Last week, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posted a “quick poll” on his official Facebook page and got quite a surprise. The tea party darling and advocate for repealing the Affordable Care Act asked users what they thought of the law. His question, though, was worded to encourage negative responses. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t turn out the way he’d planned.
He asked, “Quick poll: Obamacare was signed into law four years ago yesterday. Are you better off now than you were then?
Comment with YES or NO!”
He used the term “Obamacare” instead of using the proper name “Affordable Care Act.” He most likely did this because conservatives are more likely to respond negatively to Obamacare than they are to the ACA, not realizing they are the same thing. I wrote about this phenomenon several months ago before the law took effect. Republican voters generally have a negative perception of the word “Obamacare,” while some either don't know what the ACA is, or they have a positive opinion of it.
A 2012 poll showed that the vast majority Republicans actually supported the provisions within the Affordable Care Act, but conservative politicians continue to refer to it as Obamacare because attaching the president’s name to it generates a Pavlovian knee-jerk reaction against it.
So, of course Cruz expected the majority of the responses to be critical of President’s signature piece of legislation. The reality, however, was much different. Since March 24 the senator has received tens of thousands of comments. I reviewed many of these answers, and while I wasn’t able to read all the comments, I did discover something interesting: The vast majority of the people responding to the senator’s question liked the law. In fact, many people who responded to the question were critical of Cruz’s crusade to repeal it.
Facebook user Kris Williams had this to say: “I and a few million other people are a lot better off. I hope you are enjoying your Cadillac plan given to you by your wife's employer, Goldman Sachs. Stop trying to deny the rest of us the peace of mind that quality, affordable health insurance provides us.”
Another user hit the nail on the head when he said, “Absolutely! Shopped, found a plan that lowered my costs on premiums and co-payments. I don't know anyone whose taken the time to shop that hasn't found savings, as 5 million or more have found. This is a Heritage Foundation plan that the GOP gave lip service to supporting until Obama got it done. “
Ifhad been elected and the Affordable Care Act had been passed under his watch, the ACA would be a non-issue. In fact, Republicans would be patting themselves on the back for passing legislation that they, themselves, had crafted with the help of the Heritage Foundation. There would have been no government shutdown last fall because Republicans would be hailing their signature law that has enabled more than six million people to sign up for health care who previously could not access it.
And yet, because a Democrat is in office, and perhaps because he has a bit more melanin than his predecessors, Republicans and tea partiers in office continue to wave the anti-Obamacare banner.
Critics of the president carry on with plying their constituents with horror stories of people losing their insurance, or of people not being able to afford health insurance any longer. But even those Koch-backed stories have been discredited. And more recently, a man by the name of Mark D. Bearden, a Republican who admits he does not like Obama, wrote a letter to the president praising the Affordable Care Act as a life saver. His story was so compelling the Obama administration has posted his letter on White House blog.
I am a staunch Republican, a self-proclaimed Fox News addict, and I didn't vote for the President. And I'm here to tell you that Obamacare works. I'm living proof.
I'm a chemotherapy patient, and was previously paying $428 a month for my health coverage. I was not thrilled when it was canceled.
Then I submitted an application at HealthCare.gov. I looked at my options. And I signed up for a plan for $62 a month.
It's the best health care I have ever had.
So right now, here's what I want to tell anyone who still needs health insurance, or knows someone who does:
Sign up. Follow the instructions on the website. Apply, and look at your options. You still have time, and take it from me: This is something you want to do.
In 2012, blogger Melissa, of Permission to Live, wrote about her transition from an ultraconservative who believed universal health care was an attack on her freedom to a woman who fully supports a single-payer system. And although the ACA is far from universal health care, it has given millions of people the chance to live without fear of losing health coverage, and in many instances, the chance to live, period.
Of course, a few people pop up on Cruz's Facebook page saying they are worse off since Obama and the ACA has taken effect. John D. Smith, a vice president of a small company in Chattanooga, Tenn., claimed that his company had to stop hiring people due to the increased cost the ACA put on his business. However, Smith was called out for not being entirely truthful because the business mandate does not go into effect until 2015, so if his company’s rates have gone up (which they almost always do anyway) it’s the insurance provider, not the ACA.
Other dissenters declared that they could no longer afford insurance, wrote about how their “friends” were too poor to afford insurance but earned too much money to qualify for the subsidy. For example, a woman in Virginia claimed her friend, who earns $15,000 per year, fell through the cracks and could not get insurance. I crunched the numbers and discovered that her friend would qualify, as a single person with no dependents, for a 100 percent subsidy, even without expanded Medicaid.
For those in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid coverage, getting affordable insurance may, indeed, be an issue. However, if you don’t qualify for a subsidy and cannot afford to pay for an insurance plan, you will not have to pay the penalty for not being covered.
If Ted Cruz truly, sincerely cared about the health of Americans, he would cease his efforts to repeal the ACA, and instead, focus on making health care accessible to every American in the United States. Until he truly works to make our lives better, he will never be anything more than a paid Koch brothers’ puppet.