A short lived revolution

At least once a day I hear another story that makes me wish that stupid was painful. Sometimes it is.

Joan covered this Gallup poll earlier today:

Fifty-six percent of uninsured Americans who plan to get health insurance say they will do so through a government health insurance exchange. That figure has steadily increased since Gallup began tracking uninsured Americans’ intentions in October.

But what struck me most was this:

38% say they are more likely to pay the fine the government will assess most Americans who lack health insurance.

That 38 percent generally approximates the conservative fringe of America, you know, the ones who clung to George W. Bush to the bitter end, the ones who believe Obama was born in Kenya, the ones sickened by America’s creeping communism. There are probably a handful in that 38 percent who are choosing to pay the fine for non-ideological reasons. But there are many more who are doing so to spite the president.

Because, you see, placing yourself at risk of financial ruin, severe disability, or even death is totally worth it in pursuit of undermining the communist plot hatched at the Heritage Foundation. It’s like eating crappy, unhealthy fast food in order to spite liberals. Or refusing to exercise because Michelle Obama.

I worry about people hurting themselves and their families for no good reason, but I do not worry about these yahoos endangering the Affordable Care Act. How long do you think Bette in Spokane, Washington will stay off the exchanges because she hates Democrats? A year? Even if a person does not need medical care, and it sounds like Bette and her family does, living without insurance will wear a person down. Nobody wants to hope and pray that you make it through each day without a surprise that leaves you bankrupt and homeless (pdf). Some people really will go all the way for Glenn Beck. Thankfully most, even the dumb angry ones, have better things to do. Color me shocked if less than ninety percent of these political holdouts get insurance and move on with their life before the next Congress takes office.

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143 replies
  1. 1

    This number will surely go down as the deadline approaches.

  2. 2
    Belafon says:

    Once again, Obama needs to propose banning people from drinking bleach.

  3. 3
    eric says:

    You will have to pry my lack of health care from my cold dead hand…..

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    The local paper does a “Money Makeover” feature every week or so, and I thought the headline on today’s was interesting:

    Jewelry maker must retool after bout with cancer
    Susan Braig’s finances were destroyed by high medical bills. Getting an Obamacare policy is her first step, an analyst says.

    http://www.latimes.com/busines.....5999.story

    I suspect we’re going to start seeing more and more of these quiet little stories. Not dramatic OMG THE WEBSITE IS GOING TO KILL US ALL things, but individuals who can finally afford real insurance. One after another.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: But remember, they’re polling uninsured Americans. As people buy insurance, the number of uninsured decreases, but the percentage of crazy uninsured who won’t buy insurance will increase because the sensible uninsured have left the pool of uninsured by obtaining insurance. So, I expect that wingers will claim that increasing percentages of people declining to get insurance means that Obamacare is failing. In fact, it will probably mean just the opposite.

  6. 6
    IowaOldLady says:

    I wonder if those “rebels” know that the penalty is what? $95 OR 1% of their income, whichever is higher. So if they’re making over $9500, they’ll pay more than they think.

  7. 7
    p.a. says:

    Wrong. Even amoebae know to move towards what is beneficial and away from what is harmful. Rightist ideologues, however don’t. Proof is their voting pattern for the last few generations.

  8. 8
    shortstop says:

    I worry about people hurting themselves and their families for no good reason

    So do I. But I’m also annoyed that we’re all going to pick up the tab for the inflated costs of their uninsured care when they get sick or injured and can’t pay the bills. Because requiring people to have insurance is SOSHULIST!! but making your fellow citizens pay for your uninsured care is FREEDOM!!!

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    Scott Brown tweets from inside his pants pocket:

    Scaccia cv c@c@vc@c@cc@cc C@ cc@c c c cv@ cc@ @c cc#ccvvnmzc ?

    Who or what is Scaccia?

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    @MattF: So, we’re producing a pool of concentrated and highly enriched Wingnut? Honestly, that sounds dangerous. I’d worry about spontaneous chain reactions.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    @Amir Khalid: Still more lucid than Sarah Palin.

  12. 12
    feebog says:

    How much you want to bet that the 38% figure drops to 27% by March 31?

  13. 13
    kuvasz says:

    Throw their adolescent libertarianism right back at ’em. They’re not doing this out of any allegiance to principle, they’re doing it because they’re stupid.

  14. 14
    Belafon says:

    @dmsilev: With guns.

  15. 15
    kc says:

    Where’s the evidence that all these people are going uninsured out of “spite?”

  16. 16
    Bill Arnold says:

    Probably, Bette in Spokane’s backup plan is that if she or spouse develops a big non-emergency medical problem, they will be able to get a decent platinum plan on the exchange to cover it. So their risk is primarily expensive emergency medical care. The ACA (obamacare) covers the rest of their risk, whether they like it or not, unless they take a binding oath in advance to refuse it.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    Now that ACA is in place, it’s time to rid our country of emtala. Emergency Medical Treatment Act has caused hospitals to come up with all sorts of crazy fees to write off. Then let the fringe deal with their own health care.

  18. 18
    bg says:

    Just worked out this year’s coverage with an insurance agent. Small business, 2 employees including me. We are paying about 10% more than last year in premiums BUT copays are lower, deductible went from $10k to 6300, and prescriptions (which we have a lot of because we are getting old) are now included in calculating deductible and maximum out of pocket. Checkups, mammograms, all that stuff we need and haven’t been doing, now free. Last year we actually hit the $10k deductible so this is a bargain. I think as more and more self-employed and really small businesses look into this, they are going to sign up.

  19. 19
    MattF says:

    @dmsilev: Particularly among the ones emitting neutrons.

  20. 20
    Bill Arnold says:

    @kc:

    going uninsured out of “spite?”

