It is quite a challenge to sift through all the intentionally created myths about the Affordable Care Act to come up with The Top Five but these sure seem to be the top contenders:
Does the ACA close down the free market framework as it currently exists? The framework we’ve operated under for decades has left tens of millions without care, the ACA uses state organized exchanges and federally provided discounts and credits to bring tens of millions into the existing free market for health insurance. A true socialized medicine would do away with private health insurance companies and instead have us contributing additional taxes to a government-run healthcare delivery system in a Single Payer structure. Instead, the ACA is merely a restructuring of the regulations that govern private insurance and private health care delivery.
People aren’t taxed additionally under the ACA. There is a conditional tax on employers only in the case of what are referred to as “Cadillac Plans”, plans exceeding $10,200 annually per employee and only on the amount that may exceed that figure. There is also a penalty fee that only applies to those who choose not to buy insurance, so outside of legal circles, calling that a “tax” is inaccurate. Taxes are intended to pay for public goods that the government provides to everyone. The individual mandate is intended to charge those individuals who don’t choose to buy insurance for the cost that society incurs as a result of their decisions such as emergency room charges that are not paid.
The Congressional Budget Office projects the ACA will save us money and cut the deficit by about a trillion dollars during its second decade of implementation. The ACA prevents average Americans from paying the healthcare costs of others. It is due to those who don’t pay the bills for their medical procedures that premiums for everyone else rise and the domino effect is that procedures grow more costly and physicians have to charge more.
Choice is built into the ACA with health insurance exchanges. These allow people to choose the providers and plans they want. By giving you the ability to select your physician, the ACA reallocates to you the power previously held by insurance companies to tell you which doctors you can see. Additionally, with the virtual elimination of annual and lifetime caps which impose spending limits, you’re no longer forced to choose what essential medical tests or care to pursue based on arbitrarily low spending limits imposed by insurers.
In the last decade, payments from Medicare to private plans have increased dramatically—in fact, figures show that Medicare actually overpaid by 14-20 percent, and the costs of this overpayment fell on our seniors via increased premiums. The ACA has made Medicare more efficient by cutting out a significant part of that overpayment, something that impacts only providers of health care, those on Medicare will see no reduction in benefits under the ACA.
- Strengthens the supervision/approval process for premium increases and company expenditures
- Eliminates the pre-existing condition exclusion
- Lets parents keep their kids on their insurance until they turn 26
- Closes the senior’s prescription donut hole
- Requires insurers to meet care standards including preventative care