Why Bernie’s Health Care Plan Is Very Realistic and Achieveable

Clinton plays it safe, but Sanders’s plan just might keep America healthy.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Bill Boyarsky

Emphasis Mine

Hillary Clinton wants incremental improvement in Obamacare to fix its imperfect and increasingly costly collaboration between the federal government and insurance companies. Bernie Sanders wants Medicare for all—Berniecare—with Americans given full medical benefits financed by a moderate tax increase for most people and heavier taxes for the rich.

Clinton would take a baby step, Sanders a leap into a brighter future—risky as all leaps are, but worth it if it succeeds.

As professor Gerald Friedman of the University of Massachusetts Amherst—an architect of the Sanders plan—said in a 2013 speech, “You don’t get change incrementally. … We … can’t cross the chasm in two steps. To make the change, we need the big leap, and these big leaps happen only occasionally [in the] few times in history we have had the type of movement that forces the powers that be to make a giant change.”

While nothing can make being sick pleasant, the Sanders plan, as outlined in the presidential candidate’s website, would make the ordeal considerably less stressful.

Berniecare would cover hospital treatment, outpatient treatment, visits to primary physicians and specialists and long-term and palliative care. Such care would provide patients with relief for the symptoms and pain—mental and physical—of a serious illness.

It would provide for vision, hearing and oral care, as well as treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. It would pay for prescription drugs and medical equipment. Gone would be worries about finding a physician within your insurance company’s network. Patients wouldn’t be billed for copays or for deductibles—the amount you now pay before health insurance kicks in.

Sanders estimates this would cost $138 trillion a year. Financing would consist of:

● A 6.2 percent tax on payrolls, less than what employers now pay for workers’ health insurance. A Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust survey found that employers paid an average of $12,591 in 2015 for an employee’s health insurance, compared with $8,167 in 2005.

● A tax of 2 percent per household on employee income. This too would be less than what families now pay, according to Sanders’ website. The Kaiser/HRET survey found that workers paid an average of $4,955 a year in premiums for workplace health insurance plans in 2015, compared with $2,713 in 2005. So this would be a plus for the middle class.

Taxes on the affluent would rise substantially. Those earning between $250,000 and $500,000 would pay a 37 percent income tax, compared with the present 33 to 39.6 percent. Income taxes would be 43 percent for those earning up to $2 million, 48 percent for those earning up to $10 million and 52 percent for high earners above that—big boosts from the current top rate of 39.6 percent.

Capital gains would be taxed, along with dividends. Various tax breaks for the wealthy would be eliminated.

Hillary Clinton disputes these figures. At the Clinton-Sanders debate Thursday night, she said, “If you’re having Medicare for all, single-payer, you need to level with people about what they will have at the end of the process you are proposing. And based on every analysis that I can find by people who are sympathetic to the goal, the numbers don’t add up, and many people will actually be worse off than they are right now.”

“That is absolutely inaccurate,” replied Sanders. “Please do not tell me that in this country, if—and here’s the if—we have the courage to take on the drug companies and the medical equipment suppliers, if we do that, yes, we can guarantee health care to all people in a much more cost-effective way.”

While the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—has been Barack Obama’s most significant domestic achievement, it is riddled by flaws the president accepted in order to win the support of insurance companies and other medical industry titans. So far, it has covered 12,654,178 people, according to ACA Signups.net, which estimates that enrollments are climbing toward the 13 million mark. These people could very well lose their insurance coverage if the Republicans win the presidency, retain control of the Senate and House and keep their promise to dismantle Obamacare.

That won’t happen if either Clinton or Sanders wins. A Sanders victory will mean much more if he persuades Congress to go along. That’s a big if. But the plan’s range of care and the ease of obtaining care would mean better lives for millions. Physicians would be available to all. The mentally ill and addicts would be treated instead of jailed. Dental care would be covered. Drug prices would be limited. The misery of deductibles and copays would disappear.

