Meet Anna Beavon Gravely, the high-hat New South freeloader who wants to bankrupt your health insurance risk pool

The PBS NewsHour went to Raleigh and found a walking turducken of avarice, selfishness, and smallminded idiocy (emphasis on turd):

SARAH VARNEY: In Raleigh, North Carolina, that is exactly what Anna Beavon Gravely hopes will happen. Gravely is a community activist at North Carolina Family Action, a conservative political group. Now 26 years old, she’s had to buy insurance on her own for the first time this year, and was shocked by the cost.

ANNA BEAVON GRAVELY: I don’t really see the return on it. It’s one thing to have — pay monthly for cable or for Netflix or Hulu Plus or a gym membership because you’re getting something out of that. I feel like I’m not really getting anything out of my virtually $200 a month. This is power from last month’s, and then this is this month’s, and working to get them down in cost to be able to pay for some of the things that we really care about.

SARAH VARNEY: Gravely says she rarely visits a doctor and doesn’t want the added benefits that the law requires insurers to offer, like mental health and maternity coverage. She hopes the Supreme Court declares North Carolinians ineligible for financial assistance.

ANNA BEAVON GRAVELY: I think that that will help a lot of people understand the true cost of health care and what this does, how it’s driving up costs, it’s increasing the burden on middle-class families, on individuals like me, who just want to have a plan that fits them and where they are in their life.

This nasty broad seems too nuanced and softspoken for the NewsHour to have trotted her out as a troll or a prankster. I mean this on the most superficial level possible. This is a blatant case of a manipulative piece of shit simultaneously broadcasting diametrically opposed messages on separate channels. On the visible spectrum, so to speak, Gravely is signaling that she’s an understated Southerner of good breeding and education: noticeable but muted drawl, clear diction, a sytle of speech that isn’t hokey-ass aww-shucks country bumpkin false modesty, a subdued but very tasteful style of dress. On the invisible spectra, however, she’s communicating an unshakable impulse to freeload by birthright, to look down on those less charmed than herself and blame them for their own problems, and to revel in the moral superiority of taking dumps that never stink.

It wasn’t my first ride in that rodeo, and I had her precisely typecast within seconds of her opening her filthy mouth: supercilious white girl who would benefit morally from a period of hard agricultural stoop labor. “O’Hara! Chop cotton, I said!” It’s no wonder that she’s from Raleigh, or at least in Raleigh at the moment. Raleigh, like Charlotte, is especially overrun by insufferable bitches whose vibes have never been killed, or even noticeably sickened. These are people who have never been vulnerable and never will be vulnerable, and of course it is in no way a residual effect of slavery or sharecropping or antebellum anything of a sort that General Sherman might have cleansed by fire. It is not a form of privilege. For what it’s worth, this attitude seems to be more common among affluent women than among affluent men, and more common in the lowland South than in other parts of the country, but it’s nigh nonexistent among African-Americans, even among the up-by-the-bootstraps sorts, the Uncle Toms or however you’d like to disparage them. They don’t act like life is a charmed experience free of adversity. No. This attitude, like heroin, is a classic seasoning for the white meat.

It looks like this chick aged out of her parents’ health insurance plan last year, which, for the purposes of checking out her privilege, means that her parents had health insurance. Now she’s freaked out by the cost, but not in the sense that the rent is too damn high. (Come to think of it, it probably isn’t a coincidence that Jimmy McMillan is black. His style of bluntness isn’t mewling enough for a Young Turk of light hue.) Instead, she’s all alarmed, but mainly pissy, that this bullshit health insurance scam isn’t giving her the sort of immediate tangible benefits that she gets from a gym membership or from any of the three streaming video entertainment systems to which she either subscribes or would like to subscribe if she weren’t paying for someone else’s fucking obstetrical care.

Looking at it this way, I’m having second thoughts about whether the NewsHour used Gravely as a troll or a psy-ops device, but then again, she is absolutely not the only pampered asswipe in Raleigh with such a contemptuously decadent worldview. Both Gravely and Julia Raye, the obese diabetic black single mother profiled in the same piece, are credible Southerners. Everything I could make out about these women had the ring of truth. They aren’t unicorns, nor are they Yankee meta-interpretations of Deliverance or To Kill a Mockingbird or Gone with the Wind. These are the sorts of Southerners one encounters when out encountering Southerners, not the kind one hears about in urban legends from New Yorkers who make a point of saying “y’all” while on vacation in the French Quarter.

