Fox Reporter So Deep in the Bubble, He Asks the World's Dumbest "Gotcha Question"

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 25 2013 4:09 PM

Of Course Jay Carney Wants Health Care

Ed Henry, White House correspondent for Fox News, must have thought he was being very clever today. Why not ask White House press secretary Jay Carney a simple question—if Obamacare's so great, would you sign up for it?

Except as far as "gotcha" questions from hostile reporters go, this one is an incredible softball. Of course a 48-year-old man with a wife and two kids is going to prefer to have an insurance plan than to leave himself and his whole family uncovered. Assume the Carneys are affluent and have a household income of over $94,200 (i.e., 400 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four) and thus aren't eligible for any subsidies. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation (PDF) report, a "silver" insurance plan for the whole family in the District of Columbia would cost them $845 a month, or $10,140 a year. That's a lot of money. But it's clearly a price the hypothetical Carneys can afford. And if the kids get a broken bone on the playground or Mom gets diagnosed with cancer, they're going be really glad they had it. Unlike a less affluent family, the uninsured version of the Carneys probably aren't at risk of someone dying due to a lack of medically necessary care. Instead, they're at risk of bankruptcy as in the case of major illness or accident the health care industry will take them for every penny they have.

But either way, signing up for the exchange should be a no-brainer. There really is a smallish class of people out there—primarily affluent single men in their late 20s and early 30s with no chronic ailments—for whom you could try to make the case that signing up is a bad financial move. But asking Carney this question simply serves to underscore that for most uninsured Americans the exchanges are a great deal.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 1:01 PM Watch Pixar’s First Trailer for Inside Out
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 12:56 PM My Year Without Flying I’ve stayed on the ground, to help fight climate change. Here’s what happened.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?