This week I’ve noticed a rather interesting television ad going after Sen. Kay Hagan and Obamacare, previously known as the Affordable Care Act, previously the wild-eyed scheme of a group of people who thought certain bankruptcy for medical attention in a country that touts their Christianity was both ironic and immoral. The ad features a real live person and North Carolinian, Sheila Salter, who is a businesswoman in the medical field. Yes. Really.
After watching it I immediately decided to search the internet for her to see what information turned up. Thankfully, tastefully, the first result was her LinkedIn, but shortly thereafter the search results turned to her appearance on CSPAN3 where she was giving testimony concerning how Obamacare was going to cost her business $4,584. I truly tried to empathize with her and, while recognizing that small businesses budget within strict margins, quickly found the empathy evaporating. Was this the first time she’s ever had a government, state or federal, guideline change her balance sheet and possibly force the business to adjust its pricing? Evidently so. While getting in a few laughs for her drinking joke, she appears to completely miss the point of risk pools. In a pool of people who sign up for a policy, there will be provisions you will never use. Ever. What’s more is you don’t pay for those provisions under the potential risk of having to use them solely, but that it drives the cost down for everyone in that pool. It’s one of the numerous ways health insurance is different than any other kind of insurance. I have no issue paying for maternity because it drives down the premium potentially expectant mothers pay. It’s really as simple as that. No. Really.
The ad in question appears to have numerous spots and funding and was well-produced in a kitchen bigger than my first apartment. That isn’t even hyperbole. The fact that the counter tops are granite actually made me cross my arms with consternation. Through the course of the commercial she laments that she has lost her doctor, her health plan, and will now have to pay more for health insurance. While the entire “you can keep your health plan and doctor” line of assault against really President Obama was effective concluding 2013, it appears to be the only assault now that the website is improved. Not even the President is excusing his choice of words and the fact they were misleading. Furthermore, this is what you’re going to get with a public/private partnership, especially with insurance companies that do not care about your health, insomuch as it never forces them to pay out more than your premiums and out-of-pocket expense annually. The President should have never had said it, but haranguing him only wins temporary political points. It doesn’t actually solve problems, like Ms. Salter losing her doctor and plan.(And she really hasn’t lost them down a rabbit hole in space on a deserted island.)
So what does she do? How does recoup? She purchases a new plan on the exchanges, a more comprehensive plan and through BCBSNC. (NC Governor Pat McCrory, in what really feels like a betrayal of conservative business values, abandoned the free market and BCBSNC is the only provider through the exchange, happy to compete with itself. This is on top of the Governor not expanding Medicaid.) Despite implying that the change in premium rate is a huge disservice, I see she has those granite counter tops and lose all sympathy. It’s entirely judgmental of me, agreed, but she didn’t say she couldn’t afford the rise in premium. She also didn’t say she wouldn’t be able to see actual doctors. So she’s inconvenienced at best and at worst dosed with the level of uncertainty and confusion anyone uninsured or under-insured has had to live with for decades. The ad isn’t plausible to invoke sympathy.
Within the trail of crocodile tears a pattern unfolds more stark than subtle. The people who absolutely despise Obamacare and want to invest time and money into seeing it dismantled are only ever just slightly inconvenienced by it. They’re not being denied care or access to care. They’re not being subjected to a premium completely out of their ability to pay. They’re not even being disallowed a lollipop at the end of the visit. Rolls of people who object to Obamacare and present their numbers have been time and time again proven either hyper-political against the policy or bad at signing up for a policy through the exchanges. The general tone these discussions take consistently revolve around people of means being inconvenienced and the fake outrage that ensues, like a child who was told there would be cake at dinner but then cries foul with a bait and switch when presented with broccoli and meatloaf first.
It’s time to pass the gravy.