No, Obamacare Is Not a "War On Bros," But Nice Try

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Nov. 5 2013 3:21 PM

No, Obamacare Is Not a "War On Bros"

Fans participate in tailgating activities before the game between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs and subsidize your pap smear.

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

One of the major problems that the right wing media is facing when trying to demonize Obamacare is that the actual provisions in the law are quite popular. People opposed this entity they called "Obamacare" because they didn't understand it, and the rollout has for sure been a total mess. But as Americans start to experience what the health care exchanges are actually about—basically, making it easier to get substantive health insurance if you're not covered by an employer—right wing strategies have to shift. One strategy that's developing quickly: Pitting men against women.

The latest example of this is Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute, who complained on Fox News that the Affordable Care Act is a "war on bros," i.e. younger men who tend to not go to the doctor much, and that "men are going to pay more relative to women." He neglects to mention that's because the ACA bans insurance companies from charging women more, meaning men don't get a discount anymore for simply being male. Women do have more medical concerns starting younger than men, mostly because of childbirth and other gynecological issues, but it is worth pointing out that women's health in that department is intimately tied up with their relationships with men.  Roy also tried to pit young against old, pointing out that older people are "heavily subsidized by young people." Of course, Fox's viewers are mostly on Medicare and are getting subsidized by younger people no matter what happens. 


This isn't the first time that Fox News has pitted men against women in order to distract its audience from the truth. Roy admits that individual market premiums are only going up in states that had largely unregulated insurance markets before, which is a nice, elusive way of saying that before Obamacare, insurance companies were free to sell you "insurance" whose only real benefit was a card you got in the mail, or what Consumer Reports calls "junk health insurance" that covers so little that you're often better off having no insurance at all.

Under the ACA, the individual market is being set up to look like the kind of insurance that you get through an employer, as Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine explains. So whether you are using a health exchange or you get insured through your employer, the young "subsidize" the old and young men "subsidize" young women. That's how insurance works. Which is why, if you look past the jokes about "bros," it becomes quickly evident that what Roy isn't arguing against here is the ACA so much as the very existence of insurance itself. If it's wrong for older people or women to use more health care when everyone's paying into the system, then it should be wrong whether you get your insurance through your job or the health care exchange. Having your boss arrange the paperwork doesn't change the fact that some people need more health care. I'm guessing Fox News is so certain that its audience will be enraged about women stealing all the health insurance with birth control pills (which, in the land of right wing media, have no benefit for men at all), that viewers won't notice that they were just nodding along to a radical argument against the very concept of health insurance at all. 

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.