And now a special brief statement by me on the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.
I’ve been doing a few cable talk shows this past week to talk about the Affordable Care act also known as Obamacare. I’ve noticed that the conservative guests I have been on with have a couple of standard negative talking points that I want to address and in general I want to debunk a lot of the falsehoods going around about this important new program.
First, it’s important to remember at whom the Affordable Care Act is aimed. For 60%-70% of us who are either over 65 and have Medicare, or who have a healthcare plan provided by our employers, the Affordable Care Act barely affects us at all. We won’t see much change beyond free checkups, although that in and of itself saves a fair amount of money per year.
The affordable care act is aimed first of all at those of us under 65 who were not covered by an employer provided health care plan and had trouble affording a health care plan on their own. The vast majority of those folks are lower income people and those with pre-existing conditions or both.
That is why the Affordable care act prevented folks from being excluded from plans for pre-existing conditions and also included premium subsidies for people who make up to 400% of federal poverty level. In other words, if you are a family of:
- 1 person and make less than $45960
- 2 people and make less than $62040
- 3 people and make less than $78120
- 4 people and make less than $94200
- 5 people and make less than $110280
You get a subsidy to help pay your premium. The lower your income under the numbers I listed for each family size, the more help you get with your premium.
Now, since the median household income in the US is right around $50,000 a year, you can see from the numbers I just mentioned that well over half of the households in the US, the lowest earning half, would be eligible for substantial subsidies to help pay with their healthcare premiums. For those families earning more than that, a huge percentage, probably 95% or more have one or more adults who get healthcare through their employers and thus would not be buying healthcare through the Obamacare exchanges.
Now that you understand that, let’s look at the numbers that the Heritage Foundation put out. The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank that seems devoted to attacking President Obama 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The Heritage Foundation compiled a list of the average premiums under the affordable care act exchanges without subsidies and announced that Obamacare would cost people more money than they were paying before.
Now if you understand what I said just a few moments ago, you know that’s not true. Obamacare is not aimed at higher income households, most of whom don’t need it and will not be buying it because they get health insurance through their employers. Now, there is a small percentage of households where there are one or two adults who are independent contractors earning a lot of money and yes, they will pay more because Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act mandates more and better coverage. It enforces a new standard of better care in health insurance policies.
Still, it’s unfortunate that a fair number of folks in households where the income is greater than 400% of federal poverty level will end up paying more. That’s the main hole in Obamacare. It’s one that could have been fixed in the last two years, if Republicans had been willing to work with the President to improve the bill instead of doing everything possible to kill it. If you are in that category of 400% or greater of federal poverty level and don’t have an employer provided health insurance policy, chances are you might be paying more.
But we are now talking about a very small percentage of people. Remember 60-70% of people are insured through an employer provided plan and most of the folks who are left earn less than median income in the US and will get large subsidies through the Affordable Care Act to get insurance. I’ll talk about Obamacare more in upcoming shows but that, folks, is the no-nonsense truth regarding the Affordable Care Act. Now without delay, here is my interview with the incomparable Bill Richardson...