The Affordable “CAR” Act?

A friend of mine posted an article called the “Affordable CAR Act” which I was hoping would be humorous satire rather than a ignorantly sarcastic attack on the Affordable Care Act, unfortunately it wasn’t, so I’ll address it for what it is, and what it is implying.

“These ‘affordable’ cars will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each.”

-This seems to be insinuating that everyone will be paying exorbitant premiums for their health care, which just isn’t so. The amount of people that have been cited as paying more is less then 5% of the nations population, many of them located in Republican led states that have fought the Affordable Care Act at every turn and have convinced their constituents not to purchase insurance, thereby driving up prices because of low enrollment. Either that, or they’re having to purchase new plans that actually provide coverage, because their previous plans, which covered next to nothing, have been canceled for not meeting the minimum requirements for the Affordable Care Act.

“This law has been passed because, until now, typically only wealthy and financially responsible people have been able to purchase cars. This new law ensures that every American can now have an ‘affordable’ car of their own, because everyone is ‘entitled’ to a new car. “

-Health care is a far cry from a car. Every person should be able to go to a hospital when they get sick or injured without fear that it will bankrupt them. Healthcare isn’t a luxury, especially in an industrialized nation that claims to care for all it’s people.  I also resent the implication that everyone that can’t afford health care is financially irresponsible.  What a disgusting insinuation.

“In order to make sure everyone purchases an ‘affordable car,’ the cost of owning a car will increase on average of 250-400% per year. This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don’t want or can’t afford to maintain. But, to be fair, people who can’t afford to maintain their car will be regularly fined and children (under the age of 26) can use their parents car(s) to drive until they turn 27, after which date they must purchase their own car.”

-Hmm… Where to begin with this travesty of a comment. First off, the wealthy avoid paying their fair share of taxes at every turn, whether it be by putting their profits in overseas bank accounts, or finding creative ways to take advantage of loopholes, which is why our economy is currently in the toilet, so please don’t expect me to shed a tear that they will have to pay a little more in taxes for this. Also, where is it stated in the Affordable Care Act that the cost of insurance will rise every year? I also love the insinuation that people simply “don’t want” health care. Sure, they don’t want it until they find out they have cancer, or get in a devastating car accident that paralyses them, or one of their kids falls and breaks their neck, but by then it’s too late, they’re already bankrupt and overwhelmed by medical payments at that point. Also, should people who can’t afford health insurance truly not be able to go to the hospital because they can’t afford insurance? That seems to be the other point it’s trying to make. I think it’s truly sad that healthcare, a persons right to get medical treatment if they get sick, is being viewed as a luxury comparable to an expensive vehicle. As for the fine, it’s $95 or 1% the first year, and increases to a max of 2.5%. Not exactly a life ending fine, and it’s not truly even enforceable.

“If you don’t want or don’t need a car, you are required to buy one anyhow.”

-No one needs health insurance until they get sick or seriously injured, then those that didn’t purchase it are kicking themselves, because now they’re bankrupt. Just like auto insurance. No one truly needs it until their car is totaled and they’ve done thousands of dollars in damage to another persons property, and they still owe the person who gave the a loan for the car.

“If you refuse to buy one or can’t afford one, you will be regularly fined $800 until you purchase one, or face imprisonment.”

-Last time I checked there is a fine, but if you don’t pay it, nothing happens. At most it can be taken out of whatever tax return you’d get. So the implication that you will go to jail for not paying the fine is a flat out lie.  But what’s new?

“Failure to use the car will also result in fines. People living in areas with no access to roads are not exempt. Pre-existing conditions such as age, motion sickness, experience, knowledge, nor lack of desire are not acceptable excuses for not using your car.”

-What the heck does this even mean? How can you even fail to use insurance? As far as I know, there is no fine for “failing to use your insurance.” The fact that pre-existing conditions are being brought up is also disgusting. Does the author really think that those with preexisting conditions, should be denied coverage? Should they be forced into bankruptcy because they can’t afford to pay their medical bills? Should those that get sick have their policies canceled? Because that’s what’s currently happening. Then because they now have a “preexisting” condition, they are being denied new coverage.  Because that’s fair right?

