To The Daily Sun,
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, frequent letter-writer Steve Earle, challenged ". . . any liberal to give readers an example of a lie told by Fox News." I have no aspirations to liberalism, but if he will accept a response from a fellow writer, I would like to give it a shot.
On Oct. 11, Sean Hannity invited three couples to tell his audience how the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) adversely affected their lives. Hannity said, "These are the stories that the media refuses to cover."
The stories the couples told, however, seemed at odds with ACA provisions. Consequently, fact checkers investigated. What follows is from the work of one of them, Eric Stern. He independently interviewed each couple and conducted cost comparison analyses.
Their claims: They said they could not grow their business. They had to keep employees in part-time status and take other steps to reduce ACA-associated costs.
The truth: Their construction business has four employees. The ACA imposes no cost, no insurance requirements (absolutely none) on any business with less than 50 employees. There is one and only one requirement for such a small business. It must notify employees the insurance exchange (healthcare.gov) exists.
Background: The male quit his job (which provided health benefits) a few years ago to start his own business. The couple are now paying $1,100 a month ($13,200 a year) for health insurance. The policy has a $2,500 per person deductible and does not cover one of their two children. The female has a pre-existing condition that would cost another $600 a month to insure. That would bring their total cost to $1,700 a month or $20,400 annually (still with no coverage for the second child).
Their claims: The couple's insurer notified them it will terminate their policy and replaced it with an ACA-compliant policy. The insurer also said it was shrinking its provider network. This might mean the couple would have to change physicians. This shows Obama lied when he said people could keep existing policies and medical providers.
The truths: The couple are correct. Obama assurances regarding continuity of coverage and provider access were not true. The president's apologists can try to sugarcoat that, but lie seems a fair characterization. This is where Hannity left it. Obama and ObamaCare came out looking bad. While it is difficult to make excuses for the president, the impression ACA is also bad is flat out wrong in this case. If the couple had done its homework, it would have found a policy on the health exchange for about $7,600. (This assumes the couple does not smoke and makes too much to qualify for a subsidy.)
This policy offers this family multiple advantages:
— More than a 60 percent reduction in premium costs;
— Coverage for all family members;
— Coverage for the female's preexisting condition; and
— A cap on out-of-pocket expenses. (As noted above, the couple's current policy carries a $2,500 per-person deductible. Under ACA, $2,500 is the maximum deductible for a family. That is a potential savings of $5,000 plus whatever it would cost them to obtain medical services for their uninsured child.)
Background: The male is self-employed. The insurer is swapping the couple's existing plan for an ACA-compliant policy. The premium for their current policy is $800 a month ($9,600 annually).
Their Claims: Their agent told them the replacement policy would cost 50 to 75 percent more. It will contain provisions (e.g., maternity, pediatric and prenatal care) they do not need, but must buy.
The Truths: This couple could buy a comparable policy on the exchange for less than $310 a month ($3,700 a year). The savings would exceed 60 percent. Yes, the policy would cover things they do not need or want. Every policy does.
A few personal observations:
Hannity/Fox exploited the ignorance of people so blinded by their hatred of ObamaCare (and probably Obama), they refused to do even the most rudimentary research into their personal situation. Nonetheless, their flagrant disregard for assessment and fact qualified them to speak with authority to a national audience.
Conservatives, more than liberals, should be outraged. The picture Fox painted is of catastrophe unfolding. Perhaps it is. (The rollout can hardly reassure supporters.) Yet, an unfiltered, unquestioned presentation of ignorance and hatred as evidence strengthens no case.
Specifically in this example:
— We see a family explaining how ACA undermined their business when ACA could not possibly affect that business;
— We see two families complaining about increased cost when even the most rudimentary inquiry would reveal substantial savings — upward of 60 percent in both cases; and
— We see three families not conveying personal stories — as Hannity asserted — but adapting and repeating what they think others have said.
If Mr. Earle does not think this is lying, perhaps he could explain what is.
