I was in my South Carolina county DSS office today for something else and saw a poster about how you, the Medicaid "member," now can choose your doctor, you deserve good service, etc. The office was empty(!) so I thought I would ask the young woman at the Medicaid window what they were telling people about the Affordable Care Act.
"Oh, our state has totally rejected that. You would have to go to ... some private group."
(But isn't Medicaid the default coordinator for states that have rejected it?)
"It's all private insurance. In fact," and she started to get a gleam in her eye, "you can be FINED THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS if you don't get insurance."
(But everyone is already paying a lot for health care one way or another, so the point is for everyone to get insurance, and if you can't afford it you get a subsidy.)
"No, everyone would save SO MUCH MONEY if Obamacare went down in flames!"
By then she was grinning, which I found disturbing. She seemed like she had had this conversation many times before.
(Do you really believe that?)
"That's what they told us."
I didn't ask who "they" was, I just wished her a good day and left.
But I realized I wasn't able to make a coherent argument for who would save or pay what. I want to see the ACA succeed, or evolve into something that will, but I feel like its opponents have more disinformation than I have information. Anybody want to recommend some talking points I could have used in this situation? Was I wrong to think a Medicaid administrator in a state that rejected Obamacare should know something about signing people up?
I know it may seem kind of lame to ask other people what they would have said, and yes, I am capable of doing my own research. But I'm wondering if anybody else on DK feels behind the curve. And I also welcome comments on what the administration needs to be saying to get its message across better.