“A government review board will decide everything, including when, where, how often, and for what purposes you can use your car, along with how many people can ride in your car. The board will also determine if one is too old or healthy enough to be able to use their car, and will also decide if your car has out lived its usefulness or if you must purchase specific accessories like spinning rims or a newer and more expensive car.”

-Ah, the death panels… Hasn’t this particular rumor been debunked over and over again? I feel it’s needless to say that this is a lie, since it’s been debunked so many times, but here’s a link anyway:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2013/01/09/why-it-is-so-difficult-to-kill-the-death-panel-myth/

“Those that can afford luxury cars will be required to do so … it’s only fair. The government will also decide the color for each car. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment.”

-Eh… No… Just… No… There is no requirement for people to purchase “luxury” plans if they don’t want to. They just have to have plans that meet minimum requirements. The government also doesn’t pick your policy, except for minimum requirements, much like the minimum requirements for auto insurance that we have. Should we not have auto insurance as well? Would any Obamacare detractors complain about forced auto insurance if someone ran a red light and plowed into them?

“Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a car, they and their families can obtain cars free at the expense of tax payers. This includes lifetime maintenance and automatic adjustments for fuel charges.”

-Government officials are not exempt from Obamacare. Congress even had to give up their employer paid plans and purchase plans off the exchanges. Members of congress and their administration are employees of the Federal government, they receive insurance through their employer just like I do, just like teachers do, just like state employees do, just like doctors do. Why should members of congress not receive the federal benefits that thousands of other federal employees receive? They aren’t receiving “free” benefits, they are receiving benefits with their job, just like I do, just like millions of other working Americans do.

“Unions, bankers, and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$), Muslims and Amish are also exempt.”

-There is a religious exemption in Obamacare… Just like in almost every other piece of legislation that exists. That goes along with the whole First Amendment thing about not making any law that would prevent the free exercise of your religion? Are Obamacare detractors advocating to get rid of that? I’m sure there are many people would be ok with that if that’s what they’re going for.  There has been some speculation that a part of the Act exempts Unions, but it is just that… Speculation. There are some waivers that were given to businesses, but they are temporary (one year) waivers, not exemptions, and it will end in 2014. It just takes a little research to find out of some very ridiculous claims are true. I keep saying it, but people keep posting this sort of garbage. Please… Do your research.

http://freepatriot.org/2013/11/18/the-affordable-car-act-of-2014/ _Link to the original article

(Written By: James Garcia 11/19/2013)

Same “Stuff”, Different Day…

I saw a comment on a Washington Post article I felt really sums up what many Republicans ACTUALLY believe, and I had to address it (of course I did! I wouldn’t be ME otherwise!):

WPO1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  “If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.  
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. ” 

-Democrats don’t want to outlaw all guns, they want background checks and an ASSAULT RIFLE ban because there has been a plague of mass shootings. Why does anyone need an assault rifle? Do people hunt with assault rifles? Do people do competitions with assault rifles? What’s wrong with doing routine background checks to make sure criminals and the insane aren’t buying guns?  The truth is, Republicans value their “right” to have guns, no matter the type, over the children that are shot up at schools, or innocent people that are being killed in movie theaters, or random people being being shot down in the street. They are more willing to make excuses than come up with solutions to a problem everyone in the REST of the world wonders why we haven’t solved already.

Veg

2.  “”If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.  
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone. “

-I honestly don’t know where this even comes from.  I’m a Liberal and I love a good steak! I know that many organizations are pushing for humane treatment of animals in the meat industry (those awful Liberals!), but I can’t think of any serious movements to ban meat altogether.  I can’t see any movement that would bother trying getting very far.  Seems like this guy was just grasping at straws.

