One of the basic lessons taught in law schools is to work with facts. Students are instructed to first establish facts and then to distinguish between one set of them from another in order to apply the law to them. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn), and Reince Priebus the head of the Republican National Committee are all law school graduates who were required to learn this legal professional discipline of mastering the facts. So, the obvious conclusion is that when they misstate them, they are engaging in careerist political prostitution to play to those who hate the president and his Obamacare and to bamboozle those who are ignorant of the facts of that law.
Cruz claims that the law puts "a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor." Bachmann warns that it will "literally" kill women, children and senior citizens. Priebus claims that the law has already prevented 8.2 million part-time job holders from finding full-time jobs. Cruz, on last Sunday's "Meet the Press" television show, also repeated his past claim that the spouses of 15,000 UPS employees will be left without health care insurance because of Obamacare and forced to buy coverage under that law.
Republican Party leaders express fear that this law will cause the rationing of medical care, greatly increase health care insurance premiums, and kill a significant number of jobs.
Various fact-check organizations, including FactCheck.Org, a non-partisan and non-profit center at the University of Pennsylvania, have published their findings about this snake oil being peddled about this law.
This law does not create a government-run health care system. It does not "let the government play doctor" as claimed by Cruz. There is a disgusting television ad about this reportedly run by a group financed by the wealthy right-wing brothers Charles and David Koch. This ad depicts a young women being led to an examination room in what appears to be a hospital where she is left lying on a bed in a robe with her legs spread to await an examination by a doctor Then suddenly a grotesque, life-size cartoon-like figure of Uncle Sam pops up between her legs to presumably do the examination as the ad ends.
The aim of this ad is to convince uninsured young adults not to enroll for health care insurance under Obamacare. This enrollment is critical for this law to work with reasonable rates and universal coverage. According to the experts, an enrollment by an estimated 2.2 million of healthy uninsured individuals in the 18 to 25 age bracket is necessary. This law is designed to greatly expand business for private insurance companies by their coverage of uninsured Americans.
Individuals who are currently insured will not lose their coverage because of this law. Factually, as one of the fact-checker groups noted, this law is more like placing the government between you and your insurance company by adding coverage benefits, such as no caps on coverage, prohibiting refusals to insure , cover or charge more for pre-existing conditions, and limiting the non-medical related costs of the insurers to 15 or 20 percent.
There is no board created by this law that can be called a "death panel." But Bachmann continues with that deception, first voiced by Sarah Palin. She identified that board for Wolf Blitzer last week on his CNN news show as the Independent Payment Advisory Board created by this law. Other Republicans refer to it as a rationing board. This is all nonsense. Actually, this board consists of medical professionals, health care experts, economists and consumer experts charged with the task of finding how to slow down the rate of growth in Medicare spending. This board is also specifically prohibited from making "any recommendations to ration health care . . .or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria."
The independent experts who have looked at this law predict a small job-loss Impact, mainly in low wage jobs. As for Priebus' claim that the law has already blocked 8.2 part-time employees, the part of Obamacare affecting that claim based on forcing employer insurance coverage for full-time employees has not yet gone into effect.
Cruz is more devious in his claim of the loss of coverage by spouses of UPS employees. He leaves out the important fact that such loss of coverage will only affect working spouses who can obtain coverage from their own employers.
The consensus of independent experts and fact checkers is that the job-killer scare tactic is "overblown." Health care insurance premiums have been going up for years. The current decline in rates (and the fact checkers fault President Obama for trying to credit Obamacare for this) is a consequence of our stagnant economy. But rates will rise again say the experts with or without Obamacare.
However, they say, that with Obamacare the uninsured with pre-existing conditions will pay less than otherwise, the young and healthy will pay more, and those insured through employment will see a slight increase because of such added benefits as an increased age for dependent coverage and lifting caps on coverage.
The national media should not be highlighting such sensational albeit grossly false claims without also reporting the facts to educate the public so that there can be an informed public debate on this matter.
Robert "Frank" Jakubowicz, a Pittsfield lawyer, is a regular contributor to The Eagle.