YOUNG AND UNINSURED

The wild-eyed, paranoid ranting of the Obama-is-an-agent-of-an-alien-government-bent-on-destroying-America crowd has become so shrill that, lacking anything rational to say, they have fallen back on that old standby:  calling your opponent a Nazi.  They have thereby invoked Godwin’s Law, and by the rules of civility should now stand down.

Today I want to address one of the few points made about the health care issue that is not dripping with pure partisan hyperbole or outright deception.

Many of the people living without health insurance in the US are young, healthy individuals who have chosen not to carry insurance.  This true fact is often held up as proof that health care reform is unnecessary.  But let’s look a little closer.

I was just such an individual in my early twenties.  Fresh out of college, working a crappy job, I earned $5.00 per hour, which was slightly more than the minimum wage at the time.  My employer offered me the opportunity to purchase health insurance.  My paltry $800 per month left me no room for luxuries like insurance, and so I declined.

Some choices, as Stephen Colbert might say, are choicier than others.  I didn’t like forgoing insurance coverage.  I recognized it as the risk that it was, given the many uncertainties of life.  I would have purchased insurance had it been affordable.  So, while it is technically true (or perhaps, truthy) that some young, healthy people choose not to carry health insurance, it in no way suggests that reform would not be beneficial to them.

As a young woman, my primary health care needs were regular women’s health check-ups (including pap smears) and prescription contraceptives.  I obtained these services at the local Planned Parenthood clinic, which offered a sliding-fee scale.  Patients paid what they could afford.  As a result of one of those check-ups, I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition.  I received treatment at the same clinic, at little or no cost, and have been clear ever since.

I believe I can truthfully say that Planned Parenthood saved my life.  Since I had no insurance, had the P.P. clinic not been available to me, I would’ve skipped those exams.  I would’ve missed the early diagnosis and treatment, and might well have developed cervical cancer.

Now consider this:  many of the very same people that are frothing rabidly at the mouth over Obama’s health care plan would also dearly love to shut down every Planned Parenthood clinic in the country, thereby leaving thousands of low-income women with no place to turn for their critically important, routine care.  Unconscionable.

I leave you with this piece, in which British columnist Johann Hari explains that the Republican party has become a cult.

 

 

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40 thoughts on “YOUNG AND UNINSURED

  1. I did not have health insurance until I landed my first non-teaching, non-waitressing job, post grad shool. And it was as an Americorp VISTA volunteer. Also, I am now forced to work for large entities, as my husband is a small business owner. It is the only way we can afford to have health insurance for all four of us. I worked for a small company once with a nice salary, but it was eaten up by health insurance costs (around $950 a month, basic, with large deductible). Yes, we need a public option.

  2. It pains me how people have to sacrifice to keep health insurance and how we have to circumvent the jobs we would love to do for ones that offer coverage.  When I first had my daughter, I had to work multiple jobs to make the bills and be covered.  I’m covered now and narrowed to one job for the last 3 years but my co-pays are ridiculous.  Death panels.  Pffft.  Any person ever working at a health insurance company knows they exist now so the HMOs can make a profit but they’ll just call it risk management.

  3. Agreed.  The right wing keeps getting scarier, and the truth is that there are so many real stories like yours that make the case for health care reform in this country.  My parents divorced about 10 years ago, so after a long marriage with access to fantastic NYC teacher benefits, my mom now needs to buy individual insurance on the free market.  Her premiums go up more than 10% almost every year, and she is healthy(knock on wood) with no pre-existing conditions.  I am getting increasingly fed up by all the attention that the media is giving the zealots and how this entire thing is becoming a farce.  Did you see the folks toting unconcealed automatic rifles to events attended by Obama in Arizona??(p.s. I “Mad Menned” myself in the same outfit.)

  4. Oh I get it.  It’s okay to call anyone who opposes it anti-American and racist, but how dare someone actually point out that elements of the plan have sharp parallels to nazism.  Interesting logic, I must say.

  5. I seriously can’t understand why people are against this!  Are they that cheap ?!  Do they not realize that there are people like you and I who yeah, we’re young and healthy and uninsured but we’re only “healthy” because we can’t afford to go to the doctor to see if we’re not! 

  6. I’m surprised to see such a cogent article in “The Huffington Post.”  Any crazy thing Rush Limbaugh says, such as this Nazi garbage, the right winged lemmings  immediately start chanting along.  Sometimes I think he deliberately comes up with insane ideas just to see how far these nutcases are willing to go.

