Insured but still bankrupt

Best health care system in the world, according to the right wingers and industry apologists. It’s wonderful as long as you don’t get sick and then you’re screwed. Stories like this strike a cord with me because even though my father had decent health care coverage (even though his company pushed these costs to him while in retirement, against the terms of his retirement) he was terrified of losing everything. Even after reading the health coverage and confirming details he still never trusted the insurance industry and was afraid that somehow the cost of treating his cancer would leave his wife with nothing. This is what led him to choose the horrible VA system which did save him money though the treatment was as poor as one might expect.

As Joe and John have suggested many times, Congress ought to cancel their own health insurance plan until they manage to work something out for everyone. Their problem is that they can’t even begin to relate to what the rest of the country is experiencing because they have it too good. Having their ears bent by the insurance industry doesn’t help either. Whether it’s under-insurance or flat out lousy insurance and of course no insurance, the system is a disaster and Big Insurance is about as trustworthy as Big Oil. NY Times:

In the House and Senate, lawmakers are grappling with the details of legislation that would set minimum standards for insurance coverage and place caps on out-of-pocket expenses. And fear of the high price tag could prompt lawmakers to settle for less than comprehensive coverage for some Americans.

But patient advocates argue it is crucial for the final legislation to guarantee a base level of coverage, if people like Mr. Yurdin are to be protected from financial ruin. They also call for a new layer of federal rules to correct the current state-by-state regulatory patchwork that allows some insurance companies to sell relatively worthless policies.

“Underinsurance is the great hidden risk of the American health care system,” said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who has analyzed medical bankruptcies. “People do not realize they are one diagnosis away from financial collapse.”

Last week, a former Cigna executive warned at a Senate hearing on health insurance that lawmakers should be careful about the role they gave private insurers in any new system, saying the companies were too prone to “confuse their customers and dump the sick.”

How many members of Congress have ever had to worry about going bankrupt from being ill?


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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