Politics
President Obama staring. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais President Obama staring. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais  

BEDFORD: The (real) life of Julie

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Christopher Bedford
Managing Editor

There’s a new woman in town, and her name is Julie — not Julia.

Remember Julia? She’s the woman that the president promised to care for ’till death do they part during his re-election campaign.

She wasn’t a real person.

But while Julia was make believe, Julie is as real as people get. A real person whose concerns over the past week have been ridiculed, dismissed, and called dishonest by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Julie, who was not identified by her last name, is a young mother. Her very real son, Caleb, suffers from very real seizures. Her third very real child is due in a few weeks. And the impetus for the attacks? She dared to go public through the libertarian Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to voice very real questions about what Obamacare really means for her, and for her very real family:

The Beltway’s Washington Post gave her two “Pinnochios” — a playful score they use to call people liars.

The New Yorkers at the Times also called Julie a liar, but went even further, saying that Julie’s concern for her family is just an AFP front for protecting the rich from having “to help pay for health insurance subsidies for the poor.”

See, these guys are hopping mad, because unlike fake Julia who unquestioningly accepted the government’s handouts and controls, Julie is asking hard questions. Questions about a bill then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the public they could learn about after it was passed; questions about a bill that one of its main authors, Sen. Max Baucus, called “a huge trainwreck“; questions about a bill so unwieldy and unpredictable that the White House has been forced to delay and abandon key aspects and hand out waivers to panicked special interests like candy.

All questions have been dismissed — and never adequately answered.

Questions like this one: How will Obamacare affect our ability to choose a doctor?

It won’t, one Post author wrote while admitting that “there is one way that the new marketplaces could cut patients off from the doctors they currently see” — so far.

Meanwhile in California, insurance companies that aren’t shutting down operations are narrowing their offered plans to save costs, in effect cutting consumers’ options. (RELATED: 58,000 Californians to lose current insurance under Obamacare)

Because like it or not, when a plan is forced to change, and forced to narrow, families may not be able to see the same doctors they did before. The reality is that families and individuals build strong and trusting relationships with their doctors — bonds they do not want to break.

And here’s a second question: What do we get for higher premiums and a smaller paycheck?

Nothing to worry about, the Times assures us. The government won’t let higher premiums happen: “The law includes limits and protections against unwarranted rate increases.”

The Post was a little more careful, with healthcare blogger Sarah Kliff writing “For the 14 million people who purchase health insurance in the individual market, some will see their premiums increase in 2014.”

Indeed, a study by the University of Minnesota’s Dr. Stephen Parente predicts that individual and small group premiums will increase 8 percent per year. So while an average individual’s silver-level insurance cost $11,770 in 2010, by 2014 it will cost $15,428, and by 2019: $21,639 — nearly twice the price it was when Obamacare became law. (RELATED: Obamacare drives up insurance premiums by up to 146 percent in California)

And here’s one more question: Can we trust the government to manage this?

In what may be the most naive answer, the Washington Post’s Ms. Kliff assures real Julie that while the answer is “unclear,” it isn’t important because “the question [of government] just isn’t that relevant to the Affordable Care Act” — the biggest increase in government economic oversight in U.S. history.

In a more cowardly answer, the Times declined to address the question head on, instead cavalierly dismissing those who are worried that Obamacare “expands the role of government in individual lives.”

Julie, the Times insists, is just a puppet for Charles and David Koch — two major AFP donors who have donated more than $1 billion to medical and educational charities and arts; have given over $100 million to libertarian causes; and have refused pay-to-play D.C. games.

The Koch’s secret mission, the Times breathlessly informs us, is to hoard money (they give so freely) and keep Americans uninsured (for a reason never explained) by playing on Americans’ uncertainties and fears (which the D.C. and New York elites dismiss).

The GOP was unable to defeat Obamacare in Congress. And conservatives failed to defeat it in court. But it may just die yet, devoured by its own inefficiencies. And as the massive law shutters and stumbles, don’t expect its media champions to go quietly into the night. The fear-mongering and class-war rhetoric they used to pass it will only become more shrill as their achievement is threatened.

But The Times and the Post just want their win. They never really cared about Julie anyway.

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