Saturday, November 15, 2014

Obamacareful what you say

Images from PanAraba.
In the conservative world, they're exercising a lot of creativity in the effort to make it seem as if people really hate the Affordable Care Act, as in this remarkable headline from the Washington Times:

Half of Obamacare exchange users plan to bail out: Survey
Disenchanted by high prices and technology woes, more than half of the households that used an Obamacare exchange last year said they would not use the portal again in the upcoming sign-up period, according to a survey released Monday., which sponsored the survey, said 51 percent don’t want to use or their state-run insurance marketplaces again — a less-than-ecstatic review for the overhaul, which finds itself steeped in another high-profile legal battle less than two weeks before open enrollment starts again.
Not really, as CNBC realized when they ran the same story; apparently somebody explained to them that some of those people will not be bailing out but rather letting their plans renew automatically. Or more likely all of them.

So it was more like "between 50% and 0% of Obamacare exchange users, probably a lot closer to the latter". So, unlike the Washington Times, they decided not to run an entirely false piece. But why toss out a perfectly good story just because it doesn't happen to have the meaning you meant it to have? So they changed the headline (Google preserved the original one) to

Excited to return to Obamacare exchanges? Not so much

and acknowledged (down below the brief video story about how you ought to be investing in the healthcare industry: "Healthcare in the states is such an exciting area! ... 50 million extra lives coming on under Obamacare!") that what the survey had actually found might be that people were contented with the plans they had. And then they complained about it:
"We're telling people they shouldn't do that. They should explore any options they might have," [Bankrate analyst Doug] Whiteman said. "That is a concern if people are just planning on auto-enrolling the plans they have because that might be a mistake."
What's the matter, CNBC, people like their plan and you don't want them to keep it? Not what you used to say.

Meanwhile, in the real world, 70% of ACA enrollees rate their health care and coverage as "excellent" or "good":
Gallup, via Joan McCarter at Kos.
It's worth mentioning that CNBC is right about one thing: anybody who is on an Exchange policy should definitely visit before the Open Enrollment period is over on February 15; they need to update their income information if there's anything to report because it affects the subsidy (if you're paying too little you will get in trouble and if you're paying too much you're an idiot). They also need to check whether the policy they have is still the right one or not.

I could never understand, I think I've said this before, how anybody could use that phrase "if you like your health insurance" with a straight face. It's really not that kind of relationship. Premiums with some plans are going way up, with others a little bit, and with some they're actually going down (here for example is a list of changes for New York State), and you shouldn't hesitate to switch.

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