I have to give credit to the President when he is correct, and this time he is correct. He kept saying that there was a lot of misinformation being distributed about Obamacare, and now there is proof that there was. The misinformation was coming from the President, the media and the plans, progressive Democratic Party Supporters.
After a year of being told that the Obamacare will immediately make their lives much better, many uninsured citizens actually believed it, and are now overwhelming insurance company phone lines asking how do they sign up for their free health care.
Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors’ offices, human resources departments and business groups.
“They’re saying, ‘Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?’ ” said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.
McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.
“We tell them it’s not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014,” McLean said.
According to the report, they are also getting calls from people with pre-existing conditions to sign up for insurance, only to get frustrated when they find out that provision won’t start until 2014, and get further confused when they are told that a federal high-risk pool for them will be established in the next few months.
People are just asking for what they have been promised.
Parents of young adults, including those who are preparing to graduate from college this spring, have heard that the overhaul will let them keep their children on their insurance plans until they reach age 26. That starts in September, however; they have to determine how to cover them until then.
A new wave of inquiries could come next month as federal COBRA subsidies for laid-off workers dry up.
Americans who already have good coverage aren’t so worried about the immediate implications, but some admit that they’re plenty confused. “Why does it take so long for certain health care things to take effect?” said Sandra Preston, a state employee in Paterson, N.J.
Well Sandra, that is because the Democrats wanted to use a cheap accounting trick to make the plan look like it was revenue neutral, taxes start immediately but they don’t spend any money for 4 years so the CBO scores a plan with an extra 4 years of revenue.
Many small business owners are nervous about requirements being phased in.
“Members are still trying to wrap their head around everything that’s in this law,” said Michelle Dimarob, the manager of legislative affairs for the National Federation of Independent Business, the small-business lobby.
Dimarob said the lobby’s primary concern was that its costs would rise over the next four years as a result of fees, taxes and coverage mandates related to the overhaul.
“The next question that comes out of their mouths is: ‘What do I have to do right now?’ They need to start talking with their accountant, depending on how they’re organized, what industry they’re in and whether they’re offering insurance now and what kind they’re offering. We’re suggesting they talk to their agent or broker.”
But they better not complain or Congressman Waxman will come after them.
While Obama has been touting a tax credit for small businesses that offer employees health coverage, Dimarob said many small businesses wouldn’t be able to participate. First they must do research to see whether they qualify. “It requires them to understand the intricacies,” she said.
The president has begun traveling the country to talk about the new law to ordinary Americans. In Maine last week, he explained many highlights of the four-year phase-in. However, Obama’s remarks were laced with enough political rhetoric to dilute his policy message.
Many organizations have produced timelines explaining when provisions are to be phased in. Still, it’s confusing for consumers, and until the administration issues more regulations, many details can’t be pinned down.
What we have here is a rush to put together a bill without transparency resulting in what the military calls S.N.A.F.U., Situation Normal All F***ed Up.