None of this is unusual in other major industrial nations.

There will be many complex arguments about financing such a plan, just as there were over the Affordable Care Act. Having followed the conception, painful birth and near death of Obamacare, I know that enacting Medicare for all would be much more difficult. The medical industry, including the insurance companies, would fight it every inch of the way. Helping them would be Wall Street, whose institutions engineered the mergers of insurance companies, medical device

makers and hospitals that are creating price-fixing monopolies. Their lobbyists and political consultants would hammer away at the tax increases needed to finance the Sanders plan, their path to congressional offices greased by big campaign contributions. What they wouldn’t mention is the savings in administrative costs and insurance payments that would benefit consumers.

Success of “Berniecare” may seem as unlikely as Sanders winning the presidency. But a year ago, the idea of Sanders in the White House was considered not only unlikely but laughable. And look at him now.

Bill Boyarsky, political correspondent for Truthdig, is a lecturer in journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/why-bernies-health-care-plan-very-realistic-and-achieveable?akid=13988.123424.t8e2U3&rd=1&src=newsletter1050970&t=16

One of the Most Incredible Weeks for the Progressive Movement in Ages

Let’s take a look at what happened this week.

Source: American Prospect, via AlterNet

Author: Robert Kuttner

Emphasis Mine

What an extraordinary week in the political and spiritual life of this nation.

It was a week in which President Obama found the voice that so many of us hoped we discerned in 2008; a week in which two Justices of the Supreme Court resolved that the legitimacy of the institution and their own legacy as jurists was more important than the narrow partisan agenda that Justices Roberts and Kennedy have so often carried out; a week in which liberals could feel good about ourselves and the haters of the right were thrown seriously off balance.

Yet this is one of those inflection points in American politics that could go either way. It could energize the forces of racial justice and racial healing. It could reconstitute the Supreme Court as a body that takes the Constitution seriously. The week’s events could shame, embarrass and divide the political right.

Or the events of the week — the Court upholding the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage; the racist South giving up a cherished symbol of slavery; President Obama explicitly and eloquently embracing the pain of the black experience –– could energize the haters.

Consider Obama first. His eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney was the finest expression of political and moral leadership of his presidency. Obama has spoken this candidly on race only once before as a political leader — when his candidacy was on the line in 2008, in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright affair.

In that speech, Obama managed to thread the needle of candidly explaining the experience and the rhetoric of Reverend Wright’s generation, without either condoning the things Wright had said (“God Damn America”), or quite throwing him under the bus. And in the process, Obama won praise for his skill as a leader and a truth-teller on race, and defused a potentially lethal threat to his candidacy.

For the most part, Obama has been timid about using his rhetorical gifts; timid about fighting for what he believes; reticent about engaging Congress or the nation. The exceptional moment, such as the Charleston eulogy shows what the man is capable of — but allows himself to express only rarely.

It is just possible, now in the last 18 months of his presidency, that Obama, with not much to lose, will embrace the boldness that has eluded him for most his two terms — on race, on gun control, on social justice generally, and on the red-state/blue state divisions that are far more severe now than when he gave the now-famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that established him as a national contender.

There was also one sour note in Obama’s successes of past week. His victory in the fight to pursue a Pacific trade deal was the wrong battle for the wrong goal. Countless progressives wondered where that fighting spirit was when we needed it on so many battles that he and we lost.

There is a direct connection between the racial equality that was, paradoxically, advanced by the Charleston massacre and the economic inequality that has only worsened on Obama’s watch. The more that the One Percent makes off with the lion’s share of America’s productivity, the more the white working class and the downwardly mobile middle class are inclined to scapegoat people of color and immigrants.

(N.B.: Yes!)

How much stronger a hand Obama would have to call America to be its best self on racial healing, if he had been a fighter all along for economic justice; if working class people of all races felt that they had a champion in him. Instead, the biggest economic battle of his second term was on behalf of a corporate wish list.

