I am diabetic, as is the case with about 17% of the population. About 29 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 27 million are believed to be undiagnosed. So for just one disease, we are talking about 56 million people.
As a diabetic, no one would insure me. My pre-existing condition precluded me from purchasing health insurance, at any price. The free market simply did not work. There is no free market in health insurance for people who have pre-existing conditions.
I am a self employed professional, and have been for 18 years. Quite frankly, I don’t see how denying me healthcare happens to be the business of anyone who is receiving healthcare from an employer or the government. By the way, people with employer provided health care also receive a subsidy as their benefits are tax free.
As we know, you cannot be admitted to a hospital without health insurance. If you go in through an emergency room, it is expensive and the hospital will not admit you unless your condition is life threatening. Many doctors will not see you if you do not have health insurance. That is the reality for those who do not have or cannot afford health insurance. Before Obamacare. 40 - 50 thousand people died every year because they could not receive medical care because they did not have insurance, according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Harvard Medical School.
Ultimately me, and the millions of people who cannot participate in the free market, through no fault of our own, have to depend on the government providing what the free market will not provide.
Many people, and especially rural Trumpsters, depend on the government for health care, whether they realize it or not. For example, I live in rural Colorado. An ambulance company cannot make money here – it is a money losing proposition. So, the only ambulance service in this part of the state is owned and operated by the county government. No government operated ambulance service means no ambulance service at all. That means, without the government providing the service, no one could be taken to a hospital by an ambulance.
I finally was able to join a high risk pool operated by the State of Colorado. That is, since the free market would not provide insurance, the government stepped in to provide it. I did not have many options. There was basically one policy, although I could select a deductible. However, after selecting a deductible, I could not change it. The policy was expensive, about $200 more a month than I am paying under Obamacare. It also did not cover as much – I was paying another $300 a month for insulin and other drugs.
A big catch for the high risk pool is that you had to be covered by a policy before you could be eligible. Fortunately for me, I had a crapola health policy which did not cover much of anything, which I obtained before I was diagnosed with diabetes. If I had been diagnosed prior to that, I could not have even purchased that policy, and I would not have been eligible for the State’s high risk pool.
Not that Obamacare is all that great. I am paying about a third of my income in insurance premiums, co-pays, and uncovered medical expenses. Without Obamacare, I would either be paying more, or not having any health coverage at all. But this is not really an option, because my insulin alone costs over $1000 per month. (I am allergic to phenol, which severely limits the medications I can take.)
I also am a bankruptcy attorney. Before Obamacare, about a quarter to a third of my cases were medical bankruptcies. Someone would have a heart attack and have medical bills of $60,000 or more, which they simply could not pay. Because if you don’t have health insurance, a hospital will charge you three to ten times as much as they charge patients with health insurance or government insurance (Medicare and Medicaid). Yes, I made money by helping people NOT pay their medical bills.
Creditors (and Republicans) live in a fantasy world where people who make minimum wage and have no benefits, like health care, can afford to pay a $60,000 medical bill (what it costs to have a heart attack.) The creditors assume that people have pots of gold stashed away in their homes and can and will pay whatever a hospital deems to charge. In small rural communities, far from the gated communities where the plutocrats live, people simply do not have a disposable income. Creditors and Republicans live in a fantasy world where doctors and hospital s charge fantasy fees to poor people with fantasy money who can obtain a fantasy health insurance policy – then they wonder why their bills are not being paid.
The primary beneficiaries of Obamacare are insurance companies and medical providers. Before Obamacare, a substantial part of the population could not afford medical care. They simply did not pay bills, or bankrupted out. This meant, providers did not get paid. In fact, our community had, and still has a thriving medical collection business. Without Obamacare, rural hospitals will go out of business – a free market simply does not support them. That means travelling 100 miles to the nearest big city hospital – not so great if you are having a heart attack. A helicopter ride to one of these hospitals costs over $10,000.
For those who do have insurance, this all means that your premiums will skyrocket. To the extent hospitals and doctors provide care for those without insurance or cannot afford medical care, those of you with insurance pick up the cost – through high premiums.
Many employers cannot afford these premiums. I have owned small businesses and the cost of health insurance can easily exceed the amounts paid to employees. As a result, just about every small business in my community does not provide health care. They simply cannot afford it.
What a lot of the “free market” knuckleheads fail to understand is that prior to Obamacare, our health care system was on the verge of collapse. Obamacare was a minimal effort to stave off this collapse.
You see, those people who prattle on about “free markets” actually have no clue about what a free market is and how it works, or in my case and that of millions of Americans, how it doesn’t work.