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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Myths and facts about 'Obamacare'

By Glenn Kessler


House Republicans on Wednesday plan to press forward with their repeal of the health care bill passed last year. They have the votes, so passage is not in doubt. But the Democrats who control the Senate have no interest in following suit, and President Obama had pledged a veto. So this is mostly a symbolic act. But it does provide an opportunity to look back at some of the persistent myths about the legislation.

Some of the public confusion about what is in the bill is understandable. The long battle in Congress was often mind numbing except to a handful of policy experts, and key features were dropped or added along the way. Opponents often seized on small elements and exaggerated the impact, even if those provisions were no longer in the bill. Since the bill was passed ten months ago, polls indicate that Americans have a greater understanding of what ended up in the final version--and support for the overall law has slowly grown. During last year's midterm elections, both Factcheck.org and PolitiFact.com did yeoman work trying to pick apart the various claims made about the bill; The Washington Post also joined forces with Kaiser Health News to produce an excellent examination of myths and facts about the law.

Even so, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll as recently as September found that a sizeable group of seniors believed that the health-care overhaul contained provisions that are simply not in the bill. Here then is a review of some of the most persistent myths of the health care bill.

"This is a 'government takeover' of the health care system"

This snappy talking point is used by Republicans repeatedly to bash Obama's crowing legislative achievement, but it is simply not true. In fact, PolitiFact.com labeled this claim the 2010 "lie of the year," but that has not stopped lawmakers from making this claim. It will surely be heard again on the House floor during the repeal debate.

In many ways, the health care law resembles the Massachusetts reform enacted in 2006 under then Gov. Mitt Romney (a potential Republican rival of Obama in 2012). It builds on the existing private insurance system but adds requirements and incentives to ensure that most people have some form of health insurance.

Under the new law, there is no government alternative to the private system--this was a potential provision that was dropped during the congressional tussle--but the number of people who qualify for the existing federal-state Medicaid program for the poor will be expanded. States (or the federal government) will run "exchanges" -- essentially marketplaces -- in which private insurers will sell insurance to individuals and small businesses, but this should mean more people will get private insurance, not fewer. Tax credits will also be offered to people who have trouble buying private insurance.

Certainly, the law bolsters government regulation of the health care system, such as forcing insurance companies to no longer deny coverage to people who have existing medical conditions. People who currently do not have health insurance will be required to buy it. But the core of the health system in the United States will remain the existing private insurance market. So it in no way resembles the government-run health systems used in most industralized countries in the world.

"Medicare benefits will be cut--and payments will be cut to Medicare doctors".

This was another GOP attack line during the campaign, though in many ways this was payback for the Democrats' very effective use of the same charge against Republicans after the GOP took control of Congress in 1994 and attempted to pass a balanced-budget plan that sought to restrain growth in Medicare spending.

The politically radioactive word "cut" is a misnomer. Under the health care law, Medicare spending will continue to increase year after year, but at a slower than anticipated pace. Both parties, in theory, agree this would be a good thing. Medicare is the venerable government-run health care plan for Americans over 65, and one of the fastest-growing parts of the federal budget.

The health bill will reduce projected Medicare spending by $575 billion over ten years, primarily by reducing projected fees to hospitals and other providers and by reducing payments to private Medicare Advantage insurance plans. Benefits have also been added, eating into the overall projected savings, but the impact on the Medicare Advantage plans is unclear. Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary of the Medicare and Medicaid, has estimated that seniors may need to pay more in out of pocket costs for such plans. He has also cast serious doubt on whether the Medicare savings claimed in the second decade could be achieved without significant pain for many hospitals, nursing facilities and other providers.

In fact, since 1997, Congress all but once has waived a planned cut in Medicare payments to doctors, mostly recently in December. So depending on the political pressure, some of these projected "cuts" may never materialize in any case.


"A secretive government committee ('death panels') will be created to make end-of-life decisions about people on Medicare"

This claim, first made by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, has been thoroughly debunked and was labeled "lie of the year" in 2009 by PolitiFact.com. Yet it persists in the popular imagination. The September Kaiser poll found that 30 percent of seniors still believed this to be the case--and 22 percent were not sure, meaning fewer than half knew the claim was false.

