Republicans who want to talk about the Affordable Care Act have two obvious goals: discrediting the whole law and somehow making it go away.
They don’t, however, want to talk about the more than 3 million Americans under 26 now on their parents’ coverage thanks to the law, how health care inflation has slowed dramatically since it was passed, or the millions and millions of working people who could end up “winners” because of the law.
Why would they?
After years of attempting to sabotage the law, the GOP received a huge gift in the bungled roll out of Healthcare.gov. Suddenly, their vague warnings of a “government takeover” of health care that would unleash a communist apocalypse were replaced by justifiable mockery of the site’s glitches and calls for Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation. Of course, this required them to pretend that they actually wanted the website to work.
This week, many Republicans realized they were boxing themselves into a corner if the site ever began to work as promised, which is supposed to happen by the end of November. So the discussion has moved to the 10-15 percent of Americans in the individual insurance market, some of whom are losing their insurance — mostly because it doesn’t meet the need requirements set out by the Affordable Care Act. These are plans that were most likely to be rated “fair to poor,” according to the Center for Health Research and Transformation.
About half of these people will receive subsidies to purchase new plans and some may end up paying higher rates. The right-wing media has been searching for examples of people being screwed by these changes. But the nightmare scenarios they’ve been presenting keep turning out not to be that bad, upon just a little investigation.
This is happening despite the president’s assurances that “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” even though the Affordable Care Act does “grandfather” in all plans that were in effect up until when the law passed in 2010.
These are the things Republicans do want to talk about because they make either the law or President Obama look bad. And by focusing on these issues, they hope to distract from these five facts that are much more promising for the health care law.
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