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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If you want an example of how the Affordable Care Act should work, President Obama hopes you’ll look to California.

Speaking in San Jose on Friday, the president heralded California’s implementation of his signature legislative accomplishment, which has resulted in an insurance marketplace that’s offering rates lower than anyone expected. Similar results have also been seen in Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

“You can listen to a bunch of political talk out there, negative ads and fearmongering geared toward the next election, or alternatively you can look at what’s happening in states like California right now,” Obama said.

A total of 2.6 million Californians — anyone who earns less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level — will receive tax credits to help them pay for insurance. Those earning 133 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, as the state has chosen to accept expansion offered by the federal government. You can figure out if you’re eligible for a subsidy by using this calculator.

“In states that are working hard to implement this law properly, we’re seeing it work for people — for middle-class families, for consumers,” the president said.

California was the first state to set up a health care marketplace. From 33 applications, the state accepted 13 insurers whose rates were published last week.

The state also has the most uninsured residents in the nation — so if the reform works there, it could work in any state.

The Republican campaign to misinform about and repeal Obamacare has been effective. A recent poll said 42 percent of Americans weren’t sure it was law, and a poll released Thursday showed record unpopularity for the law.

The president sought to combat the constant misinformation with two simple messages: 1. About 85 percent of Americans will not be affected by Obamacare, except to have more benefits and protections in their existing insurance, and 2. Those who are buying insurance will benefit from competition and government tax credits and/or breaks that will help them afford it.

“This doesn’t mean everything will go perfectly right away,” said Obama. He then made the moral argument that underlies the entire massive reform project he has undertaken: “Quality care shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be a right.”

The president also addressed a common Obamacare criticism that in some ways resembles the “if it’s snowing, how could there be global warming?” argument: “If this law is so great, why did my premiums go up?”

The cost of health care is actually growing at a much slower rate over the past three years, the president pointed out.

“The main message I want for Californians and people all across the country, is that starting on October 1st, if you’re in the individual market, you can get a better deal,” Obama said. “If you’re a small business that’s providing health insurance to your employees, you can get a better deal through these exchanges. You’ve got to sign up,, or here in California,”

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins October 1.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Lynda Groom

    It began working for our daughters family some time ago. Our grandchild has a preexisting condition and is now covered. His parents have an appointment set up this coming October to help them with the exchange system run by California. So far it has been far easier than any of us imagined it would be. Of course we have to remember that California began working on a useable system shortly after passage of the bill. Far too much foot dragging and obstruction has been used elsewhere to ensure the process be as difficult as possible. When will they learn a little cooperation goes so much further?

    • sigrid28

      We lived in France for five years and received health care under the national French system. Everyone has insurance. You can call any physician, make an appointment, and go see them. There is a small copay at the doctor’s office (maybe $40 even for a specialist–$35 for a house call!) and medications are very inexpensive ($7 a month for a medicine that cost $86 a month here at the time). Ditto dental care. The French are justly proud of their doctors and their national health care system: the sick from throughout Europe seek and receive access to it, it is so good. I lived in England for a year in college, where I experienced the same–as did many who were not students studying abroad but refugees and recent immigrants. Say what you will about the French and English, their national health care puts ours to shame.

      • Lynda Groom

        Indeed nearly all, if not all, of our economic competitors have superior health care systems. Taking the burden off businesses gives them a great advantage over our companies in the market place. Before retiring I used to spend time in much of Asia as part of my business dealings. Japan, Singapore and Taiwan just to name but a few also have wonderful health care systems.

        • sigrid28

          I am always surprised at liberals find it hard to articulate what they like about Barack Obama and about Obamacare, while at the same time finding a thousand ways to condemn the Republicans and the opponents of Obamacare. In general, it IS more difficult to offer intelligent praise than to create flamboyant condemnation. If we are to help out the Democratic party by carrying a little of the water when it comes to popularizing Obamacare before its benefits are evident to all Americans, we have to learn how to describe it and get people to pay attention to what it is and how it meets their needs.

          As in the affirmative side of any debate, first you have to prove that there is a need to change the status quo, then you have to show that you have a plan that is plausible, then you have to show that this workable plan will actually meet the need you set forth to begin with. We’re looking at a three paragraph defense of Obamacare–the problem, the program, how the program solves the problem.

          Here’s an example: In our family, everyone has a pre-existing condition. We could not afford to pay for the insurance policies that companies would sell us, and few were on offer even at extreme prices, like $1500 per month. Under Obamacare, health insurers compete in a pool driving down the cost of health insurance, and it is against the law to refuse to sell someone insurance because they have a prior condition. Another good feature of Obamacare, is that if we cannot afford the cost of even the least expensive health insurance policy, there are provisions for assistance in meeting the cost. Because our family’s health care can now be covered in a more consistent way, we will have fewer medical costs overall. Obamacare saves us money to begin with, improves our health, and drives down health costs in the long run.

          Now, fellow liberals on this comment thread, have at it!

    • plc97477

      Good luck with your grandchild. I hope he does very well from now on.

      • Lynda Groom

        Thank you for your very kind words. Things are on the mend and he is doing wonderful. We appreciate your kindness.

  • montanabill

    If you believe this story for one minute, time to pay a little more attention. For starters:
    www dot opednews dot com/articles/Obamacare-Exchange-Watch–by-Trudy-Lieberman-130607-47 dot html


    www dot forbes dot com/sites/theapothecary/2013/05/30/rate-shock-in-california-obamacare-to-increase-individual-insurance-premiums-by-64-146/