Steve Benen: The Craig T. Nelson problem:
A couple of years ago, actor Craig T. Nelson appeared on Glenn Beck…. The actor… was thinking about no longer paying taxes because he disapproved of public funds rescuing those struggling. “They’re not going to bail me out,” Nelson said. “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No.”
It was an epic rant, in large part because the actor didn’t seem to recognize… [that] taxpayers helped him out by paying for his food stamps and welfare, but in Nelson’s mind, no one helped him out…
John E.: A View of Obamacare:
Way back in the ’80´s, during a downturn in the Oil Patch, a Wall Street Journal reporter visited several highly-skilled Texans who suddenly found themselves without work. One, after describing the hardships of raising a family without income, confessed to finally having to accept unemployment insurance. Whereupon he burst into tears, protesting that he was no socialist, and, in so many words, vowing to make the liberals who had so humiliated him with such an indignity, pay, once he was on his feet again, and able to defend himself. That was what made me finally realize some of what we’re up against…
J. Peder Zane: Obamacare makes takers out of the middle class:
I might be an Obamacare “winner.” After months of frustration, I might qualify for a policy with better benefits, slightly lower premiums and a smaller deductible. But it comes at a steep price. The cost of my Obamacare policy cannot be measured in dollars and cents but in dignity. It is transforming me from a contributing member of society into a welfare recipient; its corrosive system of subsidy incentives discourages me from working harder. My familiarity with the law has only bred contempt. Now that I see what’s in it, I don’t just hope but pray that it is overturned, replaced with reforms that actually improve the health care system….
I liked my Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy covering the five members of my healthy family. I wasn’t crazy about the $440 monthly premium and $10,000 deductible, but our out-of-pocket expenses were only about $1,200 a year…. We didn’t have “free contraception,” but we made do…. I didn’t realize my plan was “substandard” until I received a letter from BCBS… In early December, BCBS said I could keep my old policy….
But I hadn’t given up on http://healthcare.gov…. Let’s pretend everything works out…. I will be paying $452 a month for a policy with a $6,000 deductible and a few favorable co-pay rates. That rate includes a subsidy of $10,140 a year, which far exceeds what I expect to pay in federal income taxes during 2014. Instead of giving money to the government, I am now a taker. This sickens me…. I may think twice about earning more because my effective tax rate on each extra dollar will be about 50 percent. This saddens me. Without the subsidy, my policy would cost $15,672 a year with a $6,000 deductible (before I was paying $5,280 for a $10,000 deductible). This angers me…
The most interesting thing is that Peder Zane claims that his old policy cost him only $5000 a year for a $10,000 deductible while this new policy is costing him and the government a total of $15,000 a year for a $6000 deductible. A $4000 a year lower deductible should cost you less than $4000 a year in higher insurance costs–$4000 is the most that the more-comprehensive policy could cost the insurance company, and there is the likelihood that your expenditures would not amount to the higher deductible. Yet Peder Zane’s new plan costs, he says, not less than $4,000 more but $10,000 more. Where does the extra $6,000 come from?
The overwhelming likelihood is that what BCBS had sold Peder Zane was not “insurance” at all–that if something had gone badly wrong, and somebody had suffered a stroke and wound up in the hospital for two weeks–Zane would have discovered that somewhere in the boilerplate there was a cap on what the insurance company would pay. Then Zane would have had to declare medical bankruptcy, and he and his family would be, as we say “thrown upon the parish”.
Mitt Romney used to be very strong on this: to go naked without health insurance or with a health insurance policy that has a cap on the annual benefits it pays is to be what Romney calls a “taker”. And what Peder Zane was buying from BCBS was not insurance, but was rather the illusion of not having to admit to himself that he was relying on their being a social-democratic parish for him to throw himself upon, and thus was one of the undeserving moochers against whom he ranted every column.