I remain puzzled by anyone who thinks this bill being passed is a bad thing. Consider this story of what happens in the US – the downward spiral without insurance. Or this one (at the bottom of a Brad DeLong post):
Suburban Guerrilla: Late this afternoon I was gobsmacked by a Facebook announcement that a high school friend had died. I tracked down the story, and it is an absolute textbook example of everything that’s wrong with our health care system – so knowing that we share a passion for this topic, I’ll share it with you.
She was 49 years old and in good health, other than a propensity to develop bronchitis. A couple of weeks ago, after a trip to Disneyland, she came down with a terrible flu. After running a high fever for four days she knew she should see a doctor, but she didn’t – no insurance. Her husband, who owns his own business, had cancer a year and a half ago and is not insurable on his own. She originally had insurance through her job, but had been placed on disability after developing carpal tunnel syndrome (she was a transcriber). Eventually she was no longer eligible for insurance through her employer, other than COBRA, which she could in no way afford – her husband’s business had been hard hit in the recession.
So. She waits six days before finally dragging herself to an urgent care clinic, but the wait is so long and she feels like shit on a stick so she goes back home. Eventually ends up in ICU with pneumonia, and, as it ends up, tested positive for H1N1. By then the infection had gone too far, her organs started failing, and after a week in the hospital she died this morning, leaving a teenage daughter and a husband who don’t know what hit them. As though grieving isn’t enough of a burden, imagine the hospital bills they’re going to face.
In what system of values does maintaining such a cruel, arbitrary system a good idea? Only one that placed an extraordinarily low value of the outcomes of the unlucky