    The Bette in Spokane story can be read that way.

  21. 21

    @MattF: We need to look at the raw numbers, not just percentages or the percentage of uninsured now compared to that before ACA took effect.
    Another interesting thing to figure out would be a state by state breakup.

  22. 22
    srv says:

    There should just be a clause that you’re only eligible for a Death Panel if you don’t have coverage.

  23. 23
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    It’s like eating crappy, unhealthy fast food in order to spite liberals.

    Some type 2 diabetes, anyone?

  24. 24
    slippy says:

    @MattF:

    So, I expect that wingers will claim that increasing percentages of people declining to get insurance means that Obamacare is failing. In fact, it will probably mean just the opposite.

    It’s easy enough to determine what is true these days. Find out what the far right thinks, and believe the opposite. You’re almost always going to be right.

  25. 25
    Patrick says:

    At least once a day I hear another story that makes me wish that stupid was painful.

    If these folks who hate Obama so much that they refuse to sign up for the ACA, what happens if they get cancer? Will they be liable for those costs? And they couldn’t sign up until year-end again? Seems like a lot of folks are asking for a bad credit rating/bankruptcy…

  26. 26
    amk says:

    @MattF: Exactly. Expect the goopers and their media shills to do that kinda lying.

  27. 27
    Yatsuno says:

    @JPL: Maybe. I don’t know if presumptive eligibility is in effect in every state or just those that expanded Medicaid. If they all had it, then it wouldn’t matter since Medicaid pays the bill unless they get other insurance. And after that they’re on Medicaid permanently.

  28. 28
    boatboy_srq says:

    @dmsilev: We’re creating a purer, less diluted pool. But we’re also segregating them from either healthcare or wealth (if not both) in the process. A handful of impoverished raving wingnuts (perhaps, in this case, “wingnots”?) will be unable to influence policy – they will lack the numbers, the campaign contribution funds, or all of the above, in fairly short order.

  29. 29
    gussie says:

    @IowaOldLady: But if they’re gonna pay more than $95 on Obamacare, might this not make sense? I mean, if they’re not afraid of bankruptcy. Frankly, paying 1% fine under Obamacare is still a thousand times better than the insurance I had 10 years ago–and would’ve cost a shitload less than actually signing up.

  30. 30
    JustRuss says:

    I’m not so sure it’s all Obama hate. If you’re young and healthy and poor, a couple hundred bucks fine vs. a couple thousand for insurance doesn’t sound so bad. When I was in my 20s I never went to a doctor, even though I had insurance. Then I broke my leg, and yeah, that insurance sure came in handy. But who plans on breaking their leg?

    This may comes as a shock, but I did other stupid stuff in my 20s.

  31. 31
    lectric lady says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Scaccia cv c@c@vc@c@cc@cc C@ cc@c c c cv@ cc@ @c cc#ccvvnmzc ?

    @ = “thrust”
    # = “release”

    This is totally clear to me.

  32. 32
    artem1s says:

    meh, these are the same people who were screaming about keeping the government out of Medicaid. And the ones who when surveyed thought all the provisions of ACA were great ideas and things they wanted to get, as long as the survey called it something other than Obamacare.

    most of them will get sign onto some government program and convince themselves that they are thwarting the evil Kenyon usurper by signing up for their special “Freedum From Obamacare Premium Coverage!” ™. And then they will go on progressive blogs and brag about it to all the dumb sheeple. morans.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    How many of these people will purchase insurance and either lie about it or just shut up?
    I know guys at work who don’t have insurance and think that any additional money they have to spend would be a hardship. Including one in his late 20s who still lives at home, drives an almost new auto, has a new iphone5 with a 90/month plan….
    There are a lot of people who deny reality until it smacks them upside the head with a very large, solid event. And then they can/will find a way to rationalize how bad life has treated them.

  34. 34
    amk says:

    @gussie: The fines get steeper from 2nd year onwards.

  35. 35
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @IowaOldLady: 1% of AGI — so the breakeven number for a single adult is roughly $20,000 not $10,000 (minor nitpick)

  36. 36
    SatanicPanic says:

    @artem1s: This. “I PAY for my own private insurance, not that OBUMOCARE crap! Bought it on my STATE EXCHANGE, not the FED site”

  37. 37
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @bg: you’re benefitting from community rating — I have to save this comment for a big post on winners/losers of community rating and the next round of “SHOCK” we can hear this summer.

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    @Amir Khalid: IMO, he intentionally tweeted gobbly-gook in order to prevent future teasing from his bqhatevwr moment.

  39. 39
    Astor Column says:

    I suspect a significant part of the 38% that intends to pay the fine are 1) young people who’ve never had to go to the doctor since they lost health insurance and look at the $200 fine on an income of $20,000 as a deal, 2) young people who’ve quit paying their taxes and think they’ll go on slipping through the cracks, 3) irresponsible people who just aren’t very good at planning for the future or who are handicapped by mental illness.

  40. 40
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @JustRuss: But if you’re young and poor — you’re getting one hell of a nice subsidy to buy on the Exchange… and if you’re penalty is several hundred dollars, ($100 dollars penalty means income of roughly $20,000, each additional $100 adds 10G to that figure), you’re not poor… myopic and perhaps broke, but not poor

  41. 41
    Helen says:

    I know a number of people who are described in the post. Here’s my question: What is the outcome now that they are just paying the fine? Is it different than before the ACA? If they are in a car accident and go to the hospital how are they going to be forced to pay, or are they? I guess the question is: Has the ACA substantially addressed the free-rider problem?

    I ask because every single one of these wingnuts bitch and moan about all the welfare queens. Every. Single. One.

