From browsing around the Web I see that the political Right and its zombie followers have settled on these Articles of Faith about Obamacare:
1. It’s imploding. Now everyone but the libtards will finally get behind repealing it.
There are two corollaries that accompany this belief. One is that President Obama cleverly intended the ACA to be a disaster so that he could then declare an emergency and enforce a single payer plan. The other is that President Obama is incompetent. You can find people who appear to hold both views simultaneously.
As proof for the “implosion” scenario, the Right is hyping every story it can find about problems in U.S. health care. This includes problems that have been going on for years. The Daily Mail had a “hard-hitting” investigation complete with photos with some faces pixil’ed out saying that people were showing up at hospitals without proof of insurance coverage and being told they would be stuck with the bill if they aren’t insured. Like that never happened before.
There was also a study being talked about earlier this week predicting that visits to emergency rooms would go up, not down. One of the selling points of the ACA was that reduced emergency room visits would save us all money. More implosion!
Think Progress reported that this happened in Massachusetts for a while. People gaining insurance for the first time don’t understand how the health care system works, and they continue to go to emergency rooms because that’s the only health care they know. (Hey, it’s what Mitt told them to do, right?) It takes awhile to educate people how to use the other parts of the health care system.
2. More people have lost coverage from canceled policies than have gained it.
The number I keep seeing on Twitter and in comment threads is either 5 million or 6 million, or sometimes 6 point something million, which is supposed to be the number of policies that have been canceled, causing the people who were covered by those policies to either go without coverage or to be “forced” to take Medicaid — or both — and either way they’re going to start dropping dead any minute for lack of health care. Wingnuts weep and mourn for these alleged 6.something million, but of course the 48 million who were uninsured before January 1 were of no concern to them.
I believe the number of policies that were canceled is thought to be as high as 4.7 million, which rounds up to 5, so that’s where they get the 5 million. I’m not sure where they are getting the 6.something million figure, however, and why so many have seized upon that number when there are worse numbers floating around out there.
For example, in November the Heritage Foundation solemnly predicted that 85 percent of private plans and 65 percent of employee benefit plans would be canceled, and that adds up to a whole lot more than 6.something million. You actually have to read the Heritage report to find those numbers, however, which may be why the wingnuts haven’t found them.
Some guy at Frontpage reported mid-December that for every one person gaining coverage under the ACA, 14 people would lose coverage. This guy went on to say that 7 million people are losing coverage, so maybe he’s rounding up the 6.something. But he doesn’t give sources for his numbers.
The sub-articles of faith that go with this one is that anyone whose policy has been canceled is SOL because (it is assumed) they can’t find an affordable alternative, and being stuck with Medicaid is the same as being uninsured.
And here’s the reality check, with the caveat that there are some hard numbers we won’t have for awhile:
Now, a new report from the minority staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has destroyed the foundation of that particular GOP claim. It projects that only 10,000 people will lose coverage because of the ACA and be unable to regain it — or in other words, 0.2 percent of the oft-cited 5 million cancellations statistic.
I skimmed the report, and it’s not clear to me why the 10,000 were left completely without options, but this is something that needs to be looked at. Nevertheless, this doesn’t look like “implosion” to me.
It’s also the case that Republicans are having a terrible time finding people who have lost insurance coverage whose stories even make sense.
3. Everyone’s insurance costs will be higher.
Wingnuts want to believe this, so it must be true.
4. Most of the people getting new insurance are illegal immigrants.
They don’t come out and say “illegal immigrants and blacks,” but if you read between lines that assumption isn’t hard to find.
Right now I think most people are confused about the ACA because the Administration didn’t do as much as it should have to educate people. And I think that’s going to continue for the first half of the year. Barring any new glitches, by summer I suspect most people will have settled down and realized the ACA is actually OK, if not perfect, but of course the Right will continue to believe in their articles of faith for the rest of their lives.