Remember “rate shock”? For a while there all TEA party GOPers did was rend their clothing and wail about this supposed looming disaster–that Obamacare would bring drastic price increases.
Well that turned out to be bad information. In fact, so many people are getting bad information that Consumer Reports decided they needed to put up their own website to show people what Obamacare really costs–and what it can save them. The consumer watchdog groups said they kept hearing from readers who said their health insurance premiums were going to go “through the roof because of the new health law, and they’re having their doubts about the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act.”
In reality, “in almost every case it turns out they’re upset over nothing—because their health costs are not going up after all. They just haven’t been able to find their way to the right information.”
And many people are saving money. In Montana, health plans sold on the marketplace are cheaper than what current plans would have cost without the health law — even though the new marketplace plans will offer more and much better benefits than in the past, the Billings Gazette reported.
Montana isn’t alone.
Affordable Care Act Plans Cost Less Than Expected – Will Reduce Deficit by $300 BILLION in 10 Years
In spite of the screeching and tantrums we hear from the TEA Party, a new study released this week shows Affordable Care Act is already working: Heavy price competition between insurance companies in the marketplaces has lowered health insurance costs even below what the bill originally projected.
These lower costs will the save the federal government an additional $190 billion over the next 10 years, according to the new Center for American Progress estimates. The lower health care plan costs means fewer subsidies will be needed–which means the federal government will save money. Lower costs means the ACA is now expected to reduce the deficit by $300 billion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office originally projected that the ACA would lower the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years. (And you thought the TEA party cared about reducing the national debt.)
The study also found that the “lower premiums will lower the number of uninsured even further, by an additional 700,000 people, even as the number of individuals who receive tax credits will decline because insurance is more affordable.” That’s because the lower costs will mean more people will decide to buy insurance rather than pay the individual mandate penalty.
In short, even though the website was initially overwhelmed with traffic, the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for people for much less money. So much for the “rate shock” lies from the Fox News crowd.
In fact, the real problem with the Affordable Care Act isn’t higher prices or even a bogged-down website. The real problem is what Jon Stewart called “total dickishness”–Republicans who decided to deny health care to millions of working poor Americans just above the poverty line who are too “rich” for Medicaid, but also don’t make enough to qualify for tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. In Montana, that’s about 50,000 people, according to a new report released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Remember, the federal government offered to cover 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion to cover those people for the next three years, but 26 states–including the 2013 TEA Party Montana legislature–have declined. Jon Stewart explained it best on the Daily Show recently. Here’s the clip. As Stewart says, “The show’s brought to you by Spite, the emotion that makes you turn down health care for the working poor because you hate the president.”
Stewart isn’t the only one cutting through the lies and “rate shock” misinformation. Livingston Enterprise reporter Liz Kearney decided to skip the rumors and fear mongering and talk to real people about their real experiences applying for health care with the marketplace website and signing up for plans.
This is the kind of thing Montana lawmakers should be reading instead of the propaganda from Fox News and right-wing think tanks funded by the Koch Brothers. You can make like Art Wittich and run around like a chicken with its head cut off, or, as Kearney writes, you can check the prices yourself at the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “subsidy calculator”.
You can also check the prices in Montana at healthcare.gov–without entering any personal information. Yes, this is working.