  42. 42
    Belafon says:

    @gussie: Did you miss the “whichever is higher” part? From what I’ve seen, if you making so little that $95 is the higher amount, you would qualify for subsidies that would put the actual cost near or below $95. Then you throw in the stuff you don’t pay copays on anymore, and you’re just screwing yourself.

  43. 43
    gussie says:

    @amk: Ah! Didn’t know that. And the fine is attached to your taxes? So even if you make too little to have to pay taxes (in one of the fuckhead states where they didn’t expand Medicare), you still have to pay the fine via a return? (I ask because I read in several places that there wasn’t any penalty for not paying the fine.)

  44. 44
    Belafon says:

    @JustRuss: That’s why a lot of commercials running are having younger people say if you break a leg, you’ll be covered by getting the insurance.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @feebog:

    How much you want to bet that the 38% figure drops to 27% by March 31?

    What I’m betting is that the number of people who claim they won’t buy evil Obamacare insurance will wind up having little to do with the number of people who actually refuse to do it once the penalties go into effect. They’ll buy from insurers not on the exchanges, or buy from their state’s exchange and claim that it’s not really Obamacare, or flat out lie to pollsters and claim they aren’t buying insurance when they actually are- anything to avoid admitting that they’re benefiting from Obamacare.

  46. 46
    Stella says:

    Sadly, I know it is true. Some parents will do that. My own parents qualified for us to get free lunches back in the 79’s but my parents refused to “accept charity”. So I sometimes went without lunch. They never went without alcohol. It really sucked going without lunch. I remember hiding out and crying a few times. I really feel bad for the children who are going to go without proper medical care out of their parents spite towards the person they blame for offering it to them.

  47. 47
    amk says:

    @gussie:

    From

    http://obamacarefacts.com/obam.....andate.php

    Your tax penalty (shared responsibility fee) for not having insurance is paid on your taxes at the end of the year. If your taxable income is below 133% of the FPL you are exempt from this tax.

    2014 = $95 per person per year or 1% of your Income
    2015 = $325 per person per year or 2% of your Income
    2016 = $695 per person per year or 2.5% of your Income
    2017 = Tax Penalty will increase by the rate of inflation going forward, or 2.5% of your Income

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Helen:

    Um, they’re not “free riders”. They don’t have melanin surpluses. Therefore, they cannot, by definition, be “free riders.”

  49. 49
    TooManyJens says:

    How many of those 38% are poor people in states that didn’t expand Medicaid and fall into that hole where they can’t get either Medicaid or subsidies? They probably won’t actually owe the fine but may not know that.

    Also, what Roger Moore said @45.

  50. 50
    gussie says:

    @Belafon: No, didn’t miss it. There’s plenty of room, if I understand correctly, between “1% or $95” and the lowest Obamacare option, in states where they haven’t expanded Medicare. If I’m making $18k or $22k, in a state the fucks the poor, paying $220 a year as a fine might make sense. (Until the fine rises, as amk says.) I’m just not entirely convinced that some of these people aren’t free riding despite supporting Obamacare, simply because it makes financial sense right now. There were times when I was broke enough that I’d have done that. Again, if I lived in a state that opened a ‘Medicare gap.’

  51. 51
    NobodySpecial says:

    I’m going to be the contrarian here, and say that I’m realistically thinking about taking the fine for one year, and not for political reasons.

    No, my reason is that my money is about to get a LOT tighter than it is right now due to hours being cut, and none of my bills are disappearing anytime soon. Add on to that the fact that where I’m at and with what I currently make, subsidies are more of a running gag than an actual help ($33/month just isn’t doing much, sorry) and the plans I’ve seemed to be stuck with from the feds are running over $200/month for a Bronze with a significant deductible.

    I’m heading in this month to double check with the hospital/ACA helpers to see if I’ve missed anything and I may head to a private insurance agent to triple check. I probably won’t be making that last decision until right before the deadline, but it might be worth the tax hassle to wait one year on signing up, possibly clearing off a couple of bills by 2014 and making some wiggle room. I’d rather not do that if I don’t have to, of course, but I may not have much of a choice.

  52. 52
    EconWatcher says:

    You can’t really call 38% of the population a “fringe.” We may not like it, but it’s plainly a mainstream opinion, if it commands that percentage of the population.

    We need to work on that. But pretending it’s just a few whackos hardly helps. We’re the reality guys.

  53. 53
    Chris T. says:

    @Helen: Perhaps try this on them… “Oh, yeah, those Welfare Queens! Why, I was at the emergency room the other day after little Timmy fell down a well, and there were a couple of welfare queens in front of me in admitting! They expected me to pay for their health care, instead of getting insured under ACA like a responsible adult! By the way, did you sign up for health insurance? Or are you one of those welfare queens too?”

  54. 54
    Helen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You know, I was going to add something like that that to my post. They honest to FSM believe that “the blacks get way more than me” And when you point out everything they’re getting, they “deserve” it. One person to whom I showed the true value of the goods and services she was receiving from the government just laughed and said “Good, I’m getting more than the blacks”

    I am trying desperately to take the Driftglass approach. NOTHING is going to change their minds, so do not bother engaging them. But it’s hard, cuz they drive me crazy.

  55. 55
    PurpleGirl says:

    @JustRuss: Right, no one plans on breaking their leg or arm or having a herniated disk. But since you don’t know when that car will hit you or whatever could happens, happens you are better off knowing how you’ll handle a medical crisis.

  56. 56
    EconWatcher says:

    @Stella:

    That’s a horrible story. Sorry. When I look at my little guys, I often think of how many kids just like them aren’t getting enough food or other things they need. I sure as hell would “accept charity” before letting them go hungry, if it ever came to that.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JustRuss:

    If you’re young and healthy and a man and poor, a couple hundred bucks fine vs. a couple thousand for insurance doesn’t sound so bad.

