Liberals slam NY Times op-ed contributor Lori Gottleib for daring to complain about Obamacare
Yesterday, I covered the story of Lori Gottleib, an editor for The Atlantic and a psychotherapist (and much more as we will see), who found that, because of Obamacare rules, her insurance was cancelled and she was going to pay $5400 more a year for less coverage and a higher deductible.
She bemoaned the fact that after posting about her dilemma on Facebook, her "friends" lit into her for being selfish and not recognizing the goodness of Obamacare.
If she thought her Facebook friends were hard on her, I wonder how she feels about being called a "liar," and worse by liberals reacting to her op-ed?
Booman headlies his post, "Another Obamacare Liar." Using some back of the envelope figuring, the blogger deduces that Gottleib is not telling the truth:
To try to get an idea of how much she will need to pay for insurance, I had to make a few assumptions. I assumed that she lives in Los Angeles County (since she used a Los Angeles byline), although she might not. And I don't know how many children she has, so I gave her two. Psychotherapists generally make a good living, but Ms. Gottlieb suggested that she narrowly exceeded the cut-off to be eligible for a subsidy. The cut-off for a family of three is $76,360 so I decided to be generous and assume she makes $80,000 a year. Using the Covered California shop and compare tool, the cheapest Bronze plan Ms. Gottlieb is eligible for will cost $426/mo (L.A. Care Covered Bronze 60).
What if she doesn't want the Bronze Plan? What if her insurance company was being accurate when she asked how much a similar plan as the one that was cancelled would cost on the exchanges (Silver or Gold)? What reason would the insurance company have in lying to her when, if she chose, she could go to the website and find out herself?
We don't know. But that doesn't stop Steve M., a blogger at No More Mr. Nice Blog, from speculating that Ms. Gottleib is actually a rich person in disguise and throws a lot of dirt in the reader's face trying to discredit her central point; that she will be paying more for less coverage under Obamacare:
Lori Gottlieb, the latest Obamacare complainant to take to the op-ed pages, is ... an interesting case. She describes herself as a 46-year-old single mother and a member of the "middle class." But "middle class" may not mean to her quite what it means to you.
When she was younger, Gottlieb attended medical school. She was also a writer; her first book, an anorexia memoir called Stick Figure, was published in 2000, but the movie rights had been purchased for six figures by Disney-Hyperion several years earlier. (Martin Scorsese's film company bought the rights.) Her 2011 advice book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough brought her a book advance "in the mid-six figures," and the movie rights were purchased by Tobey Maguire's film company.
Gottlieb also worked as a film and TV executive as well as a TV writer, and she's published dozens and dozens of newspaper and magazine pieces (for, among others, the L.A. Times, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, People, Glamour, Redbook, Elle, Seventeen, and Mademoiselle).
Marry Him was her biggest breakthrough; it got her a speaking gig at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Along the way she decided to switch careers and become a psychotherapist. When she discovered that clients weren't flocking to her -- fewer people pursue traditional psychotherapy these days -- she branched out and offered executive coaching, media consulting, and reproductive counseling. Oh, and she turned her career adjustment troubles into a New York Times Magazine feature story.
None of this reflects her financial situation as it is today. She may have lost a bundle in the stock market crash (another blogger unearthed an op-ed from 2000 where she celebrated how wealthy she was because she had enough money to invest in stocks and bonds). She also was involved in a failed website which could have siphoned off much of her wealth. Maybe she's a problem gambler or a coke fiend. The point being, just because she made a lot of money in years past, doesn't mean she's rich today.
But that's irrelevant to the effort to discredit her.
Paul Waldeman of the American Prospect calls her story "ridiculous":
How terribly smug, to think that the fate of millions of poor people who will now get insurance is as important as the suffering of this one person who might have to pay more for comprehensive coverage, and also happens to have access to The New York Times where she can air her grievances! If only it weren't so "trendy to cheer for the underdog."
It's one thing to feel your own problems more acutely than those of other people, even millions of other people, even many whose problems make yours look trivial by comparison. We all do that, and we could barely function if we didn't. It's quite another thing to expect that other people will see your problems as more important than those of millions. I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, and I'll admit that in the time since I've given more thought to my ankle's recovery than I have to the 660,000 people who die every year from malaria. But if I asked you why you aren't thinking more about my ankle than you are about malaria, you'd wonder if it was my brain that I had sprained.
I imagine that after her disappointment at the response to her Facebook post, Gottlieb will be even more disappointed with the response to her op-ed explaining her disappointment with the response to her Facebook post. So if she wants to feel better, the first thing she ought to do is go to the exchange and she what her options are. There's almost certainly something better than the plan her insurance company is trying to get her to buy. And then she can go to Facebook and ask her "friends" to celebrate her good fortune.
I was half kidding yesterday when I said about liberal reaction to her op-ed, "So get with the program and feel good about your sacrifices." Mr. Waldman isn't kidding. More to the point, he idiotically compares his own sprained ankle with the possible destruction of the Gottleib family finances and not being worthy of notice. And, the obligatory nod to thoise "millions of poor people" who now - or will when/if the website is fixed - have insurance compared to one, measley family's predicament illuminates the basic criticism of Gottleib's efforts to tell her story; shut up and sit down because you're better off than most.
We're used to liberals using anecdotal evidence to reveal the injustices of America. A poor family hurt by a cut in government spending or the victim of some corporate lout who takes advantage of them. But that same sort of anecdotal evidence to show the problems with Obamacare is considered gauche by the left.
In a sense, this is the problem for the ACA at the moment; we don't know how bad things truly are because all we have is anecdotal evidence; a horror story here and there. And the credibility of the Obama administration, who may or may not have a good handle on just how many people are being adversely affected by the law, has hit bottom and is continuing to dig. Would you believe anything coming from the administration about the deleterious effects of the ACA on how many millions of Americans? Given the president's own track record of truth on the matter, liberals and 5 year old children might, but not too many of the rest of us.
The left has chosen to believe that these mutterings from the hoi polloi (or even upper class Americans as Gottleib may be) are sour grapes from selfish people who can't see the ultimate good that Obamacare is bringing to us. But if losers far outnumber winners in this calculation - a distinct possibility - there is going to be political hell to pay for Demcorats and all the proclamations about the communitarian good that the ACA represents will be falling on deaf and uncaring ears.