NYT suddenly all over ObamaCare problems

posted at 3:35 pm on April 20, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Thank goodness we have a media industry dedicated to keeping people informed on the issues!  After cheerleading for ObamaCare since last summer, the New York Times waited until three weeks after its passage to point out that the same approach in New York had driven up premiums and costs for medical care.  Today, they continue their dogged pursuit in speaking Truth to Power — now that Power has already triumphed — by pointing out that the individual mandate that supposedly will help contain these problems won’t be effective, either:

William Mann of Pittsburgh earns just enough to get by. He is 46, doesn’t own a car, hasn’t taken a vacation in three years and hasn’t had health insurance for most of his adult life.

He is just the kind of person who should benefit from the health care overhaul, and he is, in fact, eligible for heavily subsidized insurance that will cost him an estimated $1,845 a year, while the government contributes about $2,756.

But Mr. Mann says he still can’t afford it. He lives too close to the edge, and won’t be buying insurance, even though he will face a fine under a provision called the individual mandate, which penalizes most Americans who don’t buy coverage starting in 2014. The requirement is one of the most controversial aspects of the overhaul.

“I just can’t put that kind of money out for a ‘maybe’ — maybe I’ll get sick and use it,” said Mr. Mann, who makes just over $25,000 a year as an administrative assistant at a small wine distribution company. “That’s a lot of money.”

Indeed it is, especially for those who don’t need that kind of access to health care. Even with the subsidies, Mann would have to spend about 6% of his gross annual income for the insurance that will likely not give him $1800 worth of services. That’s even more true of younger, healthier workers who will have to essentially provide their income as subsidies for older and less healthy Americans.

Healthy, younger people would do better paying cash for the routine medical services and buy catastrophic health insurance on the low-percentage chance they need hospitalization. That’s why Congress created health-savings accounts, which allowed people to put aside pre-tax income to use for routine medical care. Catastrophic insurance would cost pennies on the dollar compared to comprehensive premiums, which Mann and others in his income bracket could afford much more easily than the comprehensive plans imposed by ObamaCare.

Instead, they’ll simply opt out and pay the penalty rather than saddle themselves with a big bill that delivers next to no value at all. What will that do to the system? The Times quotes a Heritage Foundation economist to ask the question:

But Edmund F. Haislmaier, senior research fellow of health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, said he was skeptical that so many uninsured people would actually start buying insurance. “We’re premising all this on the idea that we’ll cross-subsidize older, sicker people with a lot of young healthy people, whom we assume will buy the coverage,” he said. “But what if they don’t?”

If they don’t, insurance companies will have to raise premiums rapidly to cover the costs of higher-risk patients entering the pool. It’s a great deal for those consumers, who suddenly get to shift their costs onto the other members of the pool, but the healther consumers will not be able to keep up with the premiums. Or, alternatively, states will disallow premium increases — which will put the insurers out of business.

None of this is exactly breaking news.   Many of us warned of these consequences since June 2009, when the first versions of ObamaCare floated out of Capitol Hill.  Had the New York Times indulged its journalistic curiosity when it counted, perhaps this could have been made even more clear before Congress approved ObamaCare, and not a full month later.


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Reminds me of Charlie Rose and Tom Browkaw saying “We really don’t know this guy” when ZerObama was elected!

Gob on April 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM

It’s a good thing the New York Times has learned its lesson and is dissecting the Finance Reform Bill being shoved through Congress…

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on April 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

First rush it through, then lower expectations.

Tzetzes on April 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

We are so screwed. Thanks, M.T. Suit! You’ve proven beyond any doubt your lack of any experience in the world makes you a perfect ‘leader’.

When do Michelle and the kids get their Government issued Medical IDs?

SeniorD on April 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Does the New York Slime even make a good bird cage liner?

Chip on April 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM

which penalizes most Americans who don’t buy coverage starting in 2014

That’s called freedom. It’s what the founding fathers envisioned when they created the constitution.

/sarc

lorien1973 on April 20, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Hey, cut the NYT some slack. Like Nancy said, we had to pass it to find out what’s in it. They just weren’t sure before passage, that’s all.

/

Kafir on April 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM

The Slimes must be looking at ObamaCare repeal polls.

farright on April 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Maybe this a prelude of Times support for a future expansion of O-Control. If the current provisions don’t match the intended task, which they don’t, then the logical course is to simply expand the program. Of course, the Times will be a major cheerleader for any such proposal.

Liam on April 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Wait till the NY Times realizes Obamacare keeps a national database of everyone’s health records that they can access at their whim. And that you have way to opt out of.

lorien1973 on April 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM

What did they know, and when did they know it?

