Fear to defend the ACA

Kevin Drum is a mid-50s guy with cancer.  He is also a daily read for me.  He outlines what the ACA now means to him:

If I lose my job, and Republicans repeal Obamacare, I will be left with a very serious and very expensive medical condition and no insurance to pay for it. And I feel quite certain that Republicans will do nothing to help me out.

Obviously lots of other people are in the same position, and have been for a long time. But there’s nothing like being in the crosshairs yourself to bring it all home. If Republicans win in 2016, my life is likely to take a very hard, very personal turn for the worse.

In a pre-PPACA world or a world where the Republican answer to PPACA is repeal and fuck you, Kevin is uninsurable for anything but a high risk pool plan that will cost him $1,500 a month with $20,000 deductibles and yearly caps of $100,000 or less.  No insurer will touch him if they can medically underwrite policies.

Cancer can hit anyone, and under the Republican plan, a one time cancer diagnosis and recovery screws a person for life.  Under the Democratic current law and future policy plans, that person is not screwed for life.

This is a real and concrete fear.  Use that fear to defend the ACA.

93 replies
  1. 1
    cahuenga says:

    Fear as a motivator feels so Republican.

  2. 2
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @cahuenga: But this fear is legitimate, relevant, provable and true.

  3. 3
    cahuenga says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    I will continue to support it on moral grounds

  4. 4
    Emma says:

    @cahuenga: fear might be the only thing that gets through to people.

  5. 5
    SatanicPanic says:

    @cahuenga: They rely on it pretty heavily, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it from time to time

  6. 6
    Robert says:

    Ummm…Have no fear, the Koch boyz donated to the Cancer Society…that should do it….

  7. 7
    Bobby Thomson says:

    The Republican position has always been Fuck you I got mi – wait a minute, I’m the one in trouble now? Hands off “my” stuff!

    IOW, to the extent anyone is in Drum’s position, they know the stakes. But just as Republican attitudes on gay marriage changed when people they knew started talking about it, maybe the same thing happens here. Cancer hits people across the spectrum.

  8. 8
    beth says:

    People who have a hatred of all things Obama just don’t care about this. My husband is battling cancer. His company is also in the process of being sold. If he loses his job, without Obamacare, there’s no way he’s going to get anyone to give him insurance at any price. We’d blow through 30 years of savings very quickly paying for his treatment to keep him alive. When we point this out to our redneck relatives and Republican friends, they all assure us that he could get treatment. After all, all those lazy people on welfare get free medical treatment, don’t they? They just have no idea. This is real for people like Drum and for my family.

  9. 9
    balconesfault says:

    Born with the wrong genetics … born with the wrong trust fund.

    The official GOP response is F-him.

  10. 10
    Big ole hound says:

    A family member is in exactly the same position as Mr. Drum so my feeling is to always vote for a Democrat even if it makes me gag.

  11. 11
    SP says:

    It doesn’t work if you have the current level of misinformation. People are convinced that when they get cancer there will be a 6 month wait to see a doctor thanks to Obamacare.
    As for the Kochs, they make their money doing things that increase the cancer rate, then fund research with some of that money to find treatments for cancer, which if they manage to repeal Obamacare, only rich people can afford. It’s like all the fake conspiracy theories about the pharma industry are being used as a playbook by those guys.

  12. 12
    Yellowdog says:

    Alan Grayson nailed it. The Republican health care plan is die quickly.

  13. 13
    coloradoblue says:

    Hell, you don’t need to have cancer to get fucked under the old health insurance regime. Prior to turning 65 and having been laid off at 60 when my company moved to a lower cost area (but still in the US) I tried to get insurance after my COBRA ran out.

    And I was uninsurable due to high cholesterol.

    Fortunately Colorado had a high-risk plan so I managed to just get by until Medicare kicked in.

    ‘F’ the rethugs.

  14. 14
    Seanly says:

    I’m very thankful that my wife & I have very good coverage through my employer. Co-pay & OOP max are steep, but her care for acute leukemia (including BMT, pneumonia & C. diff) is probably over a million dollars over the last 15 months. Pre-PPACA, she’d be looking at hitting lifetime maximums.

