As part of their desperate attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and their allies on the right are trying to frighten young Americans into not applying for health care coverage. The Koch brothers funded “creepy Uncle Sam” commercials were one example of this effort. Now they have a new ally, in the person of Ashley Dionne, whose post about Obamacare has “gone viral” according to Mediaite.
College grad, working poor. Meet Ashley Dionne
Who is Ashley Dionne? According to her tumblr page, she is a “Radical For Capitalism.” She describes herself as an “Objectivist, writer, movie geek, aspiring actress, and freedom loving American.” She is also either terribly misinformed about the health care law, or she is part of the effort to deliberately deceive other twenty-somethings about the law and what it will cost them.
Here is how Ms. Dionne describes her situation in her post entitled “The Rape Of A Generation”:
I graduated from The University of Michigan in 2009. In my state, this used to mean something, but even with a bachelor’s I was told I was too educated and wouldn’t stay. I watched as kids with GEDs and high school diploma’s took the low-paying jobs for which I applied.
I went back to school and got a second degree and finally found work at a gym. I work nights and only get 32 hours a week for eight dollars an hour. I’m unable to find a second job at this time.
I have asthma, ulcers, and mild cerebral palsy. Obamacare takes my monthly rate from $75 a month for full coverage on my “Young Adult Plan,” to $319 a month. After $6,000 in deductibles, of course.
It is easy to sympathize with the first part of Ms. Dionne’s story. There are far too many college graduates who are having difficulty finding work in the field in which they hold a degree. In a tight job market employers hiring for low skill positions are often hesitant to hire someone who they fear will leave for a better job as soon as it becomes available. However, if we assume that what she says about her work situation is true, the rest of Ashley Dionne’s story just doesn’t add up.
Ashley Dionne doesn’t have, or isn’t sharing the facts
Dionne claims that she suffers from three medical conditions. Any or all of these conditions would typically be disqualifying to health insurers as “pre-existing conditions.” This means that if she did have health insurance up to this point, she is lucky. Many Americans have been denied coverage over the years due to only one of the conditions she lists. Thanks to Obamacare, she cannot be refused coverage due to these conditions.
She goes on to say that she has been paying $75 a month for a “Young Adult Plan.” That premium sounds a bit low for someone with her medical conditions. The Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield website offers a calculator where an individual can price an insurance policy. Using Ashley Dionne’s age as a guide, the cheapest current option with a low deductible, is the “Young Adult Blue Max” policy, which costs $100.81 per month.
Ashley claims she works 32 hours a week, at eight dollars an hour, and she doesn’t have a second job. Assuming that she works 52 weeks a year, her salary is $13,312 annually. Thanks to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s ACA subsidy calculator, we found the following information about someone in her situation:
- If the state of Michigan agrees to the federal Medicaid expansion, Ashley Dionne will be eligible for Medicaid in 2014, and therefore doesn’t need to purchase a health policy.
- If Michigan does not approve Medicaid expansion, she is guaranteed access to a “silver level” plan with out of pocket costs of no more than $2,250 per year, and a premium of $22.17 per month. She could also purchase a “bronze” plan with a monthly premium of $0.
So much for her claim that Obamacare is “raping her future.”
Again, who is Ashley Dionne? She is either someone who is savvy enough to maintain a blog and spread her commentary to various right wing outlets, but who can’t seem to figure out that she will be getting a better deal from Obamacare than what she currently has. Or she is part of the right wing disinformation campaign about the Affordable Care Act. You decide.