Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cutting Through The Nonsense

Over the past few days we have voiced our frustration over the “glitches” that continue to plague the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.
In hindsight perhaps we focused too much of our attention on the difficulties occurring within the website while failing to point out some of the more positive aspects of the law. 
After all, like FOXNEWS we like to be “Fair and Balanced.”
We decided that one of the things that might be helpful to our readers would be to put to rest some of what we will charitably call “misinformed statements” made by those who would like to see the legislation fail.
One of the most egregious misstatements made about the ACA is that it is killing jobs in America.  The law requires that employers with over 50 employees must provide health care for their full time employees or face a stiff fine.  A full time employee is defined as anyone working 30 hours or more. Republicans are saying that as a result of this mandate millions of employers across the country are being forced to reduce their employees’ hours because they can’t afford to make health care available.  They say that the ACA is turning us into a nation of part-time workers. 
That is simply a lie. The mandate for employers does not go into effect until 2015.  Any employer using that for an excuse to reduce its payroll is being disingenuous.
Part- time employment nationwide has been consistently higher than before the 2008 recession.  But that trend started long before Obamacare was signed into law in 2010.  Part –time employment has consistently decreased over the past three years while full-time employment has increased. 
The latest federal jobs report released Tuesday shows more of the same:  691,000 full-time jobs were added to the economy in September while 594,000 part time jobs were eliminated.  Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer announced that it will be moving 35,000 part-time workers to full-time hours shortly.
There are an estimated 150 million people in the job force.  Economists estimate that less than 100,000 will be forced into involuntary part-time employment over the next 12 months.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Wall Street Journal, ADP, Moody’s, Business Insider and a host of other business journals echo the same message…”there is no evidence the ACA has had any impact on part-time employment.”
In addition to killing jobs, Republicans have charged that the entire law is a failure and that the ACA is having negative impact on our economy.  They assert that not only is the website a mess but once you manage to get thru you found “limited options and high prices.”
We stipulate that the website is a mess.  But the rest is nonsense.  Pull up any social media site or news outlet other than FOX and you will find glowing testimonials to the quality of the products and competitiveness of the pricing.  One woman in New York said that it took her several attempts over five days to finally get into the website.  But once she got in she found 50 plans to choose from.  She cut her deductible by 50%, eliminated her $2M annual cap and saved $5000 in annual premium.
While the federal site is going through its problems the state run exchanges are doing quite well.  There are 25 states plus the District of Columbia that have agreed to expand Medicaid under the ACA, making coverage available to millions of previously uninsured Americans.  Early reports show over 400,000 accounts created and 319,000 applications submitted.
On Monday the State of Ohio voted to accept $2.5 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid.  According to the Kaiser Foundation, over 330,000 low income adults who do not currently qualify for Medicaid will now be eligible.  This will improve the economic and health condition of poor residents while cutting the losses for hospitals that are not compensated for the care they provide to the uninsured.
According to an Ohio State University study, the program is expected to inject $1.4 billion into Ohio’s economy of the next nine years.
Ohio’s Republican Governor Kasich is the 8th Republican governor to accept the Medicaid expansion.  He dismissed criticism from his party saying: “The morality of a human being, who is blessed, helping a human being who has challenges, is just a moral imperative in our lives.  It just is.”
There are provisions in the ACA that we believe are really good for the country.  There are things we would change. It will be 3-5 years before we truly know the impact of the ACA on our economy and our quality of life.
Meanwhile turn down the noise and check it out for yourself.         

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