FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Meek citizens, reduced expectations
The sad tale of Jessica Sanford is sadly instructive, as well as a monumental P.R. disaster for the White House. The story seems to have pushed some normally Obama-supporting media spinmasters over the edge, notably CNN, which is covering the fiasco in minute detail, including regular updates on its website. Or are they trying to set Sanford up as a damsel in distress that Obama can rescue with a wave of his magic despot wand? No, that seems like it would be counterproductive. The other 5 million people (and counting!) who have lost insurance because of the Affordable Care Act would only be further enraged if the President stepped in to personally grant this one woman a waiver from his disastrous law, the way he used to hand out mortgages and jobs to swooning peasants at his rallies, back in happier times.
Sanford is one of the exceedingly rare ObamaCare “success stories,” saluted personally by the President during a Rose Garden speech last month. Well, at least she used to be a success story. That was before she discovered the bug-riddled exchange system had been lying to her about the cost of her new insurance plan – a process that would land everyone involved in court, or maybe even jail, if they were private-sector con artists. Now that she knows the real price, she can’t afford coverage, and is evidently inclined to pay the tax/penalty and get by without it. CNN chronicles her misadventures:
After Obama mentioned her story, Sanford started having problems. Sanford said she received another letter informing her the Washington state health exchange had miscalculated her eligibility for a tax credit.
In other words, her monthly insurance bill had shot up from $198 a month (she had initially said $169 a month to the White House but she switched plans) to $280 a month for the same “gold” plan offered by the state exchange.
Sanford said she was frustrated with the state’s error. But she decided to purchase the new plan and thought everything was fine.
It wasn’t fine. Last week, Sanford received another letter from the Washington state exchange, stating there had been another problem, a “system error” that resulted in some “applicants to qualify for higher than allowed health insurance premium tax credits.”
The letter said the state exchange was “disappointed to have discovered this issue” and apologized.
The result was a higher quote, which Sanford said was for $390 per month for a “silver” plan with a higher deductible. Still too expensive
A cheaper “bronze” plan, Sanford said, came in at $324 per month, but also with a high deductible – also not in her budget.
Then another letter from the state exchange with even worse news.
“Your household has been determined eligible for a Federal Tax Credit of $0.00 to help cover the cost of your monthly health insurance premium payments,” the latest letter said.
“I had a good cry,” Sanford said about her reaction to the latest news from the state.
As a self-employed court reporter, the new quote was simply out of her range.
“This is it. I’m not getting insurance,” Sanford told CNN. “That’s where it stands right now unless they fix it.”
However, she’s laboring mightily not to blame Obama or the Affordable Care Act for any of this, something made even clearer in the Washington State Wire account of her experience:
She says she wants to make it clear she has no beef with Obama and Obamacare. She still believes in the Affordable Care Act. “I don’t want this to be a political thing,” she says. “I don’t want to be bashing the president. I don’t want to be bashing the ACA. I don’t want to come across as saying that. I am a big Obama fan.
“But to me there is a big problem with the way the state is handling it. It is like a big machine – you put your stuff in there and once you do it, it is impossible to do anything. You can’t get through to them [on the phone], the website is really limited. So you are stuck on this big treadmill of bureaucracy, and you know, it feels very out of control.”
I hate to be the bartender who pours you a tall, cold glass of reality, Ms. Sanford, but the person who created this “big treadmill of bureaucracy,” and lied dozens of times to the American people to make certain you would end up chained to it, is named Barack Hussein Obama. This is all happening because of him. It was his idea. He cheated in every imaginable way to get the power he needed to do this to you. You’re about to pay a special middle-class tax that he insisted upon, because you can’t afford to buy the overpriced insurance his mandates created. You got false price quotes from the broken computer system he ordered, and launched even though its top information technology official, Henry Chao, just admitted it was literally half-finished on Launch Day. And the only way you could have afforded those bloated premiums is because you were about to become a welfare dependent, hooked into a new system of subsidies that would have forced other people to cover most of your insurance expenses… at least until you ran afoul of those massive out-of-pocket deductibles.
