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Guest commentary: Obamacare opponents misrepresenting the facts

Guest commentary: Obamacare opponents misrepresenting the facts

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:00 pm

By LYNDA HAMBLEN
I’d like to set the record straight on a few of the misrepresentations being spread by some politicians about the health care law, popularly known as Obamacare, which was recently ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
First of all, the federal government is not going to take over your health care. Read the following provisions of the law and see if you find anywhere in them the heavy hand of the government coming between you and your doctor. You also need to know what these provisions are because they’re going to change your life. But in a good way.
To start with, women can’t be charged more than men for the same insurance coverage. Children under the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance and those under 19 can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. In 2014, adults can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, either. Those on Medicare get more help with their prescription drugs. And older people can’t be charged more than three times what younger people are charged for their insurance premiums. Previously, some insurance companies were charging older people up to 10 times what they charged younger people.
Aren’t these provisions wonderful? Even better, all but one are taxpayer freebies. But wait. There are more. And they’re free, too. Your insurance company can no longer kick you off its roll if you get seriously ill; nor can it put a limit on how much money it spends on you. You can’t be charged a co-pay for preventive screenings and immunizations, and in 2014 there will be a limit on all your out-of-pocket expenses.
Best of all, 80 cents of every dollar the insurance company collects from you has to be spending on health care services. Otherwise, your insurance company will have to pay you a rebate. My husband received his rebate yesterday in the amount of $429.06.
Well, those are the basics of the law as it will affect you, freeze dried and put in a nutshell for your convenience. Now I ask you. Did you see a federal bureaucrat lurking in any of the above?
Granted, the health care law does call for research into what medical treatments and procedures work best and it sets up pilot programs with volunteer health care providers to provide premium health care at a lower cost.
But there are no provisions forcing people to choose the lowest cost health care providers and the most effective medical treatments.
Your insurance company might force you to do this, but not the federal government.
Nor is the government going to require you to change your insurance company. If you like your insurance, sit tight and do nothing. But beginning in 2014, if you don’t have insurance or aren’t satisfied with what you do have, you can go to an insurance exchange to be set up by your state (if your state refuses to set up an exchange, the federal government will set up one in its place) and select the insurance company that can provide the coverage you want at the cheapest price.
All of these companies will have to provide the same minimum basic coverage.
Then you can add additional coverage if you choose. In other words, no more waking up to discover that your $400 monthly insurance premium covers only colds and hangnails. In addition, members of Congress will also have to purchase their federally funded health insurance from the same exchange. In other words, what’s good enough for you is going to be good enough for them.
As for that huge tax that the mandate is going to put on the middle class, well, according to the Congressional Budget Office, only 1-2 percent of Americans or about two million people will be charged this tax, and only if they can afford insurance but refuse to buy it. At the most, the tax will be $695 per uninsured adult per household. Furthermore, the federal government can’t seize your property or put you in jail for failure to purchase insurance or pay the tax. What they can do is withhold the tax from your tax refund.
Now about the freedom this law is taking from us. Every single law ever passed in the history of the world resulted in a loss of freedom for someone. That’s just the way laws work. And sometimes the freedoms people want conflict. So, yes, this law does take away our freedom not to buy health insurance. But it ensures our freedom not to have to pay for other people’s health care.
If you liked what this health care law is going to do for you, cut this article out and put it in your wallet.
Then when you hear someone trash the health care law, pull it out, read the provisions in it to him, then ask him which ones he dislikes. And if you hear your U.S. congressman or senator talk about repealing and replacing this law, ask him which provisions he would keep and which he would do away with. That will tell you a lot about which side he is on — your side or the side of the insurance companies.
Lynda Hamblen, a resident of Union City, is a longtime contributor to The Messenger. Published in The Messenger 8.15.12

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