28 February 2014

Diagnosis: Fear of Obamacare

News stories and political commercials have spotlighted some Americans complaining about changes in their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In nearly every case that’s been critically examined, however, those people have actually been suffering from fear of Obamacare.

Maggie Mahar at HealthInsurance.org looked into an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about four people who said they were worse off under the new law. Three of those people turned out to be active in the Tea Party. Their claims of not being able to find affordable insurance didn’t add up. Mahar concluded, “The paper describes them as among Obamacare’s ‘losers,’ but the truth is that they didn’t want to be winners. Two hadn’t even attempted to check prices in the exchanges.”

The same behavior showed up many other places. NBC and FOX News both featured Deborah Cavallaro and Richard Helgren complaining about their experiences with the new law. At the American Prospect, Paul Waldman checked Cavallero’s story and found that she (and the reporters who spoke to her) must not have tried her state exchange since it offered quite affordable insurance for someone in her situation.

As for Richard Helgren, buried inside the NBC report was this important fact: “Ultimately, though Helgren opted not to shop through the ACA exchanges, he was able to apply for a good plan with a slightly lower premium through an insurance agent.” Helgren probably had a very good insurance agent because he was in the insurance business, having retired as CFO of Michigan Hospital Association Insurance, which made its money selling medical malpractice insurance to hospitals and doctors.

NBC News also featured Greg Collett, who said he’d refuse to go along with the provisions of health insurance reform as a protest against government involvement in health care—while his ten children continue to receive care through Medicaid.

How many people suffer from fear of Obamacare? A recent poll in Arkansas offers some numbers for that state. A plurality of 48% of Arkansans supported the state’s “private option” for expanding Medicaid. However, only 35% of respondents supported the same plan when they were told it’s linked to the Affordable Care Act. That suggests that at least 13% of the population of Arkansas lives under the influence of fear of Obamacare.

Fear of Obamacare is so strong that it’s blocked a significant number of Americans from accepting options that would be more beneficial to them. It’s made them go on television to complain about problems they’ve chosen to perpetuate. It’s another form of OIP Derangement Syndrome.

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

The Detroit News reported on the case of Julie Boonstra, who made commercials about how her medical care for leukemia had become "unaffordable" under the new law. She was actually saving more than $1,000 under her new plan. Her response? “I personally do not believe that." That's OIP Derangement Syndrome in action.

Boonstra also said she had never been politically active before this campaign. She was married to a county chairman for the Republican Party.