3.  “If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.  
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect. “

-Apparently the gay rights movement is just homosexuals demanding “legislated respect” rather than a push for EQUAL rights that it is.  I don’t think that Republicans like MarkRoss1 understand that gays don’t want SPECIAL rights, they just want rights that straight people ALREADY HAVE and take for granted.  They want to be able to walk down the street hand-in-hand without being afraid that they will be attacked and beaten for doing what any OTHER couple does.  I’m wondering if he thought African Americans during the civil rights movement should have just “quietly led their lives.”  I wonder if women fighting for the right to vote should have just shut up and stayed in the kitchen and served their husbands like good little wives? Ridiculous…

4.  “If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.  
If a Democrat is down-and-out he wonders who is going to take care of him.” 

homeless-It’s sad that people actually think that Social assistance programs are only utilized by Liberals.  As if NO REPUBLICAN EVER has fallen on hard times that required them to get help.  As I’ve pointed out in other posts, many Republicans think that only lazy, drug addicted, free-loaders utilize social assistance programs, but statistics show otherwise.  The following link has some good facts about SNAP (food stamps):

http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger/programs-and-services/public-assistance-programs/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/snap-myths-realities.aspx

5.  “If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.  
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.” 

-It seems MarkRoss1 doesn’t realize that the Conservative side has their share of extremists as well.  Need I mention Westboro Baptist, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Fallwell? Just because Liberals don’t want government sanctioned prayer or Bible reading in school doesn’t mean they want any mention of God and religion silenced.  Our country was founded with a Freedom of Religion clause in our constitution.  The First Amendment states that the government will make no law establishing a religion, enacting prayer and Bible reading in PUBLIC schools or buildings would clearly be the government establishing a religion.  Every person, regardless of their beliefs, should be free to utilize public services without fear of being ostracized because they don’t share the government sanctioned belief system.  THAT is why the First Amendment religion clause exists.  Plus, I don’t think these Republicans that call for a national religion really think things through.  There are vast array of different Christian denominations, who’s do we choose?  Catholicism? Pentacostal? Baptist? Methodist? How about Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witness? Which version of prayer do we practice in school?  Who’s interpretation of the Bible?

Romney

6.  “If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.  If a Democrat decides he needs health care, he demands that the rest of us pay for his.” 

-This was by far my favorite one.  I think what Mark forgets is that The Affordable Care Act is modeled after ROMNEYcare, which was Republican written legislation.  Need I say more?

I only chose to address this comment because it seems to be typical rhetoric coming from Republicans and I felt it would be a good starting point, since it has so many of the issues they like to complain about (guns, gays, and welfare…)  I responded to the comment on the article, but I’ve yet to receive a response.  I’m hoping that they will actually TRY and answer the questions I posed… I’m hoping, but I don’t expect much more than petty insults. Oh well…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/14/the-backlash-to-the-obamacare-fix-has-already-started/ – Link to the original article.  You can peruse the comments section for the discussion.

Written By: James Garcia (11/15/13)

Rolling out the Affordable Care Act

The following is  a post I saw on Huffingtonpost.com in the comments section of the following article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/13/obamacare-enrollment_n_4266865.html  by a person with the user name “eflish.”  I thought it contained some pretty good information, so I thought I’d repost it here:

“A Comparison of Other Roll outs:

1. ROMNEY CARE. In the first month of Romney care, 123 people signed up.

http://www.coloradoindependent.com/144693/colo-obamacare-launch-on-track-with-mass-romneycare-launch

2. BUSH’S MEDICARE PART-D ROLL OUT. January 12th 2006 – Philadelphia Inquirer:

Nearly two weeks after it began, the new Medicare prescription drug program remains plagued by problems, and calls for help are growing, advocates report. 

“There are breakdowns at every point, and there is no one there to fix them,” said Michael Campbell, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project. 

Many of the most vulnerable elderly and disabled patients have been unable to get medicine since the program’s start on Jan. 1, according to interviews with patients, medical professionals and public-interest lawyers.

http://articles.philly.com/2006-01-12/news/25410200_1_medicare-spokeswoman-medicare-beneficiaries-medicare-prescription-drug-program

2. SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME. SSI is a program that provides money to disabled Americans. It suffered from many of the same problems Obamacare has:

a. GAO Report. The GAO summarized the problems:

“After the program became effective January 1, 1974, many benefit payment errors, delays, and other difficulties prompted numerous public complaints, State criticisms, and congressional inquiries about the way the Social Security Administration was operating the new program.”

b. Computer Problems. Social Security developed a new computer system to handle claims. The GAO said the program was riddled with problems and caused massive delays.

c. High Volume. The SSI programs experienced a much higher volume than was originally predicted causing delays and confusion.

d. Low Sign Ups. There were 7.2 million people were eligible for the program but two years after the start, only 4.3 million had signed up.

