Mike Albee: Insurance to blame, too


To the editor:

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend you are a member of the United States Congress and you are holding a town hall meeting somewhere back in your home state. 

The subject of the new health care reform comes up and you say you want to repeal it. Several parents express concern because some of them have kids that just graduated from college and are about to turn 23.

They have no job because of the economy and have no choice but to live at home. The parents say that under the new health care law, their children can be insured under their health plan until they turn 26.

If the health care law is repealed, they can’t afford to buy insurance for their kids, which could result in catastrophic financial problems if their kids became sick or severely injured. 

Another parent stands up and says that their child has a genetic disorder and they have been unable to get insurance because of their child’s pre-existing condition, which has resulted in bankruptcy because of medical costs. Under the new rules, they can now get health insurance for their child, but if it’s repealed, that will be gone. Another person says that because lifetime limits on benefits have been eliminated, he will be able to continue his treatments for a serious chronic illness but he is concerned that his children may not have that advantage if the health care law is repealed.

I am asking anyone out there to pretend that they are the congressman or congresswoman and explain to those people how repeal of the health care law is good for them and the country. Oh, and by the way, explain to your constituents how you plan to drop your own government sponsored health care plan and buy private insurance.

Oh, that’s right, you have a pre-existing condition and can’t get private insurance until 2014, so you’ll go ahead and stay on your taxpayer funded health care until then.

On a final note, I hear politicians on both sides of the aisle say that we all have to sacrifice to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

Seniors on fixed income, middle class families, and lower income families get a benefit cut while the ultra rich get a tax cut. Oh yeah, we all have to sacrifice.

Mike Albee

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JimBlevins 7 years, 6 months ago

An interesting approach, if a bit sarcastic. I think that you may have hit on the essence of how to convince people of the need. As the conservatives try to kill universal health care by a "thousand cuts", each cut is going to require justifying what is being cut. It is easy to say that it is too expensive, but it is much harder to say that a specific number of people with a certain problem must die in order to save a specific amount of money.

Then again, the egocentricity of some people aways amazes me. There seems to be very little concern that people are starting to die because Governor Brewer has decided that Arizona Medicaid can't afford transplants.

I hope that your letter will allow at least a few people to better understand the problem.

Jim Blevins


colorado_22 7 years, 6 months ago

I really hate to say it BUT... What ever happened to "survival of the fittest?" No wonder our country is filled with such unhealthy, unskilled, and uneducated people. We are the only country that puts fourth such a rediculous effort to keep these people alive and on their feet. At least there are honest, hardworking people who get up every single day (before noon!) and work our tails off to support the weaker links of society. Now, in all fairness (kind of), I have never had such a problem with this ugly truth of our societal infastructure, except for now. In this recession all of us are struggling. Especially those of us hard workers who are self-sufficient and support ourselves. We get no breaks, or assistance, while many others are relaxing on the couch on our tax dollar. No wonder you all want unversal healthcare so bad- just another program that will benefit those people who CHOOSE to be unhealthy and live on the hardworkers' buck(s). P.S. You're Welcome!


Nadja Rider 7 years, 6 months ago

I just don't get it. Where has this sense of entitlement come from in our current society? Or this sense that just because someone is rich, they should pay much more and "even the playing field" so to speak.

So a kid has insurance until they're done with school, sounds good to me. You and I and our kids didn't have extended insurance and did just fine.

All these demands for free social services, coddling, entitlements - call it what you want - costs money. Hasn't anyone noticed, this country is going broke, and it's not getting any better any time soon. The system is broke and needs to be fixed first, not more money thrown at it, that includes the new health care system. The new laws were cobbled together and shoved down our collective throats. I bet not one person in congress or senate can tell you exactly what's in those new health care laws, yet we are supposed to - as well as our health care providers. I'm not going to argue that health care needs to be reformed, but it needed to start with tort reform and continue on to straightening out the mess with the insurance companies. Right now health care costs and insurance companies are in a vicious upward spiral, due to the costs they have to absorb for the uninsured and illegals. I personally would have liked to see health care reformed in smaller more digestible chunks. However first and foremost, our borders need to be secured and the neverending flood of illegals stopped. We simply cannot continue absorbing the cost. The financial burden is bankrupting this country.

