It’s All About Natoma

In Ohio today, President Obama tried to sell the Democrats’ health care takeover bill by personalizing it:

President Obama, declaring that “every argument has been made” on his health care overhaul, sought to seal the deal with Congress and the American people on Monday by focusing on a single patient: a self-employed cleaning woman who had dropped her costly insurance plan, only to discover she had leukemia. …
“The reason Natoma is not here today is that she’s lying in a hospital bed, suddenly faced with this emergency — suddenly thrust into a fight for her life,” Mr. Obama said. “She expects to face a month or more of aggressive chemotherapy. …” The crowd grew momentarily silent, and the president added: “So you want to know why I’m here, Ohio? I’m here because of Natoma [Canfield].”

The Times bought it hook, line and sinker, describing Canfield’s story as a “health care drama that could not have been better scripted for his purposes if he had written it himself.” That’s questionable, however. Under Obamacare, it would be illegal for Ms. Canfield to drop her health insurance, and the taxpayers would subsidize her legally required insurance policy. But not until 2014. I suspect Ms. Canfield can’t wait that long. The Republican plan, on the other hand, would immediately subsidize or initiate state high-risk pools, and can also be expected to lower, rather than raise, individual insurance costs.
In the meantime, of course, Ms. Canfield isn’t lacking for medical care–she is in a hospital undergoing “aggressive chemotherapy.” Her bills will be paid, presumably, by some combination of taxpayers and patients who have insurance, much as they would be under Obamacare.
In Washington, meanwhile, Congressman David Dreier says that the Democrats are still around ten votes short in the House, and it isn’t clear whether their total is rising or falling. “You are hearing that people are peeling off,” according to Dreier.

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