared Responsibility provision (the one that says you have to obtain health insurance or pay a fee) with jail time, liens, or any other of typical methods of collection.
ObamaCare Myth: My Employer Has to Cover Me
The employer mandate has been pushed back to 2015. Employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees will have to cover their employees come 2015. Small businesses don't have to insure employees but can get tax breaks of up to 50% of their employee premium costs via the health insurance marketplaces. Learn more about Obamacare and small business.
ObamaCare Myth: The ObamaCare Website Cost a Billion Dollars
You may have heard the ObamaCare website cost anywhere from 100 million to a billion dollars. This is because depending on what costs you include you'll get wildly different figures. The actual cost of the website itself is closer to the 100 million dollar figure and is reported as low as 68 million. See this article for more information: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/10/24/the-myth-of-the-634-million-obamacare-website/196585
ObamaCare Myth:The Website Isn't Secure
While valid concerns the security of the ObamaCare website have been voiced, there has been a lot of rhetoric coming from opponents of the law who wish to scare people off from using the marketplace. This tactic is meant to deter those who would get a better deal on health insurance and thus perhaps see the law in a more favorable light and to dissuade people from using the site hindering the success of the program by keeping sign-ups low. We have done extensive research and can't find any valid security concerns beyond those addressed on our Obamacare Website Update page. We urge you to ignore the rhetoric and feel secure in signing up for your State's marketplace. http://www.factcheck.org/2013/12/eric-cantors-security-scare/
ObamaCare Myth: Congress is Exempt from ObamaCare
The idea that Congress is exempt form the Affordable Care Act is a myth. Congress and their staff have work based insurance, thus they should be able to stay on their current plan. However an amendment to bill before it became law said they must use health insurance marketplace. They will use the marketplace, but since their staffers, making as little as $30,000 can't get subsidies through the marketplace (they have access to employer based coverage) their employer (the Government) is allowed to cover part of the cost of their premiums. Since all members of Congress have been well aware of this since 2010, any other claim is a willful misrepresentation of the truth.
ObamaCare Myth: You Can Keep Your Current Health Insurance Plan
Over the years the claim has been made, "If you like your plan you can keep it, period." The truth is a little more complex than that. Not every American will be able to keep their health insurance plan moving into 2014. Those with private plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, those with grandfathered plans, and those with public health plans can keep their plans. Those who have non-grandfathered plans that don't offer the benefits, rights, and protections the new law mandates will have to choose a new plan that does by 2014. (This date has been pushed back to 2015 in many States.)
In many cases your insurer will help you make the change to a ACA compliant health care plan, in other cases it will be up to you to shop for a new private plan. This could result in higher or lower premiums based on your individual situation, but will almost always result in better quality health insurance. The truth is many, not all, plans that are being canceled lacked important protections like the ban on imposing lifetime limits, bans against insurance companies dropping you for reasons other than fraud, and bans on refusing coverage or treatment for preexisting conditions. See Benefits, Rights, and Protections to understand why getting an ACA compliant plan is a good thing.
Please note that insurance companies are electing to change grandfathered plans and thus asking Americans to choose new plans. While the law states that if a plan is changed you'll need to choose a new plan, it does not mandate that insurers change plans with grandfathered status. Learn more about Grandfathered Plans and Keeping Your Current Health Insurance Plan.
UPDATE: In response to the controversy surrounding this myth the President announced a plan to let insurance companies renew and reinstate plans until 2015.
