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U.S. | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Obamacare support may rise when health insurance rebate checks arrive
by Harold A Tsiamis
Friday Jun 29th, 2012 12:44 AM
The Obama Administration was not alone in benefiting from today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Policyholders already enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act will be getting rebate checks, as soon as August.
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The Obama Administration was not alone in benefiting from today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Policyholders already enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act will be getting rebate checks, as soon as August.

“An estimated $1.3 billion will be doled out to individuals and small businesses under a clause in the Affordable Care Act,” according to Business Insider.

The Obamacare rebate checks are part of a provision in the health care law that requires insurance companies to use 80 percent of collected premiums on medical services. If they don’t, they have to send rebates to policyholders for the difference.

In other words, the profits of private insurance companies are limited by Obamacare, which is why Republicans beholden to insurance and drug company lobbyists have generated so much negative spin against the health insurance law.

But even Republicans like parts of Obamacare.

In a recent poll, 80 percent of Republicans favor insurance exchanges where individuals can buy health insurance at group rates. And more than 50 percent like sliding scale subsidies, allowing children up to 26 years old to be insured under their parents policies, and the requirement of businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance coverage.

Furthermore, “Seventy eight percent of Republicans support banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill,” according to the Washington Post.

Contrary to some Republican spin, Obamacare does nothing to change the current insurance policies of existing consumers.

There has been a plethora of Obamacare misinformation generated by Republicans since debate on the law began in 2009. Republican scare tactics of "Death Panels" in Obamacare proved to be completely false.

Furthermore, Obamacare will actually reduce health care costs and lower the federal deficit by $50 billion more than original CBO estimates.

Of Obamacare, Separating facts from myths said:“While there will be tax implications, most of the biggest changes apply to medical manufacturers, insurers and pharmaceutical companies. In fact, some Americans may see no changes at all. Tax changes that could affect average individuals include …

  • A 10% sales tax on indoor tanning (yes, really)
  • A 0.9% increase on the Medicare tax rate
  • A 3.8% tax on investment income for individuals earning more than $200,000 and households earning more than $250,000
  • Taxes on high-end or “Cadillac” health care plans (this excise tax would not begin until 2018 and only apply to insurers of plans that exceed $10,200 annually for individual coverage, or $27,500 annually for family coverage)”

Another favored Republican talking point to mislead the public on Obamacare claims that it pays for abortions. That is false. There is no provision in the Affordable Care Act that changes insurance coverage for abortions.

The Obama Administration has been accused of doing a poor job of "selling" the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to the public, and that appears to be true. Most people don’t even know what’s in the bill, but since they have been told by Republicans that it’s bad, they believe it – even though the GOP sound bites prove to be completely false.

The Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law, but it is a first step in reining-in out of control health care costs, and gives millions of Americans new access to more affordable health insurance.

While many people do not understand all the provisions of Obamacare, they do understand money, which they will be getting in the form of an Obamacare rebate check in about six weeks.