Strong opinions, weakly held

Why people who are against health insurance reform can go to hell

I know a lot of people are unhappy with health care reform, either because it didn’t provide a public option, or because they’re OK with how health insurance works in this country right now. The truth, though, is that it doesn’t work. Tonight we got an email from the patron of one of our favorite restaurants. Her husband is the chef, but has been diagnosed with cancer, and now they’re putting on a series of benefits to pay his medical bills. This is from their Web site, friendsforhamid.blogspot.com:

Hamid Mohajer Chef and co-owner of Mo’s Diner was recently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer which has spread to his bones. His wife and co-owner Holly had insurance through a second job, but unfortunately the insurance has capped. Since May they have been paying out of pocket for his health care. The bills are mounting weekly.

If you live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, you should really consider attending one of the benefits. Hamid and Holly are incredibly nice people and they run a great little restaurant.

The other point, though, is that the health care reform bill will, in time, eliminate both of the problems they’re facing financially. Holly wouldn’t have been forced to take a second job just to get insurance (she is already incredibly busy running a restaurant on her own), and there wouldn’t be a lifetime maximum on her health insurance. It’s bad enough that Hamid is fighting cancer, but our broken, awful health insurance system puts them in a position to face financial ruin as well. If you’re OK with that, it just means that you haven’t known anyone in a similar situation.


  1. Ugh, I know. I saw a rediculous commercial the other day where someone was running for some sort of congress position. It said: “This guy supports gay marriage, AND he voted for national healthcare… so don’t vote for him!” — it blows my mind that people are so ignorant to be swayed by this type of message.

    I lost my father last year to cancer, and thankfully in Canada our healthcare system took care of all of the surgeries and hospital bills. I really can’t see the other side of the coin where you would WANT to pay for it.

  2. I am one of the ones unhappy about it and I do indeed want it repealed. People who can’t afford health insurance should be subsidized through medicare. Everyone else should have a choice whether or not to have insurance.

    As business owners, why did they not have insurance? Did they choose not to?

    Also, just to avoid being grouped with homophobic idiots, I support gay marriage but I do NOT support the health insurance compromise.

    The truth is, Democrats were to weak to push a real Canada style program through. Instead we have citizens forced to support insurance companies.

    If I did live in NC I would attend a benefit. It is an awful story and I do have compassion for anyone in this situation.

  3. Adam, the people who oppose improvements in the US health insurance system don’t know they don’t want to pay for it – they haven’t had an experience such as yours to make them understand the realities. Anyone who’s had to deal with any type of chronic or terminal illness knows what a draining mental and fiscal experience it can be.

  4. Jerry, just to be clear, nobody will force you to purchase health insurance. If you opt not to carry health insurance, you have to pay a fee. But that fee entitles you to purchase health insurance if you get sick. I actually think it’s a pretty good deal.

  5. I do not care whether the health care industry is private or pubic or federally-managed, as long as there are affordable choices for those show need them. Last year, I priced out health care coverage for my family on the private market and it would have ended up costing me 60% of my after-tax paycheck. Absurd!

    Anyone who has a chronic or terminal illness in their family will tell you how messed up and unfair our health care system currently is. Good, hard-working families are being bankrupted every day by medical bills they should not have to be responsible for alone.

  6. I understand the tax penalty for not having insurance. My gripe is with my money having to go to a crooked insurance company. I have a personal hatred for 2 of my insurance choices in my state. I think there is one more company I haven’t dealt with yet.

    I personally feel I shouldn’t be penalized for not protecting myself financially or physically.

    If this was a real public health care program, I would be more supportive.

    I really don’t understand why, with these majorities in the house and senate, we did not get something better. We will NOT see this opportunity again for a long time. I guarantee if there was no individual mandate, the polling would be far different on the issue.

    We had to settle for this for political reasons only. Obama needed a political victory on this, so they took Romney’s idea, repackaged it, and sold it back to us as historic change that Ted Kennedy fought for.

    I feel like supporters of this law are supportive ONLY to support the democratic party.

  7. That may be true for some people who are in favor of the law, but it’s not true for me. As I pointed out in the original blog post, if all of the provisions of the law were already in place, the Mohajers would not be facing financial ruin because their lifetime benefits ran out, and Holly could be focusing on her business and helping her husband get better rather than working another job just for health benefits. Those are tangible ways that the law would help actual people, beyond what we have now.

    Could we have gotten a stronger bill? It doesn’t seem likely to me. And the bill we did get is better than the status quo to a massive degree.

  8. “I personally feel I shouldn’t be penalized for not protecting myself financially or physically.”

    Right now, people’s lives are considered the equivalent of “too big to fail,” and the system often eats the costs of this treatment because could/would a hospital really stop an operation in the middle because the patient ran out of money?

    Essentially, most people are not truly prepared to voluntarily decline medical treatment for themselves in the event they cannot afford it because it costs millions of dollars. Likewise, what about for their children or other members of their family.

    Can I assume you also drive without car insurance?

  9. Holly and Hamid will be in my prayers.

  10. “Right now, people’s lives are considered the equivalent of “too big to fail,” and the system often eats the costs of this treatment because could/would a hospital really stop an operation in the middle because the patient ran out of money?”

    The system will still eat the cost. Just like in MA. Neither program does anything to control costs of medical care. The balancing act between raising premiums and doctor payments will be interesting.

    “Can I assume you also drive without car insurance?”

    Car liability insurance does not protect me from myself. Car insurance is required to register a car to drive on public roads. If I don’t have a car, I don’t need insurance. To me, the new law is more like putting a tax penalty on me for not having a car.

    Also the penalty for not having auto insurance is usually a fine + license suspension. I have no right to a license in the first place. I can’t think of a reason the states can’t regulate the use of public roads.

    In the case of health insurance, if hospitals/doctors were funded with federal tax dollars, I would say fine. I can’t go there unless I follow whatever rules they require but I could go to private hospitals/doctors as long as I can pay or follow whatever requirements they have.

    Even better would be an entirely public system with no private insurance companies. The insurance industry made sure they got what they wanted. Everyone enrolled.

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