ObamaCare Myth: You Can Keep Your Doctor
No section of the Affordable Care Act (check out our summary of every provision in the PPACA) says you cannot keep your doctor, however your network isn't something that is determined by the new healthcare law. It is up to your provider to determine the network of doctors and hospitals you have access to. So if your insurance company changes your plan or offers you a new one there is no guarantee that you can keep your doctor.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Takes Sides
"ObamaCare", officially titled the Affordable Care Act, was originally meant as a pejorative term to equate the bill with the current president in order to play politics U.S. health care reform. The truth is the Affordable Care Act is the result of a joint effort between all sides of the isle, health insurance companies, and law makers and has been in the works for decades. The law itself is based on "RomneyCare", The Massachusetts health care insurance reform law, St. 2006, c.58. "RomneyCare" was based on the individual mandate which was proposed by the Heritage Foundation in 1989. The individual mandate was championed by Republicans as alternative to single payer as it put individual responsibility at the forefront of health care reform.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Only Helps X People
The truth is ObamaCare helps everyone. Some of us might pay more, but everyone will be able to enjoy better quality health insurance and more rights and protections in regards to healthcare. When it comes to cost the rule of thumb is that the less you make the more the law helps you. Those who may pay more include individuals and families making over 400% of the poverty level and businesses with over 50 full-time employees making over $250,000. No matter what you pay, all Americans now have new benefits, rights, and protections on all new insurance plans.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Subsidizes Americans Who Don't Want to Work
The main group who will benefit from ObamaCare (AKA the Affordable Care Act) is the working poor. Americans with little or no income would have already had access to Medicaid long before the ACA. As with all public assistance programs that aid our nations poorest, it is a minority of Americans who abuse the system.
ObamaCare Myth: Obamacare Means Higher Premiums
One of the most wide spread ObamaCare myths is that ObamaCare increases insurance premiums. While many Americans have seen their health insurance premiums rise since the passing of the new health care law, blaming "ObamaCare" is an over simplification of the truth.
The truth is insurance premiums have been growing faster than the rate of growth in income for well over a decade. Today there are more rules and regulations aimed at reducing the growth in premium rates like the rate review provision that stops insurance companies from unjustified rate hikes and the medical loss ratio provision that stops insurance companies from spending your premium dollars on non-health care related expenses. This isn't to say that the Affordable Care Act hasn't indirectly affected some premium increases.
ObamaCare stops insurance companies from raising premiums due to health status and gender or denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Every plan must offer more essential health benefits and preventive services at no out-of-pocket costs and much more. In some cases insurance companies have raised rates on existing plans in response to your new health care benefits, rights and protections.
Luckily ObamaCare does a lot to mitigate this affect, aside from the consumer protections mentioned above, ObamaCare creates a Health Insurance Exchange Pool known as the Health Insurance Marketplace. Today low-to-middle income Americans (and small businesses) can shop for subsidized, regulated health insurance from competing health care providers using their State's online marketplace.
Cost assistance offered through the marketplace greatly reduces premium costs of those making less than 400% of the Federal poverty level. (400% of the Federal Poverty level equates to individuals making less than $46,021 or a family of four making less than $93,700 a year). Learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace.
ObamaCare Myth: Obamacare Means Higher Taxes
Many Americans will save on medical costs and taxes because of ObamaCare, many more won't pay a dime more than they do now as far is taxes go. Higher-earners and large employers will be responsible for more taxes, but the group who will pay more almost universally profits off of the new law. The fact is ObamaCare includes the biggest middle class tax cut to health insurance in our nation's history due to providing tax credits to millions of Americans to lower their premium costs.
The only tax that impacts the average American directly is the "individual mandate". The mandate says: If you don’t obtain coverage or an exemption by January 1st, 2014 you must pay a per-month fee on your federal income tax return for every month you are without health insurance. In 2014 the fee is $95 per adult ($47.50 per child) or 1% of income, whichever is higher. The family max is $285.
The "employer mandate" for large employers to cover their workers did lead to some employees being cut back to part-time, but it also led to many more being moved from part-time to full-time in order to provide them with health benefits.
Small businesses won't have to insurance their employees, but if they choose to they may be eligible for tax breaks of up to 50% of the cost of their employee's premium costs.
