The story comes courtesy of Matt Labash at the Weekly Standard. But it’s as old as time. At least the 1960s.
A few houses later, Rhianna tries to straighten out an address on her list with two guys standing on a porch—one African American, wearing flip-flops and jogging shorts with no shirt, the other looking like the Cuban-American rapper Pitbull. They exchange pleasantries, and Rhianna asks if they both have insurance and are pleased with it. Yes, they assent.
But when I ask the gents if they have any intention of signing up for Obamacare, they start laughing—at first politely, then almost violently. “No!” says Pitbull. “And wait online 18 hours?” “Obamacare!” says Shirtless, elbowing Pitbull.
Pitbull then starts making finger-pistol signs directing me down the street. “Keep on walking with Obamacare,” he says, still convulsing.
Some 10 minutes later, we encounter Welly Corgelas, an African-American auto detailer, on the sidewalk in front of his house. He’s talking to a crunchy-looking white guy named Jeff. When Katie moves in for the literature drop
Welly is not having any of this, and decides to give the girls a workout. He’s a little on the sore side. A small-business owner who is a healthy 37 years old, he just had his insurance plan canceled because it didn’t meet the new Obama-care requirements.
(His insurer, apparently, hasn’t gotten the message about Obama’s one-year patch, to forestall cancellations.) Katie, sensing opportunity, makes her push. But Welly says he wouldn’t dare go near the website, with all the security concerns. When she floats the Navigator/phone support option as an alternative, he rebuffs her more aggressively.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I’m probably not going to call them,” he says, breaking things down animatedly. “This is how I see it: The government is still running it. That’s the problem. Insurance companies have always taken advantage of people. Government takes advantage of people. But like, the two of them are going to get together and create something that helps the people? I’m very skeptical, okay? Two barracudas getting together and saying we made something good for you? I just don’t buy that.”
If you want to help people get better insurance, says Welly, the government never had to be involved. They could’ve incentivized employers with tax breaks to better cover employees, he theorizes. “So you’re saying just tell the businesses to pay more?” asks Katie, still thinking like an Obamissar. “No!” barks Welly. “Not tell the business, incentivize the business.”
Right about now, a squad car pulls up, and a buzz-headed cop motions for Welly to come over. I am incensed on his behalf. A black man gets a little lippy with some white girls, and immediately the cop assumes he’s harassing them? But the cop doesn’t want to talk to Welly, he wants to talk to the girls. He asks them who they are and what they’re doing. He explains the police have had some complaints about them causing disturbances in the neighborhood. They point out that they’re just educating people about their health care options, and haven’t disturbed anybody. I second them, as the Obamacare pom-pom girls are nothing if not mannerly. The cop says it doesn’t matter. If they want to canvass door-to-door, they have to get a permit at city hall.
A smile creeps across Welly’s face as the officer drives away. “What kind of sense does that make?” he says, now running up the score. “Think about that. You’re doing the work of government, then the government comes over and says, ‘Hey’ . . . ”
Katie is not amused. For the first and only time, I see her mercury rise. “We’re a nonpartisan organization,” she chirps. “We’re just trying to get information to you.”
“I know,” Welly says, feinting like a gentleman, but still grinning like he found money in the street. “So you guys have Obamacare?” he asks. Katie informs him they’re already insured by their employer, and that if they like it, they can keep it.
“Yeah, well, that changes next year,” Welly says, now cold as ice. “Remember the business mandate? They pushed it back.”
The moral of the story? Black people tend to have a more realistic assessment of how well liberal social policies work than the liberals do.