Many myths and rumors about “Obamacare” insurance have been flying around the United States for three years, ever since Obamacare was passed into law. Unfortunately, much of it appears to be politically-motivated misinformation.
The official name of the law is “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, and is a bill signed into law to reform America’s health care industry.
In short, Obamacare requires insurance plans to cover preventive services and stops insurance companies from dropping your coverage when you get sick, as well as other reforms and protections.
Bruce Watson, a senior writer for DailyFinance.com, has written an article titled “The 5 Biggest Obamacare Myths Explored, Explained and Debunked“, in which he says the confusion surrounding Obamacare is not surprising because the law is “an almost-unreadable 955 pages of densely-written government-speak”.
To make matters even more muddled, says Watson, opponents of the law have spent the past three years spreading disinformation about it, attempting to frame it as an attack on our freedom. So Watson wrote his article to try and explain what Obamacare does and does not do.
He says most of the confusion is tied to five basic myths about the law, and notes that “most of these myths have at their cores some tenuous connection to the facts, but either misinterpret or cynically mischaracterize them”.
Here are Watson’s five biggest myths about Obamacare:
Myth #1 – Medicare: “Obamacare is being partially funded by a $500 billion cut to Medicare”.
The reality is that funding for Medicare will actually increase over the next 10 years, but the rate of increase will drop. The new law has already increased funding to Medicare in some ways.
Myth #2 – Death Panels: “Obamacare will introduce ‘death panels’ that will severely ration care and will force elderly patients to commit suicide or submit to euthanasia”.
This is one of the most persistent myths about Obamacare, and is utterly false. The Independent Payment and Advisory Board is basically powerless. All it can do is make policy recommendations to Congress, who then has the power to pass or reject those suggestions.
Watson points out that the closest thing to a “death panel” is what existed before Obamacare – the practices of insurance companies which included denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, cancelling policies on sick patients, refusing to pay for life-saving operations, and otherwise making financially-based decisions on who would live and who would die.
Myth #3 – Your Wallet: “Obamacare will force the middle class to pay for health care for poor people and illegal immigrants”.
Many health care reform critics argue that the U.S. already has a universal health option – emergency rooms. But ER treatment isn’t free. In fact, it’s far more expensive than standard treatment. And the ER is already funded by taxpayers and the funded middle class. Overall, ObamaCare will likely actually reduce the burden on the middle class.
Myth #4 – Socialism: “Obamacare is a socialist program”.
Socialism is a system where the government directly runs a nation’s industries. But ObamaCare works through private companies. Rather than directly providing health insurance, the government will require people to deal directly with private companies, thus giving those companies new customers.
Myth #5 – Small Business: “Obamacare will bankrupt small businesses by making them pay for their employees’ health insurance”.
The claim is based on the provision that companies with over “50 full-time equivalent” employees must offer affordable health insurance to their workers. The cost must not exceed 9.5% of the employees annual salary.
A big part of the disagreement over this provision lies in how you define a “small business”. According to Obamacare, the cutoff line between a small and large business is 50 full-time equivalent employees. If over 50, the company is considered a large business and required to provide health coverage to their workers.
For more details on each of Watson’s five myths, see his full article at the link above. Image/AP