Almost 5 months after the rocky launch of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act on October 1, the Department of Human Health and Services released their latest statistical report on Tuesday.
Excerpt from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:
As we head into the last five weeks of this historic open enrollment period, millions of Americans are taking advantage of the new choices they now have to access affordable, quality health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The most recent data indicate that approximately 4 million people have now signed up for a private health insurance plan through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1. A full enrollment report for February will be released in mid-March.
The report went on to say the call center has handled 12 million calls which came in 24 hours a day and can be handled in 150 languages. Error rates have greatly diminished and call times have improved to half a second.
All this is bad news for the Republican disinformation juggernaut, which uses Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity funding for fake ads to tell phony horror stories like the one by Julia Boonstra exposed last week by fact checker Glen Kessler of the Washington Post.
Content of Boonstra’s deceptive ad, which aired in Michigan against Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat running for Senate:
“I was diagnosed with leukemia. I found out I only have a 20 percent chance of surviving. I found this wonderful doctor and a great health care plan. I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer, fighting the leukemia, and then I received a letter. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die. I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to. It’s heartbreaking for me. Congressman Peters, your decision to vote Obamacare jeopardized my health.”
The facts are that all the out-of-pocket expenses Boonstra faces in her cancer battle will be offset by the reduction of her monthly premium under Obamacare, which was cut in half, dropping from $1,100 to $571 per month. Her ad hinted that she lost her doctor, but that turned out not to be true.
There’s little doubt that Boonstra faces a difficult and costly fight, but blaming Obamacare was simply not accurate. It begs the question how much she was paid by the Koch brothers to do the ad.
President Obama has been on the stump this week talking up the benefits of the ACA and he hasn’t been shy about pointing out the mountains of false information (some people call them lies), that have been dessimated by the Republican Party and its rich puppeteers.
Obama made his case in a speech on how easily people can get ignorant information about the new healthcare law:
But when they hear from their friends and their neighbors and their coworkers like you, and you’re able to say, hey, here check it out, take a look on the website — if you reach out to your Republican friend who can’t stand Obama, but is basically a nice person and they just– but they watch the wrong newscast or — you all know those folks. Some uncle or cousin, you love them to death, but they come in with all this information that’s just wrong, and you’re shaking your head, but you decide you don’t want to get in an argument with them because you haven’t seen them in a while and you miss them. Right? Everybody has got those folks. You know them.
The president, who has admitted his plan will not be perfect for everyone, didn’t say Fox News by name, but its viewers have been shown to be the most misinformed in poll after poll, because they are barraged with constant hate-Obama propaganda.
Unfortunately, this tract of false rhetoric fostered by Republicans will hurt real Americans, who need access to affordable healthcare and critics say it is unconscionable if even one person, young or old, fails to get the coverage they need due to political posturing and lies.
Regardless of the GOP dogged effort to repeal Obamacare, it looks like the goal of 7 million enrollees by March 31 may still attainable.
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