  7. I would never want to shut down Planned Parenthood.  I made exactly the same choices as you, re: health insurance, but with a completely different perspective.  Would I have turned it down if it were free?  No, of course not.  On the other hand, did I resent it’s cost?  No, I just figured I’d have to work harder and get a better job and one day I’d have health insurance.  I could have purchased it.  I chose not too, admittedly because I couldn’t afford it.  Although, in fairness, I *did* afford all kinds of wants like evenings out on the town and gas for my car and clothes and other things.  Looking back on it, I probably could have afforded health insurance, but it wouldn’t have been a very wise way to spend money.  Why?  Because I was young and healthy and statistically unlikely to have any kind of problem that wasn’t covered by PP or emergency care.  Not only was that statistically true, but it turned out to be actually true, in my case.  Glad I didn’t waste that money on health care, and instead spent it on getting a graduate education so I could enjoy the rest of my life in relative ease!

  8. Oh, and what’s wrong with “raw economic interests?”  I don’t base my opposition to universal healthcare on base prejudices, but I absolutely base it on raw economic interests.  What else is there?  Broad philosophical principles?  My broad philosophical principles tell me it’s not right to be forced to sacrifice my individual raw economic interests for the (questionable) good of the community at large.

  9. How do you feel about the rumor flying around that, when asked, Obama would not say that he and his family would be partaking in the new health care?  And that the bill was written so that our senators and representatives will continue on with their own coverage instead of being included in the plan?

  10. @ordinarybutloud – There is nothing wrong with considering your own economic interests.  It is wrong, however, to ignore the responsibility we all have to contribute to the public good.  Unfortunately, what’s good for the public is not at all clear and is always in dispute.@gwennieg – As I understand it, the health care plan does not institute required, government health care coverage.  It includes a wide variety of choices which may include a government coverage option, but maybe not, given how much frothing there is about it.  So the Obamas and the congressmembers will not be required to give up their current coverage, and neither will you.  Summary here.

  11. @transvestite_rabbit - What’s good for the public is always in dispute, as well as the degree of our responsibility to contribute to the public good.  After all, we already contribute quite a lot to the public good.  I know that I, personally, contribute an almost staggering amount to the public good (putting aside my purely altruistic activities, which I engage in of my own volition).

  12. A cult indeed.  I would be afraid, at this time, to enter a PP clinic for fear of being blown to smithereens by some wacko who doesn’t believe in murdering babies.  Sad…very Sad…

  13. I am a middle aged woman, with a middle aged husband and a young son.  We have not had health insurance since I couldn’t afford to COBRA my insurance after I was laid off last August.  I am PETRIFIED about not having it.  We are working numerous part time jobs between us to make ends meet, and insurance is not in the budget at this time.  My doctor wanted me to go for some blood tests for possible thyroid issues, among other things.  I have not had a pap smear in 2 years, or a mammagram in 10.  Am I healthy?  God, I hope so, because I can’t afford to find out otherwise.  I don’t want a handout from anyone; I just want affordable insurance with decent coverage. 

  14. I don’t think the system we have now is perfect, BUT – I don’t believe the recently proposed healthcare reform plan (and its variations) ultimately create a ‘better’ system.  My issue with much of this has been that the touted ‘healthcare reform’ has been rushed and forced and I don’t feel that sufficient time has been taken to fully consider the wide-reaching effects on the American people and economy one or two decades from now.  I could care less whether it was created by Democrats, Republicans, or bi-partisan efforts (none of the three seems to produce consistently better historical results) – what I care about is that people that I know and trust (NOT, may I add, the press or public figures – I am referring to highly educated friends, authorities, and analysts on both sides of the political spectrum) have raised very compelling points about the probable future effects of this plan (as it stands) on jobs, wages, inflation, and slack-ass entitlist behavior in America.Do we need healthcare reform?  I would give a conditional ‘yes.’  Do we need THIS healthcare reform?  I would have to say ‘No.’  We need a plan that doesn’t place a crippling burden on the government, individuals, or small-business owners (or large businesses, for that matter, because burdens placed on them are ultimately passed on to everyone in some form or fashion).  Sound impossible?  Maybe.  But maybe that’s why we don’t have it yet.  If such a thing is possible, it will take time and thought and forethought and vision and public support and a lot less in the way of partisan pissing contests.  We can look at healthcare systems and historical healthcare reform in other countries and see lots of ways that DON’T work and maybe a few that kind of do, but let’s not rush in and make the same mistakes…

  15. I’m Canadian, and hearing people make arguements against universal health care, or the idea of taking care of all the country’s citizens, makes me ill.  So selfish.

