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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Debunking Obamacare Myths

Dr. Barbara Bellar, a senate candidate from Burr Ridge, Illinois, has become a recent YouTube sensation with her humorous critique of the health reform law. In her "Obamacare Summed Up in One Sentence" speech, Bellar raised some serious complaints about the Affordable Care Act. Since Dr. Bellar is running for office in our home state, we decided that some myth-busting was in order. Christopher Wills' article in SFGate does a great job of fact checking Bellars' video, so we'll summarize his article here:  

What exactly did this senate candidate say about the Affordable Care Act?

We're going to be gifted with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't
Fact: For those who already have health insurance, there will be no change, and will not be forced to buy any additional coverage. For those who can afford and refuse to purchase coverage will be forced to buy health insurance or pay a tax.Those who can't afford insurance will not be required to pay a fine.

The ACA doesn't add a single new doctor

Fact: Let there be doctors! The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates the addition of 15,000 new providers by 2015. The ACA also incentivizes a career in primary care by offering primary care doctors higher medicare payments. Still, Dr. Bellar is right that expanding coverage will put some new demands on the health care system.

The law provides for 16,000 new IRS agents

Fact: No. This claim has been proven to be wildly inaccurate. According to FactCheck.org: "The law requires the IRS mostly to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties. The claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation."

Congress exempted themselves from the ACA
Fact: Congress members are REQUIRED to buy their insurance through the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, thus, not exempting themselves at all.
We will be taxed for four years before any ACA benefits take effect

Fact: Some taxes have been put in place since 2010 (when the ACA became law); according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the taxes taking effect before 2014 affect specific groups such as drug makers, medical device manufacturers, couples earning over $250,000/year and indoor tanners.

Fact: The pre-2014 benefits have been pouring in and are already positively impacting millions of people, right here in Illinois. They include: young adults who are able to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26; small businesses who now can use tax credits to provide health care to employees; seniors who are receiving refund checks to fill the gap in their Medicare drug coverage; uninsured people with pre-existing conditions who are now covered by the Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan; and people with private insurance whose preventive services are covered with no deductible or co-pay.

These initial changes are just a small example of what's to come in 2014.

If you want to see how the expansions will impact the uninsured in Illinois in 2014, take a look at our Visualizing Health Reform map with census data. You can even zoom into Dr. Bellar's community, Burr Ridge (a town that spans DuPage and Cook Counties), and see who in her district will be newly eligible for Medicaid and affordable private insurance in the Health Insurance Exchange.

And that's a fact.
Dana Rabkin & Stephani Becker
Illinois Health Matters

For more myth-busting about the ACA, you can go to www.illinoishealthmatters.org. You can also submit a question and one of our ACA experts will answer it for you!


  1. The benefits of talking to a doctor early on in an illness are well-proven, with those who seek the professional care of a doctor having faster recovery times. This means that a person suffering an illness can avoid extra days missed at work, and get back on their feet quickly

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  4. Thanks for providing some more information about this speech. It is important to balance rhetoric with facts

  5. None of the "Fact Checks" disprove any of her comments, just take away a small piece from the overall generalizations she makes in her statements. If anything this helps solidify her statements. These "Fact Checks" are also a few cherry picked parts of the statements she made, and do not cover the entire message. Also, a "Fact Check" on unknown outcomes does not really qualify as a "Fact Check", but is just as valid or invalid as the original assumptions being made.

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