A dirty little secret about Southern-style social controls, particularly in their application outside the South, is that people like Anna Beavon Gravely are exactly the sort that the gentry creeps want as representatives. They have full sets of teeth, the gnarliest sort of Mainer or Minnesotan can understand their accents, and they don’t go about in public histrionically sighing like Paula Deen and dressed like Snow White. They don’t fit into the blatant molds of Duck Dynasty, Gone with the Wind, or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. This means that Northerners don’t necessarily look at them and realize, with a menacing rumble in the gut, hey, better be careful, these are crazy Southerners and they’re probably gonna pull some kind of crazy Southern shit. As I mentioned, I had Gravely pegged as trouble almost instantaneously, but that’s because I’ve paid attention and recognize the warning signs. Southerners of goodwill who love and want to reform their part of the country recognize her ilk, too, and get awfully cross with them for being unreconstructed asshats. Hey: Reconstruction! People who are less versed in Southern Orwellianism, however, can be easily fooled by slippery characters like Gravely. Hers is a pretty slick act.

She’s catfishing us, and, whether she means to or not, she’s catfishing for Dixie. She seems to come from an affluent background, which is very relevant for someone with such noxious attitudes, but we’re never told anything about her socioeconomic background or finances, other than the unbearable expensiveness of trying to pay for Netflix on top of health coverage. It is terrible; one might be forced to go to a friend’s house to watch Orange is the New Black. She seems to have completed advanced formal education, almost certainly including a bachelor’s degree, but she can’t properly explain her own role in an insurance risk pool. The problem is that she’s paying for all this stupid coverage that she doesn’t need right now. The nastier ends of the alt-right internet are teeming with complaints that black people have no future-time orientation, mainly because they’re impulsive, but here we have a seemingly well-educated and self-controlled young white woman who has absolutely no future-time orientation. The whole fucking point of insurance is protection against unforeseeable events in the future, not to protect against events whose timing and severity can be predicted with pinpoint accuracy. Any halfwit who has ever heard of insurance understands this. No sane person thinks, gee, I’m gonna stop paying my car insurance premium for a while and reactivate it when I’ve finalized my plan to drive off that cliff into Lake Mead. Some shitheads approach life insurance in a similar fashion, but they’re the sort you’ve seen on Dateline NBC because they tried to cash a two-month-old policy the day after the policyholder kicked the bucket.

Gravely makes insurance arsonists look honorable for being mere crooks. She’s a haughty bitch who went on national television to preen about how she’s not planning to fall pregnant or mentally ill. When push comes to shove, this is exactly what she means. Again, this is abject ignorance of risk distribution. Or maybe it’s just thoroughgoing contempt for anyone less charmed with good health. There’s no way to know whether a pregnancy will go to term without complications or will require expensive emergency intervention. Even women who have been told by their obstetricians that their pregnancies are low-risk are not assured that they’ll make it through delivery and postpartum convalescence without a life-threatening complication requiring immediate care. Of course some kind of risk pooling is necessary. Without it there would be chaos.

There’s a lesser but still very real need to pool risk for mental health care. Most medically indicated mental health care isn’t hypochondriacs and neurotics getting endlessly shrunk by credentialed sexual deviants on some office couch. The gullible and the fashionable pay for nonsense like that, but it’s beside the point. A truly compelling need for mental health care is harder to predict: a serious, debilitating manic-depressive episode, as opposed to chronically being not completely steady-as-she-goes, or a psychotic break, or genuine PTSD resulting from some unforeseeable and unpreventable trauma.

Gee, nice mental health you got here; shame if you got mugged and something happened to it. Eh, shit, what am I saying? That wouldn’t be a shame; it would be totally equitable in a really fucked up way.

It bears repeating that Gravely works for a “family values” outfit, or “Family Action,” as her employer calls itself, and presumably not in the way that folks get action from family up around Indian Lake. She ostensibly protects the family for a living, and she cannot fucking understand how maternity coverage in health insurance policies improves family policy, or how she can personally do her part by not being a freeloading piece of shit just because she isn’t planning to get pregnant right now. There’s something subnormal about the American people for not understanding that childbearing is an important social good that by its very nature can only be provided by individual women at variable, unpredictable risk to their health. A Down’s Syndrome patient insisting that Bear River Pump-n-Play has the best hot dogs evarr is less retarded than that.

Notice, too, that Gravely compares herself in the same breath to “middle-class families,” even though she is single and avowedly not anywhere close to starting a family of her own. Their burden is her burden. This is why she wants to shimmy out of any responsibility for paying into the risk pool that is allowing people like Julia Raye, a single mother raising a teenage son in the same state, to finally get mammograms and reasonably adequate diabetes treatment. Anna Beavon Gravely certainly isn’t planning to get diabetes or breast cancer soon, either. These just aren’t diseases that fit her and where she is in her life.

God damn does this country need to expand Medicare to all ages. The payroll deductions will have to be increased, but we’d get something from them prior to age 65 for a change. Privileged shitheads will complain that they’re paying for freeloaders, that it costs more than it used to (with eligibility at retirement age), that they need the money for gym memberships and triplicate subscription entertainment services, and that they aren’t planning to make diabetes, anxiety disorders, or childbirth part of their lifestyle, but they can go fuck themselves. This country is going to reap the whirlwind if they keep that shit up.

William Tecumseh Sherman, pray for us. Pray for Raleigh, that it be set on fire with the Holy Spirit, or with rag torches and kerosene.



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