More of this, please. What drives me crazy when I hear that the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") still isn't very popular is that in polling, 1) it's also unpopular with people who think it *doesn't go far enough* and 2) most of the people in those polls are angry about what they *think* the bill does (e.g., something like a third of seniors still believe in "death panels"), not what it *actually does* (e.g., making preventive care free, like the annual physical I just got).
In the last two weeks, my department has been accused of "thuggery" (this editorial page) and "Soviet tyranny" (Newt Gingrich). What prompted these accusations? The fact that we told health-insurance companies that, as required by law, we will review large premium increases and identify those that are unreasonable.
There's a long history of special interests using similar attacks to oppose change. In the mid-1960s, for example, some claimed Medicare would put our country on the path to socialism.
But what is really objectionable about these comments is not who they're attacking, but what they're defending.These critics seem to believe that any oversight of the insurance industry is too much, and that consumers would be better off in a system where they have few rights or protections.
Over the past decade, Americans have seen what happens when insurance companies have free rein. The cost of health insurance has more than doubled, while millions of hard-working Americans lost their coverage or drained their savings to keep up with premiums. Employers—big and small—have struggled mightily to absorb these cost increases and have been losing the fight.
It's understandable that people don't know everything the bill does—it's a big bill—but it's not hard to find out.