In Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, art as social inquiry, Congressman Fitzpatrick, town halls

 This submitted letter-to-the editor was sent to me by a follower of my log of in-person town halls, Tracking Town Halls: Do Unscripted Constituent Public Gatherings Matter? 

Tam St. Claire was listening in on a “tele-town hall” when she felt she needed to respond to Congressman Fitzpatrick’s (PA-8) inadequate (and perhaps misleading) response to a constituent’s concern about small businesses and the Affordable Care Act. Tam had no way of jumping in on the conversation to offer the information she gives us in her letter-to-the editor.

(The congressman sometimes has “tele-town halls,” robo-calling to random groups of constituents some of whom get the chance to ask questions. There is no way to notify constituents in advance, we are told.)

I do not believe that most of the politicians in Congress opposed to the healthcare law really know the ins and outs of it.

This recent letter-to-the-editor illustrates the point. Either the writer’s representative, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, did not know enough about the healthcare law to explain to the caller how Obamacare would actually help her husband’s small business, OR he chose not to share useful information.  

Obamacare is the law of the land. Yes, it’s the LAW!

We cannot rely on politicians for good information about Obamacare. Please write to info@artassocialinquiry.org  if you would like a speaker come to your group (large or small) to explain the healthcare law.

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Here is Tam’s letter.

In a recent telephone town hall meeting held by Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, the first caller from Doylestown requested help for her husband’s small business and the high cost for employee health insurance. What the congressman failed to mention is that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) actually has a program to help small businesses. It is called SHOP Exchange (Small Businesses Health Options Program) that states have an opportunity to set up starting in 2014.

Like the health insurance exchanges for the individual market, SHOP Exchanges are to offer a variety of health insurance plans for small businesses. By pooling these businesses the cost for health insurance will be lower.

 Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has opted for the federally facilitated exchanges for individuals and SHOP. Despite Republican efforts to weaken this act with multiple repeal votes, delays, and cutting funding, the marketplace programs like SHOP that help small businesses will slowly start in 2014 and, hopefully, gradually strengthen.

Small business owners have real challenges and need to know about this relief designed just for them in the new health care law. They also should know about the tax credits small businesses will get for covering their employees under the ACA. If the congressman really cared about helping small businesses, he’d support strengthening the SHOP insurance marketplace. The latest information on SHOP implementation can be found here.

POSTSCRIPT: ASI’s recent letter-to-the-editor further makes the point that politicians opposed to the healthcare law are not good sources of information about Obamacare.  Click link.

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