  15. 15
    balconesfault says:

    How do you expect the drones to have proper respect for their corporate overlords if they don’t fear losing their access to affordable healthcare?

  16. 16
    mai naem mobile says:

    That.idiot Sheriff Richard Mack was on Thom Hartmans show lat week. This is the anti-O-care.idiot whose friends are begging for money for him.because he had a heart attack and his wife had medical issues last year. Sounds like the moron had a bypass and the moron is still against O-care. I personally think the moron didn’t have.insurance because he was playing Russian roulette and figured he would win. Also the douchebag worked for the county for at least.nine years and for the Provo UT PD for 10 years.I’m willing to bet a few bucks that the moron either didn’t sign up for retirement benefits, cashed out his retirement benefits or was waiiting to maximize his retirement benefits by not taking them till he’s 65 (hes 62-63.) Him not having health insurance has zero to do with O-care.Anyhow he is one.of those who conservatives would regularly call a loser because he didn’t plan well and wants others to bail him out. Also, I don’t see what $30k is going to do for his medical.bills which I’m guessing are going to easily be over $50K.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    One of the republican health care plans has to do with shopping across state lines for insurance. It’s a way to get rid of pesky state regulations. In some states, insurance companies cannot drop you if you are sick. Well guess what as Yellowdog said Alan Grayson was right.

  18. 18
    GregB says:

    Sadly half if not more of the nation have been bamboozled into being reflexive anti-Obama morons.

    That raging Granny who blasted Santorum for sitting idly by while Obama plotted to nuke an American city represents a big chunk of this populace.

    They get many of the benefits that they think are being handed out to immigrants, terrorists and cholera infected drug dealers from south of the border.

    They are proto-fascists.

    Thank God many of them are so old that if they took up arms, large swathes of them would be in the Lark Scooter mechanized division.

  19. 19
    Violet says:


    Fear as a motivator feels so Republican.

    Fear works. That’s why Republicans use it.

    This is a real fear and real threat. I wish the Democrats would develop some balls and strongly defend and support Obamacare. Roll out the people who will die without it. The people–white people–who will lose their houses and jobs because they got cancer.

    Anyone who knows it and says it, like Drum, good for them. I hope their countertops are in good order, though. Prepare to be inspected.

  20. 20
    Brachiator says:

    Cancer can hit anyone, and under the Republican plan…

    But that’s just it. Apart from wanting to repeal Obamacare, the Republicans don’t have a plan.

    2015 may be a pivotal year. You will have a large number of people who were able to get medical care because of the ACA. You will also have people whose premium payments increased and people who elect not to have health coverage and who might pay a significant penalty for this.

    It will not just be about fear. It will be about how many are satisfied, and how many are angry about increased premiums or penalties.

  21. 21
    D58826 says:

    Time for the fainting couch. The GOP Senate Finance committee has released a report that Obamacare has wasted 5.7 billion dollars. Now I would take that with a very large bag of salt. What I find interesting is that these are the same folks who put the 1 trillion dollar, and climbing, Iraq war on the credit card. They have no problem continuing to throw billions down the F-35 fighter plane rat hole. They are also getting ready to spend hundreds of billions on the new stealth bomber. According to the press release the plane will cost 500 million per copy. Honest it will only cost 500 million per copy and really really will be delivered by 2022. The Air Force guy was willing to pinky shake on that.

    Unfortunately as long as the GOP can continue to win elections with just 18% of the vote, then we are stuck with this mess.

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:


    while Obama plotted to nuke an American city

    I’m amazed that anyone would believe this of an American President without overwhelming evidence from multiple eyewitnesses and corroborating video. Or maybe I shouldn’t be amazed.

  23. 23
    Tiny Tim says:

    The best things about obamacare are the ones that don’t get much attention. The subsidy/exchange system is a rube goldberg machine even if it does improve things modestly for some people, but most of the rest of the law is pretty solid.

  24. 24
    Patrick says:


    When we point this out to our redneck relatives and Republican friends, they all assure us that he could get treatment. After all, all those lazy people on welfare get free medical treatment, don’t they? They just have no idea. This is real for people like Drum and for my family.

    Yup. By going to the emergency room, which would be the most inefficient way of handling it. There is a reason our country spends more on health care per capita than any other nation on the planet.

