One of my favorite Professors at the University of Texas at Arlington always said “Nothing ever is, it only appears to be.” He went on to remind people, that when you read the results of study or listen to someone’s conclusion about a study, a law, or anything in life, that a true researcher will go to the source to determine the validity of the statements or conclusions made. In the course of my career, I have tried to live by these instructions when reading research, watching commercials, or even listening to political speeches. Facts are facts, but facts can be manipulated to imply something other than the truth. What? It is true, people take things out of context, change a word here or there or even summarize things insinuating they mean something other than the purpose of the statement. This has been especially true in terms of the information published about ACA/Obamacare.
I have written a series of blogs about the myths associated with ACA/Obamacare. Things have been taken out of context and frankly outright lies have been told about this program which will allow millions of Americans to obtain health insurance at a reasonable cost. One of the most frightening lies being told is that if people sign up for the health exchanges and buy insurance through them, the government will be given free access to a person’s financial information and bank account. Some politicians and Tea Party members even suggest that the IRS will be policing every American’s financial data. Privacy laws will be ignored. The government will be able to remove money from anyone’s bank account according to these fear mongers Guess what? It isn’t true. The government will not have access to your bank account. The IRS will not be able to go into your bank account and take your money without permission.
The Republicans and the Tea Party are doing anything and everything to try and scare you about ACA/Obamacare. I have PCIP insurance which is the first health exchange program that was offered to people with pre-existing illnesses almost 2 years ago. I pay $300.00 a month for this insurance. When I signed up for the insurance, my eligibility for the insurance was determined. The eligibility test consisted of several questions. They wanted to know my name, my address, my age, whether or not I had current insurance, and my social security number. The purpose of the social security number was to insure I was a an American citizen. They asked about insurance coverage because you had to have not had health insurance for the past six months. That is all the information I had to give out to obtain the insurance. It sure wasn’t intrusive. Do you know what, they didn’t care about my pre-existing conditions, they didn’t care whether I was a female or a male, they didn’t care if I had been diagnosed with a catastrophic illness…they just wanted to know I was an American citizen and how old I was. Insurance premiums are based on age and nothing else. It doesn’t sound so scary does it. Certainly not the evil doings suggested by the Republicans and Tea Party.
Now here is the funny part. The GOVERNMENT did not ask ME any questions. When I went to the website, much like you will do in October, to sign up for the new health insurance exchanges, I was directed to a page that was created by the insurance company. When PCIP started there was only one insurance company from which to choose. In this case it was GIHA. This is the insurance that federal employees including members of Congress have as a benefit. They managed the PCIP program. After I was approved, I had to set up a way to pay my premiums. I CHOSE to have them automatically deducted from my checking account each month. Why? It is suggested that every enrollee either have their premiums deducted from their checking account or charged to their credit card so there is no lack of continuity of care. It is a protection for the patient, because it is paid each month on time. It is a protection for the doctor’s and hospitals because they don’t have to worry about someone dropping their coverage and then perhaps not being paid by the insurance company. It also is a protection for the insurance company so they don’t lose their credibility with provider’s.
What I described in the previous paragraph is the only access anyone would have to your checking account or credit card through ACA/Obamacare. There is no government involvement. You make the contract with the INSURANCE company. The only role the government will have in the implementation of ACA/Obamacare is providing potential enrollees with a vehicle to find the insurance companies providing plans in your state or hooking you up to plans that will be offered on the federal level if you happen to live in a state that refused to participate and develop state based exchanges.
The Republicans, The Tea Party and others have banded together and taken words and phrases out of context in the Affordable Care Act as well as the rules and regulations to make it appear like something it is not. These lies or manipulations of the truth are designed to provoke fear in the reader. Let me reiterate. The federal and/or state government will not have access to your checking, savings, or credit card accounts if you choose to participate in the health insurance exchanges. You will have a contract with the health insurance company to pay your premium every month just like you might have if you joined a gym or pay your bills through automatic withdrawal. I pay almost all my bills in this manner including my health insurance, car insurance, home owners insurance, and other bills as well. It is nothing to be afraid of and certainly not an invasion of anyone’s privacy.
So, don’t fear the government’s intrusion of your privacy. It won’t happen under ACA/Obamacare.