People who fall through the health care cracks

Are there really so many people who don’t get it? The ones screaming about health care reform have health insurance, and many claim that people who aren’t covered just don’t want to be.  Two arguments are that young people don’t want health coverage, and that people who need health care qualify for some sort of assistance. Here are just two real-life examples of falling through the cracks:

Single, 21 year old female, employed full-time, emergency room and four days of hospitalization 3 weeks before she became eligible for health insurance.  $25,000 in debt at 21. No kids, doesn’t qualify for any assistance. Didn’t buy into employer’s insurance when offered because of the pre-existing condition and the lack of prescription coverage. (Completely unfunny punch line–her employer is a national pharmacy chain.) Needs daily medication, but can’t afford it.

Divorced 25-year-old female working 30+ hours/week (just enough to not be full-time). Needs (but can’t afford) chronic medical care, goes to talk to government agency about Medicaid. Doesn’t have kids at home, so doesn’t qualify. When she says she isn’t pregnant, the receptionist asks, not unkindly, “can you get that way?”

The health-care haters are frequently the same people who bitch when single mothers get welfare and they have to pay for Medicaid.

Here’s a quick cause-and-effect lesson: Healthy people can work and pay taxes. Sick people can’t work or pay taxes. Healthy people cost the government–i.e., the taxpayers–less money. There is this perception that people with chronic illnesses will just sit and home and siphon money directly from conservative wallets, which is a conservative myth. Money suckers are already doing it. What the hell do you think will happen–people will schedule 40 hours of health care per week, quit their jobs, and eat penicillin for breakfast lunch and dinner?

It is true that not all conservatives are stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. -John Stewart