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The Daily Show goes hunting for Obamacare horror stories, have fun!

GOP Obamacare Depression

No wonder John Boehner is suing the President over the Affordable Care Act, the GOP has done everything they can to stop people from getting health insurance only to see millions sign up.  The news for Republican politicians just got worse with this new study by the Commonwealth Fund concluding that Obamacare is working – even for Republicans!

The Affordable Care Act has been successful at achieving some major goals in the first year of its full implementation, according to a new study from The Commonwealth Fund.

There are three important findings from the study: The uninsured rate is dropping, most people like their new insurance plans (even Republicans!), and most people are finding it easy to visit a doctor.

The study found the uninsured rate in the U.S. declined by one-quarter over the last nine months, which included the law’s first, six-month open-enrollment period in which individuals could sign up for private insurance plans through exchanges established by the law.

From the July-to-September 2013 period to the April-to-June 2014 period, the uninsured rate of people between the ages of 19-64 dropped from 20% to 15%, according to the study. The research found 9.5 million people gained insurance, either through the exchanges or through the law’s expansion of the federal Medicaid program.

Sure, they have insurance but there’s no way they like those plans with all those mandated benefits…

Among those who have become newly insured, the vast majority say they are “better off” and like their plans. In total, 58% of respondents with new plans said they are “better off” than before — including 61% who were previously uninsured. Seventy-nine percent of those who were previously uninsured said they were either “somewhat” or “very satisfied” with their new plans.

Even 74% of Republicans say they’re at least somewhat satisfied with their new plans.

OH, SNAP!  Looks like some politicians are caught once again not representing their constituents.


Wendell Potter explains how Making Insurers Do The Right Thing Saves Billions

The chairman of the committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.), then decided to explore the issue further. After examining years of reports filed by insurance companies, the committee found that, as Rockefeller said Wednesday, “many of the policies health insurance companies were selling to families and businesses were just not a good value” because of their low medical loss ratios.

At Rockefeller’s insistence, the Affordable Care Act included a provision that requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of our premiums on medical care and no more than 20 percent on overhead, including executive salaries and profits. That single provision — which went into effect in 2011 — has saved consumers billions of dollars in just two years.

As I explained to the committee last Wednesday, consumers benefit from the minimum MLR requirement in two significant ways. First, insurers are now operating more cost-efficiently to stay in compliance with the law. As a result, many policyholders are paying lower premiums than they would have been charged otherwise. Second, if an insurer fails to comply and spends less than 80 percent on medical care — or 85 percent in the large group market — it has to issue rebates to its policyholders.

Jonathon Chait has penned Republicans Finally Admit Why They Hate The Affordable Care Act.  Talk about a fun read be sure to include this one.  Looking back at all the Republican talking points with all their certainty of impending doom only to have reality illustrate that doom has indeed come – for the talking points.  Remember these?

Just within the last week, numerous predictions of Obamacare skeptics have suffered ignominious deaths. Consider a few:

1. Obamacare is mostly just signing up customers who already had insurance. The basis for this claim was a preliminary survey conducted by McKinsey last year, well before the first enrollment period for Obamacare was complete. It generated massive coverage in the right-wing media. Since then, newer data has shown much higher figures. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that 57 percent of enrollees lacked insurance previously.

2. Obamacare isn’t even significantly reducing the ranks of the uninsured. This claim built on the previous one — it combined the prediction few people would sign up for new coverage with the prediction that those who did were mostly insured. “CBO has projected that 14 million previously uninsured Americans would gain coverage under the law. With about ten weeks left in this year’s enrollment period, we’re looking at a coverage expansion of less than a million,” suggested Republican health-care adviserAvik Roy.

Measuring the population lacking insurance is historically complex and imprecise, but we now have a bevy of measures showing that Obamacare has already made a huge dent in the uninsured population. Gallup has showed the uninsured rate dropping by about a quarter. A report finds the uninsured rate in Minnesota has fallen by 40 percent. A study of numerous cities by the Robert Woods Johnson foundation projections projects declines of about 60 percent by 2016 in municipalities whose states expanded Medicaid, and half that in states where Republicans have maintained the party’s boycott of Obamacare.

There are more examples of GOP talking points that once rode the Fox News airwaves that now reside in the bottom of a cylindrical receptacle.  But why does the right really hate Obamacare?

It is true that Obamacare is far more helpful to people lower down the income scale. The poorest people get Medicaid, which is free. Those higher up the income ladder get tax credits, which phase out at $45,000 a year for an individual, and $94,000 a year for a family of four. (I wouldn’t call people earning under those levels “poor.”) Of course, people who get employer-sponsored insurance also get their coverage paid for with “other peoples’ money.” The difference is that employer-sponsored insurance uses a tax deduction, which gives the largest benefits to those who earn the most money, as opposed to Obamacare’sy sliding scale tax credit, which gives the most to those who earn the least.

Economist Dean Baker’s blog Beat The Press describes how One Million More People Are Eligible For The Exchanges Every Month.  That sound you

just heard was Congressman Blaine Lemmingmeyer chasing the pieces of his blown mind.

The New York Times ran a piece reporting that more Democrats running for election this year are openly campaigning on the Affordable Care Act. The piece noted that eight million people had signed up for the exchanges by the end of the open enrollment period. While this is a large base of people who may perceive themselves as benefiting from the law, it is worth noting that this number is likely to increase substantially in the months leading up to the election.

