Screw You. Mickey Kaus
Whom do I bill for the hours of work Obamacare forced me to perform? How about you, Mickey? You’re the smartest living liberal (faint praise), and you assured us that Obamacare was going to be: fantastic.
By now, Obama has issued “waivers” from Obamacare to about 99 percent of the country. (Perhaps you’ve heard, there’s a big midterm election this year.) As one of the few Americans not granted a waiver, I’m here to tell you: You have no idea what’s coming, America.
I thought I had figured out the best plan for me a month ago after having doctors and hospital administrators look at the packets of material I was sent by my old insurance company — the same mailing that informed me my old plan was “illegal” under Obamacare.
But when I checked online recently, I discovered the premier plan — the “platinum,” low-deductible, astronomically expensive plan that might be accepted by an English-speaking doctor who didn’t attend medical school in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts — does not include treatment at any decent hospitals.
That’s sort of unfortunate because THAT’S THE ONLY REASON I WANT INSURANCE! That’s the only reason any sane homo sapiens wants health insurance: to cover health care costs in the event of some catastrophic illness or accident — not to pay for Mickey Kaus’ allergy appointments. But my only options under the blue-chip plan were hospitals that also do shoe repair.
I called Blue Cross directly to ask if its most expensive insurance plan covered the only hospital I’d ever go to in an emergency. Since that’s all I wanted to know, that’s what I asked. (I like to get to the point that way.)
But — as happens whenever you try to ascertain the most basic information about insurance under Obamacare — the Blue Cross representative began hammering me with a battery of questions about myself.
First my name. (Does that make a difference to what hospitals its plans cover?) Then my phone number. By the time he got to my address, I said, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST TELL ME IF ANY OF YOUR PLANS COVER XYZ HOSPITAL? I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I WANT TO SIGN UP WITH YOU!
Finally, he admitted that Blue Cross’ most expensive individual insurance plan does not cover treatment at the hospitals I named. Their doctors are “out of network” (and the person who designed this plan is “out of his mind”).
This was the rest of the conversation, verbatim:
ME: None of your plans cover out-of-network doctors?
BLUE CROSS: No.
ME: Why is it called “Premier Guided Access WITH OUT-OF-NETWORK PLAN”?
BLUE CROSS: Where did you see that?
ME: On Blue Cross’ own material describing its plans.
BLUE CROSS: Oh. I don’t know why it’s called that.
ME: None of your plans cover (the good hospital)?
BLUE CROSS: No.
ME: I don’t know who you are, but I have a very specific set of skills that will help me find you. And when I find you, I am going to kill you. (Click.)
True conversation. Except the last sentence. That was my fantasy.
I decided to approach it from the opposite direction and called one of the nation’s leading hospitals to ask which plans it accepted. The woman listed a series of plans, but she couldn’t tell me if I was eligible for any of them. For that, she said, I’d have to go to the Obamacare website.
Does Obamacare cover suicide?
I went to “healthcare.gov” and — I guess I had heard this, but had blocked it from my memory like a rape victim unable to remember her attack — you can’t even peek at the available plans until you’ve given the government reams of personal information about yourself.
How about they let me look at the merchandise first?
Inasmuch as the cost of health insurance under Obamacare is so high that it will generally make more sense just to pay for your own catastrophic health emergencies, I was not interested in telling Kathleen Sebelius everything about me in order to have the privilege of glancing at the government’s crappy plans.
But that’s the only choice. As the Obamacare website directs:
(1) Create an account. (Name, password.)
(2) Tell us about yourself and your family. (Every single thing.)
(3) Choose a health insurance plan. (That’s where you finally get to see the plans.)
I wonder if other consumer-oriented businesses will start demanding names, addresses, passwords and phone numbers before the customer is allowed to browse the merchandise. Maybe Williams-Sonoma could pick up a few sales tricks from Ezekiel Emanuel!: Oh, you’d like to see the bronze muffin tin? Sure, but first I’ll need your Social Security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name. Sign here, here and here.
The main point of the Obamacare website is to encourage people other than me to get a government subsidy. There’s also a section helping you register to vote. You just can’t see the insurance plans. (Guess which one you need a government ID for?)
With zero help from the Obamacare website, I eventually figured out that there was one lone insurance plan that would cover treatment at a reputable hospital. The downside is, no doctors take it.
So my only two health insurance options — and yours, too, as soon as the waivers expire, America! — are: (1) a plan that no doctors take; or (2) a plan that no hospitals take. You either pay for all your doctor visits and tests yourself, or you pay for your cancer treatment yourself. And you pay through the nose in either case.
That’s not insurance! It’s a huge transfer of wealth from people who work for a living to those who don’t, accomplished by forcing the workers to buy insurance that’s not insurance. Obamacare has made actual health insurance “illegal.”
It’s not “insurance” when what I want to insure against isn’t covered, but paying for other people’s health care needs — defined broadly — is mandatory.
It’s as if you wanted to buy a car, so you paid for a Toyota — but then all you got was a 10-speed bike, with the rest of your purchase price going to buy cars, bikes and helmets for other people.
Or, more precisely, it would be like having the option of car insurance that covers either collisions or liability, but not both. Your car insurance premium would be gargantuan, because most of it would go to buy insurance, gas and air fresheners for other people in the plan.
If you have employer-provided health care, you may not have to make the 400 phone calls I had to, but the result will be the same: You’re not getting what is commonly known as “insurance.” You’re getting a massive bill to pay for other people’s chiropractors, marriage counselors, birth control pills, smoking cessation programs, “preventive care” appointments and pre-existing conditions.
Health insurance has been outlawed, replaced with a welfare program that has been renamed “insurance.”
When Matt Drudge decided he’d rather pay for his own health care, liberals hysterically denounced him for not buying an Obamacare transfer-the-wealth, fake “insurance” plan. It used to be shameful to be a public charge. Now it’s shameful to pay for yourself.
And it’s shameful to work for yourself. The self-employed are currently the only Americans subjected to Obamacare. (In a way, it’s lucky for the Democrats that there aren’t enough of us to hurt them in this year’s midterm elections!)
But we’re the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. You may have an employer-provided plan now, but the waivers can’t go on forever. If you live in America, your health insurance is going to disappear, too.
The government simply cannot force all insurance companies to give subsidized health care to a third of the country, to ignore the pre-existing health conditions of its customers, to pay for every little thing tangentially related to health — like smoking cessation programs, marital counseling and pediatric dental care — and also expect them to cover your cancer treatment.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been paying for insurance your whole adult life. That policy is now “illegal.”: Put your hands in the air, nice and easy, and step away from the policy …
You 99-percenters still unaffected by Obamacare will blithely go to the polls this November and vote on some teeny-tiny issue, completely unaware of the total destruction of health insurance in America. The waivers have worked.
Now we’ll have to wait 40 years for a future Mickey Kaus to come along and expose the disastrous consequences of this horrendous government program, just like the real Mickey Kaus did with welfare. But for now, I say: Screw you, Mickey Kaus.
With so many scandals going on, and so many Obama administration officials claiming so much ignorance, it really makes you
Thomas Sowell is not only one of the finest columnists in the business, he’s a prolific author, a brilliant economist,