Three words: CYA

Obviously, they knew this ahead of time – but Chose to keep it under wraps until National Socialist Healthcare passed, and are only doing this now to cling to their last shred of creditably.

Chip on April 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM

News You Could Have Used Last Month about a year ago.

ftfy Ed.

upinak on April 20, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Wait till the NY Times realizes Obamacare keeps a national database of everyone’s health records that they can access at their whim. And that you have NO way to opt out of.
lorien1973 on April 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM

FIFY

Chip on April 20, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Obama and Dems are stupidest group alive.

These clowns can’t think more than one step ahead. In a chess match with a 7-year old, they’d be beaten in four moves.

Fracking morons.

BuckeyeSam on April 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Do they think they’ll get credit for speaking truth to power after the fact? Like telling a bully who kicked your ass and took your lunch money in 9th grade that you really didn’t appreciate his behavior when you see him at your 25th High School reunion?

DrAllecon on April 20, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Maybe this a prelude of Times support for a future expansion of O-Control. If the current provisions don’t match the intended task, which they don’t, then the logical course is to simply expand the program. Of course, the Times will be a major cheerleader for any such proposal.
Liam on April 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Yes, the MO we’ve seem countless times before:

Government creates problem ‘A’
Government fixes problem ‘A’, with solution ‘B’ which leads to the creation of problem ‘B’
Government fixes problem ‘B’, with solution ‘C’ which leads to the creation of problem ‘C’

Lather, rinse, repeat..

Chip on April 20, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Get anything passed. Who cares if it fails that will just mean they have to “fix” it.

Dash on April 20, 2010 at 3:53 PM

I can’t wait until the WSJ finally drives this poor excuse for a news outlet out of business.

search4truth on April 20, 2010 at 3:56 PM

So this man is in the exact same state of health as before, except he’s out of pocket another $750 to $2200, depending on his income.

They’re just creating more teabaggers!

Chuck Schick on April 20, 2010 at 3:58 PM

This bunch knew EXACTLY what they were doing; redistribute wealth. These morons, however, were in such a hurry to rahm this through they had umpteen disparate groups write pieces, independent of each other, of this monstrosity that THEY will be fined by their own legislation! They STILL have no idea what is in it. Not only do I fervently hope this bites them in the a$$, both in 2010 and 2012, but for manymanymany election cycles to come. Remember in No-vember!

Deckard on April 20, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Clearly, then, William Mann will have to go to jail for his failure to engage in Obama-mandated commmerce, so that others will learn that it is unacceptable to disobey the One.

malclave on April 20, 2010 at 3:59 PM

“If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance”

“If you can still afford it”

JusDreamin on April 20, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Instead, they’ll simply opt out and pay the penalty rather than saddle themselves with a big bill that delivers next to no value at all. What will that do to the system? The Times quotes a Heritage Foundation economist to ask the question:

But Edmund F. Haislmaier, senior research fellow of health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, said he was skeptical that so many uninsured people would actually start buying insurance. “We’re premising all this on the idea that we’ll cross-subsidize older, sicker people with a lot of young healthy people, whom we assume will buy the coverage,” he said. “But what if they don’t?”

Obamacare makes for even a worse outcome than Newhouse’s median test by allowing someone to have no stake right up until they have a catastrophic illness, and then to buy into the system at an extremely low price, allowing them to continue their “no stake” behavior (because, when they are disabled or out of work, the government pays their premiums).

unclesmrgol on January 9, 2010 at 6:04 PM

unclesmrgol on April 20, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I, for one, won’t feel the least bit sorry when the 53% who put Obow in office are crying in their lattes for having less money because of higher insurance premiums or fines.

Liam on April 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM

NYT demonstrating its obsolescence day in and day out.

fish wrap

ted c on April 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Just curious…
- Who did William Mann vote for in 2008?
- Who will William Mann vote for in 2010?

WashJeff on April 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM

They must have finally gotten to read this:

http://www.floppingaces.net/2010/03/31/obamas-feinting-spell-reader-post/

Some of us were on it, and early.

drjohn on April 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM

They’re just setting the stage for a bailout of the insurance industry, which will happen pretty quickly.

Once Obama owns the insurance industry, we will have de-facto government health care, see? Single-payer, man! Smartest President evah!

ZenDraken on April 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Well, if there is any chance of repeal. Those who are blasted by the NYT for trying can just point back to these articles by….the NYT.

rollthedice on April 20, 2010 at 4:09 PM

The Times is clearly laying the groundwork for single-payer. Too bad they’re out of time for a Democratic Congress to get that done.

rockmom on April 20, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Breaking news…Must credit New York Times…

Stalin kind of a meenie.