    Well, at least if the ACA is repealed your husband won’t have to deal with the pesky death panels. The stupidity of the average voter is beyond the pale.

    This really should not be a right-wing vs left-wing issue. I have talked to right-wingers in Europe, who would never EVER want to trade their health care system for the one we had before the ACA.

  25. 25
    Judge Crater says:

    This health care “debate” is insane, and cruel. Health care should be like electricity. Or clean water. Everyone gets it.

    We, in the U.S, pay twice per capita what other developed nations pay. And still these sadistic yahoos on the right can’t stand to see someone get something, that in their benighted eyes, is not their (the sick, uninsured) due.

    I really hope those Republican bastards all get cancer of the worst kind. We’ve just lost our shit in this country on so many issues. Guns and God. Obama was right.

  26. 26
    ruemara says:

    Liberals, progressives, moderates and Democrats will be far too busy arguing amongst themselves over Hillary versus whatever far more perfect candidate that just needs a push to say they’re in. I believe we will both lose the presidential election in 2016 and more ground in the House & Senate. We are going to see a repeal and a destruction of many, many programs, laws and just basic situations that have been taken for granted by modern Americans. Maybe 2018. I hope to escape this massive insane asylum with nukes before this happens. Why do I feel this way? We have near crowned candidate that can’t stop playing coy, a field of contenders that fear to challenge her, organizations that will wait until 2016 to even think about organizing methods of getting people registered to vote, using funds to help people get IDs and the Democratic Party is channeling the “wisdom” of we must appeal to working-class whites. Meanwhile, the Republicans are fucking drowning in cash, a friendly media and our electorate is so goddamned stupid that if a zombie apocalypse happened, it’d be short since they’d starve. Everyone’s a fucking expert because they skimmed a headline, so you can’t even get them informed enough to make a difference.

    We’re not doomed, but we’re not sensible as a group to step the hell away from a cliff. And there’s no Barack Obama to galvanize around this time. He was sparkly enough to really help.drive things. Anyone dependent on the ACA, like say, me, needs to make a plan for when it is either taken away, or gutted like abortion rights in most of the country. And don’t count on a USSC keeping even federal marriage rights accessible to gays. The belief in nullification by wingnut state leges & judges is strong.

    Yeah, I know. Cheerful.

  27. 27
    aimai says:

    @beth: I’m so, so, sorry. Not just for the job and health anxiety but for the horror of battling your stupid relatives and neighbors.

  28. 28
    Violet says:


    Yup. By going to the emergency room, which would be the most inefficient way of handling it.

    The emergency room is for emergencies. Cancer is not an emergency room kind of medical problem.

    The thing to do with people who bring up the ER as the solution is to ask them, “Who do you know who goes to the emergency room for their cancer treatment? Chemo? Radiation?” If that person has had cancer it works even better. “Did your doctor advise you to get your chemo at the ER?” Do they know a child who has had leukemia or some other horrible childhood cancer? “Did [child] get their cancer treatment at the ER? Why not?” Keep hitting at it. The ER is for emergencies, not conditions that need monitoring and treatment over time.

  29. 29
    jonas says:

    @JPL: Exactly — so the state(s) with the loosest underwriting policies (almost assuredly some Southern state where the governor’s a crook — take your pick) will suddenly become the headquarters of all the insurance companies and it will be just a race to the bottom from there.

  30. 30
    aimai says:

    @ruemara: I hate to say it but : Nonsense. The polls keep showing you a different story –overwhelmingly HRC is a favorite over the current crop of Republicans. Actual voters don’t care about what you think they care about at all. I don’t think actual, ordinary, non political voters care about what you call HRC “playing coy” –in fact my take on it from talking to people is that people are tired of the star system and the sturm and drang of the republican side of the aisle. If they are republicans they are going to vote republican no matter what but democrats and democrat leaners are actually happy to vote for someone who they see as a known quantity, someone with no surprises. I think people are tired of new flavors and will happilly vote for whoever on the democratic ticket if that person runs hard enough against the republican congress and doesn’t fuck up Obama’s legacy.

  31. 31
    Calouste says:

    @D58826: $5.7 billion is less than half the building cost of an aircraft carrier, of which the US has already as many as the rest of the world combined , yet is still building three new ones.