The charge stemmed from a proposed amendment to the bill that would have covered the cost of end-of-the-life planning discussions. Democrats quickly dropped the provision after the firestorm created by Palin's assertion, even after it was proven to be factually incorrect.

But the issue remains politically sensitive. In late December, The New York Times reported that under new Medicare regulations for annual physical examination, "the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment." The White House reversed course days later, ordering the Medicare agency to delete references to end-of-life planning in its new regulations.


"Repealing the bill will increase the deficit"

This is technically true--it comes from a Congressional Budget Office estimate--but we've documented before the problems with both this statement and the estimate. Democrats are sure to make this claim as they fight back against repeal, so here is a link to our previous post on this topic. Bottom line: This is a pretty shaky claim for Democrats to make, especially since the health care law was not really intended to reduce the deficit, but to reduce the number of uninsured Americans,

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By Glenn Kessler  | January 18, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama, Health, issue context  
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Next: Small business and the health care repeal

Comments

"A secretive government committee ('death panels') will be created to make end-of-life decisions about people on Medicare"

How about an expose' on the death panels for transplant patients run by insurance companies in Arizona with the support of the Republican administration there? Those really are DEATH PANELS.

Posted by: jjedif | January 18, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

So much for "death panels'. After all, Cheney is still here!

Posted by: Brianwithaneye | January 18, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the "government takeover" argument: most health care spending in the U.S. is already by federal and state governments through programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs.

The new health care law will soon increase this even further to perhaps 60-65% of all healthcare spending.

Compare that to the, say, 25% of all healthcare spending paid for by the government in Switzerland.

The author refers to "the government-run health systems used in most industralized countries in the world."

Many countries have healthcare systems that are no more government-run than ours.

In Europe, it's only a few countries like the England where the government employs the doctors and owns the hospitals.

By contrast, in France, many of the clinics are independently owned, and much of the doctors are independent contractors.

It's system isn't radically more government-controlled than ours will be under the new healthcare law.

Posted by: sampere1 | January 18, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

More straw arguments and misdirection. These guys keep bringing up points they can refute and pretending those are the issues.
What about all the companies that self insure their employees at and average cost of $10+k/year? Do they all drop that coverage and pay Uncle Sugar, $2k? Do I then get the same coverage and same deductable?
What happens when the cap is taken off of coverage and a few persons use up over $1 million, perhaps $5 million or more and threatens to bankrupt the fund that hasn't budgeted for that. Do a great many people lose their coverage, or do our rates go thru the cieling?
What about those people who can't afford insurance now, but have to begin paying $750/ year? What do they get for that? Full coverage? If so, why don't we all just pay $750/ year?
What happens when these insurance providers begin going broke, and we find out that we really needed them? Is Obama going to bail them out? Or is he going to pull an Oprah, and buy foreign made cars for us instead?

Posted by: kesac | January 18, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The facts are my insurance jumped 28% this year and my benefits decreased with statements from my insurer about all the new Obamacare benefits.

Give me my old plan back. There are other ways to provide coverage and care other than mandating and creating committees.

Posted by: asdf9876 | January 18, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

This is a stupid article because it is biased and it does not look at the biggest myths.

Debunking Myth 1: This is not a reform. It does not decrease health care cost.
e.g., The cost of educating a doctor is 1/3 of that in USA.
how about reducing the costs that leads to affect health insurance costs.

Debunking Myth 2: insuring someone with pre-existing conditions is like insuring a damaged card. It is no longer insurance. It is a tax.

People are getting sicker because they have unhealthy lives such as drug abuse, sugar intake.

Debunking Myth 3: The numbers used by CBO are fed by liberal democrats and are not believable. I have analyzed the numbers.

