Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

no one loves a complex story, or, what no one is telling you about the Affordable Care Act

obamacare pie chartThis is by way of good news. It’s also a counter-narrative to all the horror stories about the Affordable Care Act.Because once a journalist, always a journalist, I guess. And someone needs to put some honest facts into the conversation, so far dominated by scarey demagogues.

To the left is Jonathan Gruber’s pie graph about the Affordable Care Act’s impact. Jonathan Gruber is the MIT economist behind the architecture for both Romneycare in Massachusetts, and the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare (sometimes even affectionately). Gruber may be the one person who really understands the ACA inside & out.


If you look, you’ll notice something that will probably surprise you: only 3% of Americans are potential ‘losers’ under the ACA. Meaning, only about 3% of Americans will have to buy a more expensive (but also higher coverage) insurance plan.

I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but please bear with me. You’ll also see that 80% of Americans are pretty much unaffected by the ACA. They get to keep their current plan. Another 3% may have to buy a new plan, but it won’t be much different — in price or coverage — from their current plan. Surprised? You certainly don’t hear this much, do you?

Now here’s the real kicker: 15% of Americans who are currently uninsured will NOW be able to buy insurance coverage. Children with birth defects — pre-existing conditions — men & women with asthma, people whose insurance has lapsed, college-age children who are going to class instead of working a FT job with benefits… All of these (and many more) now will have affordable medical care reform


Why aren’t we hearing THESE stories?? Where’s the coverage of Debbie Basham or Marlane Cygler, both of whom now have health insurance? What about Richard Streeter, who may die because he couldn’t afford health care until the ACA? Or the anguish of his doctor, who had to tell this man who’d put off a colonscopy (because he couldn’t afford it) that he has advanced colon cancer? You have to WANT to find those stories: media isn’t making them easy to locate.


Digression: I was a journalist at a top-50 daily newspaper for 5 years. During that time I did everything from take copy hither & fro, to obits, to city desk, to various beats. I even won a few state prizes, and attended a couple of national conferences.

Which is by way of saying that I actually know a little about journalism. :) And a little more about writing. But I do NOT know why we only hear about the 3% of Americans who are having problems with the ACA.

In Oklahoma, that figure may be higher. But it’s not the fault of either Obama or the ACA. Lay the culpability at the door of those responsible: the state ‘leaders’ who refused the Medicaid expansion. A recent Tulsa World article noted that the state’s rural hospitals are in rural hospitalsserious peril. You have to wade through the article to paragraph #38 or so before you find out what would be the biggest help to these imperiled hospitals: Rick Snyder, vice president of finance and information services for the Oklahoma Hospital Association, said the biggest single thing Oklahoma could do to help rural hospitals would be to expand Medicaid.


Why isn’t THAT bigger news? Surely a VP of the OHA is a credible source?

A follow-up editorial to last week’s article notes that more than 140,000 Oklahomans will remain uninsured because OK Governor Mary Fallin refused the federal Medicaid expansion. Oklahoma can’t afford the 10% or LESS costs that don’t even BEGIN until three years from now. But we can afford to cut taxes for the wealthy — something that has no impact whatsoever on the thousands of Oklahomans uninsured. Many of whom are women, children, the elderly. The most vulnerable of our citizens. Who will be unable to pay their bills when — not if — they require any medical care. Why isn’t THAT news??


Not to mention horror stories, like ‘the doctor shortage is because of the ACA!’ No. As Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, says, “the Affordable Care Act didn’t create this crisis.” Or the people who complain they now are forced to buy insurance. Well, yeah. So that the rest of us don’t finance your inability to pay your medical bills. Remember the rural hospitals going broke? You’re the reason.

Not to mention insurance companies sending out scam notices that warn clients their coverage will lapse. Where’s the coverage of this kind of hysteria-inducing fraud? Or conservative columnists making up stories just to scare people.


Here’s a quick & easy guide to all the GOOD that comes from the ACA (courtesy of my husband, the amazing Internet researcher). And don’t ask me why this information isn’t more readily available. Again, you apparently have to WANT to find it. But it IS out there, and you should go look it up yourself, just to be sure.