  16. I think I need to go look at the summary you posted before I have any opinion on this. I grew up without health care.  We currently pay over 6K a year for our private health insurance, which is not an option for a lot of people. My husband found a statistic that people who don’t have HI get 2/3rds of the care people with HI do.  2/3rds? That’s a lot of medical care!  Someone is paying for that and my guess is it’s the insured.  Hmm… Definitely complicated.

  17. @haloed – I’m with you. I have a few friends in the states and they have no idea how well things work up here in Canada. Calling Obama a Nazi, is just insane. How fucking retarded are people? All he wants to do is have some basic coverage in place to roughly 50 million that have NOTHING! People lose their houses, go bankrupt, all because of an illness. It’s barbaric. But then again it’s kind of easy to understand. The states hasn’t even learned how to use the metric system. How could we expect some of them to understand decent health care if they can’t even do that?

  18. Well said. I’m laughing at radicalramblings’ comment above. I noticed you have replied to some comments, but not hers.  Are you intentionally ignoring her? I wouldn’t blame you. She’s obviously beyond the reach of logic and reason.

  19. @gwennieg –    Many thousands of Federal employees (including me, Pres. Obama, and members of Congress) have the same health plans such as Blue Cross and other similar ones.  We pay for it and there’s nothing special about it.  But why would he or anyone else give it up if it meets the family needs?  

  20. @In_Reason_I_Trust – Indeed.  In my view, once someone uses the word “Nazi” in an inappropriate context, the discussion is over.  Therefore, my discussion with that commenter was over immediately.  As Barney Frank recently said to a woman who threw that N word at him, “on what planet do you spend most of your time?”

  21. @transvestite_rabbit – sorry I couldn’t help myself. It stems from her constantly hitting people in the head with her stupidity and irrationality. It gets frustrating.@radicalramblings – why don’t you actually say something constructive for a change, like if it wasn’t for planned parenthood there would be a good chance that TR would’ve ended up being very sick and admit that the people who would like to shut them down are of your ilk. Try wrapping your mind around that for once.

  22. @GodAintGood – LOL! That was awesome. Too bad it didn’t sit well with the TR.  But, you were right on point. @turningreen – Ummm…I’ll think about that. I’ll probably pass, though. I just can’t stomach much more nonsense. And I don’t even watch Faux News!  I’d probably die of dehydration, puking myself to death. Heh, heh.

  23. that last underlined statement …so true.You sound exactly liek my sister who had to get a surgery and ended up really Broke! I feel for her. My belief is that the Insurance Companies created the high costs. I went to see a Dr in my unisured 20’s and it cost me 25 bucks in the 90’s. Now it is triple that.Yep we need some kind of reform. WHY I voted fro Obama!

  24. How Insurance Companies Kill Health Care Reform! Wendall Potter, a former employee of CIGNA (one of our nation’s largest health insurers) was interviewed by Sanjay Gupta on CNN. He knows all the tricks insurance companies use to increase their profits and screw their policyholders, They killed Bill Clinton’s health care proposal, and they are determined to do the same to President Obama. Here’s how it works. Millions of dollars of policyholders’ premiums that could have been used to provide health care to you instead go to big public relations firms. These PR firms provide talking points to conservative talk show hosts (you didn’t believe they could think for themselves, did you?), conservative media, and conservative politicians. They also set up sham “grass roots” groups (called “astroturf”) to rile up people (often using the internet) and scare them away from health care reform. These PR firms do a great job in telling lies and giving misinformation, fear mongering at its worse. And the health insurance companies are full partners in this deceit, determined to derail any health care reform that might decrease their profits. So the next time you hear a speech or clever phrases with warnings about “government takeover” of our health care system, or creation of a public health insurance option would lead to socialism, you should know that health insurance companies probably funded or wrote it. And people who repeat these words have become unwitting spokespeople for the for-profit health care industry.

  25. Young people in their twenties may be healthy, but their age group is more likely to be involved in traumatic accidents–men particularly.  The costs incurred after surviving a serious car accident would set you back a lot more than the cost to treat many diseases.

  26. I would miss my health care.  But I am lucky.  I’m employed and covered.  I still can’t abide the notion that all people don’t need healthcare.  I’ve never understood why those not associated with the profit mongering insurance companies can’t understnd the savings generated by preventative care as opposed to emergency care and costly life altering badness that comes with the loss of preventative care.  The insurance guys understand it all too well.

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