The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

September 21, 2013

Viewpoint: Misinformation being spread on ACA

David Sumner’s Aug. 31 letter lists several polls showing more people opposing the Affordable Care Act than favoring it. But how valid is that opposition when other polls reveal that many Americans are greatly misinformed about Obamacare?

A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll in March found that 40 percent believe a government panel will make end-of-life decisions for people on Medicare, and 47 percent think that undocumented immigrants will receive subsidies to buy insurance. An August Fox News Poll discovered that 65 percent think Obamacare will increase the federal deficit. (The Congressional Budget Office projects it will reduce the deficit by $109 billion over the next decade.

A Reuters/ Ipsos poll last year found that while 56 percent opposed the law, 82 percent favor coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, 61 percent think children should be able to stay on their parents’ policy until age 26, and 72 percent support requiring corporations to cover employees — all provisions of the law. Columnist Bob Cesca compares this contradictory thinking to that of the Springfield townspeople on “The Simpsons.”

The administration has not done a good job of publicizing the law’s benefits. But Republican leaders have certainly been guilty of spreading misinformation. Speaker John Boehner stated that 74 percent of small businesses will fire workers or cut their hours because of Obamacare. This was a grossly erroneous interpretation of a Chamber of Commerce poll, which earned a Pants on Fire rating from Politifact.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor claimed, “The IRS will have access to the American people’s protected health care information,” but could offer no proof. Another Pants on Fire statement.

A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Revenue said that rates submitted for the insurance exchange would cost $570 a month, 72 percent more than current plans. But that was the average, including the most expensive plans.

Cheaper plans would cost about $300, and include more benefits than current plans, such as mental health and prescription drugs.

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