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Politico: Six Problems We Ignored About O-Care

From a shameless Politico:

Obamacare’s next obstacle: Confusion as people use it

By NATALIE VILLACORTA | April 7, 2014

Obama administration officials hoping to exhale after the big finish to Obamacare’s first enrollment season may need to hold their breath a while longer. All the confusion and mixed messages out there are bound to combust if people decide they were misled — an echo of the “you can keep your plan if you like it” fiasco…

In other words, now that it is too late to do anything about Obama-Care, the Politico wants to make sure they lay all of its problems out on the table. So they can claim they never misled anyone.

Some of the missed points and mixed-up details could bite the administration almost immediately as people start using their new plans and blame surprises on the White House. Other lingering public misconceptions could feed Republican attacks through the November midterm elections.

And we can’t have anyone blaming the White House. And we can’t feed any Republican attacks.

Here are six big danger points.

1. I’m sick! Why can’t I get covered?

Coverage of pre-existing conditions was a big selling point of the law, but not everyone realizes that they can’t just sign up the minute a condition is diagnosed. The regular dates and deadlines for enrolling still apply, no matter when you get appendicitis.

Yet 6 in 10 uninsured Americans didn’t know March 31 was the cutoff for getting 2014 coverage, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month. They didn’t know that missing the deadline meant they’d be locked out until November (unless they’re eligible for Medicaid, which has no such restriction.)

In fact, you used to be able to sign up for insurance any time of the year. But thanks to Obama-Care, that is no longer true. Which is a detail that the Politico fails to note for some odd reason. And a detail they never once have reported.

2. The $95 mandate [sic] myth

Most people know there’s a penalty for being uncovered. But they are wrong about the amount…

"Customers constantly walked in and declared that they were going to forgo coverage and cough up the $95 penalty, [said Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.] Then they’d learn that it was actually $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. In 2016, the amount increases to $695 or 2.5 percent of income.

“They say, ‘Well, that’s a lot more than what my congressman told me, or what I read in the newspaper or heard on television,’” Haile said… The government didn’t stress the penalty during much of the outreach.

The Politico and the rest of the administration’s media purposefully went out of their way to perpetuate this ‘myth.’ In fact, no one will pay a $95 dollar penalty, since if that is 1% of your income, you do not even have to file income tax.

And, besides, you would automatically qualify for Medicaid. In reality, people who have to pay the Obama-Care penalty will have to pay a lot more.

3. I can’t afford Obamacare

Four in 10 uninsured Americans still don’t know that the Affordable Care Act offers financial assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals, according to that Kaiser poll. Plus, many of the GOP attacks on the law that people hear are about its cost. Enroll America found that perception of high costs was the single biggest barrier to enrollment in this first season…

But you see? It’s a myth Obama-Care is expensive. And never mind that it isn’t just a matter of the sky high premiums. There are also the sky high deductibles and co-pays. But people are too stupid to realize that they aren’t as expensive as they sound.

At least 83% of the people who have signed up for Obama-Care are going to be subsidized by the taxpayers. Which is a much higher rate than anyone projected. So there is no lack of knowledge about subsidies. But just wait until the bill to the US taxpayers comes due.

4. “Sort of a bait and switch”

People who end up making more than they anticipated during the year, and don’t realize that they should report it, may have to pay back some of their tax credit when they file their taxes… Folks who suddenly find their tax refunds reduced may feel like the government has “raided their piggy bank” …

The risk: What do you mean I don’t get a tax refund? I want my piggy bank!

This is going to be the most entertaining of all the Obama-Care consequences. When Obama’s base don’t get their big tax refunds.

5. It’s not free?

Many people who signed up for Obamacare are insured for the first time — or the first time in a long time — and they are now confronting an array of befuddling terms. They don’t necessarily understand that a monthly premium isn’t the only bill they have to pay. The co-pays, deductibles and other costs they’ll encounter when they go see a provider could be a real shock…

How could anyone be confused after all the in-depth reports in the news media about the high costs of the co-pays and deductibles. (Yes, this is sarcasm.)

6. The reality of costs

Remember that “save $2,500 on your insurance” promise that presidential candidate Obama made in 2008?… [A]ll the nuances of economic modeling and different cost-growth curves never made it into the sound bites. People with insurance heard promises of big savings and — except for some on the exchanges — they haven’t experienced that…

We have only ourselves to blame. As usual, we didn’t understand Obama’s nuances.

The risk: an awful lot of GOP campaign ads blaring “Another Obamacare Broken Promise.”

Would the GOP so evil to run ads like that? Obama didn’t want to lie. He had to. For our own good.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

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