That said, there is now momentum on the progressive side. There is movement for the symbolism of taking down the Confederate battle flag to give way to substance. If Southern Republican leaders now recognize the pain that such symbols cause, how about the pain of the denial of the right to vote? How about the pain of denial of health coverage under Medicaid so that Republican leaders can score political points against Obama.

The president was eloquent in his eulogy on the subject of grace.

According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God… As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind. [Applause.] He has given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.

Well, if we as a nation were to stop with the removal of the Confederate flag from official sites, that would be cheap grace indeed. To shift the metaphor from Christian to Jewish, one thinks of the Passover song, Dayenu, which means, “It would have been enough:” If God had led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, that would have been enough; if He had given us the Torah, it would been enough. And so on. But God’s blessings are infinite.

To flip the sentiment, if the Southern elite took down the flag — that would not be enough. And if they restored the right to vote freely, that would not be enough. And if America got serious about police brutality, that would not be enough. And if conservatives stopped trying to overturn affirmative action — that would only be the bare beginning of what we owe the descendants of slavery, segregation and continued acts of racial violence.

Which brings me to the Supreme Court. In the decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, Justice Roberts rose to the occasion with true eloquence and discernment. Justice Kennedy, author of the soaring decision on gay marriage, has displayed growth and compassion on a range of issues. Even in dissent, in the gay marriage decision Justice Roberts acknowledged what a momentous shift the acceptance of same-sex marriage was and is.

Justice Scalia was revealed, even more than before, as a petty, vindictive crank. His cheap, personal put-downs of Kennedy and Roberts in dissent can hardly serve to win them over in future decisions.

Here again, if the Court really wants to atone for past sins, Roberts and Kennedy might revisit the absurd decision throwing out key sections of the Voting Rights Act on the premise that racist denial of the right to vote was no longer a problem; and the equally bizarre decision equating money with speech. They have now had time for penitence — to see the real-world consequences of their handiwork and consider just how wrong they were, not just on the Constitution but on how politics actually operates.

Still to come will be a decision on affirmative action, where past signals have suggested that the Roberts Court is ready to overturn it. After Charleston, and the national conversation that the massacre has opened, this would not be the moment to destroy the society’s ability to very partially remediate past oppression.

All in all, a good week for everything decent in America. But only the bare beginnings of the progress we need to make. President Obama needs to keep following that inner light. The new Supreme Court majority needs to continue aiming higher than narrow partisanship. And the rest of us need to broaden the struggle for economic as well as racial justice.

 

Robert Kuttner is the former co-editor of the American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos. His latest book is “Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency.”

See: http://www.alternet.org/culture/one-most-incredible-weeks-progressive-movement-ages?akid=13255.123424.mgnLe2&rd=1&src=newsletter1038583&t=13

Obama is having a really good week for a lame duck President

Source: New Republic

Author: Jonathon Cohn

Emphasis Mine

The failed Obamacare presidency continued not to fail this week. Twice.

The first time it happened was on Tuesday morning, when Craig Spencer left Bellevue Hospital in New York. Spencer is the Doctors Without Borders volunteer who famously rode the subway and went bowling a day before developing Ebola symptoms. The president and his advisers, including Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden, assured the public that everything would be fine. Spencer had not been symptomatic while traveling around the city and only symptomatic people can transmit the disease (and, even then, only through bodily fluids).

Obama’s critics said that the Administration was under-reactingthat it needed to ban travel to West Africa or at least quarantine returning health workers. Obama, worried that such actions would deter health care workers from going overseas, resisted the pressure. Twenty-one days later, Spencer has recovered from Ebola, nobody else in New York has gotten the disease, and workers remain free to help fight the epidemic in Africawhere it remains a potent threat not only to locals, but also to regional and eventually global stability. New cases might yet show up in the U.S., but the public health infrastructure seems prepared to handle it. You can read more about it here.

