Sunday, October 20, 2013

Righties still trying to sabotage Obamacare

In the last 3 weeks, we've seen the rollout of Obamacare's online signup program and the end of the TeaBagger-led shutdown, guaranteeing that the program will continue for the near future. But that still hasn't stopped dishonest right-wingers from trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, both nationwide and in Wisconsin.

Right-wing propaganda such as Fox News continues to lie and deceive about Obamacare, and its effects on people's lives. One such example was spectacularly exposed this week, when Eric Stern followed up on a recent Shawn Hannity program's claims about Obamacare. You really need to read the whole thing in, and share with your friends, because it is a great debunking.

How did Stern (a former adviser to Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer) show Hannity and Faux to be full of shit? By performing a rare act of journalism - following up with the Faux News "guests" that were allegedly hurt by Obamacare. Here's an example of what he found.
...I called Allison Denijs. She’d told Hannity that she pays over $13,000 a year in premiums. Like the other guests, she said she had recently gotten a letter from Blue Cross saying that her policy was being terminated and a new, ACA-compliant policy would take its place. She says this shows that Obama lied when he promised Americans that we could keep our existing policies.

Allison’s husband left his job a few years ago, one with benefits at a big company, to start his own business. Since then they’ve been buying insurance on the open market, and are now paying around $1,100 a month for a policy with a $2,500 deductible per family member, with hefty annual premium hikes. One of their two children is not covered under the policy. She has a preexisting condition that would require purchasing additional coverage for $600 a month, which would bring the family’s grand total to around $20,000 a year.

I asked Allison if she’d shopped on the exchange, to see what a plan might cost under the new law. She said she hadn’t done so because she’d heard the website was not working. Would she try it out when it’s up and running? Perhaps, she said. She told me she has long opposed Obamacare, and that the president should have focused on tort reform as a solution to bringing down the price of healthcare.

I tried an experiment and shopped on the exchange for Allison and Kurt. Assuming they don’t smoke and have a household income too high to be eligible for subsidies, I found that they would be able to get a plan for around $7,600, which would include coverage for their uninsured daughter. This would be about a 60 percent reduction from what they would have to pay on the pre-Obamacare market.

Allison also told me that the letter she received from Blue Cross said that in addition to the policy change for ACA compliance, in the new policy her physician network size might be reduced. That’s something insurance companies do to save money, with or without Obamacare on the horizon, just as they raise premiums with or without Obamacare coming.
Other examples include a business owner who tries to blame Obamacare for rate increases and his company not expanding...except he only has 4 employees and Obamacare doesn't sink in until you have 50 or more. And there's the "Christian youth motivational speaker" who could have gotten a reduction in premiums of 63%, but since he and his family don't want to deal with anything from the Kenyan Socialist in the White House, they won't do it. Which makes it a you problem, Mr. Evangelist, not an Obamacare one.

Now let's take a look at how Wisconsin's rollout of Obamacare is going. Democurmudgeon says he's already been able to enroll in the federal Obamacare exchanges, but can't get a list of Wisconsin providers. That's probably due in no small part to the Walker Administration choosing to turn down millions of dollars in federal aid, deciding to dump Wisconsinites onto the federal exchanges in an attempt to overload the system instead of developing their own exchange program. So as a result, Wisconsin is lagging behind other states when it comes to getting people signed up for coverage under the ACA. Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel (last seen failing to show his work sfter claiming Obamacare would lead to insurance increases in Wisconsin) is back claiming that very few Wisconsinites had been able to sign up through the exchanges, and that the Walker folks are disappointed with that. However, our neighbors to the west don't seem to be having as much difficulty.
Federal officials have so far refused to provide data showing just how few, but Wisconsin officials did their own survey and Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel says fewer than 50 people were able to sign up through during the first week.

By comparison, in Minnesota, which is not relying on the federal website, some 5,500 people applied for coverage through its state website during the first two weeks, officials there said.

Nickel said problems with the federal site could jeopardize efforts in Wisconsin to shift 95,000 people off Medicaid and help the estimated 500,000 uninsured in the state get covered by the Dec. 15 deadline to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1.
Hmmm, what's the missing ingredient here? Could it be that Minnesota accepted the money to set up its own Obamacare exchange and Walker decided to TeaBag it in favor of his idiotic "Work Makes You Free" plan, which does the double-whammy of covering tens of thousands fewer people while costing Wisconsin taxpayers at least $122 million more? Why yes, yes it is.

It's not like Minnesota and Wisconsin have largely differing needs when it comes to insuring its citizens. In fact, Minnesota is the only state in the Midwest with a LOWER amount of unininsured than Wisconsin, so if anything, they should have fewer needs than we do. But instead, they're getting their folks signed up and ready to go for January 1, while Wisconsinites struggle to get the best insurance options they could get. That's the separator between having a governor and a state legislature that cares about good outcomes for its citizens (in Minnesota) versus one that only cares about petty politics and tactics (in Wisconsin).

That's the way today's GOP rolls. Righties have a vested interest in having Obamacare fail, or be perceived as a failure, because having it work for citizens and improve our country's quality of life would doubtlessly help Democrats in the future, (since only Dems voted in favor of the ACA). And when you're the party that represents the Triumph of the Ratfuckers (as Charlie Pierce so accurately put it), political success is the most important measure, and it trumps all other statistics.

Therefore, in GOP-world, having Obamacare be successful is not an acceptable option, and it must be prevented by any and all means. This explains why Faux News and the Walker Administration continue to go out of their way to try to screw up implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and they don't care how many Americans and Wisconsinites get hurt in the process. It is seditious, soziopathic behavior, and it needs to be called out in the most severe terms.

P.S.- By the way, the online setup of was done almost entirely by contractors, many of whom had cozy connections to government officials. Isn't that the method that righties want most things done? If GOPs complain about the shoddy sign-up program, aren't they indicting the whole right-wing philosophy of "the private sector should be the ones running all government functions"?

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