The Death of Little Nell
Has there been a more heart-rending story recently than this piece from the New York Times? Oh, the humanity:
Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.
They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.
But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.
“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan.
As Oscar Wilde famously observed, "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing." But wait, it gets funnier.
In the real world, most cancellations up to this point have been of "bad apple" policies that fell short of Barrycare's lofty moral standards for acceptable coverage, including maternity benefits for menopausal women. But on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and similar precincts, the problem is the opposite. Their policies are plenty generous, but they have to die so as not to "siphon off" the healthy folks whose participation in the exchanges is vital to keeping the absurd scheme solvent. But hey, there's good news -- some of those artists and writers and doctors and lawyers may qualify for government subsidies!
But the real yuks in this piece are the quotes from rock-ribbed liberals who are suddenly rethinking their allegiance to Leftism now that it has real-world consequences:
It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people — liberal, concerned with social justice — who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.
It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in.
“We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. What to do has become a hot topic on Facebook and at dinner parties frequented by her fellow writers and artists.
“I’m for it,” she said. “But what is the reality of it?”