Give us Your Young, Uninsured (and Dying to be Rooked)
I was lingering over my breakfast coffee thinking how the latest revelation about ObamaCare would be treated by a press that saw every Halliburton contract as a direct Ka-Ching into Vice-President Cheney's pocket though he was long gone from that company. The failures of the Obamacare website came just days after its launch and after '"top White House officials were excitedly briefing lawmakers, reporters, Capitol Hill staff members and Washington pundits" about the "shiny new Web site that was elegantly designed, simple to use and ready."
It turns out the $678 million dollars spent on this mess was spent on a no-bid contract to CGI Federal, which, as the Daily Caller reported, is the company where Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton classmate of Michelle Obama, is a senior vice-president. Both women are members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni, Of course, I searched in vain for anything in the Washington Post about this development.
I could find a report noting that most of those who had enrolled were merely signing up for the federal Medicaid program. In Oregon 52 thousand people enrolled through the website, 100 percent of them for the Medicaid program, none for personal insurance.
The increased enrollment thus will only add to our federal tax burden and will not diminish it. This at a time when welfare recipients already outnumber full-time year-round workers. How much longer China will fund the Ponzi scheme known as the federal government is anyone's guess.
As a friend (Danube of Thought) remarked rather acerbically:
Five years ago 85% of Americans had health insurance, and close to 90% of them were happy with what they had. Of the 15% who weren't insured, roughly half were quite happy with their circumstance: they could purchase insurance, but preferred to spend their money elsewhere.
So exactly whom does this Rube Goldbergian distortion-and-destruction machine benefit, and at what cost to whom? And why?
My thoughts were interrupted when the doorbell rang.
It was my young neighbor, Brent. He was, as usual, carrying a clipboard and his sweatshirt clued me in to the outfit he was soliciting for now, Friends of Invertebrates.
Brent is a nice, reasonably intelligent young man. He majored in Bhutanese (Dzongkha) at one of those expensive Northeastern liberal arts colleges. Upon graduation, he and his family were apparently surprised to learn his degree was not a gateway to a well-paying job so he continues to live with his parents, picking up odd jobs collecting door to door for various non-profits. (Like most of his age group around here, he'd rather not touch anything that makes money, it seems. He prefers "public interest" employment, which it seems me is begging for money from people who work for profit-making operations creating goods and services for which people are willing to pay.) I listened to his canned spiel on behalf of Friends of Invertebrates, politely declined to contribute, and as it was cold out, invited him in for coffee.
"I thought you had an office job these days. I remember your mom saying you were now out of the house on a regular schedule."
"I do," he said sadly, reaching for some cookies to go with the coffee. "But I don't think it'll last much longer. I was working for All Aboard Young America,"
"What's that?" I asked, the name being unfamiliar to me.
"It's an outfit made up of groups that supported Obamacare. We have the lists of people who worked for Obama for America, Organizing for Action, and Organizing for America. They paid us $48 per hour for contacting these young people to sign them up for Obamacare."
"That's a great salary. How did you land that as your first full time paying gig?"
"Well, I have high cheekbones, and I remembered we had a recipe for Indian style jerky in a family book so I figured I must be what they call Native American and said so. The healthcare law specifies that these 'navigators' must be attuned to the racial, ethnic and cultural sensitivities of 'underserved communities.' Anyway, no person calling himself a Native American applied around here so I go it. Melissa down the block once on a cruise ship that stopped off at the Trobriand Islands just before she applied and signed up as a person who came from the Trobriand Islands. Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill taught us how to play identity politics."
"What happened to make you so unhappy with such a well-paying gig?"
"I couldn't sign up anyone, got discouraged and, just between us, I don't think the job at All Aboard Young America will be around much longer. Most of the people I called said that they are staying on their parents' insurance until they are 26. Those who didn't figured out that the "fine" for not getting insurance is not really a fine. It's just that IRS will not return any tax refund. If they don't have jobs -- and most of those I called don't -- that's not a problem. If they do, they'll just avoid overpaying their federal taxes. If they really get sick they can sign up for health insurance then because there's no way to preclude someone with a pre-existing condition from getting new health insurance."
"Sounds terrible," I said, pouring more coffee. "You know the whole scheme depends on young, healthy people like you, paying more for your insurance to subsidize those who are older and sicker. And, of course, to make sure that even upper middle class kids like Sandra Fluke don't have to pay for contraception or abortion."
"Yes, even my parents are getting hit. Dad keeps muttering "they said, 'You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance plan; your premiums will be going down; it's going to save you, businesses and the government money.'" Dad lost his full time job because the company couldn't afford the health insurance payments for all its employees and simply decided to cut back on everyone's hours to avoid covering them and mom used to be covered on his but the company won't do that any more, and the pledge that I could stay covered until 26 is now meaningless. So while mom and dad had insurance, now all three of us have none "
"Is your mom looking for work?"
"She is, but no one's hiring."
"I did read that female employment was now at the lowest point in 24 years. Well, what do you plan to do if you get sick?"
"I think I'll just speak Bhutanese in the emergency room. It's true, citizens have to be insured, but you know the health care providers can't ask for proof of citizenship," he said, heading out the door.