Columnist plays fast and loose with facts

Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker made some surprisingly inaccurate statements in her recent column in The Leader-Herald about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

She wrote, “Many companies are cutting worker hours to below the threshold 30 hours because of the [ACA] mandate.”

That is false. The fact is that 96 percent of small business is exempt from the mandate and large businesses and corporations are much less volatile, according to a University of Maryland study. The remaining 4 percent of small businesses account for only 1 percent of job growth.

She wrote, “Many young people unemployed or earning little will have trouble paying premiums.”

That is false. The fact is that if income is 0, the cost of coverage is 100 percent subsidized. The subsidy declines as income increases until it is four-times the poverty level.

She also wrote, “ACA requires congressional leaders and staff to enter the exchanges like everyone else but Obama has offered a special dispensation to soften the blow.”

That is half true because of what she didn’t say. Congress used to pay for their own premiums, part of which was covered by employer contribution (which also was common in most corporations) which did not seem fair because 47 percent of Congressmen are millionaires. The new ACA exchanges require much higher premiums for the rich without the employer contribution, which is fair. But now, Congress wants the contribution, and Obama caved by giving that exemption.

Much of her misinformation is anecdotal, opinionated and second hand as well as lacking in data to support the facts.

If I were to judge, I would give her a failing grade.