Like it or not, we're going to have to suck it up and quit demanding that Uncle Sam take care of us. We're turning into a nanny state and it's got to stop. By the way, Arizona REALLY can't afford transplants. Who's going to pay for them? People die every day, as harsh as it sounds the sad reality is that it's part of life and not everyone can be saved. To assume the government is obligated to save each and every one of us is crazy.


colorado_22 7 years, 6 months ago

Nadja, Bravo. You completely read my mind, and your statements support exactly how I feel on this issue. Seriously, why does everyone feel so entitled. I mean, our government is mostly to blame because they completely enable this behavior, but I tell ya as a full-time worker and a full-time college student who gets ZERO breaks and ZERO assistance, it gets really old supporting the weak links of our society. I am in my early 20's, and I decided at a young age that I didn't want kids until I was closer to 30. All of my friends who have kids get endless assistance and have no need to support themselves or to be self-sufficient, while I get up every day and bust my tail to make ends meet. Shame on our government. And to all you taxpayers out there; stay strong, for we are being sucked completely dry.


Jon Pfeifer 7 years, 6 months ago

A lot of people think anything Obama does must be evil. Nothing I say will change that. I'm not a cheerleader for the health care plan and I agree it was basically shoved down people's throats, but I do see benefits to some of the reforms. It forces uninsured people to carry health insurance. If 30 million more people carry insurance, then that's 30 million people I don't have to subsidize each time I use a medical facility. This reduces costs, especially for hospitals where emergency care is given to uninsured people for "free" (i.e., insured people like me get to pay for it).

If people want to stand on their right to not carry insurance, then I think the law obligating hospitals to treat uninsured individuals in order to maintain their charitable organization status should be changed. The health care plan obviously doesn't do this, so I think it fails in this sense. This type of reform would address people's issues with treating "illegals" who don't have insurance. Again, it didn't happen, so the plan failed in this regard.

The reform did address some of the unconscionable practices by the insurance industry. I think it is absurd to allow the insurance industry to deny people coverage because they have gone over their "limit" or because of a preexisting condition, especially when that preexisting condition is part of a chronic illness. This is essentially business executives saying your life is no longer worth the cost to our profits. The health care plan eliminates those abuses. In that sense, I see these changes as positive.

I actually don't agree that people should receive coverage under their parent's plan until they turn 26. That's 8 years of adulthood. I think people should be independent much earlier... maybe not right at the age of 18, but at least by 20. I don't think government should facilitate the "living in my mom's basement" phenomenon. If anything, it should discourage that. I agree with other posts that this provision creates a sense of entitlement that is uncalled for.

The biggest problem I have with the reform is that it does not address what I see as the primary reason costs are skyrocketing. No, not tort reform, but the issuing of patents for every new medical device and every new drug and the onerous approval process for new drugs. My recent treatments involved injections of a new drug that was patented that cost $7000 each injection. The total for that drug alone was around $56,000. If the government is going to create a monopoly (which is what they do in issuing a patent), health care reform needs to address the time that a medical patent is valid or the costs drug/medical device companies can charge during the patent period. Reform should also address the approval process to streamline it while still making sure drugs are safe. The health care plan fails in doing that also.

So basically, it has a lot of problems, but I do see some positive elements in the new law.


Frank Estey 7 years, 6 months ago

Mr., Blevins,

Utopia, a theoretical or fictional community where the State pays for all medical, and retirement benefits, Transplants, provides free housing, and lots of other good free stuff. All this free stuff costs money, a work of fiction, unless we can get the Doctors to do transplants and other stuff for free, manufactures to provide free stuff then get everyone to work for free. Even then, we will need to increase taxes, but who will pay those taxes when everyone is working for free?


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