Lots of folks ask me why I think the Affordable Care Act/ObamaCare is so unpopular. I first assert that it's not as unpopular as popularly characterized (see Kaiser Family Foundation monthly tracking polls) and then I refer to the deliberate and false claims about the law being widely circulated around the nation, particularly aimed at senior citizens. I wrote about one particular falsehood last month. Now, my newfound pals at the GE Retirees Association yesterday sent me another they have been receiving in their email inboxes:
Subject: Medicare Premiums ---FYI
Look clearly at the 2014 rate compared to the 2013 rate.
For those of you who are on Medicare, read the following. It's short, but important and you probably haven't heard about it in the Mainstream News:
"The per person Medicare Insurance Premium will increase from the present Monthly Fee of $96.40, rising to:
$104.20 in 2012
$120.20 in 2013
$247.00 in 2014."
These are Provisions incorporated in the Obamacare Legislation, purposely delayed so as not to confuse the 2012 Re-Election Campaigns. Send this to all Seniors that you know, so they will know who's throwing them under the bus.
Could I verify or contradict the message, my GE Retiree friends wanted to know. Didn't sound right to me, so I did some investigating. My contacts in the Obama Administration and the U.S. Senate said it's a viral email lie that has been going around for more than one year now. Independently, FactCheck.org did their own investigation last year of these claims, and here is their conclusion:
This widely circulating message is similar to a falsehood-filled screed that went around last year, urging "retribution" against members of Congress in the 2010 midterm elections. This message makes somewhat different accusations -- also false -- and urges voters to "remember" in November 2012. ...
It claims that "those of you who are on Medicare" can thank "Obamacare" for increases in the per-person monthly Medicare premium -- "to a wonderful $247.00 in 2014." This is also false. The basic premium for Medicare Part B (which covers physician services) was indeed $96.40 in 2009. But the other numbers are all wrong. It was $110.50 last year, for example, and not $104.20 as claimed. And it is $115.40 this year, not $120.20 as claimed.
Actually, only 27 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are paying the basic rate. The rest -- 73 percent -- are paying less under a "hold harmless" provision triggered by the lack of a cost-of-living increase in Social Security this year or last year. Most are still paying $96.40.
As for the future, nobody can say with precision what the basic Part B premium will be next year or the year after, let alone in 2014. The premium is set each year at a level calculated to pay for 25 percent of the cost of the coverage. Medicare officials do keep close watch on the trends, however.
And when we contacted Medicare's Office of the Actuary, we were given these projections -- the most recent available -- which are current as of the president's budget for fiscal year 2012 issued in mid-February:
Medicare Part B Standard Premium (projected, February 2011)
Source: Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services
I was particularly intrigued because the vital email in question included the insignia of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. I called the number in question and it has been disconnected. I contacted the public affairs office of BCBS-Alabama and a lovely woman informed me that the individual in question received the viral email on her home computer, and then inappropriately re-distributed it via her work email with the identifying information. The public affairs office emphasizes the BCBS-Alabama "does not endorse" the message at all, is instituting new rules of conduct for all employees based on this incident and will be holding training sessions for all their associates on the new code in June. They have been overwhelmed with inquiries regarding the viral message and sincerely wish it would all go away.
The lie, meanwhile, has taken on a life of its own and will not die anytime soon.
And people continue to wonder, why is the ACA so unpopular?
I do hope it is a lie or spoof on someone's part. Deception whether on the right or left is not anything to promote their cause. I had no reason to doubt it as much as accept it but IF true it would be horrendous on those of us, myself included, who have no other option at this time. I've heard it said both ways.
As for the source the only source I could provide is what is contained within the text. As for where I obtained it a trusted friend forwarded it to me and told me that it came from a friend of hers who works in the Health and Human Services Agency so I had no reason to doubt it's authenticity. As I said though, and one reason for posting here, is if it is wrong then at least it's one less worry but with so much being contained within the Bills numerous pages there is still much that is to come out.
The question WHY delay implementation if it's so needed and necessary? Why allow the broken system to drag on for two to three more years before certain aspects of the plan take hold ? Also why exempt all the people that administration had to exempt from the law/bill? Why is it good for some yet some "favored" folks get a bye and don't have to abide by it?
Thanks for the update and clarification and as I said I do hope you are correct and when that date actually gets here it doesn't reveal that the large increase is correct. Remember that the bill was first sold as a penalty then portrayed to the Supreme Court, in arguments, as a tax. Also the Bill was said to cost under a certain point yet according to the government's own budget people the cost is going to greatly exceed what was first mentioned as it to cost. If it's deception on someone's part on the right then it's wrong but if it turns out to be true then it's going to very much burden the very people that need hurt the least.
Lastly I will say one other thing that was mentioned to me in the email about the estimate. The increased estimate or large rise in cost was attributed to the Supreme Court saying that states can bow out of the requirement to participate and therefore shift the cost back on the Government or the individual person or persons on Medicare so that potentially is where those figures came from I personally don't know for sure as I can only rely upon my friend and her source.
It appears, like most of the things that Obama has done, that the right wing lie machine is hard at work. First, anybody with good sense would know that Blue Cross/Shield would NOT be putting anything good , bad , or indifferent about Medicare cost.
All that being said, I have the belief that anything whatsoever should be either good enough to stand on it's own merit, or it should fail on it's real lack of merit.
Logically, the ACA bill (aka ObamaCare) must be one helluva good piece of leglislation for there to be so many lies told about it.
Another link that shows how the email is bogus.
Another from the AARP saying it's wrong.
I sincerely hope the Healthcare Bill does work and will make things better, I do, for I am one that would be effected most, good or bad. I am highly pessimistic though and that is not based upon the proposed said lies from both right or left. The reason I am highly pessimistic is Government's record in being able to do anything right. For instance the headlines and news about the Postal Service looking at default in August. Speaking about healthcare how about the Veterans Administration, I hear stories from vets about how horrible and bogged down the VA is and this is already a Government run organization.
It's easy to start saying how grand it will be or how horrible it will be based in great part political leanings but the only real thing that we have to look at is the record of what is controlled by the Federal Government already and sorry to say that does not look promising for the healthcare law/bill with revised estimates, from the Governments own budget office, about how the estimates of what it will cost were way low. What that seems to indicate is that they purposely put those figures out in order to calm public opposition against it. As I said I hope it results in something positive but I fear it will corrupt the Medical system we already have and will result in higher cost to the average consumer and longer waits to get care you need.
I personally have had to drive to the VA in birmingham several times and I was treated very well and experienced none of the "horror stories" that you hear. Although I do not doubt that many of them are true, there are plenty of horror stories that come out of regular hospitals. People will complain about **** near everything.