Usually I don’t review a book until I’m finished, but because of news cycle timing, my column’s deadline, and my reading material being 2,409 pages I’m going to tell you what I think after only page 326. There’s no character development, the plot drags, and the editor sucks, but the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is still better than 50 Shades Of Grey .
Depending on whatever last minute tantrum, I mean political ploy, Republicans in the House and Senate try, today or tomorrow, the United States government will go on as usual or shutdown and Obamacare will go into effect with full funding or some of it gutted. Whether the Republicans hold the government and the American people hostage while trying to defund Obamacare is counterproductive to the reality that the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. There’s photographic evidence.
A little guy in a suit makes everything official.
Since 2010, some of the Obamacare’s been implemented, including allowing parents to cover their children until age 26. Oh snap, if I’m covering my kids till that age, they’re in charge of bringing home dad all the ice cream and their bedtime is whatever I say.
But on October 1, 2013, health care exchanges will go online for people who either don’t have insurance and can get it without facing a 1% penalty on their 2014 tax return or people who want to opt out of their current health care plans with their employers or private plans. Then on January 1, 2014, Obamacare starts nationwide for individuals. Employer mandates will happen in 2015.
“Uncle Lance, my head hurts already. Just tell me if Obamacare is the worst thing since the last Madonna movie like my Facebook friends say from cut and paste posts they got from right wing blogs. Or is there anything good?”
Well I’ve only read a few hundred pages, but I’ve also studied the cliff notes versions available from bi-partisan places like factcheck.org, politifact.com, healthcare.gov, and whitehouse.gov The answer? Obamacare is good and it’s bad, depending on who you are, where you live, and what you want your health care plan to do.
“Uncle Lance, you’re pissing me off. My cousin Earl tweeted that Obamacare is job killing, part-time work causing, socialized medicine and the biggest tax increase, ever. Earl’s a good ole boy, he wouldn’t lie.”
Sorry, but Earl’s lying. Well, he’s spitting back lies he’s heard or read. Let’s break it down.
Obamacare hasn’t killed a single job, in fact, it’s created some. Who do you think is operating these online healthcare exchanges where you can buy insurance? Since 2010, Forbes.com estimates that the infrastructure required to begin the implementation of Obamacare has created around 500,000 jobs, some part-time but will lead to full-time work as the plan grows.
Also this buzz about Obama’s made part-time work happen, period? Nonsense. The recession of 2007-2010 did that. Google is our friend, people.
Obamacare isn’t socialized anything. In fact, it’s a regulatory program of free market capitalistic health care. Obamacare’s a watch dog over insurance, health care, and drug companies as well as private practice physicians who’ve gouged the American consumer and run the heath care system like 1920s Prohibition bootleggers. You’ll be able to choose your doctor, stay with them, but also, diversify your plan and not be overcharged for x-rays, drugs, and additional expenses.
And Obamacare, even if it is fully funded, furnished and functional through 2019 will be the 9th largest tax increase in U.S. history. Did you know that Ronald Reagan’s tax increases of 1982 are the third largest? Yeah, righties love him, huh? Dude was a tax master and increased the debt more than any President.
“Okay, Uncle Lance but why do people hate Obamacare especially people who don’t follow politics that much?”
Well, gullibility seems to be a proud American trait. The President and his minions haven’t “sold” Obamacare like they should have. Bill Clinton was recently employed to be The Great Explainer and he’s helped but right wingers hate him too. The cynical answer is that the insurance lobby, drug lobby, and rich doctors all tend to vote Republican because they get tax breaks and make more money under GOP leadership. Obamacare calls all of them out for being gross, lying profiteers at the cost of Americans’ health care. That stops on October 1, regardless of what Senator Ted Cruz said over 21 worthless hours. Obamacare’s happening, lies or not.
“Uncle Lance, sweet little Paula in my office sent out a chain email she got from her Facebook friends that says the health care exchanges won’t be ready next week because of the government shutdown. She says this means premiums will skyrocket by 200 percent.”
Yeah, well, we all have a Paula, but she’s wrong and needs to get off Facebook for a while. More lies. Every state in the Union will see premiums increase from 2% to 7% depending on state tax issues and whatever exemptions are made for businesses and unions. There are three states that will see huge increases – Texas, Florida and Ohio. Texas and Florida have no state income tax and thus aren’t ready for the taxes associated with Obamacare so their rates will be around 35 percent. Ohio’s may be as much as 41 percent due to unions being exempted and other state tax problems. Everyone else’s rates will stay the same or rise marginally.
“Gee, Uncle Lance, is there anything else? This post is getting long and I have to fill out my fantasy football team for the weekend.”
Whatever you do avoid the Tampa Bay wide outs. They’re starting a new QB and you have no clue what Mike Glennon will do. Also, I’ll write more as I get through the ACA. It’s not the worst thing in the world. If you have insurance, you’re fine. Shop around, the exchanges will offer between 78 and 125 different plans if your work plan rates increase. Remember, insurance is what grown ups have when things go wrong and need to protect their children. Obamacare guarantees that the days of kids being rejected for medical care are over. It also treats mental illness and many other previously non-covered conditions as pre-existing.
Relax, Americans of all political persuasions. Ask questions of your politicians and your online columnists. Be wary of those who think Obamacare won’t work. They’re probably more afraid it will work, like social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and the President will get credit for it.
Now back to the book. I just hope there isn’t spanking and naughty talk on page 327.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and three daughters. He’s the published author of two books, both fiction, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body, available online at amazon.com/kindle or in paperback at Lulu.com. He has health insurance but tends to bend over and cough when writing about politics.