How to talk to your Tea Party relatives about healthcare during Thanksgiving.

As your family gathers around the table this Thanksgiving, the conversation may get a little heated if your right-wing relatives bring up President Obama’s signature health law. The Affordable Care Act remains both unpopular and misunderstood among the American public — a combination that makes it likely fodder for holiday conflicts.

So, if your Tea Party uncle, or aunt, or cousin, or dad starts making wild assertions about the Affordable Care Act, here are some key points that will help keep your conversation on track:

Obamacare is not causing premiums to skyrocket.

Since the rollout of Obamacare last year, GOP lawmakers have predicted that premiums would continue to escalate for the millions of Americans purchasing health insurance on the marketplaces. However, according to a recent Center for American Progress analysis, the premium rates for individual market in states with federally-run marketplaces will increase by an average of less than 4 percent between 2014 and 2015. Compare that to the the years before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, when average health care premiums increased more than 10 percentannually.

Plus, more of the nation’s largest insurerswill participate in the exchanges for the first time this year, which will increase competition and ultimately lower rates for Americans shopping for plans. While rates remain high in some rural regions of the United States — including Tennessee andWest Virginia — those areas have had low competition among insurers historically. And recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said that premiums in those states too will likely decrease under the health care law.

“The dark predictions of widespread, quickly escalating premiums appear not to have materialized for 2015,” that reportedconcluded.

Jonathan Gruber did not expose the “real truth” about the law.

The controversy surrounding Obamacareintensified earlier this month, after videos surfaced of health care economist Jonathan Gruber attributing the law’s success to “the stupidity of the American voter.” Gruber — who’s often credited as an “architect” of the health law, even though some Democratic lawmakers take issue with that assessment — suggested that Obamacare would not have passed if more people realized that its individual mandate is essentially a tax, or that it requires healthy people to subsidize care for sicker people.

But, despite the headlines about “GruberGate,” this controversy hasn’t actually revealed a fundamental truth about the Affordable Care Act. As the legislation moved through Congress, the debate over Obamacare thoroughly addressed the aspects of the policy that Gruber claims lawmakers were hiding. The Congressional Budget Office did score the individual mandate as a mechanism to increase revenue, and President Obama was openabout the fact that young and healthy people are necessary to balance out the cost of providing coverage for older and sicker people.

The website was a disaster last year, but it’s actually working better this time around.

The ongoing controversy over Gruber’s comments has largely obscured the fact that open enrollment is going much more smoothly than it did when Obamacare’s marketplaces first launched last year. During the first enrollment period, catastrophic website glitches prevented people from signing up, and the rocky rollout made a lot of people rightfully skeptical about whether the new marketplaces were ready for business. But, as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, the second enrollment period opened to “largely positive reviews,” and people were able to sign up for plans in just minutes. Although some people havereported issues with the site, it’s going much better.

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot less coverage of HealthCare.gov’s successful operations that there was about its glitches — probably because a functioning website makes for a pretty boring story.

Obamacare has successfully lowered the uninsured rate.

While nearly half of the respondents in Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent tracking poll said they have an unfavorable opinion about Obamacare, there’s one positive effect of the landmark legislation that’s hard to argue with. Millions of the poor, people of color, women, and those with preexisting conditions were able to attain coverage for the first time when the market places opened last year.

The effects since then have been significant. The number of uninsured people fell by at least 10 million, according to data compiled by Commonwealth Fund. In low-income communities, the uninsurance rate dropped nearly 10 percentage points. There’s no doubt that newly insured people are putting their coverage to use. Another Commonwealth Fund study in July found that 60 percent of enrollees have used their new insurance to seek services.

And Obamacare has the potential to drive the uninsured rate down even further. If every state accepted Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion — a policy that 20 GOP-led states continue to block — the national rate of uninsured people would be two percentage points lower, according to a recent New York Times analysis.

Businesses are not cutting back on workers’ hours or coverage because of Obamacare.

Obamacare is not creating a “part time economy.” The vast majority of employers say the law has had no impact on their workers’ hours. An analysis released by the Urban Institute and the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation last month found that number of part-time jobs have increased since 2011 because of the slow economic recovery, while the availability of benefits to part-time workers has only slightly changed. And according to a survey of employer benefits conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the portion of businesses that offer health benefits to their part-time workers has remained stable over the last 15 years, increasing by three percentage points.

If businesses are saying that the law is forcing them to cut back hours and drop coverage, they’re probably just using Obamacare as a convenient scapegoat. Employers have a long history of shifting health care costs onto their employees and cutting back on coverage to help their bottom lines. This practice continues under the Affordable Care Act. According to a survey conducted earlier this year, one in six employers are still providing skimpy plans to their workers to save money.

Advertisements

Obamacare Enrollment Period Ends With A Bang and Conservatives Wimper

After a surge of sign-ups on the last day for open enrollment, Obamacare is on track to hit the White House’s original target of 7 million people signing up, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

… with that 7 million figure being the original goal set by the Congressional Budget Office.

