EDITORIAL: Shame on Koches and their creepy Uncle Sam

FresnoSeptember 29, 2013 

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and other superich ideologues easily can pay the $7,500 cost of setting a broken leg, or the $30,000 cost of staying three days in a hospital, and they can well afford the best health insurance money can buy.

So it is ironic, digesting and downright sick that they are spending $750,000 on an ad campaign to scare uninsured young people and persuade them to opt out of Obamacare as enrollment in state exchanges starts Tuesday. One ad shows a sinister Uncle Sam peering between legs of a young woman during a gynecological exam. Another ad depicts the same Uncle Sam preparing to perform a rectal exam on a young man. "Don't let the government play doctor," the ads directed at the young say. "Opt out of Obamacare."

So it's good to see that the states and some private entrepreneurs are presenting strong counter messages.

Washington state has offbeat and quirky "Don't leave it to chance" ads, while Minnesota has an equally quirky "Land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance" campaign. California is playing it straight with "health insurance is not something to joke about" ads.

Under Obamacare, young people will have more options than any other age group.

Young people can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26 under Obamacare, if they don't get it from a job. Starting Jan. 1, they can stay on their parents' insurance even if they can get coverage through a job. Alternatively, they can go to the Covered California exchange website and see if they qualify for free or low-cost insurance -- from Medi-Cal to a host of private insurance options.

Or they can do as the rich-guy anti-Obamacare guys recommend and opt out of health insurance. In that case, they will pay a Shared Responsibility Payment, in case they get sick or have an accident, and can't pay their medical bills, dumping the cost onto the rest of us. The fee in 2014 will be 1% of yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. In 2016, it will be 2.5% of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher.

Take a look, many plans are available for less than $50 per month. The Covered California exchange is open for enrollment starting tomorrow, with coverage to begin on Jan. 1.

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