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HEALTH CARE: Why individual mandate matters

Letter by L.M. Hedegaard, Puyallup on March 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm with 18 Comments »
March 22, 2012 1:31 pm

Do you know someone with cancer? Then you probably know that they are vulnerable to discrimination when they try to get health insurance.

Often they are denied coverage because of their pre-existing condition. They might be charged high premiums they can’t afford or be forced to settle for plans that offer inadequate coverage. It’s not enough that cancer patients have to fight the disease; they have to fight for insurance, too.

Fortunately, cancer survivors have new hope because, when fully implemented in 2014, provisions in the new federal health care law will correct these failures in the health insurance market.

However, this law will only work if all Americans are required to have health insurance. Without that requirement, healthy people tend to avoid buying insurance until they need it. That leaves insurance plans to cover a sicker population – driving up costs for everyone in the health care system.

The U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing the individual responsibility requirement in the health care law. Because I have many friends and family members who are cancer survivors, I’ll be following closely.

(Hedegaard is a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.)

Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. volvo1999 says:

    Can someone tell me why healthcare is a right that needs to be provided for by the government. If your argumentment is that it is a neccessary right to the pursuit of happiness, then I would argue so is food and water, should the government pay for these items? Where does it stop, if your argument is that Canada has nationalized healthcare and it works, I would argue they only have 34 million people in all of Canada, not 300+ million here in the USA, Sweden has 9 million people, so someone please help me out… really I want to know. I will listen to all reasonable arguments.

  2. LornaDoone says:

    volvo1999 – why don’t you ask the Republicans that were proposing a health care insurance mandate, up until Obama got in office.

    If your assessment is that the United States cannot function with the same success as the Canadians because of the size of our country, lets withdraw the whole “best country in the world” brag right now. Somehow we figure out how to outspend countries #2 through #13 cummulatively in military might, but we can’t translate that to saving lives and making a better quality of life for Americans?

    Addressing your wish for “reasonable arguments”, lets just start with my first paragraph and once you’ve responded to that, then we can get into the details of size and money.

  3. “driving up costs for everyone in the health care system.”

    Oh, you mean like Obamcare, which Obama said would cost a trillion and the CBO says will cost two trillion.

    If Obamacare weren’t unconstitutional and we could afford it, it might have some appeal. but it is fundamentally immoral. We can’t pay for it, and our great grandkids will be stuck with the bill. If obligating someone else to pay for my stuff isn’t immoral, nothing is.

  4. old_benjamin says:

    Ever notice that Uncle Sam bears the burden for keeping the world from going KABOOM? Countries #2 through #13 can’t and won’t. Being the bid kid on the block comes with a very steep price.

    As for the Canadian system, your characterization of it as a “success,”
    differs considerably from what Canadian friends tell me. I think I’ll keep what freedom we have left in this country. Those who prefer the Canadian approach are free to emigrate.

  5. truthbusterguy says:

    I am a cancer survivor. If we had been under obamacare I would be dead. The new law will require delays in treatment. When my cancer was found I was told that I was at stage 4 and treatment would have to start in two weeks our there would be no hope. I started treatment in 10 day. That is light speed for starting chemo and radiation treatments.

    There is NO WAY under obamacare I would have got treatment that fast so the end result would be death. I am now in remission and have been for 3 years.

    America doesn’t like to wait. I paid my insurance premiums for 35 years and when I needed help they were there for me. Its how the system works. If you want socialized health care move to Canada where they die while waiting for cancer treatments.

  6. alindasue says:

    truthbusterguy said, “If we had been under obamacare I would be dead. The new law will require delays in treatment.”

    If you were unable to obtain insurance the “delay” would be much longer and you’d be equally dead. I know too many people with “preexisting conditions” who can’t get insurance that’s even remotely affordable.

    The status quo isn’t working. Things can’t just be left as they were. If not “Obamacare”, then what? What’s your solution to the health care coverage problem?

  7. truthbusterguy says:

    Liberal, alindasue asked,
    The status quo isn’t working. Things can’t just be left as they were. If not “Obamacare”, then what? What’s your solution to the health care coverage problem?

    1. Honor your mother and father
    2. Get an education in a field you can make a living at.
    3. Get a job or start your own business (i did both)
    4. Get good insurance at a young age when it’s cheap
    5. Get married and live a healthy life
    6. Plan your life, have a money plan that includes insurance.

    And when you get sick you will be covered.

    In the meantime demand that healtcare cost be reined in and priced fairly. Something the 2700 plus pages of obamcare did not dedicate one page too.

    Your problem is you are among the entitled part of society that wants government to provide EVERYTHING. I am for an America of freedom and values that made this country great.