Let the Republican teeth gnashing and excuse making begin, along with a whole new set of anti-health care talking points (remember, boys, you already used up “death panels”).

image

Paul Ryan Gets Schooled By Constituent Who Will Save Hundreds Under Obamacare

RACINE, Wisconsin — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been one of the primary architects of the GOP’s ongoing crusade to repeal and replace Obamacare. Most recently, the Budget Chairman has indicated that Republicans will attempt to pass individual reforms to roll back the health law’s provisions piece by piece.

But not all of Ryan’s constituents agree with his position. On Wednesday, the Republican congressman was confronted by one such voter at a town hall in southeast Wisconsin.

“ACA subsidies are a good thing,” Michael Martincic, 64, of Oak Creek told Ryan, criticizing his Party’s repeated attempts to get rid of the health reform law.

Martincic works as a roofer and is currently paying $700 for his health insurance through his union. However, upon browsing Healthcare.gov — “it was so easy to get on the site; the whole thing only took 15 minutes,” Martincic told ThinkProgress afterward — he found that he qualified for subsidies and could be paying as little as $200 for coverage.

Martincic also told Ryan about others who had been helped by Obamacare as well, including a friend with leukemia whose out-of-pocket expenses had been cut in half. At several points, the crowd clapped and cheered for him.

Nonetheless, Ryan defended his party’s repeal votes — 51 in total — noting that some of them only aimed to chip away at particular parts of Obamacare. “We didn’t have 51 votes to repeal it altogether 51 times,” Ryan said. “That’s sort of this urban legend…there are many pieces of this law that we went after.”

Watch it:

Ryan’s own plan to replace Obamacare, the Patients’ Choice Act, was unveiled back in 2009. Although that plan lacks some of the consumer protections in Obamacare, it also incorporates some of the same provisions that made it into the health law. Ryan admitted last year that Obamacare does include some ideas that Republicans “have always been talking about.” But that hasn’t stopped him from repeatedly introducing budget proposals to repeal the law.

Martincic said he and his wife are still deciding whether to go through with the insurance switch, but he’s grateful to have the option. When ThinkProgress asked him whether he thinks Ryan sees the people like himself, who could benefit from Obamacare, Martincic shook his head. “He misses it.”

TRANSCRIPT:

MARTINCIC: What Obama did was get this law passed. Whether it’s good, bad, or not, it got passed. It’s actually helping some people grow, helped this other guy [with] medication. The Republicans….By myself…I could actually…get some kind of subsidy, which would help me…

RYAN: With the ACA, one thing I want to say is we didn’t have 51 votes to repeal it altogether 51 times. I think that’s sort of like this urban legend that we said, ‘let’s repeal it.’ It’s like we did a repeal vote on the whole law. There are many pieces of this law that we’ve gone after—several of them that were made into law, so please know—I think even Democrats would acknowledge that there are a lot of problems with this law. And so we passed a lot of things changing this law—several of which were made into law—but I really do believe there’s a better way to do it than with this health care law.

My argument is that I think there are better ways at dealing with these extremely important and legitimate problems, like people with preexisting conditions—this is why I’m a big fan of risk pools. We had the [??] system in Wisconsin—it worked well, and then it had the federal government attached to it, so it was even more affordable for people with preexisting conditions. That was one of our proposals. So I do think that there are better ways of fixing this problem—affordable coverage for everybody, including people with preexisting conditions that’s a lot better than [this law]. It’s going to hurt our hospitals, it’s going to hurt Medicare, it’s going to make people buy things they don’t want to buy.

 

Via:ThinkProgress Logo

Let’s Count The Ways the Tea Party Has LOST on the ACA

Just for fun, let’s count the ways the Tea Party leadership has lost on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare):

 

1. March 2010 – lost vote on passage of the federal statute

 

2. Obama signs the ACA into law March 23, 2010

 

3. Republican lead efforts failed 40+ times to repeal Obamacare…

 

4. June 2012 – Supreme Court upholds Obamacare and affirms that it is constitutional

 

5. November 2012 – President Obama wins second term as President of the United States – running on Obamacare as the primary part of his platform, and also running against Republican candidate who said he would, if elected, “repeal Obamacare on day one in office”.

 

6. Oct 1, 2013 – Republicans shut down the U.S. Government after attempting to attach a provisions that would delay or otherwise defund the ACA.

 

7. Oct 2, 2013 – Enough house Republicans begin to make public statements that they would pass a clean CR (a continuing resolution, that would NOT include any conditional provisions).

 

I think I see a trend.

 

Obama’s Approval Rating: 45%

Congress Approval Rating: 19%

The GOP needs to GET OVER IT: The ACA is here to stay

However you slice it, the last time this nation voted, more people voted for the party of Obamacare. Yet because the GOPers control a little more than one half of one body of Congress (or, put it this way, a bit more than one-half of one-third of the legislative-executive branches of the government), their extremists believe they are entitled to take hostages to eviscerate a law that was previously passed by Congress, signed by the president, and okayed by a conservative-led Supreme Court.