Scott Lemieux is, correctly, pointing and laughing at Michael Cannon and the Cato Institute for their inability to find sympathetic plaintiffs for their bullshit argument that the Moops invaded Spain and therefore the Spanish now must learn to speak Moopish.
- The fact that former Cato interns wanted no part of the troofer lawsuit;
- The title implying that Politico hacked into Cannon’s email, rather than the massively more likely possibility that the email was provided by one of the recipients, or
- Cannon complaining about the Cato institute being described as “right-leaning.”
I’d say they’re all winners. Like any great comedy routine, the elements build on each other.
I was unfortunate enough to have known several CATO, AEI and Heritage Foundation interns during my undergraduate years. At first I was surprised that none of the younger siblings of those gliberterian fantasists would have signed on to the lawsuit, but then I remembered some more facts about the class of people who intern at right wing think tanks for fun and profit.
Those internships were either poorly paying or not paid at all with a requirement that the interns live in D.C. That means parental support was often needed. One of the interns I was acquainted with had a monthly allowance from her parents that was greater than the a semester’s tuition at a good state school. Furthermore, most interns that CATO was trying to recruit are under the age of 26. All of the interns that I knew had a serious and chronic pre-existing condition of either cranial rectal inversion or gaping rectum syndrome. Finally, they all knew how to cover their own ass.
PPACA’s provisions and exemptions took away most of the potential intern plaintiff pool. The combination of keeping young adults on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and cheap catastrophic plans for young adults removes most potential sympathetic plaintiffs from the pool.
A plaintiff for Cannon needed to live in a healthcare.gov state and make either more than 100% of Federal Poverty Line (FPL) in non-Expansion states or more than 138% FPL in Medicaid Expansion states, be without insurance, and have a minimally qualified health plan cost more than 8% of their income if there were no subsidies.
If Mommy and Daddy were picking up most of the cost of the internship for Fluffy and Muffy, F&M’s incomes would not meet thresholds as it would be in-family transfers, so they would be disqualified. If the intern came from a state exchange state, they would be disqualified. If Mommy and Daddy, who had sufficient resources to allow Fluffy and Muffy to be privileged assholes with no connection to reality, had employer sponsored health insurance, then the sprogs were being covered through their parents’ work.
So if Cannon could find an intern that came from a Healthcare.gov state that did not expand Medicaid who had an income over 100% FPL and who was not covered by their parents’ coverage, he still faced one more challenge. Individuals under the age of 30 qualified for cheap catastrophic coverage or cheap Bronze plans. An individual at 100% FPL plus a dollar would meet the threshold of 8% of income for unafforability without subsidies. That is a monthly premium of $77.50. I am seeing Catastrophic plans on Healthsherpa.com and Healthcare.gov in low cost regions for less than that. In mid-cost regions, catastrophic plans are slightly more than the threshold level for someone who makes exactly 100% FPL. For each $150 in annual income over 100% FPL, we add another dollar to the monthly premium threshold.
The ideal plaintiff for Cannon would have been a 20 year old make 101% of FPL from southwest Georgia who had no coverage from his parents and who was willing to be uninsured in order to prove an ideological point instead of spending $28 per month for enhanced cost-sharing assistance Silver plans or nothing for a Bronze plan and who does not want coverage for his pre-existing chronic condition of cranial rectal inversion.
Does that person exist? Yes…. he is just highly unlikely to be working at CATO when Cannon went trawling for plaintiffs.