Government regulation tends to hit freelancers and all sorts of independent contractors hardest. That’s as true of ObamaCare as of anything else.
Eventually ObamaCare will punch people who get their health insurance through employers in the gut. After the midterm elections anyway. And plenty of people are already losing hours and jobs over it.
But for the moment the people it’s hitting hardest are self-employed. And that includes New York lawyers.
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.
“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan. Ms. Meinwald, 61, has been paying $10,000 a year for her insurance through the New York City Bar. A broker told her that a new temporary plan with fewer doctors would cost $5,000 more, after factoring in the cost of her medications.
Among those affected are members of the Authors Guild; the Advertising Photographers of America; the Suzuki Association of the Americas, a music teachers organization; the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; the New York City Bar Association; and the New York County Medical Society.
“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?”
Isn’t “I’m for it… but what is it” exactly the attitude that got Obama supporters into trouble?
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.
That actually raises the question of whether Republicans could have done a better job of capitalizing on this in the election. Yes Heritage and other groups had a lot of the relevant facts, but they didn’t always make the right gut-level connections. And Mitt Romney was hopeless at making gut-level connections in general.
Sure Meinwald wouldn’t have believed it was true, but there were voters who could have been swayed.
There were some good ads, but too many of them focused on the ObamaCare impact on small business. Too few really addressed this. It made a certain amount of sense to focus on the ObamaCare link to jobs and the economy. But it was the general insecurity over healthcare that helped Republicans in 2010. The jobs emphasis was the Republican consultant class overthinking it and failing to make gut-level connections.