Muftic: Why people love to hate Obamacare |

Muftic: Why people love to hate Obamacare

Felicia Muftic
My View
Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

There are millions who are giving thanks this season for Obamacare (ACA).

A recent Gallup poll disclosed that 70 percent of those who signed up for it like it, few plan to drop it. By the end of 2015 around a total of over 17 million will have subscribed to it, even discounting a 400,000 recently reported 2014 miscount and updated forecasts. Yet the law is still more unpopular than popular. Why?

One reason is that only 16.5 percent of Americans could not afford or qualify for health insurance before Obamacare. The rest of us with employer insurance, or Medicare or Medicaid, or individual private market insurance had to be convinced that either we were not harmed or we benefited from the law.

The administration did not help its popularity when it bungled the roll out and made some misrepresentations that if the 3 million individuals with substandard policies liked their insurance or doctor, they could keep them. The GOP raised a ruckus. However, when it comes to the many millions who signed up for Obamacare, the GOP is raising no ruckus about those they would leave high and dry without insurance. They still plan a vote to repeal Obamacare while not offering another way to provide similar benefits to the same numbers.

The GOP also used fear mongering and flat out lies to turn people against Obamacare. Remember “death panels” and “death spirals” or costs bankrupting the country or Medicare being robbed to pay for the ACA? Remember when the GOP told us exchange premiums would soar so high that Obamacare would collapse in a financially unsustainable “death spiral”? It is not happening.

For 2015 exchange premiums have risen only 1 percent on average nationwide. No government panel has told anyone to pull the plug on Grandma. The GOP inferred that the ACA would take away Medicare benefits. Instead, the savings in the law added 14 years to the life of Medicare per the non-partisan independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and no traditional benefits have been lost.

The challenge for the administration was to convince the public that even those who had insurance were now protected from abuse from anti-consumer practices of insurance companies. Most consumers did not even know they were victims until they faced bankruptcy because of their inadequate policies. Employees’ human resources departments provided them with limited choices and left buried in fine print caps on coverage, dumping the sick, not covering some pre-existing conditions, discrimination against women, and using premiums for over inflated overhead instead of covering medical services . The GOP wants employees to return to “those good ole ’days” by removing mandates on employers to provide insurance.

The CBO originally concluded the ACA would reduce the deficit over 10 years. Those forecasts have changed relatively little compared to the size of the deficit. Simply repealing the ACA, per the CBO, would run up the deficit. Chipping away at income streams, taxes, mandate fines without finding other “pay fors” as the GOP wants to do, would also rack up the deficit.

For data sources, visit

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