UPDATE: James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal "wonder(s) if the Times intended the article's publication as a joke at ObamaCare critics' expense." Seems like it takes too many direct shots at uncompassionate liberals for that to be the case, but readers can decide for themselves.
The guess here is that the folks at the New York Times who screen op-ed submissions for adherence to leftist orthodoxy got caught napping. After all, Lori Gottlieb has written at least one previous column on relationships, where she is described as a "dating coach," and another very long piece for the Times Magazine on patient-therapist relationships.
So when Gottlieb submitted an item entitled "Daring to Complain About Obamacare," the gatekeepers may have let it slide through because of who she is, and fully expected that an op-ed with that title would go after people with the unmitigated gall to complain about President Barack Obama's "signature achievement." Well, guess what? Gottlieb's the one who is unhappy with Obamacare, and is shocked — shocked, I tell you — that her liberal friends have no sympathy for the large sum she'll have to pay next year to stay insured under Obamacare (bolds are mine):
... 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?
The heated reactions even moved offline. Frustrated, I observed to one friend who was covered through her work that when an issue didn’t affect people directly, they became “theoretically generous.” Ask them to donate several thousand dollars so that the less fortunate can have medical insurance — which is exactly what President Obama is asking me to do — and I’ll bet they’d change their tune about “ending inequality” and “creating fairness” and “doing what’s good for the country.”
Of course they would, Lori.
Gottlieb goes on to note that the one of the only two people sympathetic to her plight was her mean, evil, heartless ... insurance broker.
Many of the commenters at the Times were equally hostile, but there were notable exceptions:
(from "poetikus" in Missouri)
The smugness of those attacking Ms. Gottlieb as somehow being not fully human for not wanting to shell over thousands of dollars more a year for less care says all you need to know as to why this country still has U6 unemployment in the teens and economic stagnation not seen in decades.
Mandating "charity" may assuage the guilt of shallow souls but true charity comes from the individual, from the heart, with true meaning and caring, it does not originate in the cubicles at HHS.
(from "Andrea" in Miami)
Lori, I am in the same position as you. And, the worst part is people who are comfortable in their group plans being happy to spend our money and lecture us.
(from "John M" in New Jersey)
You get a LIKE and a +1 from me. This is yet another example of what happens when government thinks it knows what is best for you and your family. Ronald Reagan's words are just as true today as they were in 1981: Government is not the solution to our problems, government IS the problem.
Paul Waldman, one of the keepers of the liberal flame at the American Prospect, is absolutely furious at Gottlieb — and at the New York Times for letting her sentiments slip through:
Apparently, there was a meeting of the editors at The New York Times op-ed page in which someone said, "... What if we find someone who'll complain that the problem with Obamacare is that other people care too much about poor people and the uninsured, while what they ought to be doing is spending more time liking her Facebook post about her possibly increased premiums?" The editors looked at each other and said, "That's gold. Gold!"
... How terribly smug, to think that the fate of millions of poor people who will now get insurance is as important as the suffering of this one person who might have to pay more for comprehensive coverage, and also happens to have access to The New York Times where she can air her grievances!
No, Mr. Waldman. How incredibly greedy it is to pick on a relatively small and disorganized group — at least this year; wait till next year, those of you who are in employer-sponsored plans — to fund the redistributionist dreams of progressive thieves in Washington.
Gottlieb has clearly had a learning experience. Many who read most of the comments at her op-ed will also learn how nasty others can be when someone yells "I'm being robbed" — and the thief is their beloved government.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.