Dylan Ratigan — who earlier this year turned away from a million-dollar MSNBC contract to become a hydroponic greenhouse farmer — seemed like the next candidate to become the face of the "I liked my plan and I lost it" movement on Friday. He tweeted that his $170-a-month catastrophic health insurance plan had been cancelled:
I bought a catastrophic health policy for $170/mo when I left MSNBC. Obamacare cancelled the policy. New rate $600/mo. Thnx Mr. President!— Dylan Ratigan (@DylanRatigan) November 8, 2013
And no, he's not eligible for any subsidies (even if the administration does decide to raise the subsidy cut-off above 400 percent of the poverty line). The left has disowned him as a poor little rich guy crying about pocket change, which the right's glad another cable news liberal woke up and smelled the socialism. But Ratigan's case is a little more complicated than that.
Glad to see Ratigan finally stopped drinking the Obama Kool-Aid.
Ah, no. While he was on the left-leaning MSNBC, Ratigan has been critical of the Affordable Care Act from the beginning. Here he is in December 2009, yelling at Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, asking why health insurance companies saw their stock prices increase the closer the law was to passing. (She never got to answer.) Today, the gist of Ratigan's argument is that Obamacare doesn't break up insurance monopolies or restructure the health insurance industry. It just sets a standard for health care plans that he doesn't agree with:
I have been a long time advocate of catastrophic with a transparent mkt for routine. Struck me as interesting that that is illegal now.— Dylan Ratigan (@DylanRatigan) November 8, 2013
Interesting discussion...many seem to think paying a high deductible in exchange for low cost catastrophic should be outlawed? I disagree.— Dylan Ratigan (@DylanRatigan) November 8, 2013
Exactly. He liked his plan and now he has to pay an extra $5,160 a year for insurance he doesn't want!
Well, actually, there are still low cost, high deductible plans: Bronze plans. They're just more comprehensive than they were before.
It's worth pointing out that he can probably find a plan for less that $600 a month. Ratigan lives in California, and Covered California has a great shop and compare tool. A 41-year-old living in San Diego County (where his farm is located) can easily find a Bronze Plan for about $70 a month more than what Ratigan is paying now. Since Covered California doesn't offer any plans more that $500 a month, we might assume Ratigan is covering an additional person. In that case, the most expensive Bronze plan for two 41-year-olds is $544 a month.
Further, insurers aren't above steering customers towards their more expensive plans, which, given how much pricer $600 is compared to all the Bronze plans, seems like a strong possibility in this case.
Anyway, Ratigan's not really concerned about money.
What makes you say that?
Well, first, because he used to make a million dollars a year. Just saying. And second, because his main complaint with the Affordable Care Act is that it doesn't do enough to fix the health care industry:
Obamacare's failure to address Ins monopolies, fee-for-service and other Cost drivers is its undoing. It may finally force cost issue tho— Dylan Ratigan (@DylanRatigan) November 8, 2013
Ratigan's complaint is that Obamacare won't do anything to address the insurance industry monopolistic health dictatorship and that will lead to price increases. But the rising cost of health insurance premiums has slowed in 2013. Medical price inflation is at its lowest rate in five decades, according to a September report from the Commerce Department. Ratigan is a youngish, health male, which explains why his costs are going up. That, and his insurance is better.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.