It’s not good that someone in Sanford’s position still refuses to make the connection between the ObamaCare disaster and its author. Too many Americans have become meek and subservient, unwilling to raise their voice against even the most outrageous incompetence from their Ruling Class. There’s no way anyone would tolerate such treatment from a private corporation. They certainly wouldn’t accept ridiculous excuses from the CEO that he wasn’t paying much attention to the biggest product in his company’s history before it launched, and therefore cannot be held accountable for its failure.
Our New Normal is all about reduced expectations from a diminished populace, all too willing to believe they deserve the roughest treatment from their government, and even the most lackluster policy results are the best that can be expected. Maybe some of this comes from internalizing the Obama Administration’s endless excuses and evasions – he got re-elected, after all.
One of the big non-ObamaCare scandals flickering across the radar screen today is the revelation that unemployment numbers have been fudged with manufactured data provided by the Census Bureau, which just happens to have been taken over by the White House as one of Barack Obama’s first acts in office. Inside sources say this was mostly done to meet lofty 90 percent response goals for the people who conduct the monthly household employment survey, but there have been allegations that the Obama political team goosed the numbers during the last few months of his re-election campaign in 2012. It’s depressing to think the numbers were “goosed” to 7.8 percent unemployment… and that was good enough to get him re-elected. The bar was set so low for Barack Obama that even the most sickly, malnourished employment goose was able to stumble across it.
We’ll be told to celebrate like we’ve just defeated a Martian invasion if Healthcare.gov is 70 percent functional on December 1. Five million people have lost coverage; at best, fifty thousand or so have “selected” policies on the ObamaCare exchange; no one can, or will, state how many have actually purchased coverage; and that’s supposed to be good enough. Once again, expectations will be lowered until an exhausted, submissive nation is able to swallow horrifying failure and deem it acceptable. They’d walk away from any voluntary commercial relationship that performed so poorly… but they can’t walk away from coercive mega-government. They’ve been repeatedly told there is no hope, no escape, no exit, no chance for repeal, no way free citizens can be trusted to manage their own health care. When you kneel deep enough to accept such a message of despair, it’s difficult to stand up straight again.
Much of the New Normal has been foisted upon us in the name of “fairness,” “equity,” and other moralistic ideas. It doesn’t matter how weak the American economy becomes, or how many people drift out of the workforce, as long as the misery is divided more “equally.” The fact that “income inequality” is actually getting worse under Obama’s policies is an ironic footnote to the moral argument; as with so much else in life these days, what matters is victory in the political struggle, not the real-world consequences that follow. And if you accept these claims of superior socialist morality, you are by definition accepting that your own character is inferior. If the State is wise, then free citizens must be foolish. If the State has a moral imperative to spread “fairness,” then free citizens must be immoral, greedy, and unfair.
When Obama Democrats wanted to raise taxes, they pushed a convoluted mythology about how George Bush threw a big unfair tax-cutting “party” and caused all of America’s woes, and now it was time for greedy citizens to “pay up.” He always describes people who want more freedom as greedy, callous, or naive. Those who hesitate to let him run up further debt are routinely compared to deadbeat diners trying to skip out on a check, to cite one of his more common calumnies. He describes the less controlled America that existed before his arrival as a bleak hell we can never return to. How little must a nation think of itself to yield to such insults?
It’s not easy for the Ruling Class to dominate proud and free people with high expectations and limited patience for failure. The exercise of power requires submission, and that’s always humbling. You can see how much the American people have been humbled by the remarkably high percentage of poll respondents who still don’t blame Barack Obama for the failure of ObamaCare, or believe he was deliberately lying when he made those now-infamous promises that the whole process would be voluntary, imposing no burden whatsoever on those who were happy with their existing insurance plans. Frankly, a proud electorate would have known better to believe such nonsense.
But the humble servant is always willing to believe unlikely promises from his betters, and give them “one more chance” to come through. Of course the gods can make free health care rain down upon the deserving masses! Once you accept that someone else gets to decide what you “deserve,” the rest of that belief system becomes fairly easy to stomach, and very difficult to escape from.