Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Obamacare: Myths vs Truths
Verbatum from YahooFinance.com
Starting today individuals can sign up for health care insurance by way of the exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. So far seventeen states and the District of Columbia have set up their own exchanges, also known as insurance marketplaces; the rest will use either the federal health insurance exchange or run a joint state-federal exchange to provide coverage.
It's been a bumpy ride so far, given the complexity of the effort and the politics surrounding it. Many Republican Congressional members are hell-bent on defunding Obamacare even though it's law and the Supreme Court reaffirmed its constitutionality. They won't agree to continue funding the government unless Obamacare is defunded or delayed by a year. And Democrats -- in Congress and the White House -- are firmly committed to just the opposite: implementing Obamacare.
That leaves us where we are today: a government that is partially shut down and lots of confusion about coverage under the ACA.
Lori Robertson, managing director of Factcheck.org, spoke with The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task, about some of the major misrepresentations surrounding Obamacare.
We'll try to help set the record straight so read on:
Myth #1: Health Care Premiums are Rising.
Robertson says whether health care premiums are rising or falling for individuals depends on their particular situation. "Whether your new plan on the exchanges...is going to be more or less what you're paying now really depends on you," says Robertson. "If you have a health condition you may see a decrease. If you don't, you may see an increase."
Related: Obamacare Could Mean Lower Rates in These Three States
You health insurance premium will also depend where you buy your insurance--including the state and locality--your age and your income. (At certain income levels, participants in so-called "silver" plans--the second cheapest--can qualify for government subsidies, which would reduce costs.
Myth #2: Obamacare is Killing Jobs.
Robertson says there's little evidence that Obamacare is a job killer. "The CBO has estimated it will have a small impact on jobs and ...mainly from workers choosing to work less," says Robertson. She explains that some people may reduce their working hours because they no longer need a second or third job to pay insurance premiums, while others may choose to retire early knowing they can't be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Myth #3: You Can't Choose Your Own Doctor Under Obamacare.
Not true, says Robertson. "There's nothing in the law that's going to pick your doctor for you," says Robertson. But she notes that "some exchanges may have a small provider network," so if you choose such a plan you may have to choose a new doctor.
Myth #4: The Increase in Health Care Spending is Slowing Because of Obamacare.
Another misconception, says Robertson: "Experts have said that the overwhelming reason" for the slower rise in health care costs is "the down economy." She cites a Kaiser Family Foundation report that found that 77% of this deceleration is due to the economy.
Myth #5: Congress is Exempt from Obamacare.
Not true, says Robertson. "Congress is not exempt from the law...The law says that Congress and its staffers have to get their coverage through the exchanges that are being set up." But, Robertson says, the federal government can help pay for the premiums of that coverage, just as it does now under the Federal Employee Health Benefits program for Congress and staffers.