Refuting Lies About The Affordable Care Act
Many in Congress and the media continue to lie about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They call it “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world” and refer to it as a massive tax on “everyone.” Of the fifteen largest tax increases since 1950, the ACA ranks sixth, amounting to one half of one percent of GDP, much less than the Reagan tax hike of 1982. The Congressional Budget Office expects that the ACA will cut the deficit by around a trillion dollars in its second decade. And, far from being a tax on the middle-class or on everyone, it will affect only a small portion of our population, the wealthiest two percent. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says taxes on the rich are currently lower than they have been for 80 years.
Fewer than 6 percent of Americans will be required to buy new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and more than half of them will qualify for government subsidies to help pay their premiums. The other 94 percent will be exempted from the requirement to buy insurance; for example – if family income is below $18,700 per year, if they are on Medicare or Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or if they already have insurance from an employer.
Only 2 percent of the total population will be subject to a penalty if they do not buy coverage. The people in this tiny group can afford to buy health insurance and they should. Otherwise, they will be what Mitt Romney calls “free riders” who get hospital care at the expense of those who do have insurance. The Individual Mandate penalty tax is designed to encourage those who can afford insurance to accept financial responsibility for their own health care.
The increase in the Medicare payroll tax applies only to those families with incomes above $250,000 per year – the wealthiest 2 percent of the population. They are also the ones who will be most affected by the increased tax rates on capital gains and interest income and the new limits on Flexible Spending Accounts and so-called “Cadillac” plans.
And, finally, let us put to rest the biggest lie of all – death panels. The Independent Payment Advisory Board will have fifteen full-time members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. It will submit annual recommendations to Congress but Congress is not obliged to accept these recommendations. The Board is also prohibited by law from changing eligibility or benefits, reducing the Part D low-income subsidy, or rationing care.
There is no excuse for being uninformed or misinformed (or misinforming others) about the Affordable Care Act. Anyone who wants to learn the truth should turn away from unreliable news sources and buy “Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health Care Law and What It Means for Us All.” This book was written by the staff of the Washington Post and covers every aspect of the Affordable Care Act. It is available at www.amazon.com and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. www.healthcare.gov is another trustworthy source of information.