Contrary to what the Forbes mag crowd says, the White House is not panicking about ACA.

Forbes has been highlighting writing like this one, from some presumed objective viewpoints.

The writer is saying that, since so many people already reject health insurance coverage that is provided to them on a subsidy, we should forget the idea that any significant portion of the currently uninsured are going to sign up for Obamacare after October 1.

This, to me, sounds like bunk.

Yes, I think it’s true that many people who aren’t aware that they already qualify for Medicaid don’t take it. Usually, it’s because there is an asset test or some sort of set of bureaucratic “prying eyes” seeing if the person actually qualifies. (These tests go away under Obamacare, and it becomes strictly an income test, with a possible clawback provision.)

Also, there are people who refuse employer-subsidized insurance. That happens quite a bit. It happens because the pay-in is usually too high for the benefit that you’re buying into.

Affordable Care Act is different.

Although much was made about how Obamacare (which is the Affordable Care Act if I’ve lost anyone) is not a “new tax”, it is effectively priced as, yes, a surtax. A new tax.

I have previously blogged a chart, showing how, for most wage earners in America, there is a tax credit to help pay for policies that are bought on the Health Insurance Exchange. This means, there is a schedule which figures out what part you can afford. And that “contribution” is your “tax” to receive the benefit of comprehensive coverage, what is being called “essential health benefits”.

This is being touted as “9.5% of your income!”, but, in fact, it is a sliding scale between 2% and 9.5% of modified adjusted gross income. Only when people are making solid middle class money (300% of federal poverty level, let’s say), then it is 9.5%.

The hurdle that ACA has right now, is that most Americans don’t know what they need to about it. I see that from my own casual promotion of the law. People don’t know. And they don’t know which talking head is the authentic source for information.

What the White House seems to be doing is recruiting celebrities and civic organizations—including sports—to get talent who people pay attention to, to talk more about the law and promote it. If they can get Queen Bey, or even Kelly Rowland if Beyonce is booked, to talk up Affordable Care, you are going to get thousands more people checking out what is available online. Obama’s team is also reaching out to “mom’s groups” to get the word out.

The idea is to let people know that, yes, it isn’t free, but that you get a lot for what Congress is asking be paid for. It isn’t whether you’re young and healthy, and so don’t feel the need for insurance, but whether $80/ month ($1,000 a year), for example, is worth the peace of mind of comprehensive coverage.

I think a lot of people are going to take up the Exchanges on that offer, once they know what they need to know. The people writing on the Forbes site obviously are going to discourage anyone they can.

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One comment

  1. Jim · July 11, 2013

    As always, excellent explanation. I hope the NFL et al don’t knuckle under to the knuckle-dragger threats (McConnell et al) and publicize the new law.

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