Any time a significant piece of legislation is passed, general confusion leads to myths and falsehoods. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, is no different. When these myths are circulated as truth, they can cause unnecessary worry and concern. To help dispel the fears caused by ObamaCare myths, here are some common misconceptions and the truth behind them.
Myth: A provision in the ACA allows federal agents to conduct forced home inspections and remove children from their parents’ custody.
This is untrue: There is no authorization of forced home inspections under ObamaCare. People may be thinking of a grant program called the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) which assists states in conducting voluntary in home visits to high risk households with young children. That grant program is part of the ACA, and more information can be found on the MIECHV page on the Health and Human Services site.
Myth: ObamaCare requires that U.S. residents be implanted with RFID microchips.
This is untrue: There is no provision to implant RFID chips in ObamaCare. Some versions of this myth refer to a Medical Device Registry, which would collect data about devices used “in or on a patient.” This is in reference to devices such as pacemakers and hip replacement implants, and does not appear in the version of the bill that was passed.
Myth: ObamaCare limits health care for Americans over 75.
This is untrue: Medicare benefits are not changing as a result of the ACA. Adults 75 and older will still receive the same Medicare benefits as other Medicare beneficiaries. In social media, some stories claim an older woman was told that she would no longer receive coverage for a routine shot, and other stories claim that health procedures need to be approved by a government panel for anyone over a certain age. There is no truth behind these.
Myth: Congress is exempt from ACA requirements.
This is untrue: The ObamaCare law specifically requires Congress to purchase coverage through the marketplace. In fact, Congress is the only group of employees required to use the Marketplace rather than an employer sponsored health plan. There have been some delays in implementing this change while the government figured out its employer contribution, but a final decision has been made and Congress will move forward with using the Marketplace.
Myth: The ACA requires doctors to ask personal questions about patients’ sexual activity as part of an electronic health records (EHR) incentive.
This is untrue: Doctors are not required to ask any such questions. An opinion article in the New York Post falsely claimed that personal questions asked by doctors are tied to their stimulus payments for EHR. Doctors do receive an incentive for using EHR, although that is not part of ObamaCare but rather part of a separate 2009 law.
Myth: Obama lied to Americans by telling them they could keep their current health insurance, when they actually can’t.
This is untrue: The ACA does not mandate that anyone change their insurance plans. However, due to new regulations instated by the law, many insurers decided on their own not to offer the same plans they previously had in place. Reasons cited ranged from cost to the need to include the new essential health benefits in their plans. This is an unintended effect of the Affordable Care Act.
Some myths are simple misunderstandings, and others originate from individuals with ill feelings toward the ACA. Because these myths have been so widely circulated, knowing the truth about what ObamaCare accomplishes and what it doesn’t is an important part of being an informed citizen. For more information on the provisions of the ACA, visit Healthcare.gov.