Monday, August 05, 2013

Sean Hannity's Hour-Long Obamacare Special Ignores The Benefits Already Seen By Millions Of Americans

OLIVIA MARSHALL/Media Matters For America:
Sean Hannity hosted an hour-long special on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) titled "Universal Nightmare" that ignored the major benefits already in place thanks to the ACA.

Affordable Care Act Reduces The Federal Deficit

Congressional Budget Office: "The ACA Includes Many Other Provisions That, On Net, Will Reduce Federal Budget Deficits." The ACA includes many other provisions that, on net, will reduce federal budget deficits. Taking the coverage provisions and other provisions together, CBO and JCT estimated that the ACA will reduce deficits over the next decade." [Congressional Budget Office, 7/30/13]
CBO: Repealing Health Care Law "Would Increase Federal Budget Deficits By $109 Billion Over The 2013-2022 Period." In July 2012, the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation released a report finding that repealing the ACA would increase the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022:
On net, CBO and JCT estimate, repealing the ACA would increase federal budget deficits by $109 billion over the 2013-2022 period. Repealing the coverage provisions discussed in this report would save $1,171 billion over that period, but repealing the rest of the act would increase direct spending and reduce revenues by a total of $1,280 billion. [Congressional Budget Office, 7/24/12]

Affordable Care Act Saves Americans Money

Affordable Care Act Has Saved 6.1 Million Americans On Medicare Part D Over $5.7 Billion.  Since the ACA's enactment6.1 million Americans with Medicare who reached the Part D coverage gap ("donut hole") have saved over $5.7 billion on prescription drugs, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The coverage gap will eventually close as coverage for brand name and generic drugs continues to increase:
·         Medicare beneficiaries are expected to save an average of $5,000 through 2022, with those with high prescription drug spending expected to save over $18,000.
·         In 2012, Medicare beneficiaries received more than $2.5 billion in discounts on prescription drugs, or an average of $706 per beneficiary.  Savings for covered generic drugs while in the "donut hole" in 2012 totaled $105 million for 2.8 million beneficiaries. [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, February 2013]
HHS: 71 Million Americans Received Free Preventive Care In 2011 And 2012 Because Of ACA.  The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 71 million additional Americans received coverage for preventive care in 2011 and 2012 because of the ACA.  [Health and Human Services, March 2013]
Because Of The ACA, 105 Million Americans No Longer Have Lifetime Limits On Health Insurance Coverage.  HHS estimates that 105 million Americans who previously had lifetime limits on their health benefits prior to the passage of the ACA now enjoy coverage without lifetime limits. [Health and Human Services, March 2012]
Consumers Saved $1.5 Billion On Health Insurance Premium Costs in 2011.  According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund, the Affordable Care Act saved consumers $1.5 billion on out-of-pocket costs for health insurance premiums in 2011.  Most of the savings came from the ACA's requirement that 80 percent of all premium payments must be spent on actual health care.  [The Commonwealth FundDecember 2012]
ABC News: "An Estimated 8.5 Million Americans Will Receive Rebates From Their Health Insurers." ABC News reported that "[a]n estimated 8.5 million Americans will receive rebates from their health insurers this summer thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which says companies that fail to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care must refund the difference to consumers." [ABC News, 7/18/13]
In 2012, The ACA Saved Nearly 78 Million Americans $3.4 Billion On Health Insurance Premiums. In June 2013, McClatchy DC reported:
Nearly 78 million Americans saved $3.4 billion on their collective health insurance premiums in 2012, thanks to an Affordable Care Act provision that penalizes insurers for wasteful spending, the Obama administration announced Thursday.
The ACA's '80/20 rule,' which took effect in 2011, requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium payments on medical care or quality improvements and no more than 20 percent on administrative costs and overhead. Companies that violate the rule must pay rebates to their customers. [McClatchy DC, 6/20/13
Law Is Driving Down Premiums In New York And Other States. The New York Times reported that the ACA is driving down the cost of some individual market premiums in multiple states, including New York, where they are expected to fall about 50 percent:
Individuals buying health insurance on their own will see their premiums tumble next year in New York State as changes under the federal health care law take effect, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday.
State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower.
Administration officials, long confronted by Republicans and other critics of President Obama's signature law, were quick to add New York to the list of states that appear to be successfully carrying out the law and setting up exchanges.
We're seeing in New York what we've seen in other states like California and Oregon -- that competition and transparency in the marketplaces are leading to affordable and new choices for families," said Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. [The New York Times7/16/13

