We Dispel This Propaganda Video With the Facts

Just had this silly(?) ObamaCare propaganda video posted in the comments section. Let’s set the facts straight on the tastefully named “Obamacare culling the heard video”… not because it is super popular, but because it encapsulates the what-if negative conspiracy theory view on the law that continues to shift the discussion away from intelligent conversation on the law’s many provisions.

For the first few minutes we hear the “you can keep your plan” line over and over. We have covered this but it’s essentially at best a half truth. The full truth: If you like your plan you can keep it… as long as your plan is ACA-compliant… if it’s not your insurer will have to phase it out between now and 2017 depending on state. Unfortunately politicians have a habit of excluding the fine print from their talking points. It’s a fail for communication, but doesn’t really affect the wisdom, intentions, or integrity of the law.

Second part is about going to jail for not paying the fee for not having health insurance. This doesn’t happen (if you can afford it and don’t get coverage you simply get a fee on your year end MAGI federal income taxes, if you don’t pay you get the IRS trying to collect the fee… no jail time!).

The third part is about the website having technical issues. Yes it did, the site needed to iron bugs out and had overwhelming traffic. Not a conspiracy, but a predictable problem (not like they could launch a beta test). It was simply a tech issue that has since been fixed. In the meantime folks could have signed up via a paper form. Due to the tech issues open enrollment was extended for almost a month, this allowed over 8 million to sign up which exceeded goals by 1 million.

They then pose the question, “why does the government need to force people to buy coverage if the law is so good?” Same reason we all need to carry car insurance, it’s a large pool and rates are more affordable when every pays in. You can’t opt out of needing healthcare at points in your life, therefore if you make enough money you must pay in before that happens. We could replace this with single payer and change the premiums and mandates to a tax or we could go back to for-profit and have people buy in. One was already not working, the other wasn’t on the table. So we got the ACA, and the ACA doesn’t work without the mandate.

They then harp on the idea that Affordable Care Act might not be as affordable in NYC as it is in Sioux City or vice versa… Insurance costs differ based on region, and always have, insurance has never been “affordable”, but it’s always been more affordable in one place more than another. The ACA helps some, and does little for others in regards to costs.

They also say wellness and prevention might mean taking away individual rights in regards to eating snacks. While this isn’t in fact the case, incentivizing people to be healthy would probably be the most effective reform we could initiate in America. The farthest the ACA goes is with things like posting calorie counts in fast food joints, providing free prevention on all plans, and incentivizing employee wellness programs.

Lastly, the same clip with the two guys sitting at a table says it’s not like needing car insurance because car insurance protects the other guy, health insurance only protects you. But not really, because if everyone is super unhealthy and needs expensive care, healthy people’s rates go up. And insurance is more expensive. That is a different type of hurt, but it’s not like we find no interconnectedness.

In the end they make the point that this is just another way for the Federal Government to control your life. If you have a glass-half-full attitude toward life you are always going to see the negative side of things. Progress in America is about small steps in the right direction. We can argue that it’s not the right direction, but expecting the law to be a perfect cocktail of fairy dust and rainbows is naive. Let us be glad that the law was a down the center deal for everyone. And now let us push to reform the aspects that perhaps aren’t working as well as we’d like in practice.

What do you think?

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