The job locker

Rachel Maddow’s long interview with Nancy Pelosi is full of the idiotic talking points that support Obamacare. My favorite: “Right up until now, being a woman is a preexisting medical condition.” (Translation: Women purchasing individual health insurance might be charged more than men because they incur higher health care expenses.)
But Pelosi didn’t confine herself exclusively to idiotic talking points. In the presence of a like-minded interlocutor (Maddow: “That’s the pro-health care reform stance, one of the best put as well as I think I’ve heard anybody put it”), Pelosi explained: “[E]verybody has so much to gain from this, small businesses, as I said, seniors, young people, women, our economy. Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job….”
Maddow to the contrary notwithstanding, nobody said it better than John Lennon: “Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”
What on earth does Pelosi mean? Pelosi refers to “job locking.” I assume she means the phenomenon of employees holding onto their jobs for fear of losing access to health insurance. Does Pelosi mean that artists and photographers who are “locked” into their day jobs will now be able to quit them? Because underwriting is prohibited under Obamacare and they no longer need worry about the exclusion of preexisting conditions from coverage? Perhaps.
But what if the artists and photographers can’t afford to purchase Obamacare without their day jobs? That is the “job locking” with which most of us out here in the real world are familiar. Will Obamacare lighten the load we’re carrying? Answer: No. It will lock us to our jobs longer and more deeply.
In any event, artists and photographers who unshackle themselves from their jobs still have a problem under Obamacare. They are required to purchase Obamacare insurance under both the House and Senate bills. Beginning in 2014, the Senate bill requires individuals to purchase a government-approved plan or pay a penalty. By 2016, the annual penalty would amount to $750 or 2 percent of income, whichever is greater. The tax penalty, indexed for inflation, increases over time. (According to the linked Times squib, there is no penalty if the cost of the cheapest available plan exceeds 8 percent of household income.)
What if the artists and photographers who unshackle themselves from their jobs can’t afford to pay the penalty for failing to purchase Obamacare? I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I think it’s something bad, and I think Pelosi knows it.
Via Mary Katharine Ham/The Blog.
JOHN adds: I think this kind of dialogue is revealing. What Pelosi is describing is not Obamacare, but socialized medicine. That is the world in which the “artist” doesn’t have to worry about insurance; the state pays his bills. It is striking how often, when Democrats ostensibly argue for Obamacare, they quickly default to talking about socialized medicine–the destination on the road toward which Obamacare is only a waystation.


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