Health: Obamacare improving lives

by Judy Ferro

Obamacare.

`               The national Republican leadership has staked the future of their party on people hating it.

They have flooded the airwaves with horror stories. Obamacare would crowd doctors’ offices with so many people that you couldn’t get in.   It would destroy Medicare.  It would create “death panels” to deny health care.

They have magnified the failure of an Internet program—written and managed by a private firm—into the “failure” of Obamacare.

They have used their control of the House of Representatives to vote fifty times to repeal it.  Fifty times.

They have repeatedly challenged Obamacare in the courts.  Republican governors, including our own, managed to kill the provision requiring states to expand Medicaid.  The Feds won in the fight to require everyone to get insurance.  Corporations are still battling over their right to exclude birth control from their policies.

And a faction of Idaho Republicans are counting on voters’ hatred of Obamacare to oust incumbents who supported establishing an Idaho insurance exchange to sweep them to victories in May and November.

It is the ultimate test of the big-lie’s subversion of democracy.   What does having a vote mean if the mega-rich control a gigantic propaganda machine?

And propaganda has had its victories.  One of the liberal talk shows sent a team out to ask which people liked best—Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.   They found plenty of people who hated Obamacare and liked the Affordable Care Act.  They were nice people who were adorably cute upon learning that Obamacare is just a nickname for the Affordable Care Act.

And plenty of people are circulating e-mail petitions demanding that Congress not be exempt from the Affordable Care Act.  It isn’t.  A major part of the act requires that people who can afford health insurance, have it.  Members of Congress have health insurance.  They are in compliance.

While all the hoopla has been going on, Obamacare has been steadily improving people’s lives.

Insurance companies are required to pay out 80% of peoples’ premiums on healthcare.  Their overhead had averaged about 40%.  Medicare’s overhead is 3%.

Women no longer pay more for health insurance than men do.

Preventive care is included.  Check-ups and lab tests cost patients little or nothing.

Children between the ages of 18 and 26 are getting coverage under their parents’ policies.

People born with diseases like muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis are getting coverage.  People who once had cancer are getting coverage.  Even those who, like my husband, once received ultrasound for a charley horse are no longer being denied coverage for spinal injuries.

More than 46,000 Idahoans recently purchased health insurance under the exchange—nearly 50% more than the expected 32,000.  Some, like my friend Dennis, are now insured for the first time since becoming self-employed.  Others signed up for better coverage with a lower deductible than their previous policies.

What will happen if Idahoans repeal the exchange?  Those covered will have a window of time to transfer to the national exchange and Idahoans will probably have to repay the $20 million that the Feds granted toward start-up costs.

Zero benefit really.  But that’s not the point, is it?  Principle counts—but what is the principle here?  People have the right to hate?  The uber-rich have the right to control elections?

I trust the majority of Idahoans will disregard the propaganda machine and base their vote on their own experience and compassion.   I may be wrong.

I’ve been wrong before.

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