The Fear Before Now

Health insurance used to be hard to get and expensive.  It is no longer hard to get health insurance, but it certainly is expensive.  In that health insurance is the way most Americans access and pay for their health care, it was very important to make it easier for us to become insured.

Too many of us forget what it once was like to purchase insurance.  In ancient times, pre-2014, your agent would ask you questions about your health, occupation, driving record, and hobbies.  If you needed coverage for a spouse or children, we needed all of that information on each of them, too.  As you can imagine, there were plenty of adults with Diabetes (Type 1 or 2), cancers, and sports injuries that either prevented them from acquiring coverage or resulted in higher premiums.  Some policies waived (excluded) preexisting conditions.  Some policies accepted an individual and his/her preexisting conditions after extensive conversations with the underwriters and the insurer had collected all of the pertinent medical records.

Insurance companies hate preexisting conditions, the difference between a risk and a certainty.  Children were an agent’s biggest challenge.  Ask any agent.  We remember the children we fought to cover.  There were children, sometimes babies, with cystic fibrosis, heart conditions, and even adolescents with ADHD.  We fought and we fought and most of the time we succeeded at finding the families health insurance.

No one wants to be responsible for the payment of the costs associated with preexisting conditions.  Not even the government.  Today’s proof comes courtesy of The Military Times.  The Pentagon has confirmed a recently released memo that stated that any recruit who has been diagnosed as having had COVID-19 will be permanently disqualified.  Permanently.  We have no idea what costs may be incurred 5, 10, or even 20 years from now by those who survive the Coronavirus.

We used to worry about getting insurance once we contracting an illness or suffered an injury even if we had a complete recovery.  That fear was real.  Now, thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), we no longer have that concern.  That could change if Donald Trump and 18 Republican governors have their way.

This blog has extensively covered the Texas lawsuit, the effort to declare Obamacare unconstitutional which would eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions and throw our entire system into disarray.  This past Wednesday was an important milepost, the last day for the Trump administration to disengage from the case as it heads to the Supreme Court.  Instead, President Trump said, “We want to terminate health care under Obamacare”.  What would happen if he is successful and Obamacare destroyed?  He has no idea.  What is his alternative, his replacement for our current system?  Trust him, it will be great.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was interviewed by Chuck Todd on Meet The Press (5/20/2020).  The Senator expressed disappointment that Trump decided to stay a part of the lawsuit.  It was one thing for Senator Alexander and other Congressional Republicans to cast dozens of meaningless votes to dismantle Obamacare.  It is entirely different to actually be a part of an action that could succeed in harming millions of Americans.

It is amazing that Texas, with almost 25% uninsured, the highest in the country, wants to impose its success on the rest of us.

States suing to immediately end the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

Texas                                 Alabama

Arkansas                            Arizona

Florida                               Georgia

Indiana                              Kansas

Louisiana                           Mississippi

Missouri                            Nebraska

North Dakota                    South Carolina

South Dakota                     Tennessee

Utah                                  West Virginia

These states were part of the lawsuit, but dropped off:

Maine                                Wisconsin

States defending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (initial filing):

California                          Connecticut

District of Columbia          Delaware

Hawaii                               Illinois

Kentucky                            Massachusetts

Minnesota                         New Jersey

New York                           North Carolina

Oregon                              Rhode Island

Vermont                            Virginia


These states joined in the defense:

Colorado                           Iowa

Michigan                           Nevada

Data courtesy Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

There was fear before now, the fear that we would not be able to get health insurance for ourselves and our families due to a preexisting condition.  It was real.  The question, now in the middle of a pandemic, is whether that fear is about to return.


Picture – The Other Side Of The Fence – David L Cunix


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