Yesterday’s most unintentionally humorous op-ed came from the New York Times, where Lori Gottlieb, described as an editor at the Atlantic and a psychotherapist, bemoans the fact that under Obamacare, she has lost her individual health coverage and has been forced into a worse, more expensive plan. But that isn’t the worst of it–her Facebook friends think it is unpatriotic of her to complain!
The Anthem Blue Cross representative who answered my call told me that there was a silver lining in the cancellation of my individual P.P.O. policy and the $5,400 annual increase that I would have to pay for the Affordable Care Act-compliant option: now if I have Stage 4 cancer or need a sex-change operation, I’d be covered regardless of pre-existing conditions. Never mind that the new provider network would eliminate coverage for my and my son’s long-term doctors and hospitals.
The Anthem rep cheerily explained that despite the company’s — I paraphrase — draconian rates and limited network, my benefits, which also include maternity coverage (handy for a 46-year-old), would “be actually much richer.”
I, of course, would be actually much poorer.
So Ms. Gottlieb is one of the millions who have lost the insurance plans they liked because of Obamacare. What she found remarkable was that her friends thought it served her right:
“Obamacare or Kafkacare?” I posted on Facebook as soon as I hung up with Anthem. I vented about the call and wrote that the president should be protecting the middle class, not making our lives substantially harder. For extra sympathy, I may have thrown in the fact that I’m a single mom. (O.K., I did.)
Then I sat back and waited for the love to pour in. Or at least the “like.” Lots of likes. After all, I have 1,037 Facebook friends. Surely, they’d commiserate.
Except that they didn’t. …
[M]y respondents implied — in posts that, to my annoyance, kept getting more “likes” — that it was beyond uncool to be whining about myself when the less fortunate would finally have insurance.
“The nation has been better off,” wrote one friend. “Over 33 million people who did not have insurance are now going to get it.” That’s all fine and good for “the nation,” but what about my $5,400 rate hike (after-tax dollars, I wanted to add, but dared not in this group of previously closeted Mother Teresas)? Another friend wrote, “Yes, I’m paying an extra 200 a month, but I’m okay with doing that so that others who need it can have health care.”
I was shocked. Who knew my friends were such humanitarians? Has Obamacare made it un-P.C. to be concerned by a serious burden on my family’s well-being?
Ms. Gottlieb labors under the misapprehension that her friends who have group policies won’t suffer the same fate–and that’s what her friends think, too:
Frustrated, I observed to one friend who was covered through her work that when an issue didn’t affect people directly, they became “theoretically generous.” Ask them to donate several thousand dollars so that the less fortunate can have medical insurance — which is exactly what President Obama is asking me to do — and I’ll bet they’d change their tune about “ending inequality” and “creating fairness” and “doing what’s good for the country.”
This is especially appalling:
Like Bridget Jones’s “smug marrieds,” the “smug insureds” — friends who were covered through their own or spouses’ employers or who were grandfathered into their plans — asked why I didn’t “just” switch all of our long-term doctors, suck it up and pay an extra $200 a month for a restrictive network on the exchange, or marry the guy I’m dating. How romantic: “I didn’t marry you just to save money, honey. I married you for your provider network.”
Talk about a war on women! Ms. Gottlieb thinks (like her friends) that in being screwed by Obamacare, she belongs to a minority:
President Obama doesn’t care much about the relatively small percentage of us with canceled coverage and no viable replacement. He keeps apologizing while maintaining that it’s for the good of the country, a vast improvement “over all.”
And the “over all” might agree. But the self-employed middle class is being sacrificed at the altar of politically correct rhetoric, with nobody helping to ensure our health, fiscal or otherwise, because it’s trendy to cheer for the underdog. Embracing the noble cause is all very well — as long as yours isn’t the “fortunate” family that loses its access to comprehensive, affordable health care while the rest of the nation gets it.
But, as we pointed out here, and many times thereafter, it isn’t just the self-employed middle class that will lose the insurance coverage it likes because of Obamacare. Rather, the Obama administration has estimated that as many as 69% of Americans who have group coverage through their employers will lose that coverage. That is slated to happen next year, because of Obama’s illegal delaying of the employer mandate for 12 months. Gottlieb and her friends are probably unaware of this because they rely on the New York Times for their news, and the Times is helping Obama to perpetrate his five percent lie.
But just wait: Lori Gottlieb is about to have the last laugh! Because those Facebook friends who tell her to suck it up and pay more to help the less fortunate–most of them, anyway–will soon have the opportunity to pay more for less coverage themselves. Then we will find out whether they still think Obamacare is a noble experiment.
UPDATE: I see that Scott and I were working on posts on this op-ed at the same time; Scott’s is here. Great minds, as is so often the case, think alike, although always with a different twist.