Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Now they tell us

NBC News has a good, readable summary correcting common misconceptions about the Affordable Care Act.

It isn't just about extending health insurance coverage, it has provisions reforming Medicare (and others the article doesn't mention such as the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute) intended to constrain the cost of health care while making it more effective and better meet people's needs.

It isn't government insurance. It's a mechanism for making private insurance more available and affordable to people who don't get insurance through employment, Medicare, the military or VA. Most people don't get their insurance through the ACA. Whatever is happening to your employer-provided insurance that you don't like, don't blame the ACA. Blame your employer.

It didn't make your premiums go up. (Contrary to a recent commenter.) Health care costs have been increasing forever. If anything the ACA has slowed this process down.

Yes, premiums for many plans on the exchanges will go up this year compared to last. That wasn't caused by the ACA, it happened because insurers underestimated how much new enrollees would cost.  People who have been without health care for a while often have expensive problems such as uncontrolled diabetes. But, government subsidies will take care of most of the increase for most people, and if the ACA were allowed to remain in place, this problem would ease over time.

Here's my complaint. Throughout the campaign, indeed the last seven years, through all the screaming and yelling about how the ACA was socialism with death panels and a government takeover and government coming between you and your doctor, they never bothered to sit down and carefully explain to people that none of that is true. They just channeled whatever lies the politicians were telling. Only after the disastrous election of 2016 do we suddenly start getting these simple, factual stories about public policy.


Anonymous said...

Amen, brother. It is unfortunate that we seem to be living in a time of great ignorance where facts have become something to be disputed! A recent article in the NY Times about described how some people are actually upset with the site because it debunks baseless stories.

I guess people see what they want to see and say what they want to say, no matter what evidence to the contrary is placed in front of them. This is all the more breathtaking in that scientific evidence is more abundant than ever. But so is misinformation.

This is my take: everyone who disputes the facts about the ACA and its effects on our health system, everyone who disputes the facts about climate change (the classic rejoinder on the part of conservatives: WHOSE FACTS?) is entitled to his opinion. But people who dispute facts derived from scientific inquiry--since they don't want to believe the facts--should not be entitled to, say, antibiotics or operations that can save their lives. Because these drugs and procedures were derived from the same empirical methods used to arrive at the "undesirable" facts that they battle so fiercely.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

--Arthur Schopenhauer

Cervantes said...

Well, I wouldn't endorse punishing ignorance with death. But the post-truth era is certainly a depressing one to live in.

Don Quixote said...

Why not? Donald Trump and the Republicans, in trying to "erase" the ACA, will now be guilty of mass murder.