The only people who are affected by most of the other taxes you hear about are about are the 3% of businesses and 2% of Americas richest families with incomes of over $250k and capital gains over $250k. - See ObamaCare Taxes for More info and Myth debunking on taxes.
Of course, just because your taxes don't go up, doesn't mean you won't pay more. In many cases getting a new plan that meets the benefits, rights, and protections of the ACA could end up costing you more (especially if you don't have access to cost assistance through the marketplace). Whether you pay more or less under the new law is dependent on your specific situation and the plan you buy.
ObamaCare doesn't raise your premium and doesn't mean higher taxes for the most part, but it does limit some tax breaks and tax deductions like HSA caps.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Means Lower Wage and Fewer Jobs
The biggest job creators are small businesses with under 10 employees, next is under 20, next is under 30 employees (it goes on from there). These businesses can receive tax credits through the marketplace to help ease the burden of providing health insurance to their employees. Small businesses have historically had the hardest time providing quality coverage to themselves or their employees.
Come 2015 only businesses with over 50 full-time employees who don't already provide health benefits to their full-timers will be affected by the "employer mandate". These businesses account for .2% of all firms in America. While employees of some of those companies may have their hours cut to part time in order for employers to avoid paying a penalty, ObamaCare actually creates millions of jobs, including tens of thousands of new health care jobs, 16,000 new IRS jobs as well as many more private-sector jobs (especially in small businesses with under 25 employees) and other government jobs.
Most of the top 3% of small businesses polled said that the idea that ObamaCare would affect their job growth or hiring process was an "ObamaCare myth".
Although ObamaCare doesn't directly result in job loss, companies are cutting back hours of full-time workers to below 27 hours in order to avoid providing them with healthcare has been one of the nastier side effects of the bill. Ironically the requirement to provide insurance has been pushed back to 2015.
ObamaCare Myth: The ObamaCare Death Panels
The concept of death panels, panels that provision health care and decide if you will live or die, is an ObamaCare myth. There is, however, a financial advisory panel that study treatments to keep health care costs down. There was a provision in the health care bill that had to be removed due to the rumor of death panels. The provision would have paid doctors for providing voluntary counseling to Medicare patients about wills and end-of-life care options. Removing the provision did, ironically, hurt seniors. That fact is, your health care is in the hands of you and your doctor. ObamaCare regulates insurance not health care.
ObamaCare Myth: Obamacare Comfort Care
There has been an ObamaCare myth going around since 2011 when a "brain surgeon" called up the Mark Levin show to let him know that patients over 70 years old could be given "comfort care" instead of brain surgery depending on the decision of a panel. This "neurosurgeon's" claim has since been debunked by both the AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the CNS (Congress of Neurological Surgeons). We have also checked out the ObamaCare bill itself and can confirm this is an ObamaCare myth. The AANS stated that the man was most likely not a neurosurgeon and was rather pretending to be.
The bottom line is that ObamaCare doesn't ration health care, it helps protect consumers against the health care rationing insurance companies have been doing for years.
ObamaCare Myth: Standard of Living Will Decrease
Since your taxes probably won't be affected, your health care costs will go down and your health care will improve the chances of it affecting your standard of living negatively is unlikely. ObamaCare ultimately decreases the deficit by over $200 billion dollars helping our collective standard of living as well. Most importantly new benefits, rights and protections will lead to better quality healthcare for all Americans with health insurance.
Obamacare cuts premiums for for millions of American Families and Small Businesses resulting in the biggest tax cut for the middle class in history!
ObamaCare Myth: Cheapest ObamaCare Plan Will Be $20,000 per Family or "Average Family Will Pay $20,000 for Insurance"
This ObamaCare myth is a misleading quote from an IRS report on what Americans will pay for a Bronze plan in 2016. For some reason reports labeled a family of 5 making $120,000 in taxable income as an average American family making it seem like rates would go up.
$20,000 is what a family of 5 making $120,000 is projected to pay in 2016. Actual costs of that same family range from around $7,000 to over $30,000 depending on regional cost factors, age and smoking status alone.