Under the law, people who face a “life event” become eligible for insurance in the exchange. Life events include job loss, divorce, death in the family, and the birth of a new child. Every month roughly four million people leave their jobs. If just one in five of these people go from a job with insurance to either being unemployed or a job without insurance, it would mean another 800,000 people are becoming eligible for the exchanges every month for this reason alone.

This means that the number of people who will have had the opportunity to buy insurance through the exchanges by election will be far higher than the number currently enrolled. Since many of these people will have found themselves unexpectedly without insurance, they are likely to especially value the opportunity to buy insurance on the exchanges. 



Andy Borowitz cuts to the quick with his review of Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s reaction to Obamacare enrollments exceeding projections and totaling over seven million.

A riveting scene unfolded in Congress today as a tearful Speaker John Boehner took to the floor of the House to tell his colleagues, “I don’t want to live in a world where seven million people get affordable health care.”

Tears streaming down his cheeks, Rep. Boehner appeared unable to maintain his composure as he delivered a speech interrupted by blubbering and sharp intakes of breath.

“What kind of a world is it where anyone can go on the Internet and get health care they can afford?” he said. “Not a world I’d care to live in, or leave to my children.”

“It’s not right… and it’s not America,” he said, breaking down.

Later, dabbing his eyes, a still-sobbing Boehner apologized to reporters for “losing it up there.”

“I don’t like to get so emotional,” he said. “But when seven million people signed up for Obamacare, a part of me died.”

This week’s audio netcast:  The Paul Ryan budget – the one that believes black men don’t have the culture to work – comes under attack from Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore. With Obamacare once again under fire at the Supreme Court and another sign-up deadline passing, health care analyst Phillip Longman talks about the policy challenges facing the Affordable Care Act. And law professor Stephen Griffin asks — and answers — how Congress can take a bigger role in decisions to go to war.

DailyKos has this story of a Koch Brothers $700,000 ad buy featuring an Arkansas woman that has had her insurance cancelled.  The only problem? – it’s not true.  Again.

“We received a letter from our insurance company as of December of 2014 that we would no longer be covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield,” says a woman named Wanda in the ad. “Well, now, when somebody tells you, ‘If you like it, you can keep it,’ you believe them. But that’s not so in this case.”

You know what happens next.

Mr. Obama said last November that the administration would allow insurance plans in effect on Oct. 1, 2013, to be “grandfathered” through the next year even though the plans didn’t meet minimum requirements for coverage under the ACA. Some states didn’t allow the extension, but Arkansas’s insurance commissioner granted a waiver allowing insurance plans to extend the plans through December 2014, and could delay that deadline again into 2015. That means that no Arkansas residents have as yet had their plans canceled due to the health care law. [emphasis added]

Funny thing about this ad: the claims made here are quite vague, none of the kinds of specific information that keeps getting their star in Michigan, Julie Boonstra, in so much trouble. And yet, the one claim of harm done by Obamacare that Wanda makes isn’t true!

The Republican Party has once again evaded reality attempting to generate another Obamascare story, this time based on the recently released CBO report on the Affordable Care Act.  The report basically says that with the ability to purchase their own insurance and reduced rates, independent of their employer, many Americans will choose to work fewer hours or start their own businesses.

I guess if your a corporate sponsored Republican these could be drastic developments since they expose the hypocrisy of talking about small business and free markets while working to enact legislation that favors the largest corporate entities.  Equally worrisome, if people are no longer dependent on their employer for healthcare they may demand raises.  Even worse politically for the GOP is without having to work two jobs to help cover their health insurance costs some Americans may choose to work one and someone else may be hired for the other, reducing unemployment.  This is 180 degrees from what they are currently complaining about.  This would  increase employment, not decrease it.

This is just one way that as E.J. Dionne put it, Must The Obamacare Debate Be Stupid? 

By broadening access to health insurance, the Affordable Care Act ends the tyranny of “job lock,” which is what the much-misrepresented Congressional Budget Office study of the law released on Tuesday shows. The new law increases both personal autonomy and market rationality by ending the distortions in behavior the old arrangements were creating.

But that’s not how the study has been interpreted, particularly by enemies of the law. Typical was a tweet from the National Republican Congressional Committee declaring that “#ObamaCare is hurting the economy, will cost 2.5 millions [sic] jobs.”

Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post’s intrepid fact checker, replied firmly: “No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill 2 million jobs.” What the report said, as The Wall Street Journal accurately summarized it, is that the law “will reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs.”

Oh my God, say opponents of the ACA, here is the government encouraging sloth! That’s true only if you wish to take away the choices the law gives that 64-year-old or to those moms and dads looking for more time to care for their children. Many on the right love family values until they are taken seriously enough to involve giving parents/workers more control over their lives.

And it’s sometimes an economic benefit when some share of the labor force reduces hours or stops working altogether. At a time of elevated unemployment, others will take their place. The CBO was careful to underscore — the CBO is always careful — that “if some people seek to work less, other applicants will be readily available to fill those positions and the overall effect on employment will be muted.”

To see the difference between accurate reporting and  GOP/FOX news check out this clip of Carol Costello of CNN on this issue.

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