It seems as if, for every 50,000 people who sign up for Medicaid or a private health insurance plan under Obamacare, there's a new rate shock story. This week there have been two big ones — a Washington state freelancer who will pay 94 percent more for his insurance, and an Obamacare success story that turned out to be unsuccessful. These aren't easily debunked stories of people who haven't bothered to factor in their subsidies either. There are about 5 million Americans who will be negatively affected by the "Affordable" Care Act with higher premiums, and they have been more visible than the tens of millions of uninsured people who will sign up on the exchanges (assuming they work) or enroll in Medicaid. Here's why we tend to hear more from middle class rate shock victims.
Their stories reveal holes in the law
No law's implementation is perfect, but some rate shock stories delve into the flaws and undefined areas of the law. Obama supporter Bruce Barcott wrote on Monday about losing his old plan in The New York Observer. His family's premium rose 94 percent, and because he and his wife are freelancers, he's not sure what his income will be next year. He wrote:
If you want to get an idea of our monthly and yearly incomes, imagine a sine wave drawn by a drunken sailor. Last year my wife and I, we made out all right. This year’s kinda lean. Which year did the exchange want? Unclear.
Barcott brought up a good point. "Hadn't thought about freelancers income vis a vis subsidies before this," wrote BuzzFeed's Kate Nocera. And as The New York Times' Ross Douthat pointed out, Barcott also has access to a pretty big platform. "Obamacare's disproportionate impact on successful freelancers is a small but notable factor in the WH's PR mess," he tweeted.