Last Updated on Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:00
To The Daily Sun,
I read the piece in Wednesday's Sun with amusement and concern. Of course it would be cheaper to care for inmates with Medicaid as opposed to real insurance because that is cost shifting the actual costs onto the hospitals, providers, and ultimately patients with insurance. This is a Ponzi scheme to make the books look better without any real savings. Prisoners are not good patients in many cases. Taking care of them brings extra problems with increased risk of lawsuit, active non-compliance with recommended care and other issues. If the state tries to make this change, I would predict they will find many doors closed to these patients in the medical community, adding further costs to the bottom line. This is not a good or fair idea and should be rejected.
John M. Grobman MD
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:45
To The Daily Sun,
New Hampshire's electricity prices are ranked 5th highest in the country. Expect the average monthly electricity bill to noticeably rise with the addition of wind farms in this state.
New Hampshire's Energy Board will soon point to a number of reasons for the increasing cost of electricity. It will most likely be labeled as a grid upgrade not directed at wind farms. New Hampshire would easily bump New York — from fourth to fifth place.
Additional wind farms, transmission lines, substations combined with other grid upgrades — will surely put us into third or fourth place in less than five years. Another significant factor, that will drive up our monthly electrical bill, is the variation between previous estimates and actual costs.
As N.H. electrical consumers, we will not use the electricity from these wind farms. The generated power is being shipped to southern states. These southern states are benefiting from us in more ways than one. Shouldn't southern states be held accountable for all of the decommissioning costs — if approved? Why aren't we talking about this?
They shouldn't be able to have their cake and eat it too, right? After all — southern states are the ones demanding the power and they are the ones outsourcing their green credits through N.H. land. N.H. is already a net exporter of electricity — meaning we already produce more electricity than we consume. Why aren't they developing their land first?
So much for engagement with communities. So much for a town hall meeting — it's become a dictatorship. We have declared our towns "NOT WILLING HOSTS" to wind farms. Yet they declare and promote themselves as being wanted by our community.
On November 5th at 6 p.m. — come to the Alexandria Town Hall and listen for yourself. Iberdrola will lay out their plans for our community. I believe it would be a great learning point for many to see first hand what is unfolding here. You've all seen the inside of a town hall — just come, listen and educate yourself.
This is not who or what we want leading us. Please attend...
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:42
To The Daily Sun,
On the Ward 6 election: Tony Felch's recent statement in an article recognizing his opponent Armand Bolduc's "name recognition" advantage certainly struck home to me.
I've known Armand for most of my 20+ years as a Laconia resident. I am also familiar with the many accomplishments of the Bolduc family that arise out of their dedicated commitment to community and country. Tony sure is right; Armand and the whole Bolduc family are well known to us Laconians. Well known for their philosophy and practice of service as a way of life.
There is no doubt that our city is a far better place to work and live because of the efforts of the Bolduc family and Armand in particular. We are very fortunate to have such a fine man on our City Council, one with so much experience with and knowledge of our city and its government. I've seen an action packed 20 years of Laconia history, a period during which we all could all count on Armand's wisdom and his voice of reason.
Having heard Tony Felch's campaign slogan "time for a change" I was interested in hearing just what that means at the candidate's night forum held at Weirs Beach last week. It was good to have the opportunity to meet all of the candidates, Tony Felch among them. Tony seems to be a nice fellow and I applaud his willingness to serve.
As the evening progressed though, I kept waiting to hear what the Ward 6 challenger would change and how he would do it. I'm still waiting.
Ward 6 is facing a choice between the tried and true and the shiny and new. On the one hand we have Armand and his long record of service and accomplishment, on the other an unproven new face with an unknown agenda.
I am urging my friends in Ward 6 to get out and vote for Armand Bolduc for City Council. His service and accomplishments are second to none; a victory for Armand is a victory for us all.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:39
To The Daily Sun,
The Belknap County Republican Committee is sponsoring a Common Core Forum on Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. for everyone who wants to learn of its origin, how it is effecting our schools and children, and what people from all over the nation are saying about it.
Common Core is not a left or right or in-the-middle issue. It's an issue effecting everyone by way of increasing taxes, lowering the educational standards for our children, and allowing the federal and state governments to intercede and micro manage education in our state.
The event is free; seating is limited; information will abound.
Belknap County Republican Committee
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:35