Truly finding an average cost for health insurance is next to impossible. In truth every family is different and will pay rates specific to the plan they chose, their financial status, location, age, family size and smoking status. (Gender and health status are no longer factors in health insurance costs).
The report actually does display the disparity in cost, showing most individuals and families will pay 8% of their income or less while families with older heads of the household, located in States with high regional cost, making around and over the 400% FPL mark will pay more.
PLEASE NOTE: Now that the marketplaces are opening up it's being reported that the average cost of health insurance on the marketplace is $249 a month before cost-assistance. 6 in 10 Americans without health coverage could get coverage for $100 a month or less on the marketplace with cost-assistance. And large percentage of Americans will be able to get free health insurance due to the expansion of Medicaid.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Hurts Seniors and Medicare
ObamaCare reforms Medicare and offers a ton of new benefits, rights and protections for Seniors. There are a number of reformations to Medicare such as closing the "donut hole" for prescription meds, providing better health services and reforming Medicare Advantage (a private Medicare option that lets Medicare be traded on the market, despite taxpayer funding. It currently costs tax payers more than Medicare and Medicaid combined).
Large portions of ObamaCare address improving and expanding Medicare for seniors. Get the truth behind ObamaCare and Medicare.
ObamaCare Myth: Medicaid Isn't Good or People Don't Want Medicaid or Medicaid is too Expensive
Medicaid is the only option for many low-income Americans. The idea that there is something wrong with Medicaid is largely a myth spread by those who don't want to use tax dollars to care for those who cannot afford insurance. It's not to say Medicaid is "as good" as higher cost coverage, but the ACA does a lot to improve that and of course for those with no other options, it's certainly "better than not". Millions of low-income Americans including women and children will go without health care because of politicians refusing to allow Medicaid funding.
ObamaCare expands Medicaid to 15 million low-income Americans. Many State's opted out of supporting the expansion due to cost, even though the federal Government provided 100% of funding for the first 3 years. The truth is millions of Americans will go without any type of health care because of the myth that Medicaid isn't quality insurance. Get the full story on Medicaid and ObamaCare.
Today tax payers are responsible for tens of millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills because those who cannot afford insurance turn to emergency rooms for care because they have been left with no other option. Expanding Medicaid is shown to actually save State's money.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare implants a "CHIP" in you when you get health care... The Mark of the Beast.
We have received multiple letters from concerned readers who believe that they will have a mandatory RFID chip planted in them due to ObamaCare. While an early version of the Affordable Care Act did mention data collection from RFID implants, there was never any mention of a mandatory implant and the current version of the law doesn't even contain wording about data collection.
The following is an example of the ObamaCare implant myth (and is left grammatically intact the way we found it):
"I don't think it is right for president to decide to put chips in the citizens of American hands or anybody else we as Americans have the right to decided if we want the chip its the mark of the BEAST People wake up its in the bible"
The idea that ObamaCare will force Americans to be implanted with RFID chips is a myth. We read the bill and did a search for (this part of the chain email):
The Obama Health care bill under Class II (Paragraph 1, Section B) specifically includes ‘‘(ii) a class II device that is implantable." Then on page 1004 it describes what the term "data" means in paragraph 1, section B:
14 ‘‘(B) In this paragraph, the term ‘data’ refers to in
15 formation respecting a device described in paragraph (1),
16 including claims data, patient survey data, standardized
17 analytic files that allow for the pooling and analysis of
18 data from disparate data environments, electronic health
19 records, and any other data deemed appropriate by the
The Facts on the ObamaCare Chip Myth
The quoted part of the law is about better data collecting for the purposes of improving the quality of medical devices. The devices described in paragraph (1) are referring to class II devices which include both life support devices as well as RFID chips. There is no mandate about the insertion of any type of class II device.
