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Senior citizens protesting Obamacare
They'll be back.
Republicans have lost every argument so far about Obamacare and the horrors they said it would bring upon the nation. But they're probably not going to shut up about, and their probably going to get more ammunition in the coming months—fake ammunition, but when did that ever stop them? Greg Sargent has a preview of what we're probably going to be hearing this fall.
Health wonks and Dem operatives are quietly mulling the possibility of a new batch of health plan cancellations in October—just before the midterms. […]

According to Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, the possibility of more cancellations resides in the fact that an untold number of people may have renewed policies before January 1st, meaning they did not have to meet Obamacare’s minimum standards. Those people with current plans that don’t comply could get cancellation notices 90 days before the end of this year, i.e., in October. […]

“So much of this debate has been driven by anecdote, which can be misleading,” Levitt says. “When there is no data available to see whether the anecdotes are generalizable, they get reported anyway. This could be another example of a relatively small number of negative anecdotes being used by opponents of the law to discredit it.”

This could still be an issue even if it doesn’t happen in states with contested Senate races. “It might not matter if it’s in a specific state or not,” Levitt says. “If the story gets fed through news coverage and social media, if policies are cancelled anywhere, there’s the potential for critics to make it a national story that puts vulnerable proponents on the defensive, even if this isn’t happening in their states.”

We know how much the far right—namely the Koch brothers—like to blow up negative anecdotes into full-fledged campaigns of lies. A major question, though, is whether it'll have much impact. Will it fall on deaf ears? "Oh, more Obamacare complaints from Republicans." Possibly. The cancellation also might come late and so close to the election that they won't make the difference.

But it's worth Democrats thinking about this likely attack coming, and working on a response so that they don't do their usual thing: collapse upon themselves, weakly pointing out that what they really want is to change Obamacare. Being forewarned gives them the opportunity to go on the offensive, to point out that many of the people who had their old policies cancelled are paying less for their new plans, and to point out that the law is working really well for most people.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In August and September you start running the (18+ / 0-)

    Open enrollment ads like they do with the Medicare Part D plans--cause they advertise every year to have people shop around for better.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:10:26 AM PDT

  •  Americans know if the ACA is working for them (6+ / 0-)

    The right can push all the negative anecdotes and ignore the positive stories all they wish.

    The left can push all the positive anecdotes and ignore the negative stories all they wish.

    Individuals and families know whether the ACA is working for them and their neighbours, and will vote accordingly. If more people have having a positive experience with the ACA, then it will be a net positive for Dems in November. Conversely, if people are having a negative experience, the Republicans will benefit.

    If the ACA is going as well as the pages of Daily Kos would indicate, there's nothing to worry about in November.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:17:43 AM PDT

    •  It seems worth mentioning the entire law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      (and the multiple executive modifications thereto) has not been fully implemented yet. It would be odd if new wrinkles weren't discovered.

      And as you suggest, this is a law that will reach out and touch nearly every citizen. They won't need much analysis to decide whether or not it's a net plus or minus in their lives or those they know.

    •  It may not be obvious for most people. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RightHeaded, Inland, Sylv, Tonedevil

      Most people who were insured previously did not encounter the lifetime caps in their policies' fine print. They may not realize that they are no longer in danger of bankruptcy from catastrophic medical costs.

      People on Medicare may not know that ACA cost saving provisions have extended the fiscal life of the program. If they don't have high drug costs, they may not be affected by the provision closing the "doughnut hole" in Part D.

      There are many more beneficial provisions of the ACA that do not directly affect most people. A big effort on education is needed before Nov.
       

      •  Well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, Sylv
        A big effort on education is needed before Nov.
        I'm sure both sides will endeavour to "educate" voters on the law.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:19:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you 100%! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylv, Tonedevil, cocinero

        The reality is that we pay for insurance our adult lives, being responsible citizens, but most of us don't really know what we are covered for until we have to use it, e.g. homeowners insurance, etc.

         And, we know that the ACA has put in place not only  saving provisions, but a nonstop awareness of fraud and waste in the Medicare Care System which  for 2011 amounts to $4.1 billion, and $10.7 billion over the next three years is anticipated; both all-time highs with the help of the Affordable Care Act.

        And, as you say, has only strengthened Medicare.  The monies saved not only extends the program, but none of the measures to cut costs can (by order of the ACA law) undermine the medical care of those covered by Medicare.  It may not reduce, ration, or weaken the program.  

