There are a lot of surprised people in California now that more Obamacare details are coming out:

In California, 1.9 million people buy plans on the open market, according to officials with Covered California, the state’s new health insurance exchange. And many of them are steaming mad.

“There’s going to be a number of people surprised” by their bills, said Jonathan Wu, a co-founder of ValuePenguin, a consumer finance website. “The upper-middle class are the people who are essentially being asked to foot the bill, and that’s true across the country.”

Covered California spokesman Dana Howard maintained that in public presentations the exchange has always made clear that there will be winners and losers under Obamacare.

“Some people will see an increase who are already on the individual market purchasing insurance,” he said, “but most people will not.”…

Both Vinson and Waschura have adjusted gross incomes greater than four times the federal poverty level — the cutoff for a tax credit. And while both said they anticipated their rates would go up, they didn’t realize they would rise so much.

“Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

Raise your hand if you think Dana Howard has much of a clue how many people will actually see premiums go up and how many will see them go down.  No one expected the Obamacare Sticker Shock:

Also, the levels that premium payments are set this year are not necessarily what they will be next year, or the next—and those levels will to some measure depend on how many people sign up for Obamacare and how many people opt to pay the penalty instead—another unknown.

obamacare

But it’s that last quote from Vinson that seems to encapsulate a common liberal mindset on Obamacare—or on government-funded benefits in general—that so infuriates conservatives. Who doesn’t “want people to have health care”? But the real question—and the real difference between the approaches of conservatives and liberals, inflammatory rhetoric aside—is how such a thing would be paid for, and especially whether it is possible to do so without putting an undue burden on the wage-earning tax-paying public.

Vinson, like so many people, uses the term “health care” to mean “health insurance,” but let’s gloss over that and stipulate that most people couldn’t afford the former (particularly if a major health problem were to arise) without having the latter. Vinson probably isn’t saying that she didn’t expect to pay for her own health insurance. She is saying that she expected to pay only for her own health insurance, not for the health insurance of those others she “of course” wants covered.

So the trillion-dollar question is: who did she expect would pay for their insurance?

It couldn’t have been the poor themselves who would pay. And if it wasn’t someone like Vinson, whose income clocks in at four times the poverty level—who would it have been? A good guess would be: people who are richer than Vinson.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that’s not at all uncommon among liberals; call it the “do it to Julia, not to me” phenomenon. In this case, something that is recognized as unfair and/or unwanted for oneself is acceptable if the responsibility is put on others instead, those people who for some reason are thought to deserve it more or to be able to absorb it better. But if it’s unfair for the first group, why is it suddenly fair for the second?

Perhaps some people such as Vinson haven’t thought it through even to that extent. Perhaps their thinking stops at the “Of course, I want people to have health care” point. That makes them good people in their own eyes: nice people, compassionate people, unlike those who disagree with them and are imagined to be mean people who do not “want people to have health care.” The idea that conservatives actually might also “want people to have health care” and yet be more realistic than liberals about the costs and benefits of such an undertaking, and might have different ideas about the best way to effect the greatest amount of health care for the greatest number of people, seems to be a foreign notion to many who think as Vinson does.

But hope springs eternal, even for them:

“I’m not against Obamacare,” Waschura said. “It’s just the initial shock. I’m holding out hope that there will be a correction over a handful of years.”

There will probably be a “correction” all right. It just might not be in the direction Waschura assumes.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]

 
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