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    @Violet: Also you have to pay for the ER. I know people are under the impression that if you are indigent the ER “has to treat you” but all the ER has to do is stabilize you–they don’t have to cure you or operate on you. And they don’t have to give you treatments like chemo or whatever that, though necessary for your survival, are not for a life threatening emergency. And, again, you have to pay for it. They will dun you and dun you and dun you until they can’t get anywhere and only then will the hospital or the state pick up the tab.

  33. 33
    Amir Khalid says:

    Are the USN/USMC air squadrons included in that cost? And why does the US military have three air forces anyway?

  34. 34
    EthylEster says:

    @balconesfault: Actually Drum might have a trust fund…he’s a dot.com winner…cashed out and decided to blog for a living instead.

  35. 35
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Look, Richard, you just need to sell 10,000 muffins for $50 each at your bake sale, and you’re covered. Anything else is so-youknowwhat.

  36. 36
    Judge Crater says:

    @Calouste: Or how about the F-35 fighter? It’s going to cost one trillion dollars over the life of the airplane – 40 years or so. And it doesn’t even work. Can you imagine the right-wing melt down that would occur is the Democrats proposed and implemented a project that would cost that much and it belly flopped after a few years?

    Impeach them all.

  37. 37
    Patrick says:


    And, again, you have to pay for it. They will dun you and dun you and dun you until they can’t get anywhere and only then will the hospital or the state pick up the tab.

    Exactly. And at that point you will have to deal with collectors and possibly bankruptcy. What a great system!

  38. 38
    Mr. Twister says:

    @cahuenga: And this is why the right wing in this country never has to worry about being out of power too long.

  39. 39
    Lee says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Actually we only have 2 (Navy & Air Force). USMC is a branch of the Navy.

    The reason we have 2 is because the AF doesn’t have the balls to land on a carrier.

  40. 40
    Amir Khalid says:

    Got it. Only two air forces in America. Not quite as bad as three, then.

  41. 41
    ms_canadada says:

    I thank the FSM my forefathers were United Empire Loyalists, forced to leave the U.S. for Canada during the War of Independence.

    I read Kevin Drum and worry for him and all my friends and family in the U.S., including my daughter and son-in-law. My brother lives in Nevada and has terrible health, but has become a rw gun-toting nut job despite the healthcare costs nearly bankrupting him.

  42. 42
    Tiny Tim says:

    Without being privy to all of his finances, I do gather that Drum is richer than the average bear. Which is the point. He still couldn’t afford insurance/treatment.

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @aimai: I know that and you know that but the people who think it’s free don’t know or won’t believe you. That’s why I like pointing out things like cancer treatments. Everyone knows someone who has had or knows something about cancer treatment. They know how it works. You go for multiple weeks for treatment.

    By asking them why they or their aunt or mother or grandfather or neighbor or son didn’t use the ER for chemo and radiation you make it personal. “Did Aunt Martha use the Emergency Room for her weekly chemo treatments? No? Why not? I thought that’s what you said people did.” It can snap them out of their “poor people get free treatment at the ER” mantra. It’s a way to drive a wedge into the argument.

    Arguing on “you have to pay at the ER” seems to make people’s eyes glaze over. They don’t understand how Medicaid works. They figure poor people have something. Talking about what the ER is for and what it is not for can jolt people out of their “Just go to the ER!” argument.

  44. 44
    Patrick says:

    @Tiny Tim:

    On another board, somebody stated that it should be everyone’s own responsibility to pay for their own health care expenses. That’s what America is all about. And then this person boasted that he had saved a whopping $63,000, which he would use for his own health care expenses when needed. He wouldn’t depend on anybody else.

    $63,000! Drugs for a person with MS without insurance can cost $3,000 per month. IOW – if that person got MS, he would be able to afford drugs for 21 months. Then what?

    It is sad that people are so uneducated when it comes to such important issues as health care.

  45. 45
    Petorado says:

    Kevin is uninsurable for anything but a high risk pool plan that will cost him $1,500 a month with $20,000 deductibles and yearly caps of $100,000 or less.

    I can remember when thieves were honorable enough to give a person the choice of “Your money or your life.” Republicans now want to steal both away from everyone.

