Here are the two article excerpts and links below that Medved references, the first is from the NYT’s and is by Anemona Hartocollis:
Talk of Penalty Is Missing in Ads for Health Care
New York’s health exchange slogan is “Today’s the Day.” Minnesota has enlisted Paul Bunyan. Oregon held a music contest, and California stresses the “peace of mind” that will come with insurance.
The state and federal health insurance exchanges are using all manner of humor and happy talk to sell the Affordable Care Act’s products. But the one part of the new system that they are not quick to trumpet is the financial penalty that Americans will face if they fail to buy insurance.
On state exchange websites, mention of the penalty is typically tucked away under “frequently asked questions,” if it appears at all. Television and print ads usually skip the issue, and operators of exchange telephone banks are instructed to discuss it only if asked. The federal website, now infamous for its glitches, mentions the penalty but also calls it a fee, or an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment.
The euphemisms and avoidance of any discussion of the penalty are no accident, both supporters and critics of the law say. While the mandate for all Americans to buy health insurance — with a penalty if they do not — was the linchpin of the Supreme Court decision upholding the law, and is considered the key to its success, poll after poll has found that it is also the least popular part of the program.
State exchange operators say that they are not trying to hide the penalty, but that their market research has taught them that, at least in the initial phase, consumers will be more receptive to soothing messages and appeals to their sense of collective responsibility than to threats of punishment.
“We feel that the carrot is better than the stick,” said Larry Hicks, a spokesman for Covered California. “This is a new endeavor. We want people to come in and test our wares.”
Here is Lori Gottlieb’s article via the NYT’s:
Daring to Complain About Obamacare
THE Anthem Blue Cross representative who answered my call told me that there was a silver lining in the cancellation of my individual P.P.O. policy and the $5,400 annual increase that I would have to pay for the Affordable Care Act-compliant option: now if I have Stage 4 cancer or need a sex-change operation, I’d be covered regardless of pre-existing conditions. Never mind that the new provider network would eliminate coverage for my and my son’s long-term doctors and hospitals.
The Anthem rep cheerily explained that despite the company’s — I paraphrase — draconian rates and limited network, my benefits, which also include maternity coverage (handy for a 46-year-old), would “be actually much richer.”
I, of course, would be actually much poorer. And it was this aspect of the bum deal that, to my surprise, turned out to be a very unpopular thing to gripe about.
“Obamacare or Kafkacare?” I posted on Facebook as soon as I hung up with Anthem. I vented about the call and wrote that the president should be protecting the middle class, not making our lives substantially harder. For extra sympathy, I may have thrown in the fact that I’m a single mom. (O.K., I did.)
Then I sat back and waited for the love to pour in. Or at least the “like.” Lots of likes. After all, I have 1,037 Facebook friends. Surely, they’d commiserate.
Except that they didn’t.
Instead, aside from my friend David, who attempted to cheer me up with, “My dad, who never turns down a bargain, would take the sex change just because it’s free,” my respondents implied — in posts that, to my annoyance, kept getting more “likes” — that it was beyond uncool to be whining about myself when the less fortunate would finally have insurance.
“The nation has been better off,” wrote one friend. “Over 33 million people who did not have insurance are now going to get it.” That’s all fine and good for “the nation,” but what about my $5,400 rate hike (after-tax dollars, I wanted to add, but dared not in this group of previously closeted Mother Teresas)? Another friend wrote, “Yes, I’m paying an extra 200 a month, but I’m okay with doing that so that others who need it can have health care.”
I was shocked. Who knew my friends were such humanitarians? Has Obamacare made it un-P.C. to be concerned by a serious burden on my family’s well-being?