Health care reform

The Problem With Passing A Law So You Can See What's In it…

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Health care reform: Is there anything it can't do?

…is that all your supporters will just start imagining what's in it. And then you (or actually, innocent bystanders in the private sector) will have to talk them down from the ledge.

McClatchy's Margaret Talev reports on the early-Christmas rush by honest folks in search of that free health insurance they thought they'd heard about—and she gamely tries to blame their confusion on the Teabaggers:

"They're saying, 'Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?' " said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.

McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

"We tell them it's not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014," McLean said.

Adults with pre-existing conditions are frustrated to learn that insurers won't have to cover them until 2014 (though those under 18 will be protected in late September); then they become both hopeful and confused upon learning that a federal high-risk pool for them will be established in the next few months. "Health insurance is so confusing. You add this on top of it and it makes it even more confusing," McLean said.

This article apparently prompted a vigorous debate that ended with McClatchy clear-cutting its comments section. Among the survivors we can still locate thoughts like this one from TxnByBrth "There's a direct correlation between those that expected 'free' health care and those who voted for Obama…not to hard to figure out."

I'd like to join in the funmaking, but how can this be a surprise? The first rule of freeloading is that you have nothing to gain by being shy. Of course people are making the phone call. Who can say for sure that if you called an insurance company right now and said "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says you have to sell me insurance now," you wouldn't get somewhere?

Talev is silly not just for trying to blame the opponents of the PPACE, but for thinking any blame is needed. There's a new benefit on the table. Anybody who isn't grabbing for it already is unworthy to be a citizen of Schnorrerstan.