Posted by: fencer1 | January 18, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm puzzled by the adjective "end-of-the-life" used here. Isn't the normal term "end-of-life"? Seems like a typo that propagated through the copy due to word processing, and might be worth tidying up.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter1 | January 18, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

death panels is all hype BS. pre existing same. bottom line it is socialized welfare care. those that have been paying heavy premiums will pay more. redistribution of wealth is what it is. if obozo and gang want this suggest remove ALL economic/military involvement abroad and will have $$$$$$$$$$$ for this and a bonus of saving the lives of our military people

Posted by: pofinpa | January 18, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

death panels is all hype BS. pre existing same. bottom line it is socialized welfare care. those that have been paying heavy premiums will pay more. redistribution of wealth is what it is. if obozo and gang want this suggest remove ALL economic/military involvement abroad and will have $$$$$$$$$$$ for this and a bonus of saving the lives of our military people

Posted by: pofinpa | January 18, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

why did you call it Obamacare? A made up work by the republican to scare people, other wise it was to the point

Posted by: lmbaum | January 18, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

fencer1 wrote:
Debunking Myth 2: insuring someone with pre-existing conditions is like insuring a damaged card. It is no longer insurance. It is a tax.

People are getting sicker because they have unhealthy lives such as drug abuse, sugar intake.

****

Debunking right-wing healthcare myths:

Myth: Good people who live correctly and responsibly won't need healthcare beyond their ability to pay for it, won't get sick beyond their means, and won't ever suffer a condition that becomes a pre-existing condition that threatens their future insurability. In other words, like good drivers don't have accidents, good people don't negatively impact the country's healthcare system. Only bad and damaged (i.e., inferior) people do.

Posted by: hitpoints | January 18, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Who knew it would be the Republicans at the state level that would ultimately create "death panels." It's not suprising it started in Arizona. Time will tell if Arizona's medicare/medicaid policies will be adopted by other states whose legislatures are dominated by Republicans looking for ways to save a buck on the back of the poor and middle class.

Posted by: mjmann | January 18, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to point out a few things as far as the Government Take Over of Healthcare fact check:

When you expand Medicade, government run, and add more enrollees that's adding to government control of healthcare.

When the government decides what kind of healthcare insurance you can buy, that's government control of healthcare.

When the government dictates that you have to buy health insurance and fines you if you don't, that's government control of healthcare.

When the government requires all businesses with 51 or more employees to supply those employees with health insurance or pay a fine that's government control of healthcare.

When the government uses taxpayers money to subsidize the purchase of the government approved health insurance, that's government control of healthcare.

When the government says that health insurance companies have to sell "insurance" to sick people, that's government control of healthcare.

When you create hundreds of new government agencies which will employ thousands of new government bureacrats to oversee the multi thousand page Obamacare law, that's government control of healthcare.

When you mandate how much profit a private health insurance company can make, that's government control of healthcare.

It's true that Obamacare did not put the private health insurance companies out of business. It just co opted then into becoming sub contractors of the federal government. Sooner or later, probably sooner, the private health insurance companies will realize that with all the burdenson new government regulations and restrictions on their business practices that it won't be profitable to stay in the health insurance business. Then all that will be left is the government which is exactly what the Obama and the rest of his liberal cohorts in the Democratic party preferred from the beginning.

Posted by: RobT1 | January 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

especially since the health care law was not really intended to reduce the deficit,

--------------

THATS EXACTLY HOW IT WAS SOLD

Posted by: drjcarlucci | January 18, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Your answer about the "Doc Fix" in the previous article was not correct. See Paul Krugman's recent article--it is a cost that would be incurred whether the health care law passed or not, so you can't count it as a cost of reform.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/opinion/17krugman.html?scp=6&sq=krugman&st=cse

Posted by: jgkoomey | January 18, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I believe it is Lenin who is supposed to have said that "facts are hard things." Actually, facts are very slippery. Fact Checker is a literalist who disregards likely, or at least very possible, consequences of the Health Care Act.

For example, will multitudinous regulations from the government effectively drive private insurance out of the market? How are cash-strapped states going to cope with new Medicaid mandates? Those are just two examples.

