October 24, 2013

The right wing just cannot stand an Obamacare success story told by a college student. They'd much rather watch Koch-fueled Generation Opportunity's creepy web ads, I guess. So it comes to pass that the student in the ad was "outed" by NRO as being a guy majoring in computer science who managed his local Democratic party's website.

McNaughton posted a rather lengthy comment on that post responding to commenters' flames and false assumptions about why he made the ad and why he chose the plan he did.

That unleashed a torrent of hate. In the name of accuracy, here is my response to some of the commenters who seem to represent the usual ACA haters making the rounds.

To GMama claims that Daniel was 'taking' coverage away from others by choosing a gold plan:

YOU can't afford that coverage, you are taking tax dollars from plumbers and nurses who will be stuck with a bronze plan. IF you could "afford" it, you'd be paying $270, which is actually much much higher than it would have been pre-Obamacare. My self-insured husband, who is twice your age had a plan with a $1500 deductible for $200 month, now we not only have to pay for your gold coverage, but his bronze plan will be around $350 with a 5k deductible.

Everyone who is eligible to apply for insurance has the same options. No one is "forced" into a Bronze plan, and everyone who qualifies for subsidies will receive them.

Gmama's husband has 101 plans to choose from which range from $141 to approximately $341 per month. It seems to me that if I had a choice of going bare or paying around $141 per month (before subsidies) to have coverage that would keep me from losing everything if I were unfortunate enough to get sick, the obvious choice is the coverage.

For that same $200 per month Mr. Self Insured was paying, he could get a Silver plan that would cover prescriptions and reasonable copayments. You suppose he dropped that $200/month plan because it got too expensive?

Harlem's Ghost writes:

so his out of pocket expense for healthcare after the subsidy could be $4,000 per year ... vs $95 mandate/tax/fee ... got to love the economic literacy of liberals ...

Economic literacy usually involves something like logic. First, out-of-pocket expenses and copayments are subsidized for the silver plans. Matthew chose a Gold level plan, which is why he has higher out-of-pocket costs because he believes the preventative care and access to doctors is what he needs most.

In a larger context, this commenter seems to think there is no downside risk to not having health insurance. Economically literate people understand how deep that downside risk can be. Without health insurance, people are at risk of losing everything. Harlem's Ghost's comment articulates a "devil-may-care" level of irresponsibility that causes costs for everyone to rise when we have to pay for his emergency room visits. There is no economic literacy attached to it whatsoever.

Finally, skipsailing mourns a generation of Americans who have actual compassion for others:

How sad for us as a country that we have a generation of people who have never lived without the massive transfer payment process the government imposes.

Mr. McNaughton cannot imagine life without this. He cannot imagine a life wherein the government does not take money from productive people and give it to non productive people.

To him taxpayer largesse is as much a fact of life as gravity. He sees nothing wrong with getting subsidies in all aspects of his life. This is how it always was for him and how it will always be.

Ah, the classic "screw you, I have mine" attitude that's all too prevalent these days. Skipsailing maybe needs a bit of a lesson in where the real wealth transfers have occurred in this country.

Like, for example, the wealth transfer from minorities in this country to the bankers leading into the housing bubble. What did those bankers do with it? They used it as their kitty to play Russian Roulette with our economy.

Like, for example, the massive corporate tax subsidies given to oil companies, telephone companies, and other Fortune 500 masters which enable them to pay ZERO corporate taxes while enjoying all of the benefits of operating in a country with a relatively stable economy and educated workforce, roads that work, and lucrative government contracts that keep the Dow Industrials on the rise.

One of the greatest wealth transfers of all? Forcing college students into debt and indentured servitude to get the education they're supposed to get to become a productive member of society.

But beyond that, Skipsailing's remark demonstrates how some seem to have lost the whole idea of society and community that once existed. Today there's just this idea that we're all little satellites operating in our own universes.

Compassion and empathy are not part of the libertarian mindset. I get that. But what I see on blogs and television and just about everywhere is mean-spirited, selfish anger toward people who through no fault of their own, had the misfortune to face a health problem for which they had no resources. People who have pre-existing conditions are the norm, not the exception.

Perhaps these libertarians ought to think about what will happen when they lose it all because of one doctor visit that finds the heart blockage or the cancer. Failure to understand what something like that really means indicates someone living in a utopian fantasy rather than this real world.

Fortunately, they're slowly becoming outnumbered by those who are discovering the real benefit to Obamacare. When four separate polls show an uptick in public approval despite all of the horrible press it's getting right now, there's something completely right about the fundamentals.

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