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.

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Paul Ryan is Ridiculous

I lived through the Iran Contra incident, and I have lived through a president declaring a new executive privilege to torture. I was alive when Oliver North put on a nice clean suit and testified in front of a room full of angry people, and I watched Gen. Colin Powell hold up a little vial and make the case that Iraq and al Qaeda were close enough to being the same thing for the world to just pretend for a little while that they were, I watched the teevee as people who pointed out flaws in a White House story were retaliated against aggressively, and sometimes illegally. I remember a scandal in which the Justice Department was considered partisan prize to be won, and litmus tests created to treat it as such. I listened to a very new, very old interpretation of executive power that declared a president could nullify individual portions of newly passed federal laws by attaching an addendum to his signature saying so. I remember some sport noting that the color-coded terror warnings output by the government coincided superbly with the periods of time the White House was facing bad or unwelcome news on other fronts. I remember countless hearings, and a few indictments, and a few pardons, and I have lived long enough to no longer even be able to remember all the politicians and staffers that have been run from office or thrown in jail for being cheap crooks in a line of work that seems to collect cheap crooks like leaves on a fall lawn. And I am not very old.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) criticized President Barack Obama Sunday for issuing executive orders on major issues like health care rather than going through Congress, arguing that it was leading to an “increasingly lawless presidency.”

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Ryan said that Obama was subverting Congress by signing executive orders, which Ryan said is “creating a dangerous trend which is contrary to the Constitution.”

 

Shut up.

 

18 Crazy Right-Wing Myths About Obama, Debunked

1) Obama takes too many vacations.

 FACT: As of August 16th of 2013, Obama had taken 92 days of vacation vs 367 for George W. Bush.

2) Obama has divided the nation.

FACT: Obama has done more to unite this nation than any president since Lincoln. But he’s up against a phalanx of 21st Century separatists, racists and neo-fascists, some of whom have openly proposed seceding. Here… let me hold that door for you. Besides; who’s dividing the Republican party into right wing and ultra-far right wings? Is Obama doing that too? Nope. Look in a mirror Teabigots.

3) Obama’s policies are bankrupting America.

FACT: Reagan added $1.9 trillion to the debt. Bush Sr. added an additional $1.5. Clinton added $1.4. Dubbya added $6.1. Obama has added less than $3.0, the bulk of which was to offset the effects of the Bush recession. Who holds that debt? China; $1.2 trillion. Japan; $900 billion. The Fed; $1.6 trillion. The public; $3.6 trillion. Government trusts; $1.9 trillion. Social Security; $2.7 trillion. So nice try, but no Kewpie doll for you

4) Obama’s a socialist.

 FACT: Hardly. Obama’s economic and social policies are to the right of Kennedy’s, Eisenhower’s, Nixon’s, and even some of Reagan’s. If Obama’s a socialist, then Eisenhower, who had a 91% top tax rate, was a Republican Marxist.

5) Obama lied about keeping your present healthcare insurance.

FACT: Lying and being wrong are two different things. Obama turned out to be wrong, but he didn’t lie. He appeared before the cameras 28 times, repeating the exact same words — “If you like your present policy, you can keep it,” knowing full well he was being recorded each time. If you believe any president would deliberately set himself up like that, then Fox News is indeed the place for you.

6) Obama’s weak on foreign policy.

FACT: Osama bin Laden, the man who murdered 3,000+ Americans on 9/11 is dead. Muammar Khaddafi, the man who blew 300+ Americans out of the sky is dead. More al Qaeda terrorists were taken out under just Obama’s first three years than during the entire 8 years of Bush’s “War on Terrorism,” where we somehow managed to wind up in Iraq; a country that offered asylum to zero terrorists. ‘Nuff said.

7) Obama has taken sides with the Arabs against Israel.

FACT: “I think that from my point of view as defense minister they (American/Israeli relations) are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, um, administrations of both sides of political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israel and I believe that reflects a profound feeling among the American people. But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past. In terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of sorts in a very open way even when there are differences which are not simple sometimes, I’ve found their support for our defense very stable.” ~ Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel

But what would he know?

8) America is less safe under Obama than ever before.FACT:

3,000 Americans killed by al Qaeda on 9/11, when George W. Bush was president. Zero successful al Qaeda attacks on America under Obama. Do the math.

9) Benghazi is Obama’s 9/11.

FACT: There were 13 attacks on American embassies during the Bush years, resulting in some 100 deaths. But Fox News and their reich-wing cohorts has never mentioned them. Benghazi is something that happened to us, not something the administration did. I’m sorry you haven’t gotten the memo, but Benghazi is just another Fox non-story. Same with the IRS “scandal.”