The biggest lie of all is that the act will "save money" while extending an open-ended entitlement to everyone. The second biggest lie is that it will not lead to rationing ["death panels"] on a larger scale than exists in our present system. The third is that it will not in time lead to a large tax increase, probably in the form of a VAT.

Call this speculation if you will, but it seems a better approach to analysis than buying into the assumptions of the act and straight-facedly asserting "facts."

And, for what it is worth, this comes from a retiree who likes his Medicare, would happily pay more for it, and does not have millions in income to protect.

Posted by: hambya | January 18, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The Author of this article shows bias by captioning the Health Care Bill "Obamacare."
You should know better Glenn.

Posted by: fasm7700 | January 18, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Expanding medicaid eligibility will not expand access to health care. Doctors and hospitals are not accepting new medicaid patients. The low reimbursement fees cause them to lose too much money. They can't cover their operating costs. So we give people medicaid insurance and they have to wait 5 months to see one of the few physicians who still accept medicaid patients. What a horrible solution.

People who are opposed to this bill are so disappointed because it did nothing to reduce skyrocketing healthcare costs; and ever increasing insurance premiums. It did nothing to reduce the cost of prescription medications. The pharmaceutical industry jumped right in there and made sure they were protected at the start of negotiations. Everyone in the health care industry won; and all of us patients were the losers.

Posted by: AnnsThought | January 18, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, sure, these are all "lies of the year" and there really are no death panels, although the government has been caught establishing funding for end-of-life counseling. And there's no government takeover of health, except the government is directing Americans they must take health insurance, an issue the courts are addressing.
So if we oppose this reckless job-killing program, we are surely all mislead and lied to. I suggest the fact-checker re-check his facts, because there is ample evidence of death panels and a government takeover.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 18, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Excellent editorial.

Posted by: Bobby5 | January 18, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

sampere - The Swiss government writes a basic policy (better than Medicare) which they require all people to have and all insurance companies to offer. They control the price of the policy and forbid any insurance company to make a profit on it. That's government control, not what HCR does in the US.

In France most people get health insurance through the government.

The basic fact in health care is that all other industrialized countries have some form of universal government run system. They get better health care as measured by all 16 of the bottom line public health statistics, and they do it at HALF the cost per person on average. If our system were as efficient, we would spend $1.3 TRILLION less on health care each and every year.

Posted by: lensch | January 18, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Part I
FACT CHECK: Shaky Health Care Job Loss EstimateBy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 18, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans pushing to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul warn that 650,000 jobs will be lost if the law is allowed to stand.

But the widely cited estimate by House GOP leaders is shaky. It's the latest creative use of statistics in the health care debate, which has seen plenty of examples from both sides.

Republicans are calling their thumbs-down legislation the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." Postponed after the mass shootings in Tucson, a House vote on the divisive issue is now expected Wednesday, although Democrats promise they'll block repeal in the Senate.

A recent report by House GOP leaders says "independent analyses have determined that the health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy."

It cites the 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the original analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced the number.

Posted by: lensch | January 18, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Part II

What follows is a story of how statistics get used and abused in Washington.

What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of it would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job.

"The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount —roughly half a percent— primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply," budget office number crunchers said in a report from last year.

That's not how it got translated in the new report from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other top Republicans.

CBO "has determined that the law will reduce the 'amount of labor used in the economy by.roughly half a percent.,' an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost," the GOP version said.

Gone was the caveat that the impact would be small, mainly due to people working less. Added was the estimate of 650,000 jobs lost.

The Republican translation doesn't track, said economist Paul Fronstin of the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. "People voluntarily working less isn't the same as employers cutting jobs," he explained.

For example, CBO said some people might decide to retire earlier because it would be easier to get health care, instead of waiting until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

The law "reduces the amount of labor supplied, but it's not reducing the ability of people to find jobs, which is what the job-killing slogan is intended to convey," said economist Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The center advocates for low-income people, and supports the health care law.

In theory, any legislation that increases costs for employers can lead to job loss. But with the health care law, companies can also decide to pass on added costs to their workers, as some have already done this year.