    Just saying, having birth control included in the price of the insurance (aka “free”) is going to be a big draw for young, healthy, poor women, especially when they realize that their annual exam and Pap smear is also included in the price. Adding all of that stuff together is going to add up to more than a few hundred bucks when you have to pay it out of pocket.

  58. 58
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Who or what is Scaccia?

    #Bqhatevwr

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Ask the healthcare navigator, but there may be a provision that if your hours get cut, you can re-apply to the exchanges and get a better subsidy than you’re eligible for with last year’s wages.

  60. 60
    PurpleGirl says:

    @artem1s: Correction: MEDICARE. They wanted the government out of their MEDICARE. Frankly they don’t mind the government regulating Medicaid, because those poors don’t deserve medical care. But their MEDICARE is completely different. They are two separate and distinct programs. Please people, get it straight which program you talk about, it’s important.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @EconWatcher:

    It’s not 38% of the population as a whole. It’s 38% of people who are currently uninsured — the best estimate I’ve seen of that was that there are about 40 million uninsured in the US. So it’s 38% of 40 million, not 38% of 315 million.

    ETA: However, I do think that some percentage of that 38% are the wait-and-see late adopters who probably still carry flip phones. They want to see how this whole “Obamacare” thing shakes out before they take the plunge.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OT from Noisemax:

    Issa: Politics ‘Infects’ DOJ’s IRS Probe

    It’s always projection with these assholes. Always.

  63. 63
    gussie says:

    @NobodySpecial: That’s what I was trying to say. Sorry to hear you’re in the position for real, though.

  64. 64
    MikeJ says:

    @Roger Moore:

    What I’m betting is that the number of people who claim they won’t buy evil Obamacare insurance will wind up having little to do with the number of people who actually refuse to do it once the penalties go into effect.

    Penalties come out of your income tax refund. How many of the stupid will be able to connect the dots between their actions and the consequences?

  65. 65
    NonyNony says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s not 38% of the population as a whole. It’s 38% of people who are currently uninsured — the best estimate I’ve seen of that was that there are about 40 million uninsured in the US. So it’s 38% of 40 million, not 38% of 315 million.

    Also it’s 38% of people who are currently uninsured as of when Gallup did the polling last week. And it’s unclear, but it appears to be that if you’ve arranged to get insurance but haven’t started making payments on it yet you don’t count as “uninsured” for purposes of the survey.

    This also means that, as stated above, you need to take claims that health care reform is “growing in unpopularity among the uninsured” with large grains of salt. Because people in that group who like it will not stay in that group if they can get out, which will eventually leave only the bitter die-hard haters behind. Expect Megan McArdle (or another right-wing idiot who knows just enough math to make giant mistakes in reading statistics) to use the growth of this statistic and her calculator to make some kind of point that she will eventually have to retract because statistics boggle her completely.

  66. 66
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    I’m betting when a goodly number of those 38 percenters got home and announced that they’d told the pollster they’d pay the fine rather than get insured, their spouses said “like hell we are.”

  67. 67
    cckids says:

    @Helen:

    What is the outcome now that they are just paying the fine? Is it different than before the ACA? If they are in a car accident and go to the hospital how are they going to be forced to pay, or are they?

    Even with EMTALA, you are “forced to pay” NOW. Just because the hospital has to (minimally) treat you does NOT mean they won’t bill you & come after you with collection agencies, garnishments, etc, if you don’t pay. This is why people self-treat (hi, John), with ice or veggies, why they use Steri-Strips & super glue instead of getting stitches, why they sit at home with a neti pot & a thermometer & hope against hope that the f*cking bug goes away without antibiotics. This is what the ACA is supposed to help with.

    Required care does not equal free care. That is a right-wing canard that sets my teeth on edge.

  68. 68
    Cervantes says:

    @Stella: Glad you made it out of there alive. Thanks for sharing your story.

  69. 69
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Timothy Egan at NYT provides some numbers from Cathy McMorris’ home district, where the federal gov’t is the largest employer:

    In Spokane County, the most populous in the Fifth Congressional District with nearly half a million people, the rate of participation in the new health care law is even well above the state average. At the end of December, signups were 102 percent of the state target. That’s saying something, because Washington, with a big range of insurance choices and a well-run exchange, has been one of the nation’s success stories for the Affordable Care Act.
    Ignoring what her own neighbors are doing, McMorris Rodgers said on Tuesday that new health care law “is not working.” But if that’s the case, why have nearly one in 12 people in her home county signed up for expanded Medicaid coverage or new private health insurance?

  70. 70
    NobodySpecial says:

    @gussie: It’s probably not as uncommon as we’d like to think, coming off of a really big recession.

  71. 71
    Karen in GA says:

    @Stella: That sucks. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

    I know someone who was talking admirably about people staying off welfare, saying they were setting a good example for their kids. I asked, “So making their kids go to bed hungry makes them good parents? I’d say choosing your own pride over your kids’ well-being makes you a bad parent.”

    He changed the subject right quick.

  72. 72
    NonyNony says:

    @MikeJ:

    How many of the stupid will be able to connect the dots between their actions and the consequences?

    “That damn Obama raised my taxes!” is about where the dots will connect.

  73. 73
    Marmot says:

    All I see is mcjoan’s claim that this 38% of the uninsured are staying that way out of spite.

    Is there some other reason to think this? She’s not very reliable.

  74. 74
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: What is wrong with McMorris? She appears to be an intelligent person but has to have a total lack of empathy. There are a lot of people that want to pay more taxes and pull themselves up by the bootstraps but the system is rigged against them.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Bokonon says:

    No surprise. The GOP and its affiliates have been very actively and aggressively encouraging people not to enroll – through a multi-headed media campaign that focuses on different age and demographic groups. The attacks are both sophisticated and coordinated, and they are synched with the larger political attack on Obamacare’s legitimacy (over contraception, over tyranny, over data privacy, over … everything). One of the nastiest and most targeted is an effort to encourage 20 somethings to blow off healthcare and refuse to register for Obamacare (roll the dice! who needs this health insurance garbage anyway!)

