A good thing

For Your Consideration

editorial@sierrastar.comMarch 11, 2014 

Most of us remember and enjoyed the Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood iconic Spaghetti Western "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." So, too, did I enjoy Doug Macaulay's guest commentary bearing the same title in last week's Star.

Hyperbole is an understatement describing "Liar, liar" by columnist Bill Atwood in the same issue of the Star. Harry Reid said, "Despite all that good news, there's (sic) plenty of horror stories being told, all of them are untrue." Atwood went from this to Reid being a dirty rotten scoundrel, despicable, a liar and a person calling your family, friends and millions of Americans liars.

That's a leap even Evil Knievel would shudder to take. A saner and more serious response would be to give evidence to disprove Reid's comment. Who among us have not at one time thought or told someone that what they are saying is untrue? Does that make you a scoundrel, despicable, or a liar? Does that mean you are calling them liars? If so, then we are all Harry Reids.

What is despicable is Sean Hannity's Oct.11, 2013, special where three couples recounted Obamacare horror stories: canceled policies, premium hikes, restrictions on doctor choices, financial burdens upon their small businesses. Something about this smelled fishy to Eric Stern who worked on the federal implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Montana.

Search: "I fact-checked Hannity on Obamacare." Paul and Michelle Cox said they couldn't grow their construction business and reduced full-time employees to part-timers because of Obamacare. Here's an excerpt from Stern's fact check:

"Obamacare has no effect on businesses with 49 employees or less. But in our brief conversation on the phone, Paul revealed that he has only four employees. Why the cutback on his workforce? 'Well,' he said, 'I haven't been forced to do so, it's just that I've chosen to do so. I have to deal with increased costs.' What costs? And how, I asked him, is any of it due to Obamacare? There was a long pause, after which he said he'd call me back. He never did."

Alison and Kurt Denijs' premium was $13,200 with a $2,500 deductible and hefty annual premium hikes. One of their two children isn't covered and she has a pre-existing condition. ACA compliance would increase her premium to $20,000 yearly. Alison never looked on the ACA exchange and was ideologically opposed to it. Had she done that she would discover she qualifies for a reduced premium to $7500 – a 60% reduction – and her other child and pre-existing condition would be covered.

Robbie and Tina Robison were paying $10,000 per year. Blue Cross canceled their policy and their agent said an ACA compliant replacement costs 50-75% more. When asked if they shopped on the exchange, they said no. They oppose Obamacare and want nothing to do with it. If they did, they would be paying $3,700 or 63% less.

Talk about liar, liar – this may explain Reid's outburst. Hannity's high profile display of misleading and false claims is not an oversight. It's simply FOX being clever like a FOX. They know truth is irrelevant. When people focus on faux outrage, they won't learn about the value of Obamacare – mission accomplished.

Local insurance agent Macaulay sees the reality and calls it "A good thing:" For the first time, families do not have to choose between health insurance and paying the mortgage. "But for once hard working families are benefiting from a government program."

"Insurance carriers were loath to provide benefits for routine maintenance…" Studies show high value in early detection afforded by ACA's focus on preventive care. Mental illness is covered. People no longer worry about pre-existing conditions being covered.

"As a broker this was a most frustrating part of my job. Telling people who wanted coverage, and were willing to pay for it that they did not qualify because they took a prescription for depression or cholesterol. Now this is no longer a worry."

Who should we believe?

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