Friday, October 18, 2013

This is Amazing!


Eric Stern at Salon today posted an amazing article titled "Inside the Fox News Lie Machine: I Fact Checked Sean Hannity on Obamacare". Here's Eric:

I happened to turn on the Hannity show on Fox News last Friday evening. “Average Americans are feeling the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck,” Hannity announced, “and six of them are here tonight to tell us their stories.”  Three married couples were neatly arranged in his studio, the wives seated and the men standing behind them, like game show contestants.

As Hannity called on each of them, the guests recounted their “Obamacare” horror stories: canceled policies, premium hikes, restrictions on the freedom to see a doctor of their choice, financial burdens upon their small businesses and so on.

“These are the stories that the media refuses to cover,” Hannity interjected.

But none of it smelled right to me. Nothing these folks were saying jibed with the basic facts of the Affordable Care Act as I understand them. I understand them fairly well; I have worked as a senior adviser to a governor and helped him deal with the new federal rules.

I decided to hit the pavement. I tracked down Hannity’s guests, one by one, and did my own telephone interviews with them.

It was all crap:

  • One couple has a construction business and they complained to Hannity that because of Obamacare they couldn't grow the business, and they have kept their employees below a certain number of hours, so they didn't have to be covered. Turns out they only have four employees and are not subject to the ACA employer mandate, which app-lies to businesses with 50 or more employees.
  • The second couple has two children, one with a preexisting condition that is not covered under their insurance purchased on the individual market for $1,100 per month. So: $13,200 per year with one child uncovered. They received a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield that their policy was not ACA-compliant, and they would need to buy a new policy on the Exchange. They had not visited the Exchange, since they heard it wasn't working. Eric visited for them and found they could get a plan covering everyone for $7,600 per year with similar deductibles and out of pocket costs.
  • The third couple was paying $800 per month and recently received a Blue Cross/Blue Shield letter similar to Couple #2, saying their plan would be terminated, since it was not ACA-compliant. Their insurance broker told them a policy on the Exchange would cost them 50-75% more. Had they checked out the Exchange? No, they opposed Obamacare. So Eric checked: their bill, without subsidy, would be $3,700 per year, a 63% reduction.
Simply stunning! I am at a loss for words.But here's what I know: when people have a genuine self-interest in finding out how something works, what it costs, what the real story is - then they will find out, eventually. Will they hold the misrepresenters accountable? Sometimes, but not always. But they will notice and remember that the Conservatives who spent four years trying to destroy Obamacare most likely do not have their middle-class interests at heart. Many of them will go further and conclude that if these misinformers are allowed to stay in their Washington jobs, they may finally succeed in breaking the program, and therefore it might be better if we didn't vote to send these folks back to DC.

There will be consequences. I promise.

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