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The ‘Obamacare worm’ infests another family with chronically ill children

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The title phrase in quotes is lifted from a blog post by New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman headlined “The Obamacare Worm Turns.” In it, the Nobel prize-winning economist cum liberal pundit writes triumphally that the mood of the nation is slowly lifting as the “facts on the ground” vis-à-vis Obamacare gradually improve.

Ditto, he says, for media coverage, which is “still mostly trying for equivalence — each positive story of people being helped matched by a negative story of people hurt.” [Emphasis added]

Krugman goes on to describe a typical loser under Obamacare as “a guy who admits that Obamacare has gotten him a plan cheaper than the insurance he had, but who has found that his current allergist is off-network.” That Krugman could write such a thing betrays an uncommon degree of denial. He seems blissfully ignorant of narrative of families like the Alfords, whose two children were born with a rare and deadly cancer and whose coverage was canceled because of the Affordable Care Act.

Or like Pattie Curran, a North Carolina mom of two gravely ill children whose uphill health and financial struggles under Obamacare are chronicled by Weasel Zippers and in the video found on this page. In a nutshell:

  • Curran’s deductible has risen from $50 pre-ACA to $1,200 post-ACA.
  • Her premiums under Obamacare have increased $1,528.
  • Her copays on prescriptions medications, including special blood products, have doubled from $4000 to $5000 per year to $10,000.
  • Equipment needed by her children, including pumps, catheters, needles, tubing, and so on now have a “medical device tax” on them.

But even if the example Krugman presents were truly typical, it’s difficult to see where this represents “equivalence” in the debate on the ACA’s merits. Maybe there was a speech by Barack Obama in which he spoke candidly about losers under his health care law, but if there was I missed it. The entire notion of “losers” under a law is reminiscent of the cold and conscienceless calculus used in wartime, where civilian casualties are euphemized as “collateral damage.”

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