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    Posted July 23, 2014 by
    peone
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    The ACA and Truth in Advertising

     
    As I was reading headlines and watching news videos this morning, I watched White House spokesman Josh Earnest speak these words in response to a judicial ruling about the federal tax credits for federal health care exchanges for the ACA:

    “The last thing that’s important… there’s a lot of high-minded case law that’s applied here, but there’s also an element of common sense that should be applied as well. Which is that, you don’t need a fancy legal degree to understand that Congress intended for every eligible American to have access to tax credits that would lower their healthcare costs, regardless of whether it was state officials or federal officials who are running the marketplace. I think that’s a pretty clear intent of the Congressional law.”


    http://www.examiner.com/article/administration-getting-defensive-over-aca-ruling


    Because I was never a fan of the ACA, I followed the debate that lead up to its passage quite closely. I remember the advertising by our president and the members of congress that worked so diligently to bring this law into existence.

    I remember the promises made to convince people that this law was good for America. They told us we could keep our plans if we liked them, they told us health care would be cheaper for all, they told us that it would save the nation money and if we didn't do something health care costs would cripple our nation, they told us there would be more shared responsibility and they told us a lot of other things that have not proven to be exactly true.

    I think common sense tells us that the federal exchanges were excluded from the law, to make the CBO numbers add up to the financial promises made prior to the passage of the ACA. I don’t believe the overzealous congress members left this out by accident, I think they knew that to include it, the numbers would not add up.

    For the White House to suggest now “that Congress intended for every eligible American to have access to tax credits that would lower their healthcare costs, regardless of whether it was state officials or federal officials who are running the marketplace. I think that’s a pretty clear intent of the Congressional law.” is laughable.

    Maybe I could believe that if the law had been written out quickly on yellow legal pad and was never reviewed by lawyers…but the law is ridiculously long and written in such legalese that it is not understandable by most Americans. In fact the law was so long and complicated that Nancy Pelosi said that we would have to pass the law to find out what is in it. After all the problems with the law, that sounds pretty dumb if you ask me, but it was a different time in America where we were all enamored by the idea of “hope and change”.

    I think the law was written under the spirit of, it is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Although I don’t think the American people every really gave their permission for the passage of the law…some of those town hall meetings were pretty ugly.

    If congress were a business they would be under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the federal law about Truth in Advertising.

    When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence. Hmmmm…would the ACA hold up to that type of scrutiny? I don’t think so.

    The FTC looks closely at advertising claims that can affect consumers’ health or their pocketbooks – claims about food, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, alcohol, and tobacco; I would like to add a health care insurance to the list, most specifically the ACA exchanges. Have the exchanges operated as advertised? Have the exchanges really provided the best health care options for consumers at a lower price? Have the exchanges allowed consumers to spend their health care dollars on the coverage they want such as cancer treatments instead of on contraceptives? Have the exchanges cost what congress said they would cost?

    When the FTC finds a case of fraud perpetrated on consumers, the agency files actions in federal district court for immediate and permanent orders to stop scams; prevent fraudsters from perpetrating scams in the future; freeze their assets; and get compensation for victims.

    Should people that feel victimized by the ACA contact the FTC? I don’t imagine they would get anywhere, but for me it is interesting to look at how the law is different for the ruling class than it is for those of us being ruled.

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