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Opinion Letters Research revealed ACA not so scary

Editor’s note: A letter that appeared in last week’s issue listed certain line items in the Affordable Care Act. The line item criticisms began to be circulated around the internet in 2009 and refer to a version of the health care bill that was never passed by Congress. A few sites to visit: PolitiFact.com; Snopes.com or Factcheck.org or read through the bill yourself at www.gpo.gov.

As I was reading the letter to the editor from Oct. 24 entitled What's really in the bill is 'scary', I was ready to write my congressmen and complain because I was really concerned about what I was reading. Before doing so, however, I decided to look at the Affordable Care Act (which was the bill referenced in the title), also known as Obamacare, and check it out for myself.

Page numbers were given for each of the "scary" items listed in the letter to the editor. However, when I went to the document none of those "scary" parts were on the pages listed.

I decided to do some further checking. What I found was that the information given in the letter to the editor came from a chain email that had been going around since 2009. The page numbers didn't match because the information had apparently come from a different bill, not Obamacare, and that it had never passed Congress.

I also found I was not the only one who was curious about the "scary" parts that many other people were wondering about from this same email. Fact checking organizations had been asked many times about what was in the email. It turns out that every "scary" part of the email was either false or misleading.

Let me address each item given in the letter to the editor:

  • Current law prohibits illegal immigrants from participating in health care programs.
  • There is no government authority over your bank account. You may choose to have your insurance payment deducted from you bank account through on line banking or direct debit just as you would for any other bill.
  • Obamacare sets up a new federal reinsurance plan to benefit retirees and their spouses covered by any employer plan. Being a member of a union has nothing to do with it.
  • "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as a tax" continues on and concerns the Alternative Minimum Tax. It would limit the ripple effects of the new taxes the bill would impose on individuals making over $350,000.
  • Doctor's fees are determined pretty much the way they are in Medicare using relative value units. They are not all paid the same regardless of specialty.
  • There is no mention of age in regards to cancer care.
  • Expansion limitations are for rural, doctor owned hospitals and must allow for input from persons or entities in the community. Most hospitals are not included in this.
  • Medicare will cover voluntary counseling sessions between seniors and their doctors to discuss end of life care. The government does not require this. A patient may draw up an order stipulating their wishes and have it signed by a physician.

I hope my research helps to ease your mind if you read the previous letter to the editor. Do your own fact checking. You can't believe everything you get in forwards and emails.

Gail Hug — Franklin, N.C.


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