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Responses To Three Critics

postRobert Goldbergwrote the following
First of all, Cohn is immune to the facts: many people simply don't buy insurance that is affordable (and it is affordable) in many cases so they create a medical crisis in many cases.... The fastest growing segment of the uninsured are people making $70k or more and whose incomes are growing. Explain that. Meanwhile Medicaid roles are declining.

Cohn also sees health insurance as a big pre-paid security blanket. Zero deductibles. No copays. Coverage for everything. Dream on boychick. That does not even exist in France, your health care wet dream. That system is broke so Sarkozy is installing gatekeepers, co-pays, the works. Soon France will be one big HMO. Even GM's employees are cutting back. You see health care as an all you can eat buffet, not as personal responsbility.

Ultimately, Cohn misrepresents the conservative position on health care. It is not opposition to making coverage affordable. Rather, the conservative position is to take the favorable tax breaks and purchasing power corporations have and give it to individuals. So instead of SCHIP why not advanceable tax credits and purchasing pools, prefunded HSAs? Why is Cohn so opposed to that? For the same reason liberals are hysterical about declining Medicaid enrollment and opposed Part D. They want people dependent.

The fight is not about a family and whether they should have access to affordable and convenient care. That's a given. The fight is about whether Americans should be herded into a single payer system supported by Hillary, Cohn and others where the sort of high tech care Graeme Frost needs and deserves will be denied him regularly. With HSAs, tax credits and consumer choice he and his family will have control over the medical decisions that shape his life, not a bureaucrat or some comparative effectiveness institute. In Britain, Germany, Canada or even France where the doctors strike more than they see patients, Graeme would get inferior care. He would be less cared for and less valued.

In the final analysis, conservative care more about his future than Cohn, Ezra Klein and his kind ever will. [Ezra] Klein, Cohn and Families USA just want to expand the welfare state. I dare say my conservative colleagues want to preserve the possibilities that medical progress offer to extend life and enhance the human condition.
Paul KrugmanBob Bennettmostnew study from the Urban Institutemy bookhereherewayhis own op-ed on the subjectWashington TimesBaltimore SunHere's what he wroteSun
The Frost family has a combined annual income of about $45,000, said Bonnie Frost. She and her husband have priced private health insurance, but they say it would cost them more per month than their mortgage--about $1,200 a month. Neither parent has health insurance through work.

$1200 per month for a family of 6 in Baltimore. Really? What are they smoking?

A check of a quote engine for zip code 21250 (Baltimore) finds a plan for $641 with a $0 deductible and $20 doc copays.

Adding a deductible of $750 (does not apply to doc visits) drops the premium to $452. That's almost a third of the price quoted in the article. Doesn't anyone bother to check the facts?

Apparently not. .
herea little more
The original article only addressed one issue. Can a family of 6 in Baltimore find health insurance cover for less than $1200 per month (as alleged in the referenced news piece)?

The answer was yes.

Those who responded attempted to challenge the numbers by saying (rightfully so) that I did not know the actual ages of the Frost family and that I did not know if any or all family members were healthy.

Of course our post never said the premiums quoted (under $500 per month) were for the Frost family. Nor do the premium figures used in the post reflect any adjustments for existing health issues.
open letter to The Plank
I vehemently object to your libelous characterization of my colleague, Bob Vineyard. If you had bothered to read the story, and follow the comments, you would have seen that this was never about the Frost's SCHIP eligibility, nor their insurance experience.

It was solely about media accountability and fact-checking, which the "Professional Reporter" failed to either do or disclose.

Bob never averred that the Frost's could have bought a policy for that amount, for the simple reason that their health histories were never disclosed in the story on which he was commenting.

He simply saw that the reporter took a number at face value, without questioning it or even checking its accuracy, and spent a few minutes doing the research that reporter was presumably paid to do.

He found that a "typical" Baltimore-area family could indeed purchase excellent coverage for much less than the article stated. If there were exigent circumstances that would have precluded the Frost's from buying it, these should have been noted.

Michelle MalkinKaren TumultyTimeMatthew Holtspeaking for himselfJonathan Cohn