1. The Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as "Obamacare" has many up in arms about it. There are some legitimate gripes and even those of us who support it tend to look at it as just a step in the right direction. But honestly, most of what I see making the rounds on Facebook is total crap, or, more to the point - bullshit.
Here's one, for instance:
Not only have I seen this claim on Facebook but I received a phone call a couple of days ago from an anti-Obamacare group spouting this same nonsense.
First of all, the main role of the IRS regarding the Affordable Care Act is to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties.
The IRS’ main job under the new law isn’t to enforce penalties. Its first task is to inform many small-business owners of a new tax credit that the new law grants them — starting this year — which will pay up to 35 percent of the employer’s contribution toward their workers’ health insurance. And in 2014 the IRS will also be administering additional subsidies — in the form of refundable tax credits — to help millions of low- and middle-income individuals buy health insurance.This notion that the IRS will have to hire 16,500 new agents stems from a report put out by the Republicans on the House Ways and Means committee which said:
IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees.Note the words "may" and "as many as", not to mention "other employees". But on February 14, 2011:
The Treasury Department...released the IRS budget request for fiscal year 2012 that shows the agency is seeking 1,269 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) at a cost of $473 million to help implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That includes 291 IRS agents, most of them (193) to "ensure accurate delivery of tax credits."I'd say that's a far cry from 16,500 new agents "tasked with determining whether your insurance policy merits a fine.
Source: IRS Expansion
2. As stupid as the IRS agent story is, this next one is far more infuriating. There's a story making the rounds that people over 70 or 75 (the age isn't consistent in this one) won't be able to get cancer treatment because of the Affordable Care Act. It's the latest incarnation of the old "death panels" lie which Snowdrift Snookie (Sarah Palin) made famous.
Apparently this one got its start when a guy called in to a conservative talk radio show claiming that he was a neurosurgeon (he isn't) and that he had attended a meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Washington (he didn't) where this secret document outlining treatment for people over 70 needing brain surgery was revealed (it wasn't).
He calls the Mark Levin show, makes this completely outrageous claim with no basis in fact and Levin just eats it up. Pretty soon it's making the rounds via the usual suspects, scaring the pants off our senior citizens who are convinced that the only "real" news is Fox News.
It's now part of an email forward which makes other claims about "Obamacare" not allowing any major medical procedures unless approved by a local ethics board. Again, there is absolutely no such provision in the health care bill.
There is plenty of room for disagreement with the details of the Affordable Care Act but it is absolutely unconscionable to make up shit like this in order to score political points at the expense of our seniors' peace of mind. I've heard my own parents express their worry about this and it absolutely infuriates me that they have been made to fret over something so asinine.
Source: Will Obamacare Really Prohibit Active Medical Intervention at age 70?
Source: Snopes - Seniors Beware
3. Finally, here's one which is so ridiculous that it's almost funny. People are all up in arms that Obama gave himself a big raise via executive order. But the story came from Palookaville Post, a satirical site (it clearly bills itself as such) and isn't true. At all. It's not even possible, as one can determine by reading the Constitution which clearly outlines how presidential pay raises are to be accomplished. But never let the facts get in the way of one's preconceived notions.
Source: Snopes - Pay Attention
So that's it for this week. If you see any b.s. making the rounds which you'd like me to address in future roundup posts, leave me a comment. And now go forth and share the truth.