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American political discourse has seldom been a model of honesty and civility, but a lot of the rumors going around about Obamacare are just plain wrong. Here are 15 of the more egregious misrepresentations of the Affordable Care Act that are designed to scare and outrage people--with falsehoods.
Affordable Care Act Myth #1. Obamacare will institute "death panels."
This was a rumor Sarah Palin started on her Facebook page in August of 2009. Actually, what was under discussion at the time was for Medicare, not Obamacare, and it only involved paying for visits to doctors to discuss end-of-life requests, do-not-resuscitate orders, and living wills. Only people who asked for the appointments would have them, and the matter was actually dropped in 2009.
Affordable Care Act Myth #2. Muslims are exempt from having to buy health insurance.
Actually, it would be more likely to be Mennonites, Amish, and Christian Scientists who would choose to exercise the "conscience exemption" in the new healthcare law. Just as there are groups who can choose not to be covered by Social Security, there are group who can choose not to be covered by Obamacare. Muslims are as eligible as anyone else to make declarations of conscience, but don't get a free pass.
Affordable Care Act Myth #3. The Affordable Care Act refers to "dhimmitude."
If you get a pdf of the Affordable Care Act and do a search for "dhimmitude," a made up word referring to a Muslim theological doctrine, you won't find it. That's because it isn't there. Nor or there any other references to Islam (or Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism or atheism or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) in the Act--which would have been found unconstitutional.
Affordable Care Act Myth #4. The Affordable Care act will create a "huge national database" of personal information to be managed by the IRS.
This was a rumor started by Congress member Michelle Bachman in May of 2013. As it turns out, the IRS isn't even checking income of people who claim a tax credit on the basis of low income this year. Medical information will be managed by doctors, hospitals, and the insurance companies, as it is now, but the IRS will not be involved in any kind of medical record keeping.
Affordable Care Act Myth #5. Congress is exempt under the new healthcare law.
Notoriously, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who recently tried to stop funding for call centers, is one of the members of Congress who won't be signing up for coverage. That's because his wife, a Goldman Sachs executive, has a $40,000 a year policy that covers both of them. However, other members of Congress who don't get coverage through their spouses have to sign up through the exchanges for their states, just like everyone else.
Affordable Care Act Myth #6. Under Obamacare, people will have to change doctors, even if they have been going to them for years.
A few people actually will change doctors, unless they make sure they choose a plan that their doctors accept. But it's not a requirement of the act.
Affordable Care Act Myth #7. Obamacare will ration health care, like Canada or the UK.
Canada and Great Britain have a single-payer system, and the government can make people wait for certain procedures. The US, however, will not have a single-payer system, and insurance companies make the decisions about which procedures are covered. More procedures are guaranteed to be covered than under the existing system, however.