Obama’s other non-failure came late on Tuesday night, when, while traveling in Asia, he announced that he’d secured a major agreement on climate change with the Chinese. The U.S. is the world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gases. China is the first. But Chinese officials have sometimes resisted calls for reducing carbon emissions, because they said China was still a developing nation that needed to burn carbon fuels in order to modernize its economy. Here in the U.S., conservatives cited that resistance as reason the U.S. should not act to reduce its emissions. Why bother, the argument went, when the Chinese wouldn’t agree to do something about their carbon problem?

Now the Chinese have done just that. Under the terms of the agreement, both the U.S. and China agreed to greenhouse gas targetswhich for the U.S. means continued reduction of emissions and for China means slowing the growth in emissions until they stop rising in 2030 (or maybe sooner, if China can achieve that). Those are ambitious targets that will challenge both countries, albeit for different reasons. But it’s a legitimately big deal, for reasons Rebecca Leber laid out at QED on Wednesday. Among other things, she writes, it gives other countries more incentive to set their own emissions targetsa necessary precursor for reaching an international agreement on climate at next year’s summit in Paris. 

The two milestones are a pretty good proxy for the two kinds of achievements this Administration has made. As my colleague Danny Vinik has observed, Obama catches a lot of grief for his lack of crisis management. There are times he’s deserved that. But his patient, analytic approach to situations like the influx of young Central American immigrants at the Texas border seems largely to have worked. Obama sometimes stumbles at first, which may be why critics are quick to call every new episode his Katrina. But remember this: Obama actually had a Katrina, it was called Sandy, and by all accounts the Administration handled that disaster well.

The agreement with China, meanwhile, is part of Obama’s broader strategy to reduce U.S. emissions. It’s a legacy that will last long after he leaves office, in the form of a planet that is heating more slowly. Policy success isn’t the same as political success, of course. Last week’s election showed that. And ultimately the two are related. On climate, like most issues, either Congress or Obama’s White House successors could halt or even reverse progress in the future.

But the China agreement is something history will probably remember well, just as it does the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Acteven if those two achievements, like Obama’s environmental accomplishments, get remarkably little love right now.

Jonathan Cohn

 

See:

Ho-ray Ho-ray for the ACA!

The defeated Republican anti-Obamacare forces are in full retreat after ACA enrollment in healthcare plans surged past 3 million.

Source: Politicsusa

Author: Jason Easley

The defeated Republican anti-Obamacare forces are in full retreat after ACA enrollment in healthcare plans surged past 3 million.

In a blog post, HHS reported that,

Since the beginning of open enrollment, millions of Americans are gaining access to health coverage-many for the very first time—thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The most recent data indicates that approximately 3.0 million people have now enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1.

….

Additionally, between October and December over 6.3 million individuals were determined eligible to enroll in Medicaid or CHIP through state agencies and through state-based Marketplaces. These numbers include both Medicaid and CHIP new eligibility determinations in states that expanded coverage, determinations made on prior law, and in some states, Medicaid renewals and groups not affected by the health care law. This does not include eligibility determinations made through HealthCare.gov.

800,000 people have signed up in the few weeks between late December and January 15. This surge in enrollment means that the administration is only 300,000 behind their original target of 3.3 million enrollees. Once the full numbers for January are released, it is expected that the ACA will not only be on target, but may be ahead of schedule.

The mainstream media isn’t reporting this, but the ACA is turning into a huge victory for President Obama.

Before leaving on their current vacation, Republicans signaled their defeat by voting to fund the healthcare law for 2014. Now Republicans like John Boehner and John McCain are completely dropping the repeal and only repeal ruse, and suggesting that the GOP needs to come up with its own healthcare alternative.

It’s too late for alternative plans. The ACA is the law of the land. Millions of people have signed up. This isn’t a policy discussion anymore. Republicans can’t escape the fact that any alternative that they suggest will involve taking health insurance away from millions of people.