    •  Blah blah blah blah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      So, basically, you agree that this will be a war of propaganda, and that there is no objective way to measure the impact of the ACA?

      It should be possible, objectively, to determine differences in health outcomes, and also whether there is a net positive economic impact; i.e. reduced ER admissions, reduced bankruptcies, greater competition in the marketplace that reduces premiums.

      Not all of this is easily measured, but it is measurable.

      But, for a cynical Republican like you, I suspect it's fine if this is just a matter of warring propaganda.  Your side does quite well at that... the members of your party have convinced people that Kynect in KY is not Obamacare.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:17:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reading Comprehension (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew
        So, basically, you agree that this will be a war of propaganda, and that there is no objective way to measure the impact of the ACA?
        I never said that at all. And I certainly never said there was no "objective" way to measure the impact of the ACA (thus far).  Perhaps you meant to respond to someone else?

        What I said was the individuals will make their own assessment of how the ACA has impacted their lives, and the lives of their friends and family, and that these assessments are going to inform how they vote in November.  Certainly, both sides are going to engage in propaganda, but at the end of the day, unlike many hot topic issues, the ACA is something that will impact almost all Americans, and people (rightly) tend to trust their own experiences over what politicians tell them...or even what conclusions "objective" reports may yield.

        Which part of this do you find controversial, or do you disagree with?

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:22:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are being naive (0+ / 0-)

          Most people are NOT directly and observably affected by the ACA.  They have insurance thru their employer and always have.  They never got sick enough to get cancelled or developed a medical need that wasn't covered.  If they have children, those children never contracted a chronic disease that kept them from being insurable when they reached adulthood.

          If they listen to the right-wing media, or have friends who do (at church for example), they will believe exactly the worst about the ACA.  And even if their costs have gone up every year for the last 30, they will blame any increase in the last year on Obamacare.

          Politics is always more about perceptions than reality.

  •  The administration should get ahead of this (10+ / 0-)

    Blanket TV advertising.  Public education.  A really aggressive marketing effort.

    It helps that so many additional insurance companies are getting back into the market.  There will be a lot of marketing muscle there.

  •  I think the employer renewals this summer (9+ / 0-)

    and fall have downside risk for the Dems depending on what decisions employers make and how they communicate changing costs and benefits to employees. My guess is that it will be common for employers to blame any increase in employee costs, network restrictions, or other negatives on the ACA.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:27:16 AM PDT

    •  Yes, the employer renewals will be brutal. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, VClib, Sylv, AlexDrew

      "downside risk" is being optimistic, methinks.

      The commenters thinking ACA will be a plus seem to forget the individual market is tiny.. very tiny compared to the employer-provided health insurance market.  And all this will hit employers (and their employees) around August or September.

      Some background..

      You may recall that many employers were allowed to renew their policies early last year, in order to keep non-ACA-compliant plans in effect for another year.

      Unless Obama and HHS pull another rabbit out of their hat and allow these non-compliant plans to be renewed yet again, the employer market will be hit with big premium hikes.

      For instance, the company I work for has a plan that was supposed to start a new plan year on Jan 1, 2014.  But they were allowed to renew for another year on Dec 1st, 2013, keeping the old non-compliant plan in place until November 2014.

      They were told an ACA compliant plan would have carried a 15% increase, so they chose to keep the old plan.

      They won't get that chance this year.  And they will have to either absorb the higher premiums or pass on the extra costs to the employees.. that is almost definitely going to be the case for family/spouse plans that the employee pays in full.

    •  No need to guess (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib
      My guess is that it will be common for employers to blame any increase in employee costs, network restrictions, or other negatives on the ACA.
      The mid year 13.1% increase in premiums in Hawaii is being played as 'do to Obamacare'. That is HMSA, Hawaii's largest network.

      The better question is:

      Is it true?

      Another question:

      The slowing of healthcare spending in the first quarter….what is the cause? Some say deductibles are so high/access in many rural places so sparse that enrollees just don't or can't use the insurance so they spend less.

  •  One thing we can always count on just before (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, Krush, cocinero

    elections...

    GOP FREAKOUT!
    We'd be wise to expect it.  And plan for it.  HE, there's really no planning for exactly what freakout it will be.  But it'll be something.  
  •  This has been known for a long time. (9+ / 0-)

    Small businesses like ours were given an opportunity, last fall, to renew our old plans early so that they didn't necessarily have to be ACA compliant.  Many small businesses, like ours, did just that.  