To put things in perspective, there are currently about 131 million jobs in the economy. CBO projects that unemployment will be significantly lower in 2014, when the law's major coverage expansion starts.

Posted by: lensch | January 18, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Part III

A spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Committee Republicans pointed out that CBO's report did flag that some employers would cut hiring. "The CBO analysis does not claim that the entire response is people exiting the labor market," said Michelle Dimarob.

The law's penalties on employers who don't provide health insurance might cause some companies to hire fewer low-wage workers, or to hire more part-timers instead of full-time employees, the budget office said. But the main consequence would still be from more people choosing not to work.

That still doesn't answer the question of how Republicans came up with the estimate of 650,000 lost jobs.

Dimarob said staffers took the 131 million jobs and multiplied that by half a percent, the number from the CBO analysis. The result: 650,000 jobs feared to be in jeopardy.

"For ordinary Americans who could fall into that half a percent, that is a vitally important stat, and it is reasonable to suggest they would not characterize the effect as small," she said.

But Fronstin said that approach is also questionable, since the budget office and the GOP staffers used different yardsticks to measure overall jobs and hours worked. The differences would have to be adjusted first in order to produce an accurate estimate.

Said Van de Water, "The number doesn't mean what they say it means."

Posted by: lensch | January 18, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't care. I want my "free" insurance and the evil rich people must pay for it. It's my right. And if you don't agree you are a racist.

Signed,

The modern-day Democrat

Posted by: johnfchick1 | January 18, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point hitpoints regarding the Republican myth that "good people" don't get sick like good drivers don't get into accidents.

What is ironic is that Republicans seem to want a system in which people pay more based upon their health risk. Yet, the parts of the country with the highest level of obesity, highest levels of high blood pressure, highest somking use, are the Redest of the Redest states. (i.e. Missisippi, Alabma, etc.)

Posted by: smith6 | January 18, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse


This is a stupid article because it is biased and it does not look at the biggest myths.

Debunking Myth 1: This is not a reform. It does not decrease health care cost.
e.g., The cost of educating a doctor is 1/3 of that in USA.
how about reducing the costs that leads to affect health insurance costs.

Debunking Myth 2: insuring someone with pre-existing conditions is like insuring a damaged card. It is no longer insurance. It is a tax.

People are getting sicker because they have unhealthy lives such as drug abuse, sugar intake.

Debunking Myth 3: The numbers used by CBO are fed by liberal democrats and are not believable. I have analyzed the numbers.

Posted by: fencer1 | January 18, 2011 9:14 AM

-----------------

It seems like the me the fact checker is quite biased on this issue.

If you're going to have somebody named "fact checker", the least he could offer is objectivity.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 18, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

A fairly good review of the current health care law called by some "Obamacare." I wish we had such a catchy phrase for the doughnut hole in the Republican written nd passed Medicare Part D.

The percentage of people who still believe that death panels still exist is proof that propaganda works, even in a democracy. I am so glad that words don't influence people or their behavior. Of course, I am being a little sarcastic in light of recent events.

As far as I am concerned, medicare for all would be a good place to start. Then everyone would have a minimum amount of coverage with the premiums to be based on ability to pay. Then people could buy whatever supplemental care that they wanted based on their ability to pay. The advantage about this proposal is that the system is already in place. To help pay for this, I propose that there be no salary cap on payroll taxes. I am tired about hearing about the poor wealthy people in this country. Can you imamgine what could have been done with the $70 billion that the wealthy will cost us each year by extending their tax cuts.

Posted by: EarlC | January 18, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse


This is a stupid article because it is biased and it does not look at the biggest myths.

Debunking Myth 1: This is not a reform. It does not decrease health care cost.
e.g., The cost of educating a doctor is 1/3 of that in USA.
how about reducing the costs that leads to affect health insurance costs.

Debunking Myth 2: insuring someone with pre-existing conditions is like insuring a damaged card. It is no longer insurance. It is a tax.

People are getting sicker because they have unhealthy lives such as drug abuse, sugar intake.

Debunking Myth 3: The numbers used by CBO are fed by liberal democrats and are not believable. I have analyzed the numbers.

