Friday, December 5, 2014

PolitiFact on Obamacare, immigrants and death squads

Does the Affordable Care Act give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire illegal immigrants?  The Tampa Bay Times' delved into the claim that's circulating in conservative circles.  The conclusion:  It could,  though the scenario to make that happen is highly unlikely.

Reporter Lauren Carroll details the way the act's employer mandate could penalize large employers that drop employee health insurance.  Because the penalty kicks in if even one employee qualifies for subsidized insurance on the exchange,  and because illegal immigrants aren't eligible for those subsidies,  a business could hypothetically duck that penalty by hiring only illegal immigrants, Carroll reports.

"The claim isn’t so much inaccurate as it is speculative,"  she concludes.

Or as University of Virginia health law professor Margaret Riley puts it,  "It is offered more as another argument against the employer mandate than as something that employers might actually try." 

The ACA has given fact-checkers plenty of fodder for serious analysis,  but PolitiFact's roundup of November's most popular reports includes one that's mostly good for a laugh:  That an 86-year-old woman has been executed on orders from an Obamacare death panel.  As a reasonable person might guess,  that item originated on a satire site and has been circulated by the gullible and the cynical.  If the content isn't enough to spark skepticism,  PolitiFact notes,  the name of the  "victim"  should be:  Dorothy Zborknak was Bea Arthur's character on the sitcom  "The Golden Girls."

"We ruled on this topic five years ago, but we’ll repeat it again:  Death squads are not a part of the Affordable Care Act,  and you can still catch Dorothy on Golden Girls reruns most nights,"  wrote Lauren Burns.  "We rate this claim Pants on Fire!"