THE RIGHT TO THE UNINSURED: Too bad; sucks to be you

Posted by politicalpartypooper on June 11, 2009

I have a client.  His name is Adam.  He is a 25 year old, diabetic, single man struggling to pay for health insurance.  He has a high deductible health plan, with a $5,000 deductible and twenty percent copay.  A single male without diabetes would pay about $85 per month for that coverage.  Adam pays over $600 per month, and none of his prescriptions are covered.  His income provides him about $1,900 per month.  Before he has paid for groceries or rent, he has spent almost one-third of his pay on health insurance.  He’s falling far behind in his bills, and is worried that he will lose his apartment if things do not change soon.

He has one option available at this point; drop his health insurance.  But if he drops it now, he fears he will never be able to buy it again.

Conservatives say that this is just tough luck; too bad for Adam, sucks to be him.  Unfortunately, in our nation, Capitalism decides who gets health care and who doesn’t.  Health insurers repeatedly raise rates, deny coverage, and spend vast sums of money building buildings, paying executives, lobbying Washington, and mailing endless claim forms to its victims.  Did I mention they also only insure healthy people, unless they are forced to by group coverage?

That’s right.  The Right says that private insurance is the only way to go for this nation; that any public option will stifle competition and place the decision for care in the hands of the government.  But this simply is not true.  In Canada, it is the physicians who decide what course of care is provided.

The Right also says that Public Healthcare is not necessary because most of the people who are uninsured in America are illegal aliens.  Again, not true.  There are sixty million uninsured’s in America, and the Right says that fifteen million of those are illegal’s.  My math deduces that this leaves forty-five million AMERICANS still uninsured.  What about them, you ask the Right?

Too bad; sucks to be them.  They should have taken better care of themselves; they shouldn’t smoke, they shouldn’t be poor, they shouldn’t own a business; they should take a low paying job where group insurance is provided.  They should have killed their spouse before she got cancer.  What compassion.

It’s all about perspective.  Small business owners know what it’s like to play the private insurance shopping game.  You get a quote based on a Ken doll health history, and the moment you answer even one question on the application, you are already rated as a higher than perfect risk.  That raises the rates on your coverage even before you’ve received the policy.  And God help you if you have high blood pressure.  It will never be covered, nor will any illness or need that originated with it; which means basically everything, because an insurance company will leap tall buildings to find correlations between your sore back or broken leg and the high blood pressure.  Did you know that people with high blood pressure are more prone to viral infections?  You can bet your insurance company does.

At least forty-five million real Americans have no health insurance.  Maybe if it were only ten million, this wouldn’t be such a large problem.  But we are talking about fifteen percent of the population.  Furthermore, the other eighty-five percent is one layoff or illness away from also having no coverage to speak of.  Did I mention that in this current recession, 9.4% of all eligible Americans are jobless?

Health insurers do not want to insure sick people.  They do not want to insure older people.  They do not want to insure diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, back pain, lupus, depression, anxiety, car accidents with injuries that “might” cause future complications, recovered cancer victims, recovered alcoholics, smokers, pudgy people, or any other chronic condition.  They want to insure people who will not go to the doctor.  They want to insure people who will not need a claim paid.  They want to collect $5,000  – $10,000 in yearly premiums, and for that payment, you get one free physical check- up per year.  Of course, it’s only free after you’ve paid your $15 copay.  And if it’s for anything other than a physical check up, such as flu, it’s not covered until you’ve paid your deductible.

We were all shocked when we discovered Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scheme.  It turns out that health insurers have been running a ponzi scheme in America for nearly one hundred years.  What’s more is that they have been sanctioned by our government to do so.  The insurance lobby is one of the largest donors in Washington.  Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have financed their campaigns on the greenbacks of insurance companies.

Republicans say they do not want a public option.  The trouble is, without a public option, we end up forcing private insurers to provide coverage for people they simply do not want to insure.  That’s not Capitalism, either.  The result will be far higher premiums for everyone, not just the people the insurers want nothing to do with.  And we end up doing nothing for the ‘tweeners, the people who earn too much money to qualify for free care, but who still cannot afford the now increased premiums for coverage.  Without a public option, we will still have millions upon millions of uninsured’s.  Even by forcing the insurance companies to cover everyone at the same risk level, we are jacking up the cost of coverage for every American who has it now, be that in a group or privately.  The argument that a public option will cost normal Americans far too much is filled with straw.  If we don’t provide the public option, health insurance rates will skyrocket for healthy people, as insurance companies struggle to find the middle ground where they can provide coverage for higher risks, while maintaining profit levels.  That will, in the end, increase the number of uninsured’s, as more and more people will drop out of their unaffordable private insurance.

The public option is necessary, even though I still believe that single-payer, in the end, would be the cheapest way to fund health care for all Americans.   One thing is certain; we cannot continue the status quo.  Without a public option, that is exactly what we would be doing.


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