    And these efforts are working, to some extent. Just watch television and surf the net for a few days, and count the news stories and ads. They just aren’t producing the huge “FAIL” of the program that they were designed to do.

  77. 77
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @JPL: Like Paul Ryan, she’s an ant-government zealot who has been in the employ of the federal government for all of her adult life, a high school stint at McDonalds’ constituting the bulk of her “private sector” experience.

  78. 78
    Belafon says:

    @Bokonon: I don’t think they are working all that well. The kinds of people not joining were probably just looking for an excuse. Now they can say “My congressman told me it was OK.” Then they’ll blame Obama for the hospital bill.

  79. 79
    monkeyfister says:

    “Because, you see, placing yourself at risk of financial ruin, severe disability, or even death is totally worth it…”

    … when disaster strikes, and you are able to shout “Thanks Obummer!!!” to a Fox News reporter.

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bokonon:

    Somebody in a thread below heard about the new OBAMACARE SUX! meme on the right, which is that Seattle Children’s Hospital is only in a few of the networks on the Washington state exchange.

    Funny how the Magical Free Market is the bestest thing ever until the right-wingers get screwed by it, which is when they start screaming for the government to protect them.

  81. 81
    Culture of Truth says:

    Agree with other posters that not all these people are nuts. They may not fully understand the law, or believe understandably that you can “choose” to either buy insurance or pay the fine, but either way you now have some basic coverage or immunity from bankruptcy should an emergency arise. Or they plan on gambling they will not need insurance, being healthy, and would rather pay a small fine.

    From my brief conversations my impression is the fine is merely an attention getting stick (with coverage being a carrot) that may not be imposed, but does increase over the years, and is not part of a choice as to which to pay while getting covered, the fine or the monthly plan cost.

  82. 82
    jharp says:

    @Stella:

    “I really feel bad for the children who are going to go without proper medical care out of their parents spite towards the person they blame for offering it to them.”

    My daughter’s friend is one of them. Their household income to qualify for the Healthy Indiana Plan ($20,500 for a family of 3) and she makes too little to qualify for subsidies. ($8,000 annually) Thus her insurance would be $3,100 a year. Unaffordable on an $8,000 income.

    If her income would go up to $20,000 her insurance would be $1,000 a year.

    Oh and did I mention she is still paying off bills from previous emergency room visits?

    And all 3 of them are Romney voters.

  83. 83
    jharp says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    So what if you get sick or have an accident?

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jharp:

    My daughter’s friend is one of them. Their household income to qualify for the Healthy Indiana Plan ($20,500 for a family of 3) and she makes too little to qualify for subsidies. ($8,000 annually) Thus her insurance would be $3,100 a year. Unaffordable on an $8,000 income.

    I’m confused by your anecdote — don’t her kids qualify for SCHIP? Is she refusing to sign them up for it? Or is it three adults in her family, not three kids?

  85. 85
    Bokonon says:

    @Belafon: And that’s part of the long-term strategy too. EVERYTHING bad that happens gets laid at Obama’s door. And the GOP is posing as the populists – who are going to save you from budget cuts, overseas wars, government surveillance, drones, and a sucky economy. Even when the GOP are very plainly the actual architects of the problem (like – shutting the government down over and over). Thanks, Obama!!!

    The entire strategy depends on deception and stupidity. But it really does seem to fool people, and get legs in popular culture.

  86. 86
    jharp says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    3 adults.

  87. 87
    Big R says:

    @NobodySpecial: I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do this, but bankruptcy may help by getting your payments down to something more manageable. I’ve advised clients to do a Chapter 13 because during the five years you’re in the plan, all your creditors take from the same payment – and if you have lots of different creditors, you can save yourself some serious bank during the plan pendency. It at least buys you some breathing space, even if your debts are non-dischargeable or you don’t want a discharge (like student loans or a mortgage).

  88. 88
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “But there are many more who are doing so to spite the president.”

    A President who has excellent healthcare and who will be leaving office in 3 years (and be covered for life, I should add). Such smart people.

  89. 89
    aimai says:

    Wait, isn’t the Indiana story one of a refusal to accept the medicaid expansion? Otherwise you can’t “make too little” to get subsidies because you don’t have to worry about that–you just get on Medicaid. This isn’t even a drafting flaw of Obamacare–isn’t this because Indiana refused to cover people like your sister under Medicaid?

  90. 90
    monkeyfister says:

    @jharp: I am not worrying my head about Teahadists de-populating themselves. I encourage it. More power to them and their foolish errand.

  91. 91
    catclub says:

    I was surprised that the GOP has bothered to come up with its own plan. Because it can be used,
    point by point, to compare the present Obamacare feature with the less generous similar feature in its plan.

    The result is people know more about the features of O’care that they will like. Own goal by the GOP smart guys.

  92. 92
    jharp says:

    @aimai:

    Yes it is about Indiana not expanding Medicaid. If she lived in Kentucky, Ohio, or Illinois she would right now have full coverage at no cost to Indiana taxpayers.

    Instead she goes without insurance and she uses the emergency room and the taxpayers of Indiana pay her bills.

    Good thinking Governor Pence.

  93. 93
    jharp says:

    @monkeyfister:

    Very soon we will start seeing examples of folks who went without insurance getting sick and going broke.

    I am 100% certain of it.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jharp:

    Ah, okay. There was a horror story the other day about a Texas woman who has a large ovarian cyst that needs to be removed, but she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid because Texas didn’t accept the expansion, so now she’s having to apply for charity care.

