Interesting story out of Oregon on their state health insurance scheme. Much to the relief of Oregon taxpayers, no doubt, some 40,000 people have dropped out of the Oregon Health Plan program, which provides state-subsidized health insurance.
The reason they dropped out? I don’t know, really, but it is interesting that the newspaper casts the story entirely in terms of the poor folk being dropped from the program. I say the participants dropped out because they apparently chose not to pay the premiums, which are as low as $6.00 per month. The response of “advocates” for the poor is just priceless.
Advocates for the poor say the premiums are too expensive for some people and the government may have overestimated the ability of people to mail a check.
“It’s an enormous barrier,” said Ellen Pinney, director of the Oregon Health Action Committee. “Let alone the $6, there is the whole issue of writing a check or getting a money order, putting it in an envelope with a stamp and putting it in the mail to this place in Portland that must receive it by the due date.”
$6.00 a month too expensive? Give me a break. This sounds to me like a classic example of “I can’t afford it” as code for “I have other things I would rather spend the money on.” If you forego a single trip per month to McDonald’s, you will save enough to pay a $6.00 monthly premium.
Really, though, the notion that poor people are incapable of mailing a check has got to be the last word in condescension and infantilization. Believe me, anyone who can fill out the paperwork to qualify for Medicaid or other state-paid health insurance (or find someone to do it for them) is capable of writing a check or getting a money order and putting it in the mail.
I’m not sure what larger point this story illustrates, to tell you the truth. Perhaps the corrosive effect of the welfare state on its recipients. Perhaps that, if you support the welfare state, sooner or later you will start to sound like a total ninny.
Thanks to OpinionJournal for the link.