The time for Republicans to suggest policy alternatives was in 2009 and 2010, but they chose to demonize the ACA instead of engaging in a serious discussion about healthcare. They put all of their eggs in the ACA failure basket, and now that the program is a success, they suddenly want to talk about healthcare.

The ACA was the original Republican healthcare plan. Anything that they come up with now will be smoke and mirrors that won’t cover the uninsured.

Republicans are being proven wrong every single day on the ACA. The GOP is still going to try to sucker their base with talk of repeal during the 2014 election campaign, but they are in full retreat. There will be no repeal. It is unlikely the law will ever be replaced. The ACA is here to stay.

Republicans Are In Total Retreat As Obamacare Enrollment Skyrockets Past 3 Million was written by Jason Easley for PoliticusUSA.

Emphasis Mine

See: http://www.politicususa.com/2014/01/25/republicans-total-retreat-obamacare-enrollment-skyrockets-3-million.html

The Tea Party Republicans’ Biggest Mistake

Source: Robert Reich’s Blog, via RSN

Author: By Robert Reich

Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama and a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act, has just changed his tune. He now says: “My primary focus is on minimizing risk of insolvency and bankruptcy. There are many paths you can take to get there. Socialized medicine is just one of the component parts of our debt and deficits that put us at financial risk.”

Translated: House Republicans are under intense pressure. A new Gallup poll shows the Republican Party now viewed favorably by only 28% of Americans, down from 38% in September. That’s the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992. The Democratic Party is viewed favorably by 43%, down four percentage points from last month.

So Republicans are desperately looking for a way of getting out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves – and the President has given them one. He told them that if they agree to temporarily fund the government and raise the debt ceiling without holding as ransom the Affordable Care Act or anything else, negotiations can begin on reducing the overall budget deficit.

What’s the lesson here? The radicals who tried to hijack America didn’t understand one very basic thing. While most Americans don’t like big government, Americans revere our system of government. That’s why even though a majority disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, a majority also disapprove of Republican tactics for repealing or delaying it.

Government itself has never been popular in America except during palpable crises such as war or deep depression. The nation was founded in a revolution against an abusive government – that was what the original Tea Party was all about – and that distrust is in our genes. The Constitution reflects it. Which is why it’s hard for government to do anything very easily. (I’ve never been as frustrated as when I was secretary of labor – continuously running into the realities of separation of power, checks and balances, and the endless complications of federal, state, and local levels of authority. But frustration goes with the job.)

No one likes big government. If you’re on the left, you worry about the military-industrial-congressional complex that’s spending zillions of dollars creating new weapons of mass destruction, spying on Americans, and killing innocents abroad. And you don’t like government interfering in your sex life, telling you how and when you can have an abortion, whom you can marry. If you’re on the right, you worry about taxes and regulations stifling innovation, out-of-control bureaucrats infringing on your freedom, and government deficits as far as the eye can see.

So when Tea Party Republicans, bankrolled by a handful of billionaires, began calling the Affordable Care Act a “wholesale takeover of American health care,” many Americans were inclined to believe them. Health care is such a huge and complicated system, affecting us and our families so intimately, that our inherent distrust of government makes us instinctively wary. It’s no accident we’re still the only advanced nation not to have universal health care. FDR decided against adding it to his plan for Social Security because he didn’t want to jeopardize the rest of the program; subsequent presidents never got close, at least until Obama.

The best argument for the Affordable Care Act is that our current healthcare system is so dysfunctional – the most expensive in the world with the least healthy outcomes (highest infant mortality, shortest life spans, worst rates of chronic disease) of any advanced nation – that we had no choice but to try to fix it. Even so, it’s a typical American fix: It’s still based on private health providers and private insurers. All government does is subsidize the poor, require insurers to take in people with pre-existing health problems, and pay for it by requiring everyone to be insured.

The Tea Party Republicans’ mistake was to assume that Americans’ distrust of big government, and, by extension, the Affordable Care Act, would allow them to ride roughshod over the process we have for making laws.

