By Dave Lindorff
The first thing that needs to be said to the heartless boneheads who, at the last Republican presidential debate, cheered at the idea of letting a hypothetical 30-year-old cancer victim who hadn’t bought health insurance die, is that this is no mere hypothetical situation. The second thing that needs to be said is that most such people in real life don’t “refuse to get” health insurance. They either cannot afford it (and their employer doesn’t provide it), or they are rejected by insurers because of pre-existing conditions.
If you are a young person, earning a take-home salary of perhaps $20,000, are trying to raise two kids on your own, and you live in Texas, for example (Medicaid eligibility is set state by state), you would not be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Your two kids would supposedly be eligible, but not you. Meanwhile, if your employer, like most employers who are paying minimum wage, doesn’t offer some kind of group policy, if you were lucky enough not to be rejected for some pre-existing medical condition like diabetes or a heart murmer or something, you’d have to come up with perhaps $3,000 to cover yourself with a plan that would not pay for doctor visits, just major hospital bills. But say you were paying $800 a month for rent, and another $3000 a year to keep some 12-year-old rust-bucket of a vehicle insured and on the road to get you to work and home. That would only leave you $7,000 to feed and clothe your kids and yourself. Would you take $3000 of that to pay for health insurance for yourself and reduce your money for living expenses to $4000 for the year?
Of course not! It would be coming right out of your childrens’ mouths!
All over America, especially these days with one in five of us either out of work or working at some job like the one described above or worse, while looking for a decently paying job, millions of individuals and families are struggling with this desperate problem.
And what happens is this. First off, they don’t go to the doctor when they get sick, or when they feel that something is wrong -- say they see rectal bleeding, or feel a lump somewhere that a lump shouldn’t be, or they feel dizzy, or whatever. They soldier on and hope it will go away...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent alternative online newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/770