Today, 8 million people use it with few complaints.

3. SOCIAL SECURITY. When Social Security started, it took five years for Social Security to solve all its problems.

a. They Said It Couldn’t Be Done. A management expert hired by the Social Security board recommended that “the board notify Congress that the government could not run the Social Security program, after all.”

b. Never Live Up To Its Promise. Republican presidential nominee, Alf Landon said that Social Security was a “cruel hoax and fraud on the working man” and would never live up to its own promises.

4. TRICARE. Tricare is the government-run health insurance program for Military Dependents. In 2002, they rolled out a new Program called Tricare For Life. This is what happened:

a. A computer glitch blocked 13% of enrollee’s claims.

b. Claims adjusters refused to pay for 15% of certain doctor’s bills.

c. Claims were rejected because of computer glitches.

d. A high percentage of Widows and spouses were denied care.

Today, Tricare has very high satisfaction ratings in the 90% range.

http://www.gao.gov/assets/120/113885.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/23/obamacare-problems_n_4148466.html

http://www.tricare.mil/hpae/_docs/2009_TRISS%20Mail%20Survey_Overall_Report_final_26July2010[1].pdf

http://www.ausa.org/publications/armymagazine/archive/2002/5/Documents/Loper_0502.pdf ”

So, I think what the point that the poster was trying to make, is that new programs typically have problems.  Many of the programs that have rolled out in the US have experienced problems, but they ended up working very well.  Obamacare, like the other programs, just needs a chance to have the bugs worked out.

A Trip into “Enemy” Territory…

FoxlogoSo tonight, I stumbled upon a semi-older Fox news article during some of my readings titled “Frightful poll Sends Democrats Screaming!” that talked about Obama’s approval rating dropping to 43%.  After reading the article I decided to see how their comments section community was, as compared to a more Liberal setting… I have to say… It was frightening… I really, truly, want to believe that the far right isn’t made up of racists lunatics… But this little walk through enemy territory did absolutely nothing to cleanse that image from my mind.  Here are some examples…

I found this one pretty disturbing...
I found this one pretty disturbing…
I found this one disturbing... "Black Messiah?" Is that a thing?
I found this one disturbing… “Black Messiah?” Is that a thing?

Man... This guy combined a weird rant about socialism with an extremist religion one... That has to be some sort of talent... Some strange... Twisted...Talent...

Man… This guy combined a weird rant about socialism with an extremist religion one… That has to be some sort of talent… Some strange… Twisted…Talent…
Fox5
Apparently the Democrats only have “shipped in illegals” and dead people voting for them… Man it must have taken a LOT of shipped in illegals and dead people to have won the last two elections by as much as they did!
Fox2
Yep…Everyone that is signing up for insurance through Obamacare is a “taker”…
Fox3
Where do they get this stuff???
Fox4
Wow… Now they are attacking innocent babies… How “nice”… As for the rest, I don’t even know what to say… “Is Obama’s Family in Haiti?” He’s not an American citizen yet he’s somehow a traitor as well??? Do they even realize how these rants sound?
Apparently now Democrats don't work... Did I miss the memo? Should I quit my job?
Apparently now Democrats don’t work… Did I miss the memo? Should I quit my job?
And then there's this... I don't even know how to begin explaining this... I do like Ditzy2's response though!
And then there’s this… I don’t even know how to begin explaining this… I do like Ditzy2’s response though!