    I think there’s going to be more and more pressure on states with Republican governors to accept the goddamned Medicaid expansion already, because even the most teabaggy teabaggers in Texas seem to see how stupid it is to make someone search for charity care for an issue like that when it would cheaper for everyone to just make her eligible for Medicaid.

  95. 95
    Monala says:

    @JPL: @JPL: Not yet. There are people who will still be uninsured through no fault of their own – specifically, people in the Medicaid gap in states that chose not to expand coverage.

  96. 96
    monkeyfister says:

    @jharp: Sure. Again, I will not weep for them. Coupled with their ridiculous anti-vaccine campaign, they are just BEGGING for a vicious, cleansing plague to sweep their numbers into the dustbin of history. I cannot wait to witness it.

  97. 97
    Bokonon says:

    @jharp: The media would have to cover those stories for them to get circulation. And right now, the “OBAMA SUXXXXX” storyline is much more popular. And much better funded.

  98. 98
    🎂 Martin says:

    I propose a new bill that anyone who is unable to pay for medical care because they refused to insure, but had the means to do so, be deported to France.

    I think that would solve the problem.

  99. 99
    jharp says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “I think there’s going to be more and more pressure on states with Republican governors to accept the goddamned Medicaid expansion already”

    And there is going to be some ‘splaining to do.

    The GOP has painted themselves into a corner.

  100. 100
    Rob in CT says:

    Some of this is ignorance. That’s partly on the Administration and Dem allies. Obviously, it’s also got a lot to do with GOP misinformation.

    Some of this is short-sighted narrow self-interest (young & healthy, don’t wanna buy insurance).

    And a very little (but loud) bit of it is from those who really will pay more for similar coverage b/c they’re affluent but not in large group plans or somesuch.

    That’s how I see it. Not much can be done about the last one, but that’s fine. Things *can* be done about the first one. The middle one is trickier. It’s basically Mommy telling you that you really should brush your teeth/eat your veggies, and people react poorly to that.

  101. 101
    Roger Moore says:

    @🎂 Martin:

    I propose a new bill that anyone who is unable to pay for medical care because they refused to insure, but had the means to do so, be deported to France.

    Can we deport them to a libertarian paradise like Somalia instead?

  102. 102
    jon says:

    Solution: change bankruptcy laws to disallow the removal of health expense debts from those who chose not to be covered by insurance. No bailouts for those who choose to take that financial risk. None. It’s cruel, but it’s fair.

  103. 103
    Bokonon says:

    @Rob in CT: Yeah – but consider the millions and millions of dollars that have been spent on spreading the OBAMA SUXXXX stuff – plus the willingness of the mainstream media to report on the materials, story lines, and media personalities presented by Obamacare’s enemies. It drives me crazy that the Democrats aren’t more effective at getting their messages out – but it is hard to out-shout a coordinated and well-funded tsumami of BS that runs more or less 24/7 on television, on the radio, over the Internet, on social media …

  104. 104
    balconesfault says:

    For a lot it’s not ideological … it’s just ignorance. I have a friend who manages a Denny’s, and he says that when they brought their employees in to tell them they’d add them to a Denny’s program for x deduction from their paycheck, or that they could waive coverage, an awful lot just waived coverage. And those people won’t be going out to buy via the Obamacare website.

  105. 105
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Bokonon:

    The entire strategy depends on deception and stupidity. But it really does seem to fool people, and get legs in popular culture.

    A lot of the country gets their news from partisan sources like Fox News (either directly or indirectly), that when discussing anything that either has or could have a partisan divide, either very selectively present the facts or simply represent counterfactuals as truth (there is a shorter word for this). People who are apolitical, but who have political friends who are e.g. Fox News junkies, hear this stuff and absorb it. My wife, who is very liberal but not a news junky, immediately blamed Obamacare when she heard that my employer’s health plan’s deductible increased. She blamed Obamacare when my 88YO mother in law’s supplemental medicare plan (?) co-pay went up. (I didn’t follow the details). I never ever yell but these two misunderstandings got me ranting pretty loudly.
    Been toying for years with ways to get people to broaden their news feed. news.google.com (aggregator) is pretty good for print. Another is to gently ask people what sorts of advertisements they are seeing on their favorite new channels; what types of products and services are being advertised? Ask whether they think they are in the target demographic. Suggest CNN international, or aljazeera, or whatever.

  106. 106
    Roger Moore says:

    @jon:
    I have an even better idea: let’s try using this as an excuse to make health care better instead of screwing people over. Instead of punishing people for not having coverage, we can try to make it impossible for them not to have coverage by pushing for single payer or NHS-type healthcare. Don’t be vindictive; instead, push for solutions that actually solve problems.

  107. 107
    Mike G says:

    @jharp:

    And all 3 of them are Romney voters.

    Republicans’ paraphrashing of Republican Jesus: “OK, everybody stay stupid until I get back”.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @balconesfault:

    Depending on what state you’re in, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of those employees now qualify for Medicaid, which (again, depending on the state) they’ll discover next time they go to the ER with the flu and are automatically signed up.

    If you’re in a state with a Republican governor, they’re probably screwed.

  109. 109
    Steve Crickmore says:

    Of course, Obama repeatably in 2007 and 2008, opposed individual mandates, as a solution; indeed, it was a hallmark of his presidential campaign that the federal govenrnment shouldn’t have the power to force citizens to buy health insurance, by imposing a financial penalty if they failed to.

  110. 110
    jon says:

    @Roger Moore: Some people don’t want solutions “shoved down their throats” (as they oh-so-often put it,) and I am willing to accept their choice, especially since improving the system seems to be a task the GOP will not allow.

