It is wrong, of course, to take pleasure in the misfortune of others. Still, I must confess that I have derived no small amount of schadenfreude from news stories about Obamacare advocates who have been adversely affected by the not-so-Affordable Care Act. It would take a stronger man than yours truly to suppress a smile as the law’s media pimps pule about their canceled health plans, when smug urban progressives get mugged by the reality of “reform,” and lifelong Democrats publicly denounce President Obama as a brazen liar while declaring their intention to become foot soldiers for the Republican Party.
One of the most exquisitely ironic complaints about Obamacare has come from former MSNBC blowhard, Dylan Ratigan. During the debate preceding the law’s passage, this character regularly suggested that we who opposed the Democrat plan to take over U.S. health care were all racists. It appears, however, that this erstwhile scourge of bigotry has now joined the knuckle-dragging enemies of our first black president. Recently, he fired off the following querulous tweet: “I bought a catastrophic health policy for $170/mo when I left MSNBC. Obamacare cancelled the policy. New rate $600/mo. Thnx Mr. President!”
If Ratigan had stopped abusing his opponents long enough to hear what we were saying, he wouldn’t have been surprised by the cancellation. What did he think Obamacare’s authors intended when they stipulated that a plan must provide “minimum” levels of coverage? What did he think the President meant by “cut-rate insurance”? If he had shut up long enough he would have learned the truth, as he himself expressed it in a follow up tweet when he finally pulled his head out of … er … the sand: “I have been a long time advocate of catastrophic with a transparent mkt for routine. Struck me as interesting that that is illegal now.”
Few of the liberals lamenting the loss of their health plans are media types like Ratigan, however. Most are garden variety progressives naïve enough to believe the President’s promise that they could keep their coverage. Typical of this more common species of gull are Lee Hammack and JoEllen Brothers, a married couple from San Francisco. As reported by the left-leaning ProPublica, these folks “donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.” Thus, they were deeply shocked when their health plan was cancelled without warning.
Hammack and Brothers didn’t have “one of those skimpy plans Obama has criticized.” They had long-standing coverage through Kaiser Permanente. Nonetheless, in September, “Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.” Even worse, they will be forced to buy a more expensive policy with fewer benefits. Yet, demonstrating the trademark progressive inability to learn from experience, Hammack and Brothers remain true believers: “We believe the Act is good for health care, the economy, & the future of our nation.”
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the legacy news media has finally been forced to tell the truth: “Even as President Barack Obama sold a new health care law in part by assuring Americans they would be able to keep their insurance plans, his administration knew that tens of millions of people actually could lose those policies.” Included among those millions is Cathy Wagner, one of 250,000 Coloradans who lost their coverage this fall. CBSDenver reports, “She was a nurse for 35 years and championed Obamacare, until she received a letter from her insurance company saying it was canceling her policy.”
Wagner, like Hammack and Brothers, was shocked. Also, like the San Francisco couple, she was further dismayed to discover that she will now pay 35 percent more for her coverage and be responsible for a higher deductible: “Our premium for next year is going up to over $1,000 a month.” And her words for the man who repeatedly promised she could keep her coverage if she liked it? “Oh my gosh, President Obama. This is not what we hoped for. It’s not what we were told.” Wagner is not merely disillusioned, however. The costs of the required policy are such that she is actually considering going without health insurance.
Some of Obamacare’s disillusioned supporters are taking even more drastic steps. The Seattle Times reports that the President’s brazen perfidy has transformed some Democrats into Republicans: “Bill Fullner has reached his breaking point. It started with the letter from his health-insurance company informing him it was canceling his plan.” When Fullner searched unsuccessfully for an acceptable replacement for his insurance plan, he had a “road to Damascus” moment. Fullner described his epiphany thus: “This whole experience has converted a lifelong Democrat into a foot soldier for the Republican Party.”
His dramatic conversion was due in part to the discovery that he was just one of many thousands who had also lost their coverage: “In Washington, most of the 290,000 people covered by insurance plans they purchased on the individual market received letters this fall telling them that their plans are going away.” This convinced Fullner that he and the others were victims of a huge fraud: “Obama stated that if we were happy with an insurance plan that we currently had, we would be able to keep it. I feel that the President … has lied to the public.” Fullner is by no means the only victim of Obamacare to draw this conclusion.
This reality, combined with the comically inept rollout of Healthcare.gov, has caused considerable angst among congressional Democrats facing reelection next year. Last week, 16 Senators descended on the White House demanding to know how Obama and his bumbling assistants are going to make the pig’s breakfast they have cooked up palatable to the voters. Whatever skullduggery results from that meeting, watching these grifters face their gulls should be entertaining. I plan to have plenty of popcorn on hand.