The ACA: Affordable Care Act

There used to be a term for the kind of journalism that didn’t bother with facts. That cared only about sold papers/ sound bites/ commercial time. Yellow… Yellow journalism. Meaning it had no real grounding in facts. It’s back in vogue, I guess. I wish people would do the research the media elides. I wish folks would take the time to find reliable — credible — sources.  I wish they wouldn’t fall for cheap sensationalism. But after years of teaching research to incoming freshmen, I’m not counting on it. :)  Still, we can dream…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dave Francis


    Nobody has escaped the horror stories which Obamcare is producing. Except for the
    Silence from the Alphabet TV cable channels, left-minded stations and the mainstream media, the public would have a better understanding of the truth. Obama’s administration has lied to us, with politicians being bombarded with the stream of problems arising since the inception of the Affordable Care Act that is NOT “affordable” and there is no end in sight. Each state has massive amounts of insurance policy cancellations, costs are skyrocketing and that’s not only for businesses, but individuals. Millions of Americans are losing their individual health care plans.

    Despite being told by Obama, “If you have a health care plan you like, you can keep it.” These hardworking Americans are being cancelled, forced into new plans with outrageous premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. Americans were blatantly lied to. Now the Democratic Party has the nerve to say,” They’re not cancellation notices—they’re transition notices to Obamacare.” MORE LIES! Older people find themselves with the mandate policies, which determine that they have to pay for abortions, childbearing and treatments they don’t need, with co-payments doubled and Federal exchange policies exploding with extra costs.

    But what I want to understand that when you sign up your Social Security number is collected and then added to some massive data base. But then what about the ITIN numbers given freely by this incompetent government to millions of illegal aliens? Has this government found an excusable way, to add unknown numbers of foreign nationals, who shouldn’t be here in the first place? The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

    ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code. So are ITIN numbers exempt from bamacare, or do the citizens and legal resident taxpayers have to pay for these people who are still criminals under the law. ARE PROCURED SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS GOING TO BE ACCEPTED BY THIS DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR HEALTH CARE? Can ITIN recipients bleed us even more and is their some slight of hand in this mandatory health care law, so these uneducated, itinerants further steal from us, because it fits into Obama’s plot, to turn our great nation into a third world toilet, just to get millions of more votes. Is this possibly a sly method allowing the population of illegal aliens to gain acceptance in Obamacare.


    Just as with the carefully orchestrated re-reimbursement of child tax credits of illegal alien parents, of which the IRS is processing over $4.7 Billion dollars of illegal alien theft, that the people in Washington; specifically the Democrats who refuse to halt this legal robbery not allowing any vote on this outrageous example of Stealing taxpayer money. Either side of the coin is to blame for this repulsive genuflecting to illegal aliens, special interest, big industry since they are beholding to all these entities. Want to be educated about the incessant corruption in Washington and the states? Just click on THE PEOPLE’S legal site and they will illustrate to you the criminal enterprises in Congress.

    There is a basic, easy way to cut the job market from the thousands of illegal aliens arriving here daily:

    We demand for—ALL THE PEOPLE—ALL THE CITIZENS—(Lawful Residence have a green card) a bio-metric Social Security ID card, that will slash the illegal foreign workers arriving here to a dribble; stopping voting fraud by non-citizens and halt criminals stealing credit, welfare and other citizen benefits. This programmed card that you would slide through a machine, just the same way you slide a charge card through would deny illegal alien parents from appropriating billions of dollars annually in child credits.

    These extra dollars would go a long way in caring for our debilitated, mentally ill, homeless, mothers with two or three children, who cannot cope on a small amount of welfare and veterans that are being denied services. This is a digital document that cannot be counterfeited, even if stolen for reprehensible reasons? Your picture, your thumb-print and even an iris eye scan would distinguish you from anybody else. The manic fools in Congress of both political parties (not the TEA PARTY) are willing to keep spending trillions of dollars, but shy away from this federal issued ID card for a meager $2 Billion that the legislators say would cover every U.S. citizen. A card more powerful than E-Verify or means of enforcement internally or at the borders; a national ID card that Americans need urgently. I only hope some Patriotic American begins a petition, to
    Command the legislators in Washington to get a biometric ID law in the Federal Register.


    • Britton Gildersleeve

      I’m very sorry you feel this way, Dave. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, as I’m opposed to biometric IDs on general privacy principles. There already are problems w/ the thumbprint ID metrics for various computers. Nothing is fail-safe. Research indicates virtually no voter fraud — Fox, Forbes, and the Pew Trust (not liberal organisations, any of them) all note that there are very very few cases of voter fraud any year, and some years there may be none. So I’m not for a very expensive, invasive ID project to fix something that doesn’t seem broken. And since my nephew — a disabled vet parenting three small children — would benefit from the Affordable Care Act, as would many million Americans who are lawful citizens trying to manage, I’ll stand by my research. Thanks for taking the time to read the post.

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