MNHawk on April 20, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Even now, the NY Times isn’t asking the question directly. They feel the need to quote the right-leaning Heritage Foundation in order to cover themselves.

hawksruleva on April 20, 2010 at 4:15 PM

With Obamacare, the mission of progressives was to establish that the government now controls your health care, and by extension, you.

Furthermore, that should you have too much healthcare, the intention of redistributing it to others.

The bill being flawed and innefecient was only a secondary concern.

The bill being unethical and against the will of the American people, was never a concern.

Thune on April 20, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Does the New York Slime even make a good bird cage liner?

Chip on April 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM

In a word…NO. Good for drying out the inside of your waders.

saiga on April 20, 2010 at 4:16 PM

This is bizarre. The NYT actually covering the issues is hard to get used to. What’s next, an article asserting Bill Ayres wrote “Dreams of My Father”?

MTF on April 20, 2010 at 4:27 PM

We tried lining the cat’s litter box with it several years ago, but even the cat wouldn’t urinate on it.

volsense on April 20, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Indeed it is, especially for those who don’t need that kind of access to health care. Even with the subsidies, Mann would have to spend about 6% of his gross annual income for the insurance that will likely not give him $1800 worth of services.

Really? This does not strike me as persuasive. I am completely opposed to the health care takeover for principled reasons, but I find it a little out there to suggest that $150/month for a comprehensive plan is a terrible deal for him individually. I would guess that $1800/year for medical expenses is pretty reasonable for a 46 year old even without any catastrophic illnesses that would drive someone like this into bankruptcy.

That of course does not take into account the significant subsidy and the problem of being able to add coverage after you are sick. But if you had a 46 year old friend who went out into the private individual insurance market and found a comprehensive policy for $150/month (unlikely), I hope you would advise him to take it as opposed to suggesting that he is unlikely to get $1800 worth of services over the year. Hopefully he will not, but that is why it is “insurance” — in case you do need it.

m2 on April 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM

The NYT maybe trying a new approach by telling the truth. When anybody hears the truth from them it has to be a lie. Everyone knows they have been incapable of the truth for decades. Strange, but it is the New York Times.

volsense on April 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I have never bought a Times.I will never buy a Times.If they offer it to me free I will not take or read the Times.If I am in the woods and get in a bind and the Times is laying next to a poison ivy plant I will use the plant.I don’t care if they fold.I don’t care how many lose their jobs if they fold.I don’t care if a plane hits their building.In other words I have no use for the Times and their bias.

docflash on April 20, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Try as they might before ObamaCare became law, the NYT can no longer hide the math now that it’s in effect!

(P.S. You really should just link to the tool directly in these posts – it’s a bit of a hassle to keep having to put it in the comments….)

ironman on April 20, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Wasn’t this fit to print nine months ago???

phreshone on April 20, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Any chance this recent turn has anything to do with that NSA guy getting busted?

txhsdad on April 20, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The NYT is so disingenuous. They are quoting subsidy numbers directly from the quotation calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This calculator was available through a press release over 6 months ago and the NYT had access to it. They knew this information and at the same time, championed the Obama Care Bill.

They are not only cowards, but devious scumbags.

And they do not go far enough to show the utter disaster this bill is using the calculator to compare different situations, so I’ll do it:

This bill effects EVERYONE. And it is wealth distribution pure and simple. You can call it or label it or sugar coat it all you want, but that is what it is.

Want hard proof?

Take three folks living on a street. Number one is ME, by the way.

1) Single, self-employed business owner, age 50, 44K annual income
2) Family of 4, (employer does not have a health care plan available), age 50, 50K annual income
3) Family of 4, business owner, age 50, 250K annual income

Now plug these into the calculator: http://healthreform.kff.org/SubsidyCalculator.aspx

See?

I, #1, I get NO SUBSIDY and have to pay $385 a month for a “qualified plan” for a policy through the “exchange” that dictates what services I will get, the limits on my deductible and where I can go for care. If I do not pay, I am levied a fine of 2.5% of my income and still will have no health care.

#2 gets the same plan for only $300 a month and gets a subsidy of $9,500 which is paid directly to the health insurance company, even though they make 6K more than me annually! Nice to have a family, huh?

#3 gets nothing….BUT, his income tax, medicare payroll tax and investment gains tax ALL GO UP to pay for number 2′s subsidy.

What a crap sandwich.

This was never about the little boy whose mother was unable to pay for health insurance. This was about “social justice”. You want to work 20 years to get to the point where you are successful? Why? This bill reveals that this administration simply wants to force the successful to pay for services given over to the not so successful.

Tell me dear reader, why does that family of 4 get to pay only $300 a month for what I have to pay $385 a month for even though that family makes $6,000 more a year than I do? Even though I have to pay my own self-employment taxes and they get 50% of theirs paid by their employer?

