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Friday Catchall: Obamacare impact, water model still a big mystery

The Friday Catchall:

• REFORM CONFUSION - It's been three years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, yet two-thirds of uninsured adults - the very people the law sets out to help - say they still don't know what it means for them.

A poll released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation says 67 percent of the uninsured younger than 65 - and 57 percent of the overall population - say they do not understand how the ACA (Obamacare) will impact them. The poll also found that Americans' expectations of how the law will affect healthcare costs, quality and consumer protections are more negative than positive.

No surprise there, considering the myths the public continues to believe.

False impressions include: Fifty-seven percent incorrectly believe that it includes a public option; nearly half believe the law provides financial assistance for illegal immigrants to buy insurance; and 40 percent - including 35 percent of seniors - still believe that the government will have "death panels" make decisions about end-of-life care for Medicare beneficiaries.

All are misunderstandings tied to political rhetoric.

Even the quote that has driven much of the debate is not what it seems. "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on March 9, 2010.

Apparently the line was taken out of context, as Pelosi's office has continued to protest. But more than three years after her quote - and nearly three years after Congress approved the ACA - Pelosi's gaffe seems pretty apropos.

The law continues to bring forward surprises, and there still are vast parts of the bill you never hear about.

It's kind of like the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee's water model designed to test the effects of groundwater pumping that the WAC has been tweaking for more than a year. Prescott and Prescott Valley officials say running it is not necessary, citing a lack of urgency because of slowed growth and much-delayed plans to build the Big Chino pipeline.

Actually, I think they don't want it run for fear of the results it could deliver.

Problem is, you won't truly know the answer unless you run the thing. In the meantime, we're all left guessing as a way to prepare for future needs.

• POLITICS - These healthcare and water issues beg the question: How far should promises go? That is what they are, after all.

Look no further than the City of Phoenix where Councilman Sal DiCiccio, R-District 6, this week called Mayor Greg Stanton's campaign promise to repeal that city's food tax by April 1 empty at best. "(He) fulfilled his commitment to the union bosses and failed the middle class. Promises made MUST be kept. Citizens have been let down once again. They were told the tax would go to police and fire but we now know over $106 million was doled out in pay raises and bonuses to city staff."

Not quite bait and switch, according to an online analysis, but you get the idea.

Politicians in Phoenix should deliver on their promises or explain why not. Prescott and Prescott Valley officials should do the same; run the water model or tell us your motivations. And, federal healthcare reform need not be so painful.

Makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes that these officials have not told us.

• YET AGAIN - From the Associated Press, the chairman of the Republican Party in Maricopa County says he won't resign for comparing Gov. Jan Brewer to Judas because she wants to expand the state's Medicaid plan.

A.J. LaFaro told the AP on Thursday that he didn't intend to offend anyone at a House hearing on the expansion plan Wednesday evening. He says his remark reflected his passion on the subject.

House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, says LaFaro stepped over the line from impassioned debate and should apologize and step down.

Key here: All three are Republicans.

Despite the fact that Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson says the governor's been around long enough to know people will sometimes call her names and act irrationally, saying that "Jesus had Judas, Republicans have Governor Brewer" is too much.

I wish the people who submit comments through dCourier.com also could more easily see the line they should not cross.

• MY PICK OF THE WEEK is the book signing by former Courier reporter Rachelle Sparks and Make A Wish founder Frank Shankwitz 2 p.m. Saturday at the Peregrine Book Company, 219A N. Cortez St., Prescott. Sparks' excellent book, "Once Upon a Wish," details Wish recipients' stories.


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