The ‘Obamacare worm’ infests another family with chronically ill children

Obamacare wormThe title phrase in quotes is lifted from a blog post by New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman headlined “The Obamacare Worm Turns.” In it, the Nobel prize-winning economist cum liberal pundit writes triumphally that the mood of the nation is slowly lifting as the “facts on the ground” vis-à-vis Obamacare gradually improve.

Ditto, he says, for media coverage, which is “still mostly trying for equivalence — each positive story of people being helped matched by a negative story of people hurt.” [Emphasis added]

Krugman goes on to describe a typical loser under Obamacare as “a guy who admits that Obamacare has gotten him a plan cheaper than the insurance he had, but who has found that his current allergist is off-network.” That Krugman could write such a thing betrays an uncommon degree of denial. He seems blissfully ignorant of narrative of families like the Alfords, whose two children were born with a rare and deadly cancer and whose coverage was canceled because of the Affordable Care Act.

Or like Pattie Curran, a North Carolina mom of two gravely ill children whose uphill health and financial struggles under Obamacare are chronicled by Weasel Zippers and in the video found on this page. In a nutshell:

  • Curran’s deductible has risen from $50 pre-ACA to $1,200 post-ACA.
  • Her premiums under Obamacare have increased $1,528.
  • Her copays on prescriptions medications, including special blood products, have doubled from $4000 to $5000 per year to $10,000.
  • Equipment needed by her children, including pumps, catheters, needles, tubing, and so on now have a “medical device tax” on them.

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But even if the example Krugman presents were truly typical, it’s difficult to see where this represents “equivalence” in the debate on the ACA’s merits. Maybe there was a speech by Barack Obama in which he spoke candidly about losers under his health care law, but if there was I missed it. The entire notion of “losers” under a law is reminiscent of the cold and conscienceless calculus used in wartime, where civilian casualties are euphemized as “collateral damage.”

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