It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Loyal Democrats thought they could simply elect their progressive messiah and social justice would flood the land as sea levels dropped.
Everyone knew that the U.S. healthcare system was imperfect, so just let Obama make a few quick changes and, voilà, better care for less money! Sure the guy had never run so much as a county fair’s funnel cake concession, but how tough could healthcare reform be?
The president’s most ardent fans are now learning that magical thinking and good intentions don’t amount to much in the real world.
Take San Francisco architect Lee Hammack and his wife, JoEllen Brothers. The 60-ish couple describe themselves as “cradle Democrats” and have donated and volunteered for Obama’s OFA efforts. So it was quite the shock when Kaiser Permanente canceled their health insurance plan and offered a poorer version for twice the price.
“I work downstairs and my wife had a clear look of shock on her face,” he said. “Our first reaction was clearly there’s got to be some mistake. This was before the exchanges opened up. We quickly calmed down. We were confident that this would all be straightened out. But it wasn’t.”
“There’s an aspect of market disruption here that I think was not clear to people,” [Kaiser spokesman Chris] Stenrud acknowledged. “In many respects it has been theory rather than practice for the first three years of the law; folks are seeing the breadth of change that we’re talking about here.”
Massive governmental interference creates unintended consequences? Get out!
While other Democrats are seeing the light, Hammack has so far refused to let the scales fall from his eyes. At his current income, he doesn’t qualify for Obamacare subsidies… yet. He plans to lower his salary so that you and I can pay for his healthcare.
That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.
“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”
Mr. Hammack, Obama is the steward of the ACA. When you pass through denial and enter the anger phase, please remember this lesson at the voting booth.
What do you think: Will the real-world pain of Obamacare return some Democrats back to common sense, or will most stay put in the land of magical thinking?
Photo of JoEllen Brothers and Lee Hammack via ProPublica