I signed up in 2008 on Barack Obama’s website to receive email updates on the campaign and four years later, I still receive the emails. For the most part, I delete them but sometimes I read them (depending on the topic) and I’ll forward them to my Conservative BFF & fellow blogger (a superb writer in his own right) Walter Myers III. Walter & I often have discussions about many political topics of the day and for my part I enjoy these discussions because no matter how much we may agree (or disagree), we always learn from one another and it’s great to have someone else’s perspective before I expound on a topic in a blog. I received the following email after the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare:
I’d love to take a moment to savor yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, but we don’t have time.
Already, Mitt Romney and Republicans are out with outright falsehoods about Obamacare — their favorite distortion being that this is somehow a broad tax on the middle class. In reality, this is all about personal responsibility — and the “tax” they are trying to scare everyone about is actually a penalty for the 1 percent of people who can afford insurance but still choose not to buy it, leaving the rest of us to pay for their health care when they head to the emergency room.
Just like they did when the bill was before Congress, Republicans are playing fast and loose with the truth, making up scary consequences to keep you from knowing all the good things Obamacare does. They’re not telling the truth about what this reform means for millions of middle-class Americans, so I need you to help get the facts out there.
Let’s break it down.
I forwarded this “Truth Team”email to Walter and we discussed these five points which ironically, couldn’t be further from the truth and decided to collaborate. Here’s how Walter and I both feel about Obama’s alleged “truth” regarding the GOP and future president Mitt Romney:
#1 Republican distortion: “The President promised he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class by a penny with this health care law. Well, that’s been proven false now.”
The facts: President Obama has cut taxes by $3,600 for the average middle-class family over the last three and a half years, and the Republicans fought him nearly every step of the way. From cutting taxes for every working American through the Making Work Pay and payroll tax cuts, to the American Opportunity Tax Credit which gives up to a $10,000 tax credit to help families pay for four years of college, the President has put more money in the pockets of middle-class Americans.
Here’s another fact: Obamacare includes the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in history. According to the independent Congressional Budget Office, 19 million people will receive tax credits — worth an average of about $4,800 each — to help afford health care. These tax credits will finally put health insurance within reach for millions of American families. In short, Obamacare cuts taxes for middle-class families. Period.
Around 1 percent of people — those who can afford to buy coverage but instead choose to opt out, shifting their costs to the rest of us — will pay a penalty. The Supreme Court acknowledged yesterday that this penalty will be charged through the tax code — but that doesn’t change its purpose (to ensure everyone who can afford insurance buys it) or its effect (to lower costs for everyone). It’s also the same policy Mitt Romney implemented when he signed health reform in Massachusetts. For many folks in Massachusetts, the penalties under Romney’s reform were even bigger. In fact, here’s a video of him extolling the virtues of his penalty.
REAL FACTS: First of all, Obama attempts to fool the public by calling a tax a penalty because he knows that raising taxes is toxic. However, when his legislation is being questioned in from of the court, his lawyers say it is a tax even though he sold it as a penalty. Even once the court says it is a tax, Obama, his administration, and his campaign team continue to lie about it not being a tax. It is the height of hypocrisy, then, to say that Romney is lying. The entire law is based on a lie because it does not make healthcare more affordable and it pays for it through a myriad of new taxes. Moreover, they lied about the costs because now we see that the costs are at least double from what we were originally sold when the legislation passed. Furthermore, in 2010 Mitt Romney stated that his plan was for Massachusetts only and he’d never roll it out as a federal plan. Some of us may not like Romneycare but it was a state decision, which is a reflection of Mitt Romney’s respect for empowered states as the constitutional framers wanted. The “Truth Team”, in it’s rush to demonize Romney and Romneycare, neglects to tell us that 62% of Massachusetts residents surveyed support the healthcare law there.
#2 Romney distortion: Romney said Obamacare meant “a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life — separating you and your doctor.”
The facts: Totally dishonest. In fact, this is one of the most dishonest claims in American politics. First, this isn’t about government. Obamacare builds on and improves the nation’s private health care system.
Second, here’s what it fixes. Before Obamacare, insurance companies had free rein to arbitrarily cap and cancel coverage, and they could waste our premiums on overheads and big CEO bonuses. With Obamacare, there will now be clear rules of the road to give patients and doctors more control over their health care. These rules will make sure that you and your doctor — not your insurance company, and certainly not a Washington bureaucrat — have control over your health.
REAL FACTS: This is absolutely about government so Romney is on target. How can it not be with 150+ new federal agencies to regulate insurance and medical care? And what about the IPAB, a 15-member commission appointed by the president whose purpose is to make annual “legislative proposals” starting in 2014 that will result in reducing the per capita rate of growth in Medicare? That is not more and bigger government intruding into your life between you and your doctor? Please. The best way to improve the nation’s private health care system is to make it more competitive, not coerce it to do the government’s bidding through artificial constructs only Washington bureaucrats could dream up. Also, it really is none of Obama’s business what insurance companies do with their money as long as they follow the law and do not cheat their customers. Bringing up CEO bonuses is nothing but another example of the class warfare that Obama likes to shamelessly foment. The bottom line is not just a Washington bureaucrat, but numerous Washington bureaucrats have control over your health, and Obama is lying if he is telling you that is not the case.
#3 Romney distortion: “Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have.”
The facts: Outright false. If you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. The only thing that’s changed is that your coverage is stronger. Here’s how:
— If you had a lifetime limit (and about 60 percent of employer-based plans did), it’s been lifted.