  46. 46
    beth says:

    @aimai: Thank you, I’ve gotten very good at just leaving the room. I have no energy left to argue with these assholes.

    @Patrick: My husband’s surgery and hospital stay afterwards cost three times that. Maybe he should have just left the hospital hours after having a lung removed – I’m sure I could have figured out how to pull out his chest tubes after a week, right?

  47. 47
    D58826 says:

    @Calouste: nothing succeeds like excess

  48. 48
    D58826 says:

    @Lee: I’m not sure I would tell a Marine corp. flier that he is part of the navy. At least not if I wanted to remain healthy There are at least 3 flavors of the F-35 – the Air Force version for land airbases, the Navy version for big carrier operations and the Marine corp version which is to replace the Harrier jump jet. And while the Army isn’t getting in on the F-35 gravy train, they have run up a few big bills for their helicopter air force. .

  49. 49
    rikyrah says:

    Kevin Drum already knew.

    The folks who kill me were the ones who were against Obamacare, but now that they realize HOW IT HELPS THEM, they want to keep it.

    Just helping the generic citizen in the Universe wasn’t enough for them to support it.

  50. 50
    Keith G says:


    I believe we will both lose the presidential election in 2016 and more ground in the House & Senate.

    Nah…come on. Our side will do okay.

    I do hope that one or two of those often mentioned other candidates step up and challenge Hillary. I don’t have any sympathy for the idea of wanting and believing in being president but not being willing to fight a very tough candidate to get it. If that’s the case, they’re not much of a person to be President in the first place.

    Remember that Bill Clinton’s road to the presidency was made a bit easier since he was a candidate who believed he could take on a seemingly very strong incumbent when others didn’t seem so sure.

    I believe HRC can carry this off and given the current climate probably will. I really am looking forward to seeing her go to war against the crazies in the GOP.

  51. 51
    Death Panel Truck says:


    USMC is a branch of the Navy.

    Umm…no. The Marine Corps has a close affiliation with the Navy, but it is not in any way a branch of the Navy.

  52. 52
    Death Panel Truck says:


    And don’t count on a USSC keeping even federal marriage rights accessible to gays.

    The Supremes will vote 6-3 in favor of the right to marry.

    The belief in nullification by wingnut state leges & judges is strong.

    They’re wasting time and taxpayer money in vain. Article VI, Clause 2.

  53. 53


    The folks who kill me were the ones who were against Obamacare, but now that they realize HOW IT HELPS THEM, they want to keep it.

    I’ll still take them over the idiots who oppose Obamacare so much that they’re refusing to learn how it can help them, just so they can continue to hate on it, or the ones who want to keep the parts that help them personally but throw out the parts that help other people.

  54. 54
    Lee says:

    Meh, I was a 0311. I can handle anything those flyboys can dish out.

    @Death Panel Truck:

    Wiki (& reality) would disagree with you.

    The Marine Corps has been a component of the U.S. Department of the Navy since 1834,….

  55. 55
    Lee says:

    @Keith G:

    I’m of the same opinion. HRC will run & she will win.

    Dems will probably pick up the Senate and maybe eek out a majority in the House (the House being a lot of wishful thinking).

    My hope is that her first order of business is the amend the Voting Rights Act.

  56. 56
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Patrick: I’ve said it before and will say it again: ERs do not exist to so standard treatment of almost any disease you can name. If you go to an ER because you have lung cancer and are in pain, they may give you a pain killer for that moment. They will probably not even give you a prescription for the pain killer. And they won’t undertake to treat the lung cancer. ERs are ONLY obligated to STABILIZE you so you can seek other treatment. They may bring in the Cardio team for a heart attack victim but there’s almost nothing they can do for cancer and a host of other conditions.

    Rant is not aimed at you Patrick but just to make the case again about ERs and medical treatments.

  57. 57
    WaterGirl says:

    @aimai: I hope and believe that most of what you said is true. I disagree, however, with your use of the word “happily”. I believe you like Hillary Clinton and will happily vote for her, and there are a lot of people like you.

    There are many of us, however, who do not want Hillary to be president. We will vote for her, but it will not be happily.

    It’s maddening, sometimes, that people who like and support her so readily dismiss the fact that many of us really do not want her as president, even as we will vote for her if she is the democratic nominee.

