With a court decision on Monday declaring the health care law unconstitutional and Republicans intent on repealing at least parts of it, thousands of Americans with major illnesses are facing the renewed prospect of losing their health insurance coverage.
The legislation put an end to lifetime limits on coverage for the first time, erasing the financial burdens, including personal bankruptcy, that had affected many ailing Americans.
For example, Hillary St. Pierre, a 28-year-old former registered nurse who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had expected to reach her insurance plan’s $2 million limit this year. Under the new law, the cap was eliminated when the policy she gets through her husband’s employer was renewed this year.
Ms. St. Pierre, who has already come close once before to losing her coverage because she had reached the plan’s maximum, says she does not know what she will do if the cap is reinstated. “I will be forced to stop treatment or to alter my treatment,” Ms. St. Pierre, who lives in Charlestown, N.H., with her husband and son, said in an e-mail. “I will find a way to continue and survive, but who is going to pay?”
Ezra Klein makes a great point.
In a world where the two parties' top priority on health care was providing answers for the uninsured and cost control, an argument over the best way to do health-care reform would be a very healthy thing. But that's not what we've got. We've got the Democratic Party, whose top priority is to try and solve our health-care problems and who've shown their commitment to that by moving steadily rightward over the last century in a bid to pick up Republican support for some sort of solution, and the Republican Party, whose top priority is that we shouldn't do whatever the Democrats are proposing and have proven their commitment to that by abandoning previously favored policy proposals as soon as the Democrats demonstrated any interest in adopting them.
And that's the fundamental problem here: It's easy to compromise when both sides are committed to solving a problem, because the appeal of solving the the problem is enough to persuade both sides to make concessions. That's why Democrats gave up on single payer, on an employer mandate, on a public option. But it's impossible to compromise when one side is uninterested in solving the problem, as they lack the incentive to make any concessions.
The Democrats tried to have that conversation a year ago. The Republicans decided to say "no" to people like Hillary. But even if they wanted to have discussions about alternatives now, I imagine that would be possible. Is that what they're attempting to do? No. They simply want to repeal the legislation that keeps Hillary's treatment going. There are several pretty crude ways to respond to this kind of tactic. I'll choose the one with the least offensive language...put up or shut up.