I don’t think I could make this stuff up even if I tried… I would say it’s funny, but I actually find it kind of horrifying… Especially all of the racist / Immigrant-phobic comments… I know there are good Republicans out there, but the one’s commenting on the Fox news website certainly aren’t among them… I feel it’s necessary to say that I don’t truly believe Republicans are my “enemy,”  I only use that word to imply opposing political parties, and it made a catchy title!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/31/frightful-poll-sends-dems-screaming/# (Here’s the article if you want to peruse the comments yourself…)

Written By: James Garcia (11/13/13)

Say Something… Before It’s Too Late

politicsI recently had a friend say to me; “Oh, you’re into politics?  I never knew you liked politics… I don’t pay attention to any of that…”  I have to admit… This annoyed me quite a bit… Not because my friend was being rude, but because of the statement “I don’t pay attention to any of that…”  I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this statement from a variety of people, some very intelligent, some not so much… And it irritates me every time.  My question for those that “don’t pay attention” or to those that never vote is, don’t you realize that these issues affect almost all aspects our lives?  All of these things have an effect on what taxes we pay, to what freedoms we’re allowed, to laws that are passed.  In other words, they are issues that every American should pay attention to with great interest, regardless of political affiliation!

vote

I have noticed as well, that these are usually the people that complain about inflation, about taxes, about specific freedoms they have been denied (or more frequently, freedoms that others have been allowed).   My mother is fond of asking these types of people “Did you vote?” If the answer is no, then “Well then don’t complain, you should have voted.”  This is exactly the right answer to these types of people.  Voting may not play that big of a part in the Presidential election, but it does in every other issue that we vote on, from propositions, to mayors, to governors, and to our Congressional Representatives.  Voting is our chance to say how we want our country to be governed.  Propositions allow us to create a society that we would be happy to live in.  Our government officials are the ones that represent us.  They are supposed to be our voice in Washington.  

So to all those to whom politics doesn’t matter, I say, do you care about the society you live in?  Do you care how much taxes come out of your paycheck?  Do you care about your environment?  If so, then you should care about politics, because politics affects all of these things, and then some.  The next election is quite a ways off, but OUR Representatives in Congress vote on issues almost daily.  Their phone numbers and email addresses are readily available.  Let them know how you feel! I will tell anyone, there is no better day than today to start getting informed.  If an issue peaks your interest, do a little research on it, check out a variety of news sources, read proposed bills yourself if you don’t trust the media.   Apathy and disinterest are attitudes that lead to societies that we aren’t comfortable living in.  Don’t leave it up to everyone else to pay attention, and don’t wait until it’s too late to get involved.

world

Written By: James Garcia (11/12/13)

Obamacare Rumors that JUST WON’T DIE! (Part 2)

Today I will start off immediately continuing my post from yesterday on Obamacare rumors and half-truths that seem to be persistent.

socialismObamacare is socialism!:

I think to refute this statement, we must first ask what socialism really is, then we can see if it applies to the Affordable Care Act. So… What is socialism? Let’s just use the basic definition of socialism:

Socialism: An economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels.

Does Obamacare fit this definition?

Are the means of production of insurance owned solely by the government?

No… Insurance is still produced and provided by private insurance carriers.

Are the means of distribution and exchange owned solely by the government?

Some may say the marketplaces are controlling the distribution, but the answer is still no. The Affordable Care Act simply provides a place where private insurance companies can distribute their own policies. You can still purchase insurance plans directly from websites like bluecross.com or sign up for policies provided by your employer.

Is the Affordable Care Act production for use rather than profit?

The answer again, is no. Private insurance companies are still the primary source for health insurance, and they certainly aren’t doing it for free.

Is the Affordable Care Act creating equality of individual wealth?

Certainly not… The insurance companies are still making record profits. The only thing this is providing is basic health care for almost everyone.

Is there an absence of competitive economic activity?

No, the private insurance companies are still competing with each other for your business?

controlDoes the Affordable Care Act give the government the power to determine investment, prices, and production levels of health insurance?

No, it does not.  While the ACA does set minimum standards for health care coverage, makes it illegal to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, and sets caps on how much insurance providers can raise rates on people per year, this still does not meet the basic definition of socialism. 