Their double-barreled threat to shut down the government and cause the United States to default on its obligations if the Affordable Care Act isn’t repealed or at least delayed is a direct assault on our system of government: If even unpopular laws can be gutted by a majority in one house of Congress holding the rest of government hostage, there’s no end to it. No law on the books will be safe. (Their retort that Congress holds the “purse strings” and can therefore decide to de-fund what it dislikes is bunk; appropriation bills have to be agreed to by both houses and signed into law by the president, like any other legislation.)

While most of us distrust government, we’re indelibly proud of our system of government. We like to think it’s just about the best system in the world. We don’t much like politicians but we canonize the Founding Fathers, the Framers of the Constitution. And we revere the fading parchment on which the Constitution is written. When we pledge allegiance to the United States we bind ourselves to that system of government. Anyone who seeks to overthrow or undermine that system is deemed a traitor.

And that’s exactly what some Tea Partiers have begun sounding like – traitors to the system, radicals for whom the end they seek justifies whatever means they think necessary to achieve it. As such, they began losing support even among Americans who had bought their view of the Affordable Care Act.

So they’ve had to back down, and soon, hopefully, we can move to the next stage – negotiating over the size of government. That should be stronger ground for the Tea Partiers. But the President, Democrats, and any moderate Republican who dares show his face can still gain ground by framing the question properly: The size of government isn’t the real issue. It’s who government is for. The best way to reduce future budget deficits is to ensure it’s for all of us and not just a privileged few.

That means revenues should be raised from the wealthy, who have never been wealthier – limiting their deductions and tax credits, closing loopholes like “carried interest,” and taxing financial transactions. Spending should be cut by ending corporate welfare – terminating tax subsidies to oil and gas, ballooning payments to agribusiness, sweetheart deals for military contractors, and the “too big to fail” subsidy for Wall Street’s biggest banks. Future health-care costs should be contained by using the government’s bargaining leverage over providers (through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act) to force a shift from fee-for-service to payments-for-healthy-outcomes. And we should spend more on high-quality education and infrastructure for everyone.

Americans distrust big government, and always will. There’s ample reason – especially given the huge sums now bankrolling politicians, coming from a relative handful of billionaires, big corporations, and Wall Street. But we love our system of government. That’s what must be strengthened.

By using tactics perceived to violate that system, the Tea Partiers have overplayed their hand. If they don’t stop their recklessness, they’ll be out of the game.


Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest is an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Emphasis Mine

see:http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/19833-focus-the-tea-party-republicans-biggest-mistake

 

Kathleen Sebelius: The Affordable Care Act has made the U.S. health-care system stronger

From:Washington  Post

By:Kathleen Sebelius

“The Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was a turning point in the health-care debate, a chance to stop refighting old political battles and move forward with implementing and improving a law that is already lowering health-care costs and providing more security for millions of American families. Instead, congressional Republicans will spend Wednesday staging yet another repeal vote.

Fortunately for those Americans whose health and finances depend on protections in the law, the vote is only symbolic. But it’s worth setting the record straight about some false claims that have recently resurfaced.

One claim is that the Affordable Care Act is driving up Americans’ health-care costs. The facts tell a different story.

In the decade before the law was passed, national health expenditures increased about 7 percent a year. But in the past two years, those increases have dropped to less than 4 percent per year, saving Americans more than $220 billion. And that trend is expected to continue, with health-care costs projected to stay level as a share of gross domestic product from 2009 all the way through 2013.

You can see the same trend with premiums. Between 2000 and 2009, the average family premium more than doubled, from $6,438 to $13,375, an annual increase of 8.1 percent. From 2009 to 2011, family premiums still rose — but at a rate 25 percent lower. That generated savings of more than $1,200 per family, a trend of lower premium increases that independent experts such as Mercer, the human resources consultant, and the nonprofit National Business Group on Health project will continue. And the law will provide even more relief in the years to come, including a tax cut averaging $4,000 for 18 million middle-class Americans — a tax break that repeal would eliminate.

