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I was saddened to read about William "Refrigerator" Perry's illness. I met him once, and he was extremely gracious and down to earth. You never know who'll end up with a chronic illness and no insurance.
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Hospitals hire people with few qualifications and very little training for low paying jobs that bring them into direct contact with vulnerable people, then act surprised when things like this happen. People who cry openly at the death of a celebrity don't bat an eye over the abuse of people with disabilities. Celebrities, after all, are front page news, but this story was found in the back of the local section, where many shameful things reside.

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"If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care ... then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business?" Obama said in response to a question at a White House news conference.

"That's not logical," he scoffed, responding to an industry warning that government competition would destabilize the employer system that now covers more than 160 million people.

The important thing to remember about health insurance is that it doesn't produce any medical care; it just runs up administrative costs. Doctors have to hire people to deal with reimbursements, and insurance companies have to hire people to deny claims. As for the argument that reform will cost jobs, many insurers use call centers in India. Isn't it fun to discuss complicated medical and financial matters with someone who speaks in a thick accent and can't understand a word you say? Obviously, it's an evil plot to get you to give up and accept insurance rip-offs.

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It's cruel to force workers who have no healthcare coverage themselves to subsidize coverage for others. As this article points out, the poor and the elderly are covered by Medicaid and Medicare. (It should be noted that the elderly are eligible for Medicare without regard for income.) The workers who pay for this through taxes on their wages frequently can't afford the very coverage that they are providing for others.

Coverage for the poor varies from state to state. In North Carolina, the Medicaid threshold for a family of 4 is $15,000 a year. In Arizona, it's $40,000.  Income limits and eligibility requirements for SCHIP also vary from state to state. Under this system, it's possible for people with lower incomes to subsidize coverage for those with higher incomes. It also dooms working people with chronic illnesses to do without care while contributing to care for others. 

It's important to note that much of the money allotted to SCHIP winds up in the hands of private insurance companies who manage the plans for the states. Insurance companies provide no healthcare themselves, yet increase administrative costs.

We spend enough money in this country providing care for special groups, generating profits for insurance companies, and covering the losses incurred by the uninsured to provide coverage for everyone. We're paying for something that we're not receiving.

Current plans by the government to pass a law that all people must buy private healthcare insurance would do nothing to provide better access to healthcare. It would merely makes us slaves to for-profit insurance companies, the same companies that are helping add to healthcare costs and denying access to care right now.

We need a national single-payer healthcare system, but are unlikely to get it because the insurance industry has become financially and politically powerful.


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