Posted by: fencer1 | January 18, 2011 9:14 AM

-----------------

It seems like the me the fact checker is quite biased on this issue.

If you're going to have somebody named "fact checker", the least he could offer is objectivity.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 18, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

to Hitpoints

Agreed. Good people do get sick. However, to what point do we keep subsidizing the people who do not abuse the system such as overdosing on drugs.

This health bill does not attack the real problems which are the cost drivers such as the cost to educate a doctor, lawsuits, expensive equipments, pharmaceutical costs.

Also about job losses: After discussing how much it will cost to hire new people, in his role as co-owner and finance manager of his company, my cousin decided to hold off on hiring the 5 additional staff because his company is too small and cannot afford the price increase.

I have looked at the cost summary of the bill and know that the numbers are fed. For example, the savings resulting from reducing Medicaid payment happening. So, in reality, instead of taking out close to $150 millions. you added that back and add another $150million to pay for those Medicaid payments. That is an increase of $300 million.

It is a lot of numerical manipulation. The people who should be more concerned about it are people with children because their kids are going to pay taxes to subsidize someone else

Posted by: fencer1 | January 18, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Just curious - this is now the 3rd (4th?) Fact Checker posting since the Republicans took control of the House. Where was Fact Checker when the Democrats were in charge? I guess they are just assumed to be factual....

Posted by: ClementsinUrbana | January 18, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please educate me about this "myth"?

The one about showing 10 years of coverage with only 6 years paid for or something like that????

I'd really like to know if the numbers are that bad.......or not.

Posted by: jeffreid2 | January 18, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The term "Obamacare" is an offensive right-wing label used to denigrate the bill, the concept of reform and the President of the United States, a much more honorable man than the rabble "leading" the right-wing mobs.

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | January 18, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Is it true that day surgery centers not run by major hospitals will no longer be built? Would that not be a problem for specialty procedures not requiring hospitalization ? Would that not be a take over of health care ? Is it not true that professional insurance for the young physician is out of sight and the reason is the Trial Lawyer Lobby ... Why is this not addressed by legislation ?

Posted by: buckaroo5 | January 18, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for LIES, Republicans wouldn't have anything to say!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | January 18, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Fact The health care bill is over 2,000 pages long. Fact To date HHS has issued more than 3,000 pages of regulations to implement the health care bill. Fact No one knows how many more pages of regulations will be forth coming from HHS. I wonder how many people have actually read the health care bill and HHS regulations, but I suspect that it is not a large number. I suspect that most people who comment on the the health care bill and HHS regulations are dependent on someone's or some institutions talking points on health care. Therefore, commentators better hope that they are getting go information. In addition, since HHS has yet to write regulations to implement large portions of the health care bill, no one really knows ultimately what the health care reform will or will not look like. This means that today any informed analysis of the health care law in this country is simply not possible.

Posted by: jeffreed | January 18, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the WaPo is still one sided...great article.

*Read that with much sarcasm*

Posted by: damnit79 | January 18, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Here's the deal.

- First: Do we have a Healthcare problem, and if so, how bad is it? Answer is YES. and It's a huge problem, getting worse.

- Second: Do the Republicans want to do anything to fix it? Answer HELL NO. They controlled gov't for 8 years under Bush and did ZERO, NADA. And now they still don't have any ideas, they want to let the healthcare industry run the show, deny coverage, and cherry pick healthy clients.
Leaving you and I to pick up the tab in other ways.

- Lastly: The Dems and Obama had the guts to address the problem, Their solution may need tweaking BUT A LEAST THEY DID SOMETHING.

REPUBLICANS ARE THE DO NOTHING PARTY. ON THIS EARTH TO BRING US BACK INTO THE DARK AGES, TO SERVE SPECIAL INTERESTS, AND TO BE A-HOLES IN GENERAL.

Posted by: JJH1 | January 18, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Okay, apparently this is WaPro Obama. Love the lack of bias and excessive research.

