Skip to main content

Yesterday, I came across a study from the Brookings Institution on the effects of the Affordable Care Act on income distribution.

As you can see, through the Medicaid expansion, the ACA offers a real, significant improvement to those in the bottom quintile.

However, things don't look as good when you step beyond that bottom quintile. The drop from the 2nd lowest decile (+5.3%) to the 3rd lowest decile (-0.9%) is just stunning. And those in the 4th lowest decile (30-40%) see the biggest hit of all. Paying out-of-pocket for health insurance is not cheap if you are in one of these middle deciles, even with subsidies but especially without them.

The middle 50%, here represented by 20% to 70% (although you could probably say 25% to 75% just the same), see the largest hit to their income. Those in the top decile see the least impact.

This just looks like the stereotype that so many have of the Democratic Party--willing to help the poorest of the poor, but not the middle or the struggling, and not willing to touch those at the top.

It reflects a pity-charity liberalism rather than one rooted in solidarity. And, as is often the case with pity-charity liberalism, it is more prone to attack. Universal benefits like Social Security and Medicare are popular because everybody benefits. Such programs are treated as economic/social rights that people want to protect (or expand). There is no "taint" associated with receiving such benefits (in the eyes of the public or the beneficiary him/herself) because the benefits are a right granted to all.

A single payer/Medicare for All system not only has economic value, but it has political value as well. Single payer champion Bernie Sanders is currently holding a hearing on the health care systems of other industrialized countries, ones that--unlike the US--have made health care into a right. He is, as far as I know, the only vocal supporter of single payer/Medicare for All in the Senate. We need more.

(Note: Credit goes to billmon for inspiring the title.)

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site