Republicans have glommed onto a new anti-Obamacare propaganda cry; namely, Obamacare is a burden. Over the past year, it became painfully obvious that Americans were not buying the old “Obamacare is a failure” propaganda being used to justify the Republican attempt at hasty repeal of Obamacare (PPACA). Americans rejected the inferior Republican “better” replacements (collectively called Trumpcare) and spoke up in support of Obamacare (PPACA) reforms. Obamacare is a burden is the new political propaganda cry being used as justification for the piecemeal dismantling of Obamacare (PPACA). I predicted Republicans would resort to this practice if they couldn’t legislatively kill the law back in January, 2017.
The problem with Obamacare (PPACA) is NOT that IT is a burden, but rather that it does NOT TAKE AWAY the economic healthcare burden that Americans find themselves in today because of decades of out-of-control healthcare costs!
“Obamacare is a burden”?
Like all political propaganda, vagueness is the propagandist’s friend. The word “burden” is as vague as they come and therefore is ideal for molding distorted ideas about healthcare reality for manipulation of the American people to accept a political agenda. Everything our government does for the American people places a financial burden (cost) on someone (usually taxpayers) in return for providing benefits for the public good. Financial assistance is provided to the least fortunate among us (e.g.,food, housing, education, and health care) and those more fortunate among us pay for it through taxes. All Americans benefit as a society.
Hours after taking the oath of office, President Trump signed an executive order entitled “Minimizing the economic burden of the patient protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal.” It instructed Cabinet heads within the executive branch to ” exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” any provision in the Affordable Care Act that would impose a “cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden.” Given that ALL government spending is an economic burden to various groups of Americans (taxpayers), President Trump’s executive order targets one law and is the first step to weaken and ultimately destroy Obamacare (PPACA). President Trump’s executive order has encouraged Americans to ignore the individual mandate requirement after the IRS stopped rejecting tax returns that were silent about health insurance status. These actions run contrary to the executive branch’s duty to enforce the laws of the land!
Let’s look specifically at how Obamacare is a burden to the various healthcare stakeholders involved.
Is Obamacare a burden to taxpayers?
The answer to this question is a resounding NO! Obamacare (PPACA) was designed to pay for itself it (through various taxes on specific groups and Medicare cost savings programs). Obamacare (PPACA) was even projected to SAVE taxpayers $250 billion over the next 10 years! / When Republicans state that “Obamacare is a burden”, they never verbalize this economic benefit to taxpayers. In fact, they often disassociate this benefit from Obamacare (PPACA) and even take credit for this benefit when they want to make Americans think they are delivering something better than Obamacare (PPACA) does.
Is Obamacare a burden to Individual Americans?
The goal of Obamacare (PPACA) is to make sure that all Americans can afford health care when they need it. Under our present private healthcare system, that means that the vast majority of Americans (except the very rich) must have health insurance to pay for the high cost of care. The Obamacare (PPACA) requirement to buy health insurance (individual mandate) imposes a penalty to those who choose to remain uninsured. This penalty is supposed to encourage Americans to buy health insurance. To make health insurance affordable for some Americans (but not all), Obamacare (PPACA) gives people making less than 400% of the federal poverty level a subsidy when buying health insurance.
Obamacare (PPACA) DOES therefore create an “economic burden” (in the form of insurance premiums, deductibles, and cost share) on many Americans who went without health insurance (and some cases much needed health care) before the law was enacted. This “burden” is shared by all American who receive employer-subsidized health insurance benefits and has been in existence for over 50 years. Obamacare (PPACA) exposes the real reason why health care in the United States is such a burden; namely, because of the high unaffordable medical costs that Americans are forced to pay. I don’t see any Republicans doing anything to address healthcare affordability issue that preceded Obamacare (PPACA) and continues today.
Instead of attacking the root cause for the burden, Republicans use Obamacare is a burden propaganda to take away the only law that is working to decrease medical costs. Americans, who buy health insurance on the non-group insurance marketplace and make more than 400% of the federal poverty level, feel the full brunt of these high medical costs because they receive NO subsidy for health care. If Obamacare (PPACA) were to disappear tomorrow, the American public would find themselves with a much higher burden than with it.
The Obamacare is a burden propaganda is aimed at Americans, particularly the young and healthy, who do not receive employer-subsidized health insurance benefits and must buy it on the non-group (individual) insurance marketplace (which is taxpayer-subsidized if bought on the Exchange (Health Insurance Marketplace). This propaganda message is encouraging these Americans to “choose” being uninsured and take the risk of incurring high medical costs if they get sick. Medical costs are the number one reason for personal bankruptcy. The Obamacare is a burden propaganda does not include the burden the uninsured place on taxpayers and healthcare businesses when they declared bankruptcy.
This is irresponsible stewardship and would put Americans in situations where they could find themselves unable to get the care they need because they lack funds to pay for it. Under our present healthcare system, Americans are only guaranteed emergency care if they cannot pay and all other medical treatment can be withheld if a person cannot afford to pay.
Is Obamacare a burden to Employers?
Employers who did not provide minimum essential coverage (also called qualifying health coverage) to their employees before Obamacare (PPACA) would, of course, suffer a new economic burden. Many small business owners did not provide their employees with health insurance (or provided low value insurance) leaving them to go uninsured or making them buy insurance on the non-group marketplace where many junk plans were being sold to unsophisticated health insurance consumers. Obamacare (PPACA) put a stop to this practice and brought a minimum coverage for all working Americans. Many small business owners complained that they could not afford to provide Obamacare (PPACA) minimum coverage because it cost too much. Does this mean that “Obamacare is a burden” or that high healthcare costs are the real burden? This discussion brings into question the entire premise whether employers should even be responsible for employee healthcare benefits.
Is Obamacare a burden to Healthcare Businesses?
With lower rates of uninsured, healthcare businesses (doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies), were greatly benefiting from Obamacare (PPACA). People got sick with or without Obamacare (PPACA) and the cost of their care was either paid by someone or healthcare businesses had to swallow the cost. Obamacare (PPACA) has been a windfall for healthcare businesses rather than an economic burden.
Summary of Obamacare is a burden propaganda
In the Obamacare is a burden propaganda, the Republicans want Americans to microscope every cost (burden) of Obamacare (PPACA) on every group of Americans without weighing them against the benefits the law provides for the American people as a group (i.e., making a cost-benefit analysis of the total product). This is propaganda manipulation pure and simple. Employing a divide-and-conquer strategy, this propaganda tries to get Americans who are young and healthy to reject Obamacare (PPACA) as a whole. Republicans are obviously not interested in making efforts to improve the law as a whole.
The Republicans are singling out the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare (PPACA)) for having “burdens”. Burdens exist in everything our government does in return for providing benefits for the public good. Medicare and Social Security benefits impose a burdensome payroll tax on all employees and employers. What would happen if some Americans decided they didn’t want to pay the burdensome tax? I have to pay property taxes to fund the public schools, but have no children in them. Why should childless Americans subsidize people with children who benefit from good schools? Once this line of thinking is allowed to surface, there is not end.