The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 12, 2013

ACA deceit claims skew issue


First, in a classic bait and switch operation, the consumer gets fleeced for the benefit of the perpetrator. By contrast, the ACA works to provide affordable, better health care for consumers.

Secondly, all along, the president has faced a special problem with the ACA: Opponents are trying almost any dirty trick to destroy it. It’s not just House Republicans trying to defund the ACA by forcing the government shutdown and most of them voting to allow a debt default.

They’ve used misinformation to spread as much fear as possible: death panels will be killing grandma, Medicare benefits are being cut, it’s a government takeover of health care; it’s socialism; government bureaucrats will stand between you and your doctor; premiums will skyrocket; the government takeover will force you to lose the health insurance you have now; deficits will explode and bankrupt the country; you’ll lose your job or be cut back to part time status; the ACA’s unconstitutional; the individual mandate destroys freedom. They prey upon people’s frequent fear of change.

People need reassurance. That’s why President Obama made clear that the government was not forcing elimination of health plans people already had. But another reality has to be recognized: Generally, there’s no way of stopping change, although you can make it better or worse. Over recent decades, the changes in health care have made coverage and affordability worse for people not on Medicare, Medicaid, or VA coverage. Rather than let this trend of change continue, the ACA works to make coverage and affordability better. So the basic issue is change for the better vs. continuing change for the worse, not a bait and switch game.

Reality also requires careful thought about personal stories. For example, a 63-year old woman was upset because part of her premiums under the ACA would go for maternity coverage she doesn’t need. Is she equally upset that part of the premiums of a 30-year old would go for coverage of her osteoporosis, if she develops it?

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