Archive for April 27th, 2011


U.S. Heath Ins. Must Be Affordable

Like most people, I was healthy enough in my early years to have no major health insurance needs. My employer’s group health insurance covered the torn Achilles tendon I had while playing basketball, and through 1990, I had no insurance problems.

Shortly afterward, however, my employer passed away, and I went self-employed. No longer under a group plan, I purchased an individual family policy. Things then changed four months later, when an insurance company nurse tested my blood, and told me I was a diabetic. Within days, my health insurance was cancelled.

Once I was diagnosed a diabetic in 1991, the premiums for any private health insurance plan became cost-prohibitive.

I tried Wisconsin’s state-run high-risk pool for people unable to obtain private insurance, but the premiums for that also increased with each payment, at galloping rates, and I had to drop it, as it became unaffordable.

I maintained a policy for my children only, but as a diabetic, I had to go without. For the past 20 years, with the exception of two years, when I was teaching enough courses at a university to qualify for their health plan, and another year, when I was in Holland, under their health care law, I have been uninsured.

I watched with great interest the national health care debate. I understand President Obama does not write the laws, and the bill the Congress sent him was written by the insurance lobby. I have little confidence in it, because it mandates insurance, but does not regulate premiums. Under such a scheme, individuals like me, or the government, or both, are going to get ripped off.

A single payer plan would have been better, but I don’t blame Obama. I reserve my angst for the right-wingers who use the term “Obama-care” in a disparaging way. What is their solution? Their answer is to leave everything to the private sector, the same profit-taking carriers who abandoned me 20 years ago, and pushed me out of their system, with their astronomical premiums.

Although Obama and the Democrats made progress with the health care law, the issue remains: What is affordable health insurance? To this day, no one has even attempted to answer that question. My fear is the definition of affordable used by the wealthy health insurance executives is vastly different than mine.

So, I still don’t have health insurance, because it is not affordable for older people like me, who have had a history of health care issues. The overall health care system will never work properly, until the question of cost is addressed, and a truly affordable premium is locked in through a tough regulatory scheme.