    We will have to agree to disagree on this issue. But you are wrong. That is why 60% demand this law be overturned. Want proof, Friday is the two year birthday of obamcare and the liberal media won’t discuss this because obamacare is now TOXIC with the great majority of Americans.

  8. sandblower says:

    truthyguy has no clue about economic reality for far too many Americans.

  9. sandblower says:

    truthyguy makes claims he cannot prove.
    truthyguy must be a conservative.

  10. T-busterGuy – How do you buy cheap insurance when you’re young if you’re born with a chronic disease like cystic fibrosis? If it was not for the affordable care act right now many children born with this deadly disease would not be getting the care they need.

    Also the Affordable Care Act does not give anyone insurance it only helps those who can’t afford it with help in purchasing it – just like RomneyCare.

  11. HistoryFan says:

    These are all good points. The issue at hand is, is it Constitutional for the Federal Government to require an American to purchase something just for simply existing. If and once this mandate is struck down as unconstitutional, Obamacare will loose it’s funding and just may implode on itself.

    If and when that happens, let us design a simple plan to reduce costs such as allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. Congress can do that. Competition drives down costs. Now this one example will not solve all of the problems but is just one of several that will work and we won’t, “Have to pass it to see what is in it”.

  12. volvo’s argument against universal healthcare is that the US is bigger than Canada?

    So much for the American “can do” spirit!

  13. blakeshouse says:

    The can do spirit has been replaced with the entitlement mentality that the socialist/ neo marxist crowd has instilled as part of their plan to destroy this once great nation. The nanny state, cradle to grave crap has destroyed the very fabric that once made this nation what it was.

  14. SandHills says:

    Hedegarde must be in the insurance business….”Obamacare” will deifinately be a moneymaker for them. Seems to me that name is involved with Trivent which is an insurance provider.

    Cancer is a terrible affliction – only made worse by the cost involved in treatment. I would have to believe that any insurer must have a matrix that is based upon extensive analysis of survival rates from various forms of cancer. Those with high survival rates are cost effective, those types of cancer with low survival rates need to be cut off – else it drains the pot of gold for the insurers. It may not be termed “death panels” but hidden in the fine print of any national health insurance program there will be decisions made that will be more cold blooded than “prior conditions”.

    The other factor is that most hard-working Americans will be at a disadvantage in any national mandated healthcare program – they will be competing for services with a segment of society that has been very adept at feeding out of the public trough for generations.

  15. LornaDoone says:

    1. Honor your mother and father
    2. Get an education in a field you can make a living at.
    3. Get a job or start your own business (i did both)
    4. Get good insurance at a young age when it’s cheap
    5. Get married and live a healthy life
    6. Plan your life, have a money plan that includes insurance.

    And then, your employer who didn’t make the bottom line he wanted because he increased his salary and the gross revenue didn’t meet projections, will plead poverty and discontinue your insurance policy.

    The insurance company, as they do all the time, will increase premiums.

    Living a healthy life becomes increasingly difficult because the oil companies are allowed to pollute and threaten to cease doing business if they have to be responsible.

    Despite your clean living, you have a genetic issue with your heart, have a heart attack and the insurance company says you are a risk and won’t cover you.

  16. LornaDoone says:

    “cradle to grave crap”

    Aptly put.

  17. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Well put, SandHills.


  18. menopaws says:

    We are required by the Federal government to pay into the Medicare system……….That was a system created to protect the elderly when they no longer are working and don’t have health insurance. That was the REASON that program was born. Insurance companies did not want to cover them because they have health problems. So, that passed muster because it makes good sense. Why is everyone soooo afraid of making insurance a part of everyone’s life???? I have a relative who is a para-legal and works for a bankruptcy lawyer. Up until this recession–she told me that over 90% of their cases came from people who had a major family illness and 1. didn’t have insurance 2. Had insurance but reached their dollar limit. 3. Were dropped by their insurance company. We are supposed to be the most modern, brilliant country in the world. What is brilliant about letting insurance companies run the market place in such a way that it kills people??? Why should our citizens have to be forced to choose between their health or their home? You think your freedom is in jeopardy because the insurance company has to cover everyone? If it’s that important pay the fine to the government and go without the insurance. Honestly—it is STUPID to let this system continue to jack up prices and make health care a privilege. Most corporations WANT this reform—the insurance companies keep jacking up their rates…..and yours. Economically, if you expand the pool–rates will go down. It’s not rocket science—but it is VERY smart……I am at a loss to understand how getting rates down and expanding coverage is a threat to Democracy. But, I am well aware that the Tea Baggers have some lame explanation…….

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