So now we see that the Affordable Care Act in no way fits the definition of socialism. Medicare and Medicaid may be socially provided programs, and are part of the ACA, but that doesn’t mean, in any way, that the ACA is socialism. Anyone that says it is, is playing on old embedded fears of Communism in order to bolster their political agenda.

Obamacare is causing insurance premiums to skyrocket!:

I will have to admit that this is partially true. There are states where insurance premiums are skyrocketing…. Now let’s take a look at what a CNN article has to say about this issue:

While many residents in New York and California may see sizable decreases in their premiums, Americans in many places could face significant increases if they buy insurance through state-based exchanges next year. That’s because these people live in states where insurers were allowed to sell bare-bones plans and exclude the sick, which has kept costs down. Under Obamacare, insurers must offer a package of essential benefits — including maternity, mental health and medications — and must cover all who apply. But more comprehensive coverage may lead to more expensive insurance plans.

Under Obamacare, all Americans must have insurance coverage starting in 2014 or face penalties of $95 or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. Enrollment in the exchanges begins October 1, with coverage kicking in in January. Plans will come in four tiers, ranging from bronze to platinum. Some lightly regulated states, including Indiana, Ohio, Florida and South Carolina, have recently released preliminary rate information highlighting steep price increases. Unlike the blue states of California and New York, these are Republican-led states that have strongly opposed the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially known.”

rocketSo, while it may be true that rates in some states are “skyrocketing” there are various reasons, many of which could have been prevented. One reason being that many of these states offered “bare-bones” (as the article put it) plans that basically covered nothing, and in fact didn’t even meet the minimum coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (which isn’t that much, really), and they also refused to cover anyone with preexisting conditions. The next reason, and this is a big one, is that many of the states seeing high rate increases are Republican-led states. What a “surprise” that the few people signing up for insurance in the Republican controlled states, where the anti-Obamacare propaganda machine was running full-force (or should I said “fool”-force), are seeing skyrocketing rate increases and high premiums. For Obamacare to work like it’s supposed to, it requires people to sign up and for their respective state governments to cooperate.  Let’s not forget that many of these states are also refusing the medicare / medicaid subsidies which is leaving even more people out of luck.

One last thing that many people are forgetting when they see their quoted premiums is that they most likely will qualify for significant federal subsidies to help pay for their policies, and if they don’t qualify for subsidies, then they have to be making pretty good money, seeing as how a single person making less than roughly $45,000 a year qualifies for one.  Chances are, if they are making more than $45,000 a year, then they are a full-time worker and their employer is required to provide health coverage anyway.   Which leads me to my next rumor.  

joblessObamacare is destroying full-time jobs!:

This claim is actually false. Many reports are showing that part-time work is actually decreasing while full-time work is increasing.

According to the BLS household survey, part-time jobs fell 594,000 in September, while full-time workers were up 691,000.”

Ben Casselman of the Wallstreet Journal stated:

“The share of part-timers who say they usually work between 30 and 34 hours at their main job has been roughly flat over the past three years, at about 28%. (September data aren’t yet available.) If anything, it’s actually risen in the past year, though the change has been minor. The share working just under 30 hours has indeed risen somewhat, but the share working under 25 hours has fallen—suggesting that employers are giving part-timers more hours, rather than cutting full-timers’ hours back. Put another way: If the Labor Department used the same definition of “part-time” as the health law, its data would show no increase in part-time work over the past year.” (Link to the article to follow…)

I know that these two short blog entries do not address all of the Republican rhetoric being thrown around, but I hope that it will at least help some people see that not all of it is true, and much of it is at least partially distorted. The information is out there for anyone willing to look.

