Saturday, December 21, 2013

Researcher Kathleen Geier (@Kathy__Gee) Slams 'Very Privileged' Family Cancelled Under #ObamaCare

You'd think a "public policy researcher" like this Kathleen Geier, writing at the Washington Monthly, would do what public policy researchers are supposed to do: evaluate the alternatives, especially with a cost-benefit analysis. But Ms. Geier doesn't do that. She just slams this "very privileged" family covered at the New York Times for "whining about the ACA." See, "The New York Times and the ACA: the yuppie whine-athon continues." (Via Memeorandum.)

Well, okay. I hate whiners too. But you'd think Ms Geier might actually examine the complaints of the family, the Chapmans, to see if they're so unreasonable to warrant the very privileged whiners smear. It turns out that there's nothing particularly special about them. They're another family that's unfairly lost their health insurance because of the disastrous ObamaCare redistribution scheme, but reading Geier's post you'd never know it unless you clicked through to the New York Times, "New Health Law Frustrates Many in Middle Class":
Ginger Chapman and her husband, Doug, are sitting on the health care cliff.

The cheapest insurance plan they can find through the new federal marketplace in New Hampshire will cost their family of four about $1,000 a month, 12 percent of their annual income of around $100,000 and more than they have ever paid before.

Even more striking, for the Chapmans, is this fact: If they made just a few thousand dollars less a year — below $94,200 — their costs would be cut in half, because a family like theirs could qualify for federal subsidies.

The Chapmans acknowledge that they are better off than many people, but they represent a little-understood reality of the Affordable Care Act. While the act clearly benefits those at the low end of the income scale — and rich people can continue to afford even the most generous plans — people like the Chapmans are caught in the uncomfortable middle: not poor enough for help, but not rich enough to be indifferent to cost.

“We are just right over that line,” said Ms. Chapman, who is 54 and does administrative work for a small wealth management firm. Because their plan is being canceled, she is looking for new coverage for her family, which includes Mr. Chapman, 55, a retired fireman who works on a friend’s farm, and her two sons. “That’s an insane amount of money,” she said of their new premium. “How are you supposed to pay that?”

An analysis by The New York Times shows the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s. In some places, prices can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income.

Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10 percent of annual income. By that measure, a 50-year-old making $50,000 a year, or just above the qualifying limit for assistance, would find the cheapest available plan to be unaffordable in more than 170 counties around the country, ranging from Anchorage to Jackson, Miss...
If you continue reading it notes that the Chapmans were paying $665.00 a month for their previous insurance, so they're looking at a $335.00 a month increase in premiums, which for their family is a big hit. They qualify for the "catastrophic" plans the administration is now making more widely available under its so-called "fix" to the insurance mandate announced Thursday night, but the up-front costs in those plans are huge, so there's little that's beneficial to them under the administration's reforms (despite the president's endless lies about how people will be better off under the ACA).

But for as long as I can remember, good public policy has been predicated on middle class support. Social Security, for all its flaws, has long been a popular program with Americans very resistant to removing its bottom-line old-age income guarantee for retirees. What the White House is discovering now is what most "public policy researchers" take for granted: that policy changes that impose massive costs on the largest voting demographic are likely to generate enormous political repercussions. To put things more plainly, ObamaCare doesn't work and the public's not pleased. We're watching the predicted "death spiral" unfold right before our eyes. Frankly, any "public policy researcher" worth her salt would know this, but when the pursuit of equality becomes a quasi-religious mission of emancipation for the poor and "underprivileged," facts and basic common sense --- to say nothing of basic decency --- no longer matter.

BONUS: As I mentioned last night, some progressives have responded to the failure of ObamaCare by barking about nationalizing health care along the lines of Britain's NIH. And here's Atrios doing it in light of NYT's latest report, "Health Care Is Expensive In This Country."

The left has been pretty successful in destroying the private insurance market so far. The real solution to this mess is to scrap ObamaCare altogether and develop market-friendly reforms that increase competition and lower costs, and then some kind of national healthcare safety net should be created to protect those unable to afford coverage. The left's alternative, socialized medicine, is bad for America. Indeed, critics who accused the Democrats of pushing for stealth socialized medicine through the ACA now look prescient.