    In the meantime, let them not eat their cake and choke on it, too.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Good thing nothing else happened between 2007 and 2014, like the law actually being negotiated and passed or anything.

    Conservative Temporal Disorder strikes again — if something happened seven years ago, it’s exactly the same today! I never change my mind between Monday and Friday, no matter what happened on Wednesday!

  112. 112
    Steve Crickmore says:

    Obama changed his mind in 2009 because he was pressured into it , by other Democrats and the CBO. Nobody accused him of having Conservative Temporal Disorder.
    <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/onlin.....-mind.html“> This memo makes clear that the Obama White House remained skeptical of the mandate as late as the spring of 2009.

    !’m still skeptical of it, and think at universal single-payer is the only sensible alternative, to forcing everyone to sign up to health care from private heath insurance companies that are only interested in giving as little health care value as possible for their customer’s premiums..

  113. 113
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Conservative Temporal Disorder Obama Derangement Syndrome strikes again

    FTFY.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Obama changed his mind in 2009 because he was pressured into it , by other Democrats and the CBO.

    You mean that he was presented with new evidence and changed his mind? That monster!

    Nobody accused him of having Conservative Temporal Disorder.

    That’s because Conservative Temporal Disorder is refusing to change one’s mind despite the evidence that arises after your mind is first made up. Since Obama did, in fact, change his mind, it doesn’t apply.

    @Roger Moore:

    I think you’re right, ODS may be the more likely explanation here. Obama changed his mind in response to new evidence given to him by the CBO — how dare he!

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    !’m still skeptical of it, and think at universal single-payer is the only sensible alternative, to forcing everyone to sign up to health care from private heath insurance companies that are only interested in giving as little health care value as possible for their customer’s premiums.

    I will give you the same challenge I give everyone else: name a country that switched from a for-profit, private payer system to a single-payer system with a single piece of legislation. Great Britain didn’t do it. Canada didn’t do it. South Korea’s switch was considered almost a miracle because they did it in a mere 15 years, unlike other countries who needed 30 years to make the transition.

    We have taken the first baby step towards single payer, and you’re complaining that the baby isn’t running a marathon yet.

  116. 116
    jharp says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “I give everyone else: name a country that switched from a for-profit, private payer system to a single-payer system with a single piece of legislation.”

    The Dutch went from a single payer to the ObamaCare model.

    For now I am very comfortable with trying ObamaCare for a few years. Let’s see what some of the states can come up with.

    The way I see we have socialized medicine at the VA, single payer for the poor and elderly, and private insurance for the rest of us.

    May the best man win.

  117. 117
    jonas says:

    Color me shocked if less than ninety percent of these political holdouts get insurance and move on with their life before the next Congress takes office.

    And then see how sanguine they are when their Congressman votes to take it away or eliminate their subsidy or something.

  118. 118
    jharp says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And the right wing nut jobs are actually proud of never changing their minds no matter what new evidence arises.

    I think they learned it from Rush. It is weak to change your mind.

  119. 119

    Spoilerific review of last week’s Downton Abbey.

  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jharp:

    I honestly, truly believe that PPACA is written in such a way as to start driving for-profit insurers out of the market in the next decade. If we can prevent the right wing from fucking around with it too much and maybe even improve those regulations and price controls, it could be all non-profits in the market. And once that happens, it’s a small step to a single-payer system like, say, France has, where the providers are private but are paid by the government.

  121. 121
    jharp says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Maybe so. I have long been a fan of single payer but having just a few doubts about it. Mainly because of the Dutch and yes France. And doesn’t Germany also have a system of like 3 very large and heavily regulated private insurers? And it too works.

    My biggest hope is the debate becomes reasonable and the utter nonsense and total bullshit ceases.

    What do you suppose the chance of that are?

  122. 122
    Steve Crickmore says:

    We are running circles, here but my philosphical point is if private health care insurance is so essential and vital as you Tim, the other posters, and the new Obama insist, why not have at least a public option, why forcé people into this broken private racket, especially if they are being compelled to subdize those who are more prone to illness. who actually use the healthcare system, or the private health insurance company millionaire CEO salaries?

  123. 123
    David M says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    why forcé people into [the health insurance market], especially if they are being compelled to subdize the more ill prone who actually use the healthcare system

    That’s how all health insurance works, whether it’s through the private market, public option or single payer.

  124. 124
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Steve Crickmore: why not have at least a public option

    Sounds good. Why don’t you call Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, just for starters, and ask them. When they each give you a satisfactory answer, come and share them with us.

  125. 125
    Karen in GA says:

    A late return to this thread, but I just had a Facebook conversation with someone who’s normally a crazed right-winger, but who I think would want coverage under the ACA if he could afford it. The trouble is, he’s a smoker in a state where they’re allowing insurers to charge the maximum 50% surcharge on top of the premium. (The subsidy won’t go towards the smoker surcharge.)

    As crazed as he is about a lot of things, he’s been pretty open to discussion about the ACA since it went into effect and it became obvious that his side was going to lose the fight against it.

    So anyway, he’s one of the people choosing to go without coverage and pay the fine.

    I asked him just for the hell of it to see if any of the available insurance plans offered a break on the premium if he enrolled in a smoking cessation plan. I also asked him to look and see what his premium would be if he didn’t smoke. Maybe that’ll give him incentive to quit. But I know as an ex-smoker that someone telling you to quit, and even offering incentives, often doesn’t work — no matter how much better off you’d be. And yeah, I know smokers rack up higher medical costs, so it’s only fair, etc. But just politically, it’s a shame — I think the ACA could have planted a seed of doubt in his mind about whether Republicans are really better than Democrats.

