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Columns

September 29, 2013

HOWEY: Obamacare, propaganda and statesmanship

(Continued)

The conservative Republicans in the U.S. House are seeking to defund Obamacare and some have threatened to shut the government down to do so.

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats – as ardent an opponent of Obamacare as anyone – has been saying since last June that President Obama will never allow his signature achievement to be overridden. Nor defunding or repeal have any chance of passing the Senate. To believe otherwise means you live in an alternative universe with rockinghorse people and marshmellow pies.

As I’ve stated many times before, heading in to 2010, I espoused support for health insurance reform, as the costs were escalating and people like myself – on a so-called “death spiral” with a pre-existing condition – couldn’t get coverage or once attained, was shockingly expensive. Watching the creation of the ACA was like watching Dr. Frankenstein stitching together his creature. It is hard to understand if you’re not an economist, and even that group is split on whether Obamacare will work.

But Congressional Republicans are using their offices like political candidates do during campaigns. They have become fonts of propaganda, declaring that Obamacare has “failed” and is a “trainwreck.” This isn’t an effort to help their constituents understand the new law. There has been little effort to “tweak” or even revise troubling segments of the law. Instead, they play to that 10 or 15 percent of their constituents who pose a threat in a May primary.

And this extends to other offices. In July, the Indiana Department of Insurance told us that health premiums were going to rise by 72 percent and the average cost would be $570 a month. Gov. Mike Pence used this information in his national Republican radio address in August.

But this past week, U.S. Health and Human Services told us the opposite, that premiums were actually decreasing. An Indianapolis Business Journal story on Sept. 9 revealed that Anthem policyholders would actually see a small decrease.

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