Debunking the Biggest Obamacare Myths

May 29, 2014

For years, the Obama administration has propagated a number of popular myths about Obamacare. But despite promises, millions of Americans have already lost their health coverage due to the law, and many more will see their health care disrupted as Obamacare changes the American health system. In a new report, NCPA Senior Fellow John Graham debunks eight of the most pervasive myths surrounding the Affordable Care Act. 

Myth: If you like your health plan, you can keep it.

  • Actually, 6 million people have had their insurance policies canceled, and another 19 million are enrolled in private health plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act's requirements.
  • Employee health plans were supposed to be grandfathered into the law, but they lose that protection when small changes -- such as a change in the deductible -- occur.
  • A government memo predicts that up to two-thirds of Americans with employer-provided health insurance will have to switch to more expensive, regulated plans and that, eventually, all plans will lose their grandfathered status.

Myth: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

  • In reality, many exchange plans have narrow networks that limit a patient's choice of doctor. In fact, a staggering 70 percent of California physicians are not in California's exchange networks.
  • Without an influx of new doctors, there is no realistic way to meet the demand that will be created by 26 million newly insured who seek to double their health care consumption. By 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortfall of 21,000 primary care doctors.

Myth: There is an employer mandate to offer affordable coverage.

  • Actually, an employer is fined $2,000 for each employee if he refuses to provide health coverage. $2,000 is generally cheaper than the cost of health benefits, so many employees will stop offering health insurance.
  • Moreover, the Affordable Care Act incentivizes self-insured employers to offer very expensive coverage and require their employees to pay up to 9.5 percent of their wages in premiums and the full cost of coverage for their families. If an employee turns down this offer from his employer, he is not entitled to subsidies in the exchanges.

Myth: Health reform will lower the cost of health insurance by $2,500 a year per family.

  • In fact, coverage will become more expensive for everyone outside of a small portion of older, low-income adults who have access to highly subsidized exchange coverage.

These are just a few of the false promises of the Affordable Care Act. Graham explores many others, including claims about coverage for preexisting conditions, Medicare and the individual mandate.

Source: John Graham, "The Biggest Myths of Obamacare," National Center for Policy Analysis, May 2014. 

 

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