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    You do realize that even if a single payer system magically sprung up tomorrow, there would be a mandate that everyone would have to join it and pay extra taxes towards it, right? Even if they’re perfectly healthy at the moment the system springs up? You can’t have any kind of universal healthcare system unless it’s required that everyone participate.

  127. 127
    David M says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    my philosphical point is if private health care insurance is so essential and vital as you Tim, the other posters, and the new Obama insist

    I think you’re treating their recognition of the political realities as their preferred policies.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karen in GA:

    The trouble is, he’s a smoker in a state where they’re allowing insurers to charge the maximum 50% surcharge on top of the premium.

    Can I ask what state he’s in, or if you don’t want to say that, whether it’s one of the states with its own exchange and/or that accepted the Medicaid expansion? Because, as with so many of these stories, I strongly suspect that he’s being fucked over on the state level and being told it’s the fault of “Obamacare.”

  129. 129
    EriktheRed says:

    Just so y’all know, the story on “Bette” has grown legs and his spreading all over the intertubes. The Dems have even brought it up publicly.

  130. 130
    Someguy says:

    What makes the 38% who won’t go government plan the same people as the 38% of conservative bitter enders in the general public?

    I’m sure there’s overlap but I’m not sure they’re exactly the same people.

  131. 131
    Karen in GA says:

    @Mnemosyne: He’s in — wait for it — Florida.

    Surprisingly enough, he’s not really going off on rants about Obama with this. He’s complained that the ACA isn’t helpful for a lot of people, and I haven’t really fought him on that. He’s right, there are people not getting coverage right now, and the law doesn’t or can’t help — whether it’s expensive smoker surcharges or governors refusing Medicaid expansion. But he’s also not fighting me when I point out the ways that that the law is helpful for a lot of other people, and how some states are giving breaks on the smoker surcharge, but unfortunately his state isn’t one of them. I think he views it as a shame it’s not helping him, rather than an “outrage!! OBUMMER!!! CAPS LOCK!!!!!!” etc.

  132. 132
    jharp says:

    @EriktheRed:

    I phoned Rogers office and asked how she could lie to 300 million American’s and when did she plan on making right?

    The excuse was that someone gave her some bad information.

    Too busy to have a staffer or 2 check out her story? And no help from the RNC to make sure she is truthful?

    Yeah right. And she calls herself a Christian.

    These clowns are even close to getting it right.

  133. 133
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Mnemosyne: Yes, that would be interesting but I am not sure how much public income taxes would go up, (if some controls and rationing were also done)? Canada pays a little less than the US in taxes per capita, towards its universal heath care because medicare, their single payer plan has much less overhead, the provinces negotiate directy their own doctors and with us drug companies etc. . Approximately 95% percent of heath care costs are paid by the provinces and federal government. A few rich Canadians still use private health care insurance or pay out of pocket for private doctors not publicly reimbursed
    . In the US, federal, state, and local taxpayers already pay almost 60% of overall health care costs from taxes, but more per capita than Canada, even though they don’t have a universal single payer plan.

  134. 134
    g says:

    @Steve Crickmore: Someone doesn’t understand how laws get made and passed.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karen in GA:

    I am shocked, shocked to find out that he lives in a state that decided to deliberately screw its citizens. Shocked, I say.

    Since they have a gubernatorial election next year, this might be a good time to start talking about how that jerk Rick Scott screwed him and maybe he should give Charlie Crist a try since he loves bidness but also wants to expand Medicaid and do other things so Floridians can have better insurance. A little grumbling about how Crist is really a Republican in disguise may go further than you think. ;-)

  136. 136
    EriktheRed says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Good point, but I was wondering if you’re the same Mnemosyne I saw commenting on the story from the Spokane paper’s website?

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @EriktheRed:

    It may have been — was I saying that I shouldn’t have to pay for some dude’s prostate cancer?

    But we Mnemosyne are legion (it’s a surprisingly popular nym), so it may have been one of the many others.

  138. 138
    EriktheRed says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes you were and a bunch of other Lib posters didn’t realize you were responding to a wingnut and attacked you for it because they thought you were making his point.

    I defended you,though.

    :)

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @EriktheRed:

    Oh, geez. Now I’m going to have a bunch of crap in Disqus to wade through.

    But, seriously, did no one get that I was pointing out that men constantly complain about paying for women’s healthcare when women already have to pay for men’s healthcare?

  140. 140
    EriktheRed says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not at first, anyway.

    Btw, they closed down commments for that story.

  141. 141
    Betsy says:

    @Mnemosyne: yeah. Most young women have been seeing a gyno since they were 16 or 17, and are actively involved in the health care aystem at some level — pap smears, BC pills, or just knowing ore about theor bodies because our bodies remind us every four weeks.

    Whereas most men under 25 haven’t been to a doc since Mommy last took them to the pediatrician.

    I think our “freedumb holdouts” are going to be overwhelmingly male.

  142. 142
    Sondra says:

    @MattF:

    “At least once a day I hear another story that makes me wish that stupid was painful.”

    Wouldn’t it be fun if every time one of these dingbats says something stupid we could also see them clutch their cheeks in pain as if some invisible force had slapped them?

    I’m going to keep that image in my mind whenever I see one of them on my teevee talking smack about Obamacare. Or, better yet, maybe I’m going to picture them with something really painful, like hemorroids.

  143. 143
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’m not convinced this 38% of uninsured represents any kind of conservative fringe. The most hardcore of the conservative fringe are already Medicare recipients.

    Most likely, they’re financially-struggling people who either haven’t looked into the whole thing yet and find it scarily complicated, or who genuinely are in a position where they can’t afford the coverage the ACA offers, either because they’re in the Medicaid-expansion hole or the family-coverage-classification hole or because they’re just not quite poor enough to get a subsidy. Some of these people may not actually be subject to the fine, but the question may not have asked about that and they may well not know.

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