The only time "CHIP" in mentioned in the 2,000 plus page bill is as an acronym for "Children's Health Insurance Plan". CHIP provides funds to states in order to cover children in families that do not qualify for Medicaid, but still have modest incomes. CHIP provides insurance to more than 5 million kids. It's part of ObamaCare helping to ensure that all Children have health coverage.
The debate about centralized data collection, RFID chips and how it relates to the affordable care act will become more important as we move into the next decade. Learn more about RFID chips and the ObamaCare Micro Chip Implant Rumor.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Forces Abortions and Contraceptives
ObamaCare gives religious institutions an opt-out for providing specific women's health services (it has also granted waivers to some businesses). Also, contraception coverage is not required by health care companies or exchange commissioners. Although federal funding does go towards women's services and education, it doesn't force anyone to do anything in regards to these services.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare Rations Health Care
This is an ObamaCare myth. The new health care law doesn't ration health care, but insurance companies do.
ObamaCare actually funds research, establishes committees and enacts a number of provisions that protect consumers from the health care rationing insurance companies have been doing for ages.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare is Socialist
ObamaCare is a program that everyone pays into (taxes) in order to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable quality healthcare (protections and services). Medicare / Medicaid / Social Security are all programs that work like this.
ObamaCare allows us all to purchase our own private insurance in a regulated market place. This embraces the ideas of capitalism, regulated free market and freedom of choice, along with the government's protection of your new health care related rights. It's not a widely known fact, but hospitals are almost exempt from the economy and free market due to their ability to set and control prices. Also many medical device manufactures and drug innovators have such a tight control on necessary drugs and treatments that they, in a way, control their own prices as well.
Simply calling ObamaCare a redistribution of the wealth or socialism is a very broad and inaccurate generalization of the law. Plus, there is a high chance that wealth is being "redistributed" to your family and / or small business providing better coverage, bigger tax breaks and putting money back in your pocket while improving the quality of your health care.
ObamaCare Myth: We Need Less Government
Your preference as to whether or not you appreciate the need for the Government that our founding fathers saw a need for is irrelevant when discussing ObamaCare. This is an issue of "do we need healthcare reform?" not "do we need more government?".
At this point in history, less government would mean undoing hundreds of years of progress and handing our country over to corporations. Regulations, laws and taxes are all very important to our every day lives. There is always room for reform and that is exactly what ObamaCare does.
ObamaCare Myth: Privacy / Freedom Will Be Jeopardized
The idea that ObamaCare takes away your freedom is a myth. It doesn't make you do much of anything in regards to health care. The only example of freedom being restricted is the mandate to purchase insurance or pay a tax.
Despite these facts, at the end of the day, ObamaCare costing you your freedom is a Myth. You will most likely save money and have access to better regulated Affordable Healthcare. We will all have better preventive services and the security in knowing we won't be dropped when we are sick or denied for a preexisting condition.
ObamaCare Fact: 1 in 2 Americans technically has a pre-existing condition.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare is Unconstitutional
Not only is ObamaCare constitutional, it has been a law since 2010. The supreme court upheld the law, reaffirming that that ObamaCare isn't unconstitutional.
ObamaCare Myth: ObamaCare "Culling" Seniors:
ObamaCare does nothing but help seniors, it is certainly not "culling" seniors. In fact much of the new health care law focuses on improving care for Seniors via Medicare reforms.
Didn't find the ObamaCare Myth you are looking for? Check out this official doc from the American Nurses Association on Health Care Reform Myths.
Finding Out More About ObamaCare Myths
These are just some of the ObamaCare myths. Is ObamaCare perfect? Probably not, but if you don't like it make sure to base your opinion on facts and not the ObamaCare Myths we just debunked. Remember, you can doubts you have to rest by checking out our summary of each provision in the PPACA here or Even full text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and do the research for yourself. Don't believe the ObamaCare Myths, The Obama Care Facts speak for themselves.