Saturday, October 23, 2010

About That $2K Deductible

Sometimes political ads come with unintended consequences. That may be the case with Jack Conway's Medi-scare ads. Conway keeps pounding Rand Paul with ads containing sound-bites, in which Paul suggests that a $2,000 deductible for Medicare might be a good idea.

Notwithstanding Conway's attempt to scare seniors, Paul has made clear that his comments would not apply to current Medicare recipients. Rather, Paul has endeavored to start an adult conversation about how to reform entitlements going forward. Most seniors who are paying attention will grasp that distinction. So the ad will not convince seniors to vote for Conway unless they were already predisposed

Here's the unintended consequence: seniors are not the only people listening to the ad, and it is back-firing young voters.

It turns out that some -- maybe many -- young people think the $2,000 deductible is good idea. I sat with an 18-year old, first-time voter as Conway's Medi-scare ad came on for the billionth time. And the 18-year old commented that he thought a $2,000 deductible made sense.

He gets that the only way that he and his generation will ever see a penny of Medicare benefits is if the entire system is overhauled. And he looks at the hypothetical amount of $2,000 and notices that it is fraction of the $5,000 deductible his family pays for healthcare. So that $2,000 amount with which Conway tries to frighten voters, it actually sounds reasonable to many.

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