Thursday, May 3, 2012

Apologia pro vita Julia

The internet is abuzz with talk of the Obama "Life of Julia" ad. And... yes... it is frustrating. It reminds me all too well of Margaret Thatcher's line, "We should not expect the state to appear in the guise of an extravagant good fairy at every good christening, a loquacious companion at every stage of life's journey, and the unknown mourner at every funeral." I rather prefer Thatcher's formulation of her adversaries' philosophy than Obama's. I very much hope that somewhere on the Internet, there is a rendering of a Julia-style show with pictures of the state as Fairy Godmother at Julia's christening, the state as loquacious companion throughout Julia's life, and finally the state as unknown mourner at Julia's funeral. The slide show does conclude with Julia working in the community garden in her 70s as she receives her Social Security payments. A Thatcher-style unknown mourner funeral slide could perhaps add something...

Another semi-related question re: the  frame mentioning the provision of the PPACA that insurance companies are mandated to cover children under their parents' plans until the age of 26: why does the line get drawn there? It just seems... odd. I would prefer that such a mandate didn't exist at all. But if it does have to exist, 26 seems an odd place to draw it. I could more readily see drawing it at 22 or 23, when most people have just graduated from college. Three years seems a bit long for a grace period. It also has the odd effect of potentially dropping a lot of people from parental plans mid-grad-school. This happened to me, pre-PPACA; my parents were able to help me with this, but they strongly urged me to attend law school right after undergrad for this reason, even though I wasn't sure I really wanted to be a lawyer.  Law's worked out better for me than it has for many people about my age, so I can't complain too much. But it seems a bit wrong for the federal government to give people a big incentive to go to law (or other grad school)  right away,  even though it often makes sense to work and wait for a couple of years. I've also heard anecdotes, mostly about friends-of-friends, who scheduled weddings because one partner in the couple was about to drop off a parental insurance plan. In many cases, this is perhaps a matter of moving up the inevitable, and the lovely couple may be delighted that they choose to do so. At the same time, there are plenty of cases in which rushing a wedding for insurance reasons may not really be the right option, and it's far from clear that the federal government should be encouraging this sort of behavior. I suspect that there is also some gender angle... it's more common for a female grad student to have an older boyfriend out in the workforce than vice versa... which makes things even more complicated.

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