What freedoms, choices and liberties did this bill give me?

As far as I can see I LOST freedoms, choices and my liberties.

Opposite Day on April 20, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Perhaps the times could use a “bail out” .
“Cash for silence.”

elderberry on April 20, 2010 at 4:55 PM

“Hey.. I know what let’s do.

The horse is gone… Let’s shut the barn door.”
NYTimes

franksalterego on April 20, 2010 at 5:10 PM

The ObamaCare bill was designed to do only one thing: DESTROY THE CURRENT HEALTH CARE INSURANCE SYSTEM. Then government can come to the rescue, just like with “Social Security”. They’ll TAKE the money from your paycheck, thereby relieving you of the responsibility to sign up. And then they’ll tell you WHAT care you get, HOW much you get, and WHEN you get it.

Don’t you feel relieved?

GarandFan on April 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM

In short:

Republicans aren’t the party of “no”,
they are the party of “KNOW”.

As in they KNOW it will not work.

kurtzz3 on April 20, 2010 at 5:19 PM

So, are their older online articles praising Obamacare going through redrafts and edits right now? When we pull up issues from July09-Mar10 are we going to find new paragraphs inserted that caution the reader not to hope to much that Obamacare is the panacea for all their healthcare/insurance woes?

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 20, 2010 at 5:21 PM

I can’t believe that you don’t see this for what it is and that is rubbing our noses in it. The NYT knows that this will not work and that all of the insurance companies WILL fail. Guess what? That’s what they have clamored for all of these years, Public healthcare from Uncle Sam!

inspectorudy on April 20, 2010 at 5:24 PM

In a way I’m actually disappointed that there isn’t a public option. We don’t get to see how it implodes upon the Dems a la DirigoCare.

year_of_the_dingo on April 20, 2010 at 5:47 PM

I went to the doctor today. Having no insurance, I pay cash in full at the time of service, which qualifies for a 25% discount. The doc visit including blood work cost me $78. If repeated 4 times per year as the doc wants, it will run me $312 per year. We worked together to find a ‘WalMart special’ prescription drug; buying it in 90 day supplies costs $40 per year.

The one funny thing about the visit was that it took two people 15 minutes to find out how much to bill for the blood work. People paying cash for services rendered really messes up the system. Oh, I was in and out of there in a touch over an hour.

The reason it costs $20,000 for a day in the hospital is to cover the expenses incurred in treating other people for free or below cost, plus the costs of complying with all the regulations imposed by the government.

Soon, I will be branded a criminal for not buying insurance. The full force and power of the federal government will descend to impose its mandate upon these non-compliant shoulders. Thank you Congress and Oblabla.

GnuBreed on April 20, 2010 at 5:49 PM

The NYT is not saying ObamaCare won’t work. They are saying it doesn’t go far enough, and we have to continuing marching on until we have fully socialized medicine.

pedestrian on April 20, 2010 at 6:02 PM

NYT and journalism….does not compute

cmsinaz on April 20, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Yeah, this is exactly the kind of thing they wanted, and why they were satisfied to slap together their legislative monstrosity without so much as reading through it once. The more f’d up the original bill, the more “reasons” they’ll have down the road to “argue” (as if rationality were actually at play) for single-payer, which is the ultimate desired outcome. It’s not a slippery slope: It’s a deliberate strategy.

Blacklake on April 20, 2010 at 6:11 PM

franksalterego on April 20, 2010 at 5:10 PM

+1

cmsinaz on April 20, 2010 at 6:11 PM

fish wrap

ted c on April 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Rumor has it, the fish are now asking for the Post. They say the NYT stinks too much…

karl9000 on April 20, 2010 at 6:24 PM

bwahaha: scooped ya by 4 hours on this blogger hotshots!

dare ya to post this!

bethcya ya pull a charles johnson!

reliapundit on April 20, 2010 at 7:22 PM

NYT suddenly all over ObamaCare problems birdcage bottoms

ya2daup on April 20, 2010 at 9:10 PM

He is just the kind of person who should benefit from the health care overhaul, and he is, in fact, eligible for heavily subsidized insurance that will cost him an estimated $1,845 a year, while the government contributes about $2,756.

He can get health insurance for $1,845 or less now, without government spending trillions it doesn’t have to take over health care.

xblade on April 20, 2010 at 10:18 PM

One thing about the New York Times is they are always a day late and dollar short. Tomorrow we’ll be able to read that US forces stormed the beach at Normandy. Or maybe we’ll read that the Titanic sank.

Wills on April 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Pelosi(before): Pass the bill to find out what’s in it.

Pelosi(now): Nyah nyah na nyah nyah! We gotcha!!!

Steve Z on April 21, 2010 at 9:32 AM