10) ObamaCare is Obama’s 9/11.

 See #9.

11) Sandy Hook was Obama’s 9/11.

See a shrink.

12) Solyndra!

FACT: Solyndra was a $500 million loan that didn’t pay off. How much is $500 million? That’s how much the Bush administration spent every 18 hours on the Iraq War for five years – an expense no Republican ever complains about. And what was our reward? 4,500 Americans killed, at least 100,000 Iraqis killed, another 2 million Iraqis driven from their homes, the emergence of the Shia awakening, and our reputation in a shambles. Thanks Republicans. And you’re upset about half a billion spent on Solyndra.

13) Iraq is falling to al Qaeda due to Obama’s policies.

FACT: Had we not invaded Iraq in the first place, a war Obama opposed 12 years ago, we wouldn’t be seeing Falluja falling to al Qaeda. And who was it that wrote the timetable for our Iraq exit two years ago? Oh, yeah; the Bush administration. You might just as well blame Obama for Bush’s recession. Oh, wait — you do that too!

14) Obama’s policies are anti-business.

FACT: The Dow Jones when Clinton entered office in January 1993 was at 3,300. When he left office in January 2001: 10,662. Dow Jones when Bush left office in January 2009: 9,034. Dow Jones today: 16,437. The Dow has more than doubled in just the first five years of the Obama administration. Yes…. Businessmen just hate that.

15) Obama’s policies have resulted in massive unemployment.

FACT: When George W. Bush stumbled into office in January 2001, he inherited a 4.3% unemployment rate from Bill Clinton. When he left office 8 years later, the unemployment rate was 9.7% and rising fast. As of today, that number is 6.7%, no thanks to the Republicans in Congress who’ve done everything within their power to sabotage the recovery.

During the eight years under George W. Bush, his policies created just 1 million jobs (with another 2 million in the military). Since Barack Obama was sworn in five years ago, 7.6 million jobs have been created, and there are still three years left in his term. So, nice try.

16) Fast & Furious.

FACT: Another poorly conceived program left over from the Bush administration that the GOP is trying to pin on Obama. Move along.

17) Liberals always try to deflect from Obama’s record by bringing up Bush.

FACT: Wrong-o, Bozo. We just like to rub your noses in your hypocrisy. By intentionally ignoring, or even lying about Bush’s record and focusing instead on the above Fox News lies, you’ve liberated yourselves once again from those pesky facts. So it’s become incumbent upon us to set the record straight. To the contrary, conservatives are always trying to deflect from the failures of the Bush years by telling the aforementioned lies.

18) The deficit has skyrocketed under Obama.

FACT: The budget was balanced when Clinton left office in 2001 (in fact, he left Dubbya with a $300,000,000,000 surplus).

Eight years later, Bush left Obama with a $1,413,000,000,000 deficit and a 9.8% deficit/GDP ratio. Most of which was due to Bush’s deficit-spending on the Iraq War, Medicare Part D and the two tax cuts that largely went to the wealthy.

“Remember what Reagan taught us. Deficits don’t matter.” ~ Dick Cheney.

Since Obama’s election:

2010 — $1,294,000,000,000 8.7% deficit/GDP2011 — $1,300,000,000,000 8.4% deficit/GDP2012 — $1,087,000,000,000 6.8% deficit/GDP2013 — $680,000,000,000 4.1% deficit/GDP2014 — $560,000,000,000 3.3% deficit/GDP

See a pattern developing? Furthermore, the United States is now producing more oil than we import. Our overall trade deficit is at a four year low, as imported oil continues to decline. GM, Ford and Chrysler are all chugging along nicely, no thanks to a unified Republican/Teabigot party, who were eager to sacrifice 2 million American jobs on their altar of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

The trade gap has fallen 12.9% to $34.3 billion as Obama’s policies have made American products and services more available abroad, while Americans are increasingly buying more domestic products. The trade imbalance is now lower than at any time since the beginning of the recession, and the offshoring of American jobs has (finally) slowed to a trickle.

Our trade gap with China is down 6.7% (largely based on their taste for American cars — see above), our trade gap with Japan is down 8.4% and our trade gap with the European Union has dropped a whopping 29.4%.

Are things perfect? No. There’s still much to be done. But the rumors of Barack Obama’s “failures” have been greatly exaggerated, and it’s time to call these talking points what they are… lies. This president will go down in history as a man who achieved some amazing accomplishments, especially considering the unified opposition he’s had to endure since Day One.

So there you have it Fox News “patriots,” all your talking points shot to hell in one FACT-based document.