Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bootstraps Can't Overcome Pre-Existing Conditions

As a citizen of the only modern, industrialized, western democracy on the planet where Universal Health Care is not a reality, I frequently hear closed minded and selfish Republicans say "pull yourself up by your bootstraps!" and that the way to accomplish the American Dream is through hard work, persistence, innovation, self-reliance. And yes, for many fellow citizens that actually works, from a son of immigrants like me, to the son of a turd miner and grand son of a goat ball licker like Stephen.

But if genetics or other parts of life deal you a curve ball, like mellitus, or fibromyalgia, or prostatitis, or cancer, or epilepsy, or pregnancy, or schizophrenia, or any of 1000s of other conditions and diseases that humans are prone to, then like 21% of other Americans, you will be DENIED COVERAGE, or DENIED A POLICY when attempting to buy your own coverage. 21% of Americans who apply for individual policies - being self employed, or unemployed, or having just lost their jobs - can't get insurance coverage. There's no boot strap strong enough to over-come the costs in the existing US system where someone who is un-insured pays roughly 3.5 times the negotiated rate charged to someone WITH insurance (in some cases, as Dr. Desert Flower has seen, 6 times more expensive).

It's the pre-existing condition exemption that lawyers and insurance company MBA policy making executives that make individual insurance policies completely impractical. It's these same pre-existing condition exemptions that tie Americans to their employer provided plans - if you try to strike it out on your own to start your own business and "live the American Dream", you BETTER be independently wealthy if you have any serious medical condition.

It's ironic that Republicans, most of whom publicly eschew, refute, and despise Darwinian theory, support a public Health Care policy (bootstraps can solve anything) that stands so firmly upon the foundation of Evolution. Only the purest, healthiest, most vigorous American citizens are capable of realizing the right wing's idealized American Dream.


  1. yep. when i was self-employed, the only coverage i could get (due to pre-existing conditions) was through the state's CHIP's program. thankfully, illinois allowed adults on that program. but man was it expensive, and boy did the coverage suck.

    and it just so happened that i applied the day before they shut down new applications. what if i'd found out about it just a week later? i'd have been screwed.

  2. Hi Joe,

    While I agree with you that our present-day healthcare system is flawed, I am greatly against a
    universal one. Without expounding on my personal experiences or policy details, I present
    the following: 1) we don't have anything close to a private healthcare system now, so
    a proposal to go universal based on how bad this one is seems confusing, 2) just because
    healthcare is expensive does not excuse it from being a private good and treated like one,
    3) the flaws of a universal system, especially in the long-run, will be much greater
    than what we see now.

    Like you, I become upset about how the rich can afford it and the poor cannot. But I am
    also upset about how the rich can afford generally nicer things, but I don't feel entitled
    to nicer things. Who decides which commodities are rights or priveledges? When you put
    that decision into the hands of republicans (yes, I believe they secretly
    want universal care, they're all in bed together) and democrats, we lose healthcare quality,
    choice, and freedom.

    I will remark on "selfish Republicans." I'm not a republican, so I'm not comforting them
    here. But any policy that takes the healthcare choice away from me seems selfish.
    A government sponsored healthcare program will be collusive, conspiratorial, and selfish.

    I'm not sure, since you mention pre-existing conditions, how a universal system would
    fare any better? How do you price this kind of thing? More importantly, how do you keep
    costs down on treatment and care for serious conditions? Will the Dept. of Health simply
    declare that prices freeze? If so, then our problem of global warming may morph into a problem
    of global cooling (bad joke).

    Take care.

  3. The "threats" of lack of choice, lack of access, lack of freedom, are red herrings, false specters. Look at Canada, France, the UK, Germany, all the Scandinavian countries, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia, Austria, Belgium - The Rest Of the World! They don't have crappy health care. They have some pretty darn good health care, and it is Universal. Globally, these citizens GET the health care they need, when they need it.
    The exaggerated statements coming from the right of Canadians coming to the US to get their health care are rare instances in remote provinces who want elective surgeries - they are not being denied health care, or denied treatment. They can go to any hospital and doctor they want. The whole boogey man of "no choice" is baseless, unjustified fear mongering.

    I have had conversations with French Dentists and Physicians who are very happy in their jobs. I've heard radio reports that German physicians are happier than US physicians and that their proactive health care policies help to address / mitigate / minimize chronic health problems in their patients that US physicians just take out their Rx pad to address. In Canada, a doctor's office has 1 person who handles claims and paperwork for each doctor. In the US, there's 4 paper work clerks in each office to handle the backwards, inefficient, and draconian insurance carriers.

    If the US were going to pioneer a Universal system, that no other country had Ever successfully implemented, I would be concerned that we'd screw it up... but there's a plethora of effective role models out there, that work better than what we have, more efficiently, with healthier citizens, who still have choices to see the doctor they want.

    And the people who are really rich will ALWAYS have a private health care system they can go to, whenever they want to. In each of the countries I mentioned, the ex-patriots who work there, who are still American citizens, have supplemental health insurance provided by their employers that fills in the gaps between what the state governments don't or won't provide and what the ex-pats and their families need. None of the countries I mentioned have "outlawed" or "banned" private insurance. For those who want all sorts of options, choices, and extra bells and whistles, that's great, they can still go out and purchase those, just as they are doing now.

    Just please, don't tell someone with schizophrenia, or pancreatic cancer, or any of a thousand other things, that they are not working hard enough, they don't want it (a good life) enough, and they need to pull themselves up by their own boot straps, and that they are "not the nation's problem". Their ranks are growing, and they are bankrupting this nation. 1/2 of all US home foreclosures in the last 2 years are health care related (no insurance, or job lost and then the choice was made between mortgage or life threatening medical care). As a so called "Christian Country" that is inexcusable, and hypocritical.

    I disagree wholeheartedly with you that "we don't have anything close to a private healthcare system now." Try losing your job (at a corporation or university or lab) and being minimally employed to try and pay your mortgage, then applying for medicaid. See how easy that is, and how well that works for you. That "private insurance" you just had is gone, and the assets you have prevent you from getting any indigent care.

    I also completely disagree with "just because healthcare is expensive does not excuse it from being a private good and treated like one" - if a society, a nation, a group of citizens cannot care of the weakest amoung them, then Third Reich eugenics is closer to what that society embraces than any kind of quasi-Christian (or if you dont agree with "Christian" call them "human") values.

    I just have difficulty believing that the rest of the world is so less selfish than self-centered, me-first, screw-everyone-else Americans. That's not the country I envisioned when I was a kid.


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