The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

October 1, 2013

Know what's ahead with Obamacare

Ready or not, here it comes.

Obamacare, that is.

Well, actually, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is already here. Some provisions are in place, some have been postponed and other deadlines are on the horizon. But a major checkpoint toward full implementation comes Tuesday, Oct. 1, when open enrollment begins for health insurance exchanges in each state.

It is hard to measure these things, but Obamacare might well be the most controversial federal benefit program since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal relief programs of the 1930s, including work programs, unemployment insurance and Social Security.

At least the Americans who disliked the New Deal — it was considered socialistic — understood it. When it comes to Obamacare, Americans have a pretty low level of comprehension. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll last week, three out of every five Americans surveyed say they do not have the information necessary to understand the changes the law will bring. Nonetheless, in other polls, Americans say they disagree with the law.

In other words, people don’t understand it and they don’t like it.

All this should not be terribly surprising. After all, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been mired in myth and misinformation.

(Enter “Obamacare myths” into an Internet search engine, and nearly 90,000 results turn up.) Further, it has had some provisions postponed and remains under attack by its opponents, including some Republicans in Congress and several statehouses.

Remember, some 11 months ago, American voters returned to the White House the candidate responsible for Obamacare and rejected his challenger, who said he would do away with the program.

There are those who would rather do away with Obamacare, and there are those (including this editorial board) who question whether the program, as promoted by the president, will really work in the manner described. But the fact is that, come Tuesday, like it or not, another element of the program kicks in.

Faced with that reality, Americans would do well to bone up on Obamacare, to do their homework, and act and react accordingly. (The best website sources we have found are FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com.)

This new health insurance program is bound to impact every American at some time in some manner. It would serve everyone well to know what’s coming.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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