  58. 58
    WereBear says:

    @beth: If he loses his job, without Obamacare, there’s no way he’s going to get anyone to give him insurance at any price.

    And, pre-ACA, he would become unemployable, too. Because he can’t GET on many company’s insurance plan.

    Yes, the middle class can get the same “help” as poor people do when it comes to covering difficult or chronic conditions. As soon as they become poor.

    And that medical care? A patchwork of constantly moving targets that is a full-time job in itself to negotiate. And far, far, far from optimum. Like, they cover chemo, but not the painkillers and anti-nausea drugs that help you survive it.

  59. 59
    Patrick says:


    I hear you. It just kills me when people claim that the lazy poor folks have access to health care via the ER if the ACA is repealed. So no harm done. These folks just don’t understand what that really means.

  60. 60
    Keith G says:

    @WaterGirl: Why don’t you Hillary Clinton to be President? IOW, in your opinion what disqualifies her from that office?

  61. 61
    C.V. Danes says:

    Cancer can hit anyone, and under the Republican plan, a one time cancer diagnosis and recovery screws a person for life.

    The Republican plan screws everyone but themselves because, you know, they will always retain their cadillac plans no matter what garage they pass.

  62. 62
    D58826 says:

    @Lee: If I remember my WWII history correctly the Marines viewed the Navy as simply a taxi service:-)

  63. 63
    JMV Pyro says:


    With an attitude like that, we’ll certainly lose.

    The election is like a year and a half away and you’re already throwing in the goddamn towel? Maybe you should detox from politics for a while then, because nothing has really even happened yet on any front and you’re not even remotely thinking straight.

    How will turnout drop so much compared to 2008 and 2012?

    How will the Republicans gain Senate seats when they’re at a structural disadvantage in 2016?

    Why do you think that Jim Webb’s nonsense has any bearing on what Hilary might do?

    Why would the Supreme Court knock down gay marriage when it’s an easy PR win for them?

    I get being depressed, but half of these statements have zero basis in reality if you think about them for half a minute. Chill Out, stop prematurely mourning the events that haven’t happened yet, and get organized.

  64. 64
    Lee says:

    @D58826: Let’s not short-change the Navy, they provide taxi, laundry & food service.

  65. 65
    D58826 says:

    @Lee: Bob Hope and Navy nurses!!!!!

  66. 66
    AxelFoley says:

    Fear is the mind-killer.

  67. 67
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Keith G:

    Nah…come on. Our side will do okay.

    What freaks me out right now is the foreign-policy situation. It really seems as if we’re heading into a period of dark, violent, scary global craziness again. And when that happens, Americans get fearful, bellicose and conservative. Their default assumption, ever since Reagan, is that you want Republicans in office to deal with Bad Guys: they’re the daddies, the big strong men who will protect you. It is not rational; it’s based on pre-rational images and feelings.

    The memory of George W. Bush is already fading; Republicans are already in the process of convincing themselves that Obama lost the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for him. Probably even Hillary Clinton’s being a woman is a serious handicap.

    Democrats, by and large, are not going to fall for it this time. Enough people on the margins might, if ISIS puts out enough beheading videos and Putin puffs up his chest a few more times.

    I don’t know. Everything else is pointing in the direction of 2016 being a relatively strong Democratic year. But this is the thing to worry about.

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Probably even Hillary Clinton’s being a woman is a serious handicap.

    Naw. I’m far more a Barack than a Hillary fan, granted, but there’s a sizable chunk of the population, male and female, who would climb over barbed wire fences to vote for a qualified woman.

    Palin wasn’t it. Clinton is.

  69. 69
    cckids says:


    It will not just be about fear. It will be about how many are satisfied, and how many are angry about increased premiums or penalties.

    This. I know here in Nevada, premiums + deductibles & OOP have gone up, both on the ACA & for employer-based plans. And, while this is not new (really, $$ for insurance has been going on since forever), now it is all the fault of Obamacare in many people’s minds.

    And, you have people like us, my spouse is self-employed, makes too much to qualify for Medicaid, but though we’ve signed up for the ACA & get partial subsidies, I cannot see how we can continue to afford the premiums. Our income fluctuates wildly from month to month, I can’t work due to taking care of my son, and we’ve got 2 kids in college (both have their own insurance policies, which we help them pay for – they pay their own tuition with scholarships & loans).

