Last night I was reading another story about how, EVEN now - when Hillary Clinton has bowed to pressure and endorsed Obama, still, approximately 20% of the likely Democratic voters
refuse to say they will vote for him.
Well, that 20% figure keeps coming up again and again, and I think that it represents the 20% of Americans who have chronic illnesses. As we know from Austan Goolsbee, Obama's healthcare plan, like Jim Cooper's 1994 plan, Tenncare, and the MA state healthcare plan, a consistent 20% of those currently uninsured are uninsured because chronic illnesses have rendered insurance very expensive for them.
That 20% are the chronically ill and many of them are also the so called 'uninsurables'. Basically, they are people with often common, but increasingly expensive illnesses. Their only common denominator is that as the price of drugs rises, and the political and economic clout of the American middle class declines, their often manageable conditions are increasingly seen as costing 'too much' to treat by insurers. Which means that people who were doing okay last year, find that this year, they get left out in the cold, abandoned.
And apparently, also abandoned by Obama. (Hillary would have covered them, and limited out of pocket, uncovered expenses too, which means the difference between bankruptcy and solvency for millions of people)
These illnesses can be common illnesses like athsma, hypertension, etc. but they typically require drugs to manage them. When people lose their jobs, if they dont find another job in a short period of time, and COBRA runs out, or they cant afford to pay the full cost of their insurance, which is often more than they realize it is, then they become forced to look for insurance on the so called open market. Everyone who shops for individual insurance pays a lot, but some find it almost impossible to get. basically, that group is everyone who has been using the healthcare benefits, sometimes even the perfectly healthy. People who have been to the doctor more than around once a year often find that they have to pay more for insurance. Obama basically classifies normal families as families without health issues.
What happens, though when you don't have a chronic illness, but you have seen the doctor for things that come up. Self employed or even employed people whose employers dont buy insurance for them, people who have had spider bites or people who have called the doctor over minor medical issues find themselves paying far more for insurance.
This is perfectly legal, just like charging people more for drivers insurance who have tickets is. It enables the insurance companies to charge 'normal families' less, they say.
They feel that this is not 'discrimination' it is how the insurance business works. (But it has the effect of making middle class people these days terrified of seeing the doctor. THAT IS NOT THE WAY THINGS SHOULD BE! But it is, and even if Obama can
overcome the WTO rules and implement his plan in 2012, Obama proposes to keep it that way. Insurance is priced by risk, to the insurer. Or if he forces them to insure everyone who asks of the same age at the same price, insurance costs will go up a lot of everyone. Thats the obscene cost of not havig a mandate! Its unavoidable!)
That is the hard reality of risk-priced insurance.
But, what about the 20%? Again, that 20% isn't just the stubborn. Its the same percentage of us who know we are being abandoned. yes, we are expensive. But more and more people fall into the category every year. You may be well now, but its likely that even you, the reader, will be one of us soon. We are all in that 20%.
That includes both those who to insurance companies are 'uninsurable', and those who they might insure, if they paid what they consider to be a fair price. (The raw cost to treat them plus the profit margin, plus a buffer that is related to the likelihood of a flareup that could cost still more)
That is what Elizabeth Edwards was
talking about when she mentioned that neither she nor Senator McCain would be able to buy insurance if they were not rich. Why? Because both she and Senator McCain are cancer survivors. Once somebody has had cancer, they find it hard to switch jobs, they cant do anything that risks a period in which they dont have insurance. If they get laid off, they often find it very hard - often impossible to find insurance because they are not a risk, they are a known loss.
Thats why Hillary's mandate was such a great idea because IT WOULD HAVE ENABLED A PLAN THAT WOULD COVER THAT ONE FIFTH OF US WHO HAVE CHRONIC ILLNESS.
Now, Obama's advisor Austan Goolsbee
said that neither Obama nor Hillary could afford to do it, but Hillary did the math and showed that she could, with her mandate. Nobody is arguing that it is possible any other way.
Not even presumptuous nominee Obama.
What I find is interesting, is that THAT 20% seems suspiciusly close to the 20% who refuse to vote against their own interests and vote for a small chance for adoption, eventually of a healthcare plan that probably will not help them! Can you blame them!? NO.
Would you put a loaded gun to your own head and pull the trigger?