Written By: James Garcia (11/10/13)

http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/06/news/economy/obamacare-premiums/ (CNN Article on skyrocketing premiums…)

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-obamacare-part-time-jobs-myth-2013-10 (Business Insider article on part-time jobs myth…)

Obamacare Rumors that JUST WON’T DIE! (Part 1)

So this week I’ve seen quite a few comments regarding Obamacare that one would think would have passed out of existence by now, but thanks to wonderful little jewels on Facebook, they are still persisting. I’m hoping to dispel a few of the more irritating ones beginning with this entry…

EX1Muslims are exempt from Obamacare!:

I find this one to be extremely irritating, not just because it’s a big distortion of the truth, but it is based on another lie (that Obama is a Muslim), and it also shows blatant racism. Muslims are not specifically exempt from the Affordable Care Act, however there are exemptions for religious grounds… ANY religion that has issue with health or medical care. One of the specific clauses, located on page 107 states:

(5) EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.—In the case of an individual who is seeking an exemption certificate under section 1311(d)(4)(H) from any requirement or penalty imposed by section 5000A, the following information [is required]:

(A) In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individual’s status as a member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian, or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe.

Page 128 says:

(A) RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE EXEMPTION.—Such term [i.e., “applicable individual”] shall not include any individual for any month if such individual has in effect an exemption under section 1311(d)(4)(H) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof described in section 1402(g)(1) and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section.

The above passage amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, of which section 1402(g)(1) defines “a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof” as follows:

RE(1) Exemption
Any individual may file an application (in such form and manner, and with such official, as may be prescribed by regulations under this chapter) for an exemption from the tax imposed by this chapter if he is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof and is an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division by reason of which he is conscientiously opposed to acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old-age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care (including the benefits of any insurance system established by the Social Security Act). Such exemption may be granted only if the application contains or is accompanied by—

(A) such evidence of such individual’s membership in, and adherence to the tenets or teachings of, the sect or division thereof as the Secretary may require for purposes of determining such individual’s compliance with the preceding sentence, and

(B) his waiver of all benefits and other payments under titles II and XVIII of the Social Security Act on the basis of his wages and self-employment income as well as all such benefits and other payments to him on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of any other person,

and only if the Commissioner of Social Security finds that—

(C) such sect or division thereof has the established tenets or teachings referred to in the preceding sentence,

(D) it is the practice, and has been for a period of time which he deems to be substantial, for members of such sect or division thereof to make provision for their dependent members which in his judgment is reasonable in view of their general level of living, and

(E) such sect or division thereof has been in existence at all times since December 31, 1950.

As you can see, Muslims might very well be exempt from the Affordable Care Act, but it isn’t some sort of special exemption just for them. Any religion opposed to being involved in government programs, or health care, or receiving medical care (such as Christian Scientists, the Amish, etc…) would be exempt. It is a religious exemption not a Muslim exemption. Anyone who says it’s a Muslim exemption is either racist or simply looking for any reason to criticize President Obama.

Obamacare is so bad that members of Congress and the President have exempted themselves!

EX2
A nice little picture from a Tea Party Website… I can’t tell if the website is satire or not… I really hope it’s satire…

I believe this particular rumor started with Ted Cruz… Heck, let’s call it what it is. This is a flat out lie. Not only are the members of congress not exempt, but they are required to purchase plans through the exchanges. The following is the specific provision from the Affordable Care Act:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law … the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are — (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).”

There have also been attacks on the fact that they are receiving contributions from their employer, who just happens to be the Federal Government. Why should they be criminalized because they receive an employer contribution? Many employers out there give contributions to their employees, Federal employees generally always receive employer paid health insurance, why shouldn’t they? They are, in fact, Federal Employees, are they not?

As for the President, he and his family have the same health insurance plan that covers millions of other federal employees. They receive their insurance through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The President receives his health insurance from his employer, just like many other Americans. He hasn’t exempted himself from the law, he meets the requirements of it already by having insurance.

There are a few more persistent rumors that I want to address, and I will do so in my next entry. For now, I will encourage anyone that gets a chainmail on Facebook to simply research it. If you forward these things without making sure the information is valid, then you are aiding in the spread of false information. Please…. Do your research!

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/government/a/muslims_exempt_health_insurance_mandate.htm – Addresses the “Muslim Exemption” myth

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/aug/14/ted-cruz/sen-ted-cruz-says-obama-just-granted-all-congress-/ – Addresses the “Congress is exempt” myth

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2013/oct/21/sean-duffy/obamacare-congress-must-buy-insurance-marketplaces/ – Addresses the “President is exempt” myth

Written By: James Garcia (11/9/13)