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Obamacare: Now You Like it, Now You Don't


Yesterday the House passed a measure to delay both the employer and the individual mandate, but its timing may be a bit off. The vote came one day after New York city officials reported that health care premiums under Obamacare will be “at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York.” Needless to say, ACA supporters across the blogosphere were celebrating the news, while others acknowledge that New York’s success can’t be replicated elsewhere. Conservative writers have already started questioning whether the New York numbers even point to a success in the first place.

The mixed response to the news points to the fragility of both opposition to and support for the ACA at this point. The House has plenty of political motivation to run its repeated anti-ACA votes. But from a PR perspective, it seems clumsy to schedule a vote just after reports of drastically falling premium rates. Each side of the debate wins or loses points based on how the ACA tealeaves have fallen that day, so framing and optics are important.

The problem is that we don’t have enough information to predict whether the ACA will fail badly enough to turn former supporters against it en masse. The ACA is being implemented in such slow motion that we can’t tell if it’s a train wreck or just a bumpy ride. This makes ACA-related developments hard for journalists to cover, and hard for partisans to marshall as evidence for their position.

A degree of critical distance from the news cycle on this issue is very much needed in the ACA debate.

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  • Andrew Allison

    The New York Post reports that the reductions will apply to 0.06% of New Yorkers!

    • wigwag

      As usual, the New York Post is as accurate as the New York Times; which is to say not accurate at all. A truly minuscule portion of the population purchased health care on the individual market before Obama-Romney Care because at rates exceeding $2,000 per month for a family of two only those with six figure salaries could afford it. With the premiums being offered by insurance companies now, tens of thousands of additional New Yorkers can afford to purchase health insurance.

      The New York rates are an astonishing achievement of Obama-Romney Care. New Yorkers who can afford to purchase insurance at the new rates but don’t want to deserve no sympathy. Surely they would expect treatment in a hospital emergency room if they showed up with a heart attack or as the victim of a car accident. Refusing to buy insurance at the new rates makes a person little more than a leech willing to live off the rest of society.

      Obama-Romney Care proponents should be celebrating; the New York rates are an incredible improvement over what existed before. The recently defeated GOP candidate for President should take a bow; he invented the system.

      • Andrew Allison

        “With the premiums being offered by insurance companies now, tens of
        thousands of additional New Yorkers can afford to purchase health
        insurance.” True, but will they? My guess is that the healthy ones will be smart enough to pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.

        • wigwag

          The least expensive plan to be offered in New York City costs $167.85 a month for a single person(its even less expensive upstate) and that’s before government subsidies kick in for low income people. A very significant number of New Yorkers pay that much for their cable television/internet service on a monthly basis. New Yorkers who purchase cell phone service/wi fi from Verizon or AT&T can easily pay twice that amount on a monthly basis. New Yorker’s willing to pay for cable television or cell phone service but not health insurance are pigs; if they refuse to buy insurance and get hurt in an accident, why should taxpayers or other premium payers pay for their health needs?

          Of course, society is generous even if those who refuse to buy insurance are selfish; we can’t just let them bleed to death although doing so is highly tempting.

          • Andrew Allison

            “if they refuse to buy insurance and get hurt in an accident, why should
            taxpayers or other premium payers pay for their health needs?” I couldn’t agree more. But the question was how many of the currently self- and un-insured will sign up.

          • wigwag

            We will know soon enough; my guess is tens of thousands. The real achievement is that New Yorkers who want to insure their families but previously couldn’t unless they could afford premiums that might come to $30,000 per year can now purchase insurance at a cost of 50 percent of that or, in most cases, even less.

            Kudos to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for making that possible.

            As for Congressional Republicans, what’s unclear is whether their venality is exceeded by their stupidity or whether their stupidity is exceeded by their venality.

          • Andrew Allison

            We shall see. Meanwhile, while not one myself, I must protest your off-topic suggestion that Congressional Republicans are more venal, or stupid than their Democratic counterparts. They’re all in thrall to those who fund their endless reelection. Term limits now!

          • wigwag

            Actually I disagree. In the case of Congressional Democrats, it’s pretty clear; their stupidity definitely exceeds their venality. In the case of Congressional Republicans, its pretty much of a toss-up.

          • Andrew Allison

            The venality record suggests otherwise ;>)

          • cubanbob

            Tell that to all the former full time and now part time workers thanks to Obamacare. Funny that the unions are seeking waivers from Obamacare. Maybe they know something you don’t.

  • Anthony

    “A degree of critical distance from the news cycle on this issue is very much needed in the ACA debate.” Amen to that.

  • Fat_Man

    My daughter lives in Manhattan. She is single, childless, and 30. She purchases individual health insurance from Empire Blue Cross. I costs about $1800/mo. She had made good money, but I have to help her with the policy.

    A cut to a mere $900/mo would be a big boost for her. But, it would still represent more money than all but a very few bankers and lawyers could afford to pay.

    • Jim__L

      Wouldn’t simply allowing individual health insurance to be tax deductible give you a similar reduction in cost, especially in high-tax areas like New York?

      • Fat_Man

        The deduction goes to her not me. But between rent (see earlier wrm post) and health insurance making end meet in Manhattan is tough.

        • Jim__L

          I hear you — raising a family in California’s Bay Area at anything like a middle class level takes two high incomes. Starting out was especially tough.

      • wigwag

        Individual coverage is already deductible.

    • wigwag

      Please let your daughter know that the equivalent Empire Blue Cross plan to the one she probably has now will cost $650.28 a month under New York’s new health exchange. And that’s before any subsidy she may be entitled to depending on her income. The good news is that there are 19 other similar platinum plans she can chose from if she lives in the five boroughs. The least expensive platinum plan is $443.24 per month offered by Metro Plus and the most expensive platinum plan is $994.34 offered by HIP (Health Insurance Plan of NY).

      I suggest your daughter check out the plan offered by the Freelancers Union (a non profit group representing Freelancers that Professir Mead has blogged about). It’s plan uses the same doctors as the Empire Platinum Plan and it will cost $523.23 for a single person.

      Best of luck to your daughter. She now has better options than ever.

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