Republicans recently pounced on the fact that, yes, some Americans will lose their current crummy insurance plans that don't meet the new standards set by the Affordable Care Act.
These Republicans are accusing President Obama of having misled the American public -- or worse, having lied.
I think that's a ridiculous claim. If you like your crummy plan, you can't keep your crummy plan under Obamacare, but odds are you will find a better plan that is also more affordable, with subsidies available to more than half of Americans.
Aside from parsing this promise that you could keep your plan, it is wrong to say that this alone was how Obamacare was sold to the public.
There were many promises -- and they are coming true with great benefits for millions of Americans.
You wouldn't know this from listening to Republicans and other critics.
So here, for the record, are a few of the Affordable Care kept promises:
1. Millions of young Americans will get access to health care by staying on their parents' plans.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 3.4 million young Americans now have coverage under their parents' insurance plans that they can stay on until age 26.
2. You will no longer be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Insurance companies will provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, a provision that will benefit all Americans when it takes full effect in 2014.
3. Your insurance will no longer be cut off due to spending caps.
Every American with insurance is now benefiting from the end of annual and lifetime spending caps, through which insurance companies would cut off payments in medical emergencies, thrusting millions of families into medical bankruptcy.
4. You will now be guaranteed much more comprehensive coverage.
All insurance plans are required to cover 10 essential benefits, including mental health services, laboratory work and hospitalization. Preventative care is now free to every insured American.
5. The Affordable Care Act will cover millions of Americans who have lacked insurance.
Rates of uninsured Americans are dropping, for instance by 10% in Oregon, and are likely to drop even further and faster, especially in those states that have expanded Medicaid access. But even people who don't qualify for Medicaid will find they can now afford insurance thanks to competitive rates in the exchanges and subsidies for which most seeking insurance will qualify.
6. The Affordable Care Act is projected to lower the deficit.
According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, Obamacare will actually lower the deficit by $109 billion over the next decade. That's through a combination of cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates (which were not in line with other reimbursement rates) and new taxes.
The point of this exercise: We have to compare all the developing evidence of Obamacare's successes, and challenges, to the reality of what existed before -- which stank.
In 2009, 14,000 Americans were losing their health insurance every single day and medical debt accounted for over 60% of all bankruptcies.
Every indication is that the Affordable Care Act will lower health care costs in America and raise the quality of care.
As this chart reflects, there will certainly be a few people who see their costs go up under Obamacare — but the vast majority of Americans will see no change or see their costs go down. And that's the point of legislation generally: Do the most good for the most number of people, and therefore do good for our nation in general. By that standard, so far, so good.
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