    Caveat:  while I am a partner in the business (a law firm), I am not the one who directly handles insurance issues, so this is from my understanding of what's happening in our business.

    We offer several options to our employees.  One popular option is a very high deductible, low-premium "catastrophic" plan combined with a health savings account (and we pay some of that HSA).  The employee pays a portion of premiums, and while various things like routine doctor visits, some routing testings or screenings, are not fully covered until the deductible is reached, those can be paid from the HSA.  Many people find that this is more cost-efficient for their situation than the "full coverage, full list of things that are covered" type plans.

    Starting in 2015, as I understand it from the people we deal with, many of those kinds of plans are not going to be ACA compliant and not an option for our business (with over 50 full time employees).  We fully anticipate significant increases in health insurance costs this fall as a result, and our employees will see those increases in their portion of the premiums.  

    We've known about this since last fall, when we -- and many many other small businesses renewed early under the option we were given.  

    •  our firm (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero, Sylv

      cancelled the old policy and took an ACA compliant plan that was the same deductible, OOP, and lower premiums, as well as having the benefits of the ACA plan on wellness visits/annual exams.

      •  That certainly will vary from place to place, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, VClib

        company to company.  I'm glad it worked out for your firm.  

        We'll see if we fare as well this fall, but from what we are hearing, we are NOT optimistic.  That kind of deal that you had was not available to us last fall, because if it were, of course we would have done that.  

        My only point is that a whole bunch of businesses are going to be in a position this fall of having their old policies cancelled and being forced to take ACA compliant plans.  Some of them may get better plans at the same or cheaper rates, and no sane business person would turn that down.  But I suspect that some will also see increased costs and premiums, and naturally they will pass those on to employees that pay a percentage of those premiums.  

  •  There is another problem as well. Unless im wro... (0+ / 0-)

    There is another problem as well. Unless im wrong. And I could be. Didnt Obama move the website open date back to after the election ehen everyone still expected huge rate hikes this year? If im right then as pepole get cancellation letters they wont be able to see any options for health insurance. This could be really ugly for democrats in November.

  •  Why do the Koch brothers hate Americans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flatford39

    having health insurance?  This would only make sense if they were in the death business, like making coffins or some such thing.  It's baffling.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:41:48 AM PDT

  •  republicans do not even believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    themselves anymore

    that is a seriously interesting predicament for them to be in

    I wonder what they are going to do stop themselves from imploding

    bashing Obamacare is really not going to solve the problem.

  •  I can't help but laugh at this picture (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Krush, cocinero, Sylv

    old people on Medicare protesting the ACA, I wonder if they have a clue?  I'm on Medicare myself and can't for the life of me understand why seniors wouldn't want Medicare for all Americans because it works.

    Jesus was a bleeding heart liberal

    by BeeClone on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:55:47 PM PDT

  •  anecdotes are very powerful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Krush, waiono, cocinero

    and have been used to torpedo single-payer in this country as well. When a prominent Canadian politician goes to the states, for example, to get a procedure done then that's the news, regardless of the fact that the premier place for having the procedure done is in his own country. Sally Pipes makes a career out of telling an anecdote about her mother in the Canadian healthcare system and is handsomely rewarded (how much of her story is true is unknown). Our side would be well-advised to stick to factually supportable anecdotes.

  •  But also Rebates will go out late summer, right? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden, Sylv

    and I just got a letter today that my premium at Healthfirst is going DOWN 9.6% for 2015

    we will have GREAT stories to counter

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:09:12 PM PDT

  •  I still want that single-payer... :/ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, Bailey2001
  •  Seeing that picture always makes me wonder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    why the people most opposed to Obamacare are on Medicare. Why do they care?

    If Reagan was the answer, it must have been a very silly question.

    by shoeless on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:16:04 PM PDT

  •  The President should issue an Executive Order (0+ / 0-)

    immediately to:

    Change the cancellation notice period from 90 days to 45 days.

    Please President Obama, get ahead of this. Now.

    Those people with current plans that don’t comply could get cancellation notices 90 days before the end of this year, i.e., in October.

    Notice: This Comment © 2014 ROGNM UID 2547

    by ROGNM on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:46:21 PM PDT

  •  Picture of Millennials beleving they're entitled (0+ / 0-)

    Oh no--that's a bunch of old white folks telling everybody else "go fuck yourselves we got ours."

