by Robyn Blumner
It was depressing to pick up my
But as I examined the results more closely, one detail was particularly infuriating: The group most vehemently opposed to the reforms are folks 65 and older. Only 39 percent of this group supports the law, compared to 57 percent support from voters ages 18-34. What this means is that seniors on
My mom would call that being selfish.
I'd love to do a John Rawls-type thought experiment with this group and have them design a system of health insurance for the country. One option would be what we have today, where one group gets
Would those 65 and over be willing to chance it and possibly find themselves subject to today's free market? Would they choose
I'm willing to bet the last two options would be quite popular, with relatively few willing to subject themselves to the vagaries of the free market.
That brings us to a friend of mine we'll call Sarah, one of the current system's victims, who asked that her real name not be used so she could candidly discuss personal medical issues.
Sarah has a typical middle-class American life. She's married with two young daughters and lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., in a home she and her husband own. Her husband is a commercial artist, while she takes care of the girls, one of whom has Asperger's.
A short while back, Sarah's family suffered a devastating car crash. It landed Sarah in the hospital with traumatic brain injury, among other medical issues. Thankfully, they had health insurance, but since then, Sarah's husband lost his job. His new one doesn't come with health insurance benefits, and there is no way for them to afford the
Since July 1, the family has been uninsured. Sarah has been desperately shopping for affordable health insurance, but she has come up empty. Her past injuries make her uninsurable, and she's been turned down flat without even so much as a price quote.
Sarah's plan right now is to cover her children through a state program, while the adults go without insurance for six months until they qualify for the federally subsidized high-risk pool that's part of the Affordable Care Act. In the interim, Sarah will keep her fingers crossed that they are not bankrupted by medical bills. That's her plan -- her hope -- which is the only thing available to her.
Sarah's sisters live abroad, one in Singapore and one in the U.S. military in Germany, in nations that provide their citizens with universal coverage. They can't believe the unfairness of the fix she's in. Americans are alone among citizens of advanced nations in facing this high-wire act with their medical and financial security.
Sarah can't wait until 2014, when health insurance companies must offer coverage without considering her preexisting condition in determining cost or eligibility. But if all those older, anti-Obamacare voters put Republicans in office, that day may never come.
Of course, those older voters won't have to worry if the law is repealed. They will still have
Older Voters' Disapproval of Affordable Care Act Selfish | Politics