One of the congressmen who quizzed Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said something truly revealing at Wednesday’s hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative John Sarbanes (D., Md.), who shares a father with the Sarbanes-Oxley financial-services law, offered this touching comparison between baseball tickets and cancelled health coverage.
“I went to buy Oriole tickets a while back, when the season was still underway,” Sarbanes said. “I was standing in line, and I got up to the ticket window, and they closed the window. But I didn’t have to go home because they opened another window a few feet away.”
“So,” Sarbanes continued, “essentially what’s happening is people are coming up on the renewal period. They’re getting up to the window of the individual market. They’re being told, ‘Well, that window is closed, but if you go right down the line here, there’s another window that’s open. And, by the way, when you get there, you’ll get better coverage potentially at reduced premiums. And if you go down to Window 3, there are some subsidies that may also be available to you.’”
“So, this notion that people are being turned away from an affordable product that provides good-quality care is preposterous,” Sarbanes claimed. “In fact, they’re being steered to a place where they can get good-quality coverage, in many instances much better than the coverage that they had before, at an affordable rate that is supported by the subsidies that can be available to many, many people. This is what’s so promising about the Affordable Care Act.”
“And so,” Sarbanes concluded, “I think it’s important for people to understand that that window is not being shut. They’re just being steered someplace else where they can get a good opportunity.”
Sarbanes’ analogy — nicely timed for Game Six of the World Series — perfectly misunderstands what is happening.
According to CBS News, more than 2 million Americans already have received letters cancelling their health insurance, as I did. Most, perhaps all, of us like the coverage we had and were promised over and over and over by Obama that we could keep it — “period.” We do not want Obama “steering” us like livestock into plans that he and his henchpersons condescendingly consider “better” for us, even if such coverage is “potentially” cheaper and “may” be subsidized. God forbid that Obama allow grown adults to make such judgments on our own.
Using Sarbanes’s baseball analogy, the situation facing these nearly 1.4 million health-insurance refugees would be akin to a loyal aficionado receiving the following letter from the Baltimore Orioles:
October 30, 2013
Dear Orioles fan:
It is our duty to inform you that you no longer will be able to sit in the bleachers at Camden Yards. Seats in this section have been cancelled, due to the Essential Spectator Benefits requirements of the Affordable Sports Act (a.k.a. Obamasports).
We encourage you to visit Sports.gov, where you can shop for tickets that comply with these new, federally mandated minimum standards.
For example, you could purchase seats in Section 250. Supporters of ObamaSports have described these as “better seats” rather than the “flimsy seats” that you have occupied. These new seats would be in the shade, instead of in the bright sunshine, where you and your friends and loved ones preferred to sit before Obamasports ejected you from this part of the ballpark. These shaded seats should reduce the risk of your developing wrinkles or contracting skin cancer.
These ASA-compliant seats also are nearer to providers of Maryland crab, Korean barbecue, and other healthy food options at Camden Yards, rather than the low-quality hot dogs and popcorn that were sold near the seats that you used to frequent.
While single-game seats in Section 250 cost $60, as opposed to the $17 that you have been pleased to pay in the bleachers, subsidies might be available to you, if your income qualifies. If not, you will be expected to pay the full price for these tickets out of your own pocket. Rearranging your finances to accommodate these higher expenses should keep you on your toes. This, in fact, is a type of low-impact exercise endorsed by the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative.
All things considered, Obama and the authors of the Affordable Sports Act are confident that you will be more satisfied with this superior arrangement into which they have steered you. After all, they know that this will be better for you than those inferior bleacher seats in which you clearly suffered for so long.
Good luck navigating Sports.gov. We trust that this website will overcome its early glitches and be fully operational some time before next year’s All-Star Game.
Very truly yours,
Vice President of Ticketing and Fan Services