Because of the economy, people who used to get free med insurance at work no longer do. In fact, all health care costs went up.
Then we had the Health Care reform fiasco, which jacked up med insurance and the employees responsibility for coverage.
Now you're saying that was all a bunch of hooey. Well, it's not. It's happened.

Also, if we make everyone buy insurance, which is at an all time high right now, many people will be in violation of the law. I'm one of them.
I don't get insurance through work. Like many, both my husband and I have been laid off in the last two years. Forcing me to pay upwards of $1000 a month for no coverage is criminal, especially since I can't afford it.
The one thing no one tells us is WHAT IS IN THE BILL!
Insurance costs are only going to rise. When this happens many people will be forced to buy insurance and go on welfare or not buy insurance and pay the bills and feed the family.
There has been nothing about the cost of insurance, the cost of medication, the cost of hospitalization in the discussions.
This isn't "reform", which indicates an improvement; it's a washing the hands of the public by the government.

Posted by: hebe1 | January 18, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

OBAMACARE IS NOT GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH INSURANCE???

Let's see: Government defines what health insurance is. Government defines what "minimum essential coverage" is. Government forces everyone to buy one of four varieties of overpriced, low-value health insurance. Government expands government-run Medicaid by 16 million people and plans to issue government checks to buy government-approved health insurance.

Congress establishes 159 government agencies to run the new health-care system. The government grants new powers to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who will "deem," "create," "define," "determine," "approve," "disapprove" and otherwise dictate everything about health care in America. The government takes away the power of individuals to appeal bad decisions by the secretary to the courts.

The government assigns Medicare patients to doctors they have never met. The government penalizes doctors who don't save money for government and insurance companies or follow cookbook medicine guidelines while expanding rationing powers of government and the insurance companies that it now effectively controls. The government encourages the creation of massive new "Accountable Care Organizations" and suggests that doctors join them so they can help the government and insurance companies ration care to patients.

NO, THIS IS NOT RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT!!!!

Posted by: hungrypirana | January 18, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

This message board is proof once again that putting out factual information does little good in convincing people that don't want to be convinced. Some people just have too many hours invested in listening to disinformation and the spreading of that disinformation to change now. Most of these posts attempt to fight facts with speculation of what might happen in the future. Speculations are not facts. To those who claim that what they refer to as "Obamacare" is responsible for your health insurance costs going up, I have a question. Have your premiums been going up every year for a number of years already? Companies are blaming this years' increases on the new health-care law, as it's a convenient scapegoat that keeps you from being angry at them. I see no answers from any of you (or the GOP for that matter), only negativity, and a general lack of concern for others. To paraphrase an old saying, "There but for the grace of God go you".

Posted by: bienefes | January 18, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

So, "Death Panels", lie of the year, 2009; "Government Takeover", lie of the year, 2010.

That is the whole Republican platform! They have already admitted they don't have any ideas beyond Repeal.

Could be a long couple of years, kids...

Posted by: OldUncleTom | January 18, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

People...I would rather the federal government fully, fully, fully REGULATE healthcare in this country. Why? Because I can vote out the people who suck. I cannot vote out the CEO or Blue Cross, United Healthcare, and all the other big insurance companies. In the past they could make up the rules as they decided was good for a return on investment. They are not there to help you get over being sick, they are their to take your premium and give you as little care as they can get away with. At least the government has an ability to be made accountable. The corporate insurance companies are accountable to no-one. They buy off any elected official they have to so they remain unaccountable. SO yeah, I believe in a free market, as long as there are real watch dogs on these thugs.

Posted by: jacquie1 | January 18, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Health care should not be about profit! It should be about getting the best care to as many people as possible. That includes you, me, our parents, kids and families. Our system is flawed.

Posted by: KD11 | January 18, 2011 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody, we should completely disregard the CBO estimate because Fencer1 has "analyzed all the numbers" and determined "liberal Democrats" are lying. How does one counter such rock-solid evidence?

Posted by: windycityward | January 19, 2011 4:21 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it hilarious that the WaPo liberals -- who find the four-page Constitution just too complicated to understand -- managed to decypher the 2,000 page ObamaCare bill before the bureaucrats have even decided what it says yet?

