Writes Jonathan Chait in a New York Magazine piece titled "Why Letting Everyone Keep Their Health-Care Plan Is a Terrible Idea."
Chait concedes that Obama et al. lied when they promised that people could keep their plans if they like them, but wants us to look separately at whether those who had and wanted to keep their low-cost, low-coverage plans should feel that's it's unfair not to be able to have plans like that. Can you separate these 2 things? I have 2 problems with separating these 2 things.
1. If, at the time, Obama et al. had said "If you have a low-cost, low-coverage plan, you'll be forced to buy a much more expensive plan," then the political dynamic would have been different, and Obamacare would almost surely not have passed. A political argument premised on the unfairness of having a plan like that was never attempted, so that's one sign that the unfairness argument isn't too persuasive.
2. Even now, some Obamacare proponents seem to be suggesting that the words "if you like your plan, you can keep it" ought to be interpreted in a deviously subtle way where liking your plan doesn't depend on what individuals with plans consciously feel that they like. The government's sophisticated assessment of what you should want is a truer of test of what you, at a deep level, like. Voila! Lie erased! No means yes!
But I'll nevertheless play Chait's game. Let's just look at whether it's fair for someone to want to buy low-cost insurance that doesn't cover a lot of day-to-day ordinary expenses and that has a high deductible. This person, who Chait thinks is asking for too much, is betting on his continued good health, willing to pay out-of-pocket for routine health things (just as he pays out-of-pocket for food, shelter, and clothing), and uses insurance as a backup in case something big happens. He only wants "catastrophic" coverage.
Now, go back to that quote I used for the post title, and you should see that it doesn't fit: "If you believe the healthy are entitled to keep the financial benefits of their good health, then you must also believe the sick must be denied medical care." Our low-cost insurance-buyer wasn't free-loading! He was making a rational decision that did not unfairly rely on society's unwillingness to deny medical care to the sick. He opted not to pool his money with others for the day-to-day expenses that he incurs before anything big happens. What he declined to do was subsidize other people's routine health care. And he had insurance to cover him if something really expensive comes up.
Isn't it bad enough that this person was egregiously lied to?! You have to also brand him as a taker?!