Affordable Care Act Means More Americans Will Have Health Insurance

Since The ACA's Passage, 3.1 Million More Young Adults Have Insurance As A Result. In June 2012, Talking Points Memo reported:
Some 3.1 million young adults have health insurance as a result of the health care reform law, according to new figures released Tuesday by the Obama administration.
That's up from 2.5 million in December 2011, a similar report found then.
'Today, because of the health care law, more than 3 million more young adults have health insurance,' Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. 'This policy doesn't just give young adults and their families peace of mind, it also gives them freedom. It means that as they begin their careers, they will be free to make choices based on what they want to do, not on where they can get health insurance.' [Talking Points Memo, 6/19/12]
Medicaid Expansion Will Save Money For Participating States.  According to a study by the Rand Corporation published in Health Affairs, the 14 states opting out of the ACA's Medicaid expansion can expect 3.6 million fewer people insured, and "state spending on uncompensated care could increase by $1 billion in 2016, compared to what would be expected if all states participated in the expansion." [Health Affairs, June 2013]
CBO: Health Care Law "Reduces The Number Of People Without Health Insurance By 25 Million." In a May 2013 report, the CBO estimated that "for 2023, the ACA reduces the number of people without health insurance by 25 million." [Congressional Budget Office, 5/14/13]
New York Times: Law "Provides Generous Tax Credits To Small Businesses Struggling To Maintain Health Coverage." According to The New York Times, the ACA offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable:
Beginning this year, the law provides generous tax credits to small businesses struggling to maintain health coverage.
To help close that gap, the government this year is offering a tax credit to companies with fewer than 25 full-time workers and average wages of less than $50,000 a year. To qualify, employers must pay at least 50 percent of their employees' health care premiums.
Small businesses with 10 full-time employees or fewer earning an average of $25,000 or less are eligible for the largest credit, 35 percent of their health insurance premium costs. Companies with larger numbers of employees earning more receive smaller credits on a sliding scale. [The New York Times9/17/10]

Affordable Care Act Ends Pre-Existing Conditions

Health Care Law Prohibits Insurers From Denying Coverage To Those With Pre-Existing Conditions.  Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers will be prohibited from charging higher premiums, limiting benefits, or denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, starting in 2014.  The ACA also created the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) to provide immediate coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. As of January 2013, 107,000 Americans had enrolled in the plan. [Center for American Progress, 3/25/2013]
As Many As 122 Million Adults - 66% Of The Population - Reported Conditions That Could Be Classified As A Pre-Existing Condition. In March 2012, the Government Accountability Office reported:
Depending on the list of conditions used to define pre-existing conditions in each of the five estimates, GAO found that between 36 million and 122 million adults reported medical conditions that could result in a health insurer restricting coverage. This represents between 20 and 66 percent of the adult population, with a midpoint estimate of about 32 percent. The differences among the estimates can be attributed to the number and type of conditions included in the different lists of pre-existing conditions. For example, estimate 1, which is the lowest estimate, includes adults reporting that they had ever been told they had 1 or more of 8 conditions. Estimate 3, the midpoint estimate, includes any individual reporting they had one of over 60 conditions. Estimate 5, the highest estimate, includes any individual reporting a chronic condition in 2009." [Government Accountability Office,3/27/12]

Affordable Care Act Ends Discrimination Against Women In The Insurance Market

Prior To The ACA, Being The Victim Of Domestic Violence Or Sexual Assault Was Sometimes Considered A 'Preexisting Condition." In June 2012, The Daily Beast reported:
It's also common in today's market for insurers to refuse to cover women because of gender-based 'preexisting conditions.' These conditions can include issues such as having had breast cancer or a Caesarean section or having been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. This practice, too, will be outlawed under Obamacare in 2014." [The Daily Beast, 6/28/12
Prior To The ACA, Some Insurers Classified A C-Section As A "Preexisting Condition." In March 2012, the National Women's Law Center reported:
Insurers in the individual market have routinely denied coverage for 'preexisting conditions' that exclusively or primarily affect women. For example, insurers have deemed women to have a preexisting condition if they previously gave birth by Caesarean section; are pregnant at the time they seek coverage; survived domestic violence and received treatment related to abuse; or received medical treatment after sexual assault. The ACA prohibits this practice and requires insurers to sell insurance to anyone who wants to buy coverage (known as 'guaranteed issue')." [National Women's Law Center, 3/26/12]
Prior To The ACA, Some Women Were Charged More Than Men For The Same Health Coverage. The Affordable Care Act prohibits "gender rating," or charging women more than men for the same health coverage. According to the Center for American Progress, women pay $1 billion more than men every year for the same health plans in the individual market. [Center for American Progress, May 2012
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