— If you have a child under the age of 26, they can stay on your plan.
— Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.
— Starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny anyone insurance based on preexisting conditions, helping up to 129 million Americans get the care they need.
— Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge women more than men for the exact same coverage.
— 54 million Americans already have access to better preventive services, free of charge.
— And if you get sick, your insurance company can’t drop your coverage, and if they deny you a treatment, the law makes sure you have a chance to appeal.
Republicans who tell you Obamacare won’t let you keep your plan if you like it are lying to you — and it is shameful.
REAL FACTS: Obama continues to perpetuate a known lie because millions of Americans will lose some or all of the insurance coverage they have enjoyed. Obamacare causes employers to spend more money on healthcare plans for their employees because of the myriad taxes Obamacare imposes. Thus, costs will necessarily go up. Just look at the list above. When you impose all of these regulations, they will cause prices to rise significantly (which has already happened with the partial implementation of the law thus far). If you lift the lifetime limit, then premiums will have to rise. If you add children to a plan under the age of 26, premiums will rise. If insurance companies can no longer exclude anyone with a preexisting condition, then it will be impossible for an insurance company to stay in business without massive increases in premiums. What’s worse is that since the “penalties” for those who refuse to purchase insurance begins at a low teaser rate, smart people will just wait until they get sick, wreaking havoc on insurance actuarial tables. I don’t know how they will survive this and how any fool could think this is even workable.
It is a known actuarial fact that women have more healthcare needs than men simply due to the different makeup of their bodies, so why can’t they be charged more? If not, then everyone else will have to be charged more. These provisions above are the most egregious of the healthcare and are entirely unworkable, almost designed to make the private insurance industry fail so the government can create a single-payer system. Finally, if you are now giving preventive care to everyone for free, how can costs not rise? Yes, you can say this will lower costs over time, but can you really expect that once people are given “free” healthcare that they will be more responsible? I hardly think so. If you don’t earn your healthcare, you will never appreciate it as you would if you earned it. Thus, I believe that overall health will NOT increase because there is no incentive to be healthy. If premiums are manipulated so that one person can’t be charged the true actuarial cost based on their health, then why would a smoker quit since he/she wouldn’t have to pay appreciably more than the next person who doesn’t smoke? Their is no true price signal that would deter them, and they can also just wait until they get sick to buy healthcare. That is how perverse the healthcare law is since it is NOT market based.
#4 Republican distortion: “Costs are going up.”
The facts: Health care costs have been going up for decades — that’s one of the reasons President Obama fought to pass the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare makes targeted changes to hold costs down. The President started by taking on the insurance companies. As he said yesterday, the law ensures that insurance companies spend 80% of your premium dollars on your health care, not administrative costs or CEO bonuses. If they don’t follow that rule, they have to send you a rebate. This month, more than 12 million Americans will receive over $1 billion in rebate checks, and we’re all seeing lower premiums because of it.
The law also takes on waste in our health care system. Let’s take just one example. We spend billions of dollars every year treating people for infections they get while they are in the hospital. The health care law helps hospitals take simple but necessary steps to prevent infections. These types of reforms will save up to $35 billion and 60,000 lives.
REAL FACTS: Obamacare, as discussed above, only adds to the cost and does nothing to lower or contain costs. Also, it is simply common sense that if you bring supposedly 30 million more people into the healthcare system that the cost will go up since these people must now be served. What Obamacare does is just create more complexity and bureaucracy in a system that needs to be simplified and made more efficient. If we can’t make Social Security and Medicare work, what on earth would make someone think another entitlement system will be successful and make costs go down? The problem is not administrative costs and CEO bonuses, even though Obama likes to make this out to be the problem, which only someone who has no knowledge of the insurance industry would fall for. It is pure sophistry. Finally, premiums are already rising, so they can’t say just two years into Obamacare that premiums are going down in any case. In fact, they have had to provide over 1000 waivers to companies who said it was going to be a major burden to them to participate in the law. Ironically, most of the waivers went to union members and also restaurants in the district of none other than Nancy Pelosi:
Despite the “Truth Team’s” untruthful caveats regarding what would happen if Mitt Romney wins the election, Mitt Romney will not only repeal the Obamatax/Obamacare, he does have a plan to replace it with because no American wants to go back to what we had exactly. In an article in the New York Times, Op/Ed Columnist David Brooks gives us a hint of what Mitt Romney’s replacement for Obamacare would be:
“Moreover, there are alternatives. Despite what you’ve read, there is a coherent Republican plan. The best encapsulation of that approach is found in the National Affairs essay, “How to Replace Obamacare,” by James C. Capretta and Robert E. Moffit. (Mitt Romney has a similar plan, which he unveiled a little while ago and now keeps in a secret compartment in subsection C in the third basement of his 12-car garage).”
Barack Obama’s “Truth Team” is just another part of his smear campaign against the GOP and Mitt Romney but many Americans can see through his political legerdemain and we will not be victims of this “dumbing down” of American citizens. I have faith and trust that Mitt Romney is the man to do the job and I feel confident in saying that my friend Walter Myers III has the same level of trust but either way, unlike Democratic (the majority) blind support of Obama no matter what he does ( or fails to do), we will hold his “feet to the fire” to ensure that these promises are kept along with every other Conservative. To Obama’s “Truth Team” we suggest another career because your lies are transparent and this will only lead you to one place: the unemployment line on November 6th, 2012 behind Barack Obama and all of the rest of his liberal cronies and sycophants.