This evening, my wife received an email from Steve Daines – our lone House of Representatives Congressman. In this email, he states he is taking a “survey” of the reactions of Montanans to the Federal ACA insurance exchange. Everything you ever wanted to know about how Steve Daines’s position on the ACA can be found in that email. For brevity, I will simply provide a link to this message posted on his official Legislative website.
Now I understand that the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) is pretty much a complicated mystery to most average voters. There is so much hype about this federal law (and much of that hype is downright bullshit) that it is often hard to sort through what is real and what is manufactured misinformation. Those of us that are somewhat tech savvie can find what we need pretty quickly and doing even basic fact checking can eliminate much of the political lies being floated about this law, but sadly, many don’t (or won’t) do that. Steve Daines is playing to that idea with this message. Let me quote just the first paragraph -
“As you might be aware, October 1 marked the official rollout of a key component of President Obama’s health care law—the Obamacare marketplace website. While the Administration had three full years to prepare for this rollout, there were numerous problems in the beginning weeks. ”
In just the first paragraph, Daines has already established his opposition to the law (a law that was passed by both the House and the Senate, signed into law by the President of the United States, and has withstood a Supreme Court Challenge), as well as couched the discussion in complete and utter bullshit. First, the ACA was the brain child of the Heritage Foundation – a conservative insurance industry lobbying group. It was championed in Congress by both Democrats and Republicans with Montana’s Senior Senator (Max Baucus) taking the lead. It is almost a carbon copy of the Insurance based health care law signed into law in Mass. by none other than Governor Romney. It bears little resemblance to the Health Care Reform that President Obama was advocating for except for some cosmetic additions (important ones such as not allowing insurance companies deny people due to pre-existing conditions, but cosmetic none the less). This “compromise” was passed and signed into law over three years ago (Daines at least got that right…).
Then Daines goes on to slam the rollout of the Federal Healthcare Exchange website. The key to all this is what Daines DOESN’T say. When the ACA was first conceived, there was only suppose to be ONE exchange – a federal exchange. This was one area where the Republicans in Congress refused to accept. Instead of a federal exchange, these hardline Republicans demanded that the States would set up their own exchanges. When the ACA was finally passed, that was the model that was suppose to happen. Enter the ultra conservative State legislatures – they chose to attempt to block the ACA by refusing to set up their own exchanges – Montana included. The Federal exchange was not meant to be a fallback position but it rapidly became one. To make matters worse, in another attempt to stop the ACA, the hard right Congress Critters defunded the Governmental agency responsible for setting up the exchanges and educating the American Voters on not only the ACA but also how to access and use the Federal Exchanges. Daines was part of this movement and he is very aware that his own actions have created the very crisis that he is slamming.
His hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. In this email, he is not only asking Montanans “to share their experience” with the Federal Exchange Website, he is also attempting to equate the technical issues with the website to the ACA itself. Moreover, by continually referring the ACA as “Obamacare” he is attempting to connect the technical problems with the website to the President, himself. This clearly obvious manipulation is unbecoming to a politician that claims to be “Montana’s voice in Washington”. Moreover, he calling each and every one of us stupid – too stupid to realize we are being lied to by Daines, too stupid to realize that he is asking us to justify the hardline position he has already taken on the ACA – up to and including shutting down the US Government over it – and too stupid to realize this is just a lame attempt on his part to do damage control over the loss of approval being shown in every poll being taken in Montana right now over his vote to shutdown the Government over the ACA.
Last, I would point out that in his multiple choice survey, there is no option to fix the ACA so it better serves American Citizens. This last point is the most telling. The options listed are -
1) Repeal [the ACA] entirely
2) Delay [the ACA] for one year
3) Repeal certain parts of the law, but keep most of it in place
4) Keep [The ACA] the way it is
Notice, no mention of fixing or working cooperatively with … well pretty much anyone.. on making the ACA better. It is obviously Daines intent to destroy the ACA and he is looking for support from Montanans. He isn’t even being honest about it. This is the man that current represents “our” interests in Congress.
With my wife’s permission, I am going to reprint my wife’s response to Daines (I really couldn’t have said it better myself) -
“A) It is not ‘Obamacare’ it is the ACA – written in large part by our own Senator Baucus- you are letting your personal opinions come through in the way this survey is written.
B) The ACA would allow my daughter to get medical insurance. She works for a small company with fewer than 50 employees so they don’t have to provide medical insurance….
C) The problem for her now is that our own lovely state legislators refused to expand the Medicaid requirements. Because she makes slightly over $1000/month (before taxes and with a family of 6!) she cannot quality for Medicaid and she falls below the levels set for the ACA assistance. The website tells her she has to apply for Medicaid, which she cannot quality for because our legislators didn’t think the less affluent citizens of our state needed or deserved access to medical care.
D) I don’t buy the above statement in your question, where you state that we are seeing our insurance rates skyrocket. I just got the new rates for my insurance through BCBS – wow, they are going up a whole whopping $5 per month. I see what you wrote as scare tactics. As an intelligent, informed, attentive voter, I really do not appreciate those types of tactics from one of my elected politicians.
How about instead of jumping on the bandwagon of crying about how bad the ACA is because of some problems with the website and towing the ‘party line’, you focus on things that you and we as Americans can do to make the program actually work! Wow! What a concept. “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem”