After reading this article in the Times, titled With Affordable Care Act, Canceled Policies for New York Professionals, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of schadenfreude. The article details countless New York professionals, all liberal, and who voted for the President, realizing that the Affordable Care Act leaves them with fewer choices, and higher costs.
Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.
They are part of an unusual informal health insurance system that has developed in New York in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.
But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.
This bit is priceless. A lifelong Democrat who is committed to social justices wishes she had known about what would be the “reality” of the Affordable Care Act. If she had, she would have voted for Romney!
It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people – liberal, concerned with social justice – who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.
It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in. “We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. What to do has become a hot topic on Facebook and at dinner parties frequented by her fellow writers and artists.
“I’m for it,” she said. “But what is the reality of it?”
The reality of Obamacare is truly mixed. Some will benefit. Some will not. The Affordable Care Act is a form of redistribution. People tend to like redistribution, so long as they are benefitting from it. When they become the ones shouldering the burden, the tables turn. So much so that an Obama supporter wishes she had voted for Romney.
Speaking of Mittens, did you see this piece on CNBC: the top 40% of wage earners pay 106% of all taxes.
Buried inside a Congressional Budget Office report this week was this nugget: when it comes to individual income taxes, the top 40 percent of wage earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent…pay negative 9 percent.
You read that right. One group is paying more than 100 percent of individual income taxes, the other is paying less than zero.
It’s right there in Table 3 on page 13 of the report. The numbers are based on 2010 IRS and Census Bureau figures.
How does someone pay negative taxes? The CBO’s formula offsets whatever taxes are paid with “refundable tax credits.” Some of these are due to “government transfers” of money back to the taxpayer in the form of social security and food stamps.
First, let’s look at incomes. The report shows the lowest-paid Americans earned on average $8,100 in 2010 but received nearly $25,000 in government aid. You begin to see how “transfers” create a negative tax burden.
But wait, there more. The CBO says about a quarter of the lowest earning group actually paid negative 15 percent of all individual income taxes. Contrast that with the combined share of the wealthiest two groups, which totals more than 100 percent.
That 47% remark, though ill-crafted, may have been accurate.