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | January 19, 2011 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I am stunned that you, Glenn, are called the Fact Checker when you haven't provided any backup whatsoever for your myth-busters, just an occasional, "thoroughly debunked", "did (past tense) yeoman work", "we've documented before". It's like saying, "as everyone knows" to begin presenting your side on an issue. And to put forward that the Post joined a medical insurance company "to produce an excellent examination" of the "health" care bill, are you serious? Is this journalism, reporting, writing at all? Is this meant as a joke? I am just (nearly) speechless that the Post has fallen so low in its standards of what it produces, and disappointed.

Can someone at the Post PLEASE rise above their private predilections and write about the news, report on issues, return to the stellar work once known to be The Washington Post? This is nothing more than a rag, a magazine, a happy hour conversation.

Posted by: kathrynh01 | January 19, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Since taking control of the House, Republicans have:


Read an edited version of the Constitution on C-SPAN.


Changed budget rules to allow tax cuts without worrying about the budgetary consequences.


Begun planning investigative witch hunts to annoy the White House.


Introduced legislation to reinstate DADT.


And started debate over a symbolic repeal of health care reform, even though the Senate won't consider the repeal bill even if it passes.


Notice anything missing from the GOP's agenda?


That's right, jobs.


WHERE ARE THE JOBS, BOEHNER ?!?!


YOU'VE GOT TWO YEARS!


CHOP CHOP, REPUGS!


TIMES A WASTIN'!


YOU DO NOTHING ON JOBS AND YOU'LL BE GONE IN 2012 SO FAST THAT YOUR FAT HEADS WILL SPIN, REPUGS!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | January 19, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Seems the biggest complaint was not addressed in this article, and that is the constitutionality of Obamacare. With 26 states now filing suit to challenge this bill, you would have thought the author would have at least mentioned that.

And now with my health insurance rates going up, due to Obamacare, I really, really question whether this will benefit Americans in the long run.

We may end up being a Banana Republic after all.

Posted by: playfair109 | January 19, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to see so many people, presumably with health insurance, insist that allowing those of us without health insurance to have access to medical care will somehow destroy the country.

Good heavens! We can't let the insurance companies not make record profits -- they might go out or business!

Good heavens! We can't let sick people actually see a doctor -- the insurance companies might not make records profits!

Good heavens! We can't allow universal access to medical care because our insurance rates will go up!

Hey -- that's why I dropped my plan a few years ago. $400+ a month with the rate jumping every year was more than I could afford and pay all my other bills.

Just keep painting the insurance companies as victims and portraying uninsured Americans, who may well work as hard if not harder, than the average 8 - 5 employee, as the villain.

I'm self-employed, own my own tiny corporation, am old enough to now have "pre-existing conditions" (like surviving critical injuries from a car wreck... and being female) and I am NOT a "busted car" or whatever someone claimed.

This moralizing of medical care seems odd, especially when from people who oppose abortion & birth control, claiming every conception -- no matter how impaired its fruit -- must be brought to term. Why force women to bring "busted cars" into the world if you're just going to consider them expendable once out of the womb?

Posted by: Darklady | January 19, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the number of those who approve the bill is SLOWLY GROWING. It is growing by the number of people and companies that have been given the exemption not to participate in this theft. Did the CBO know before they made their caluculations just how many peope, now in the tens of thousands, that would not have to partake in the Obama boondoggle?

Posted by: gazinya | January 19, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Kessler uses term Obamacare. That ends all claims by him of being neutral observer. Thats what Rush, Hannity, and Palin call it too. Nuff said.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | January 19, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The death panels thing was concerning to have the same agency, or agencies working in partnership, defining the procedures mandated for insurance coverage as well as paying doctors to discuss with patients their options if they need procedures that aren't covered or would otherwise place a significant cost on the system. The worry is that as health resources become scarce the agency or agencies will encourage people to refuse care, spend less and end their lives. That's not a role for any government agency to have any influence in.

Posted by: cprferry | January 21, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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