Another falsehood repeated by opponents of the law is that it is putting a greater burden on small businesses. Again, the facts show that the opposite is true.

Small-business owners were struggling in the health insurance market long before the law passed, spending an average of 18 percent more than their large competitors annually for health coverage and often seeing their insurance bills skyrocket if a single employee got sick. The result was that the number of small businesses in the United States offering coverage to employees was falling rapidly — from nearly 70 percent in 2000 to less than 60 percent of employers by 2009 — leaving millions of working families without coverage.

Since the law passed, the share of small businesses offering employee coverage has held steady at 59 percent, the Kaiser Family Foundation has found, in part because new tax credits in the law are saving hundreds of thousands of small companies thousands of dollars each on their insurance costs. And independent experts such as Rand Corp. predict the number of employers offering coverage will rise in 2014 — just as it did in Massachusetts after health reform was passed — when small-business owners have the choice of shopping for health coverage in new competitive marketplaces.

A third false attack recycled in recent weeks is that the Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare benefits. In truth, Medicare is stronger than ever.

Thanks to the law, seniors have new benefits such as free preventive care as well as discounts on brand-name medications in the “doughnut hole” coverage gap that have already saved more than 5 million people with Medicare about $600 each. Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen two years running. New crackdowns on fraud and abuse returned a record $5.4 billion to Medicare in 2010 and 2011. And the health-care law has strengthened Medicare’s long-term outlook, adding eight additional years to the projected solvency of the Medicare trust fund.

Those calling for repeal have yet to propose credible ideas for lowering health-care costs. In fact, the same House Republicans who are voting Wednesday to repeal these Medicare savings voted to keep them in their budget in March.

People are entitled to their opinions, but not to their own facts. And the facts in this case are clear: Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, national health spending is rising at a slower rate, health insurance premiums are rising at a slower rate, small-business coverage is holding steady and Medicare is on a stronger financial footing.

Now that the Supreme Court has issued a decision, the American people would be better served if Congress joined the president in working to build on that progress, not undo it.

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kathleen-sebelius-the-affordable-care-act-has-made-the-us-health-care-system-stronger/2012/07/09/gJQA1BOOZW_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

Cui Bono?

The key is messaging; messaging is the key. Listening to conservatives yesterday, their message was that this is a large tax burden. Our first message? That is a Lie: the only people who would pay the fee are those who can afford health care insurance, and choose not to get it. (The best example of a tax on Pure, Utter, Stupidity yet offered!)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been protected by the SCOTUS, who judicated that to those for whom health insurance is affordable, they must either purchase same, or pay a fine.

Hooray for Us!

The question is: who benefits?

There are three dimensions to the answer: human, business, and political.
The first two are straight forward.  For the first: those under 27, those over 65, those who cannot afford adequate health care, and those who can. The second: private health insurance companies (at least for a decade), and health care providers will benefit from an increase in customers.
Political?  “Aye, there’s the rub…”
This decision may well have motivated the conservative base – something their candidate has been incapable of achieving.  (To those who find joy in others not being able to obtain adequate health care, there is no hope.)
It also provides a unifying issue for progressives, and defines a clear difference between the parties: The GOP, who want to go back to the past; and the Democrats, who want to move forward.
How do we progressives protect our gains and move forward?  By re-electing President Obama, and by electing solid progressive majorities in the House and Senate.   How do we achieve that?  By organizing, motivating, messaging, and getting out the vote.
The key is messaging; messaging is the key.  Listening to conservatives yesterday, their message was that this is a large tax burden.  Our first message? That is a Lie: the only people who would pay the fee are those who can afford health care insurance, and choose not to get it.  (The best example of a tax on Pure, Utter, Stupidity yet offered!)
We must frame messages to the middle of the political spectrum on why the ACA is good for all, bad for none, and that includes them.
N.B.: cui bono is Latin for Who Benefits: the basis of any homicide case.