    Makes me want to knock them to the ground. Sorry about that image but seriously I'm tired of the selfish old white people in this country--the only ones that have everything and the only ones telling everybody else to take a hike.

  •  When do the predicted price increases go out? I... (0+ / 0-)

    When do the predicted price increases go out? I was actually more worried about that. I was hoping they would come out soon, so it will be old news by November.

  •  Medicare??? (0+ / 0-)

    Are any of the people in that picture not on Medicare? Medicare is a single-payer government insurance plan. One step single-payer advocates want is a Medicare buy-in as a public option. I hope that's the next step.

  •  still old (0+ / 0-)

    still white, still stupid.

  •  Just A Suggestion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raynmakr, SilentBrook

    Instead of trying to counter another round of lies that won't do a lot of good, why not put that effort into education. Get out ahead of the "cancellations" with a series of PSAs giving people solid information about their policies and what coverages may not comply with the ACA.

    Tell the public what may not qualify and why they may receive a cancellation. Tell people to look over their coverage. Then, tell the public what their options will be on the exchanges. Just ignore the lies and give us the facts. This has been the biggest problem all along with the ACA. No one was given solid facts. It was all PR....and a broken web site.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing." --Edmund Burke

    by Phosbrite on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 01:20:37 PM PDT

  •  Congress & ACA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raynmakr

    Actually the House, Senate, Secretaries, etc are required to be on ACA  exchanges.  Your premiums are subsidized if you are on the DC exchange.   Sen. Cruz is covered on his wife's plan through her employer  Goldman Sachs.

  •  The geezers picket sign asks "why is congress e... (0+ / 0-)

    The geezers picket sign asks "why is congress exempt from Obamacare?" Some of the loudest opponents keep proving that they don't even understand the ACA. The ACA doesn't affect Congress because they have employer provided healthcare.

  •  prybar (0+ / 0-)

    Caption for the pic up top...

    "If you want to take away my lousy, overpriced healthcare insurance, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!!!"

  •  The problem (0+ / 0-)

    “So much of this debate has been driven by anecdote..." Yes, we chose to embrace this strategy years ago. It was used very successfully to gut our former poverty relief programs, and was later used to sink us into war. It works.

  •  Coulda shoulda mighta (0+ / 0-)

    Typical GOP/TP agit-prop!  "Something bad MIGHT happen, and you know it's gonna be BHO's fault, so vote GOP and we'll stop it, whatever IT is!"

  •  The writing is on the wall but will Dems be pre... (0+ / 0-)

    The writing is on the wall but will Dems be prepared for a new round of GOP attacks on the ACA? Dems should be getting their responses out before the GOP attacks and election day on Nov. 4th!

  •  still showing signs that tell the lie that (0+ / 0-)

    Congress exempted itself from Obamacare

  •  GO AHEAD....... (0+ / 0-)

    Start taking health care AWAY from millions of people and you will see the biggest political landslide in US History! The GOP won't be able to elect a dog catcher!

  •  Medicare D (0+ / 0-)

    My life got much worse on the implemen tation of medicare D. I am the partner of a disabled person. Previously she was 'dual eligible' which meant Medicaid paid for prescriptions. this may not seem like a big deal except US Meds are insanely expensive. One kind was like $8000 per month. Of course the for profit providers of medicare D would go out of business if they paid claims like that. I expect the continued use of for profit insurance companies will prove problematic for ACA

  •  Well, those folks for whom (0+ / 0-)

    Obamacare is working well should vote Dem, right?  

    Um, what am I thinking?  Those far-righters for whom it's doing its job will believe they're the exception because - FOX.  And, once again, they will vote against their own interests.  Because this is Amurca.

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

    by twocrows1023 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:35:52 AM PDT

  •  Thinking ahead (0+ / 0-)

    And more good stories are emerging. The newly insured are making appointments and getting their wellness checkups.  Thanks to prevention screenings, people are discovering important things that they need to know about their health in order to stay healthy and reduce the risk of more serious illness.

  •  The onnly thing that's worse ... (0+ / 0-)

    The only thing worse that the lies and demonization spread by the Republicans and their Tea Party and Libertarian allies, is the fact that they have such s simplistic group who thrive on hearing more - and more - and more.  Even when all others of the same have - year after year - proved to be ... LIES.

  •  It's amazing. (0+ / 0-)

    It's amazing how a party supposedly representing the Christians can display a total lack of any morals, ethics or intelligence. I hope more of the true Christians take them to task.

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