    We’re not alone here, it is a real problem. Spending $450 a month for insurance leaves us nothing to be able to get care. (Deductible is $6K) If we develop cancer or something, it will be a blessing, I hope, but right now? We can’t afford to get in to see a doctor because every spare dime is eaten up by the premiums.

    It is the same reason we didn’t have insurance before the ACA.

  70. 70
    Tree With Water says:

    “This is a real and concrete fear. Use that fear to defend the ACA”.

    Democrats don’t do smart in calling these bastards out. Never have, not in my lifetime. And I’ve never understood it.

  71. 71
    Steve in Sacto says:

    Assuming Kevin is still a California resident he would have options. COBRA would allow him to continue his current insurance for 18 months and CAL-COBRA adds an additional 18 months — all at his own expense. After those 36 months he’ll have a one-time guaranteed issue option to purchase insurance. After that any switch to a different policy or insurance company will require underwriting.

  72. 72
    MomSense says:


    I’m so sorry about your husband’s cancer and the job insecurity. I will keep you both in my thoughts.

    I haven’t had a major health scare but I did go without health insurance because I could no longer afford my policy and because of a pre-existing condition I couldn’t get another one. It cost about $1,600 a month which was completely unaffordable for me.

    Even if you aren’t hit with a catastrophic illness, you still need to figure out how to pay for prescriptions or an ER or office visit when you are so sick you can’t just keep hoping it’s a virus and you will get better any day now.

    There is also just a baseline level of stress that is with you all the time because you know you how vulnerable you are if something happens. But I was lucky that I got through it without going bankrupt or being diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer (as happened to a friend) because I couldn’t afford the yearly screenings.

    I have often wondered if it is some horrible cruel streak that runs through our country that causes people to be so ugly on this subject. While I do think we definitely have a cruel streak I also think there is something else at work. For the past 35 years we have been experiencing a systematic change in our economy such that life for the middle and lower classes is increasingly precarious. A couple bad things happen and a middle class family can find themselves losing everything. This is so frightening for people to accept that many people would prefer to believe that if someone experiences economic catastrophe, they must have done something wrong. We poor blame and shame all the time because it is far preferable to believe that someone is at fault than to acknowledge that we are all so vulnerable.

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    Davis X. Machina says:

    Why does Kevin Drum want to postpone single-payer?
    Why does Kevin Drum want to delay the destruction of the health insurance industry?
    I find his lack of class solidarity distressing, and I declare him to be No True Progressive

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    David Koch says:

    @Davis X. Machina: what a selfish prick, thinking only of himself. He should suck it up like Kos and Jane and stand with the teatards & Grover at the barricades.

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    MomSense says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Well at least Vermont has single payer! Oh wait.

    Even Vermont has failed us.

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    Capri says:

    @Patrick: After he runs out of money, he can trade chickens for the med.s
    Problem solved.

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    mai naem mobile says:

    @Steve in Sacto: i don’t know about California COBRA but as far as regular COBRA your employee only has to provide that if there’s more than 50 employees. Under 50 employees,it’s up to the employer if they want to bother to do it. I have a friend who went through this with a small employer a few years ago – just pre-ACA.
    Part of the problem is that lots of people have decent insurance through large company or government jobs and actually have no clue how bad the system can be. Then there are the old farts who always had insurance through their jobs because of the economy of those days.

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    Brachiator says:


    Our income fluctuates wildly from month to month, I can’t work due to taking care of my son

    I am not sure if there is an easy solution here, but you might contact healthcare.gov and ask if there is something available that can help you with your situation.

    Also, when you applied for 2015, you had to estimate your income, right? Did you do the estimate based on the lower income fluctuations? This might qualify you for a larger subsidy. Of course, you may have to pay some of the subsidy back next year, but this might help for now. This is a very quick wild ass quess, not hard advice. I know that the people who have to administer the health care program are evaluating this year’s results and looking to see what might be improved, and income swings is an area I know they need to focus us. Anyway, good luck with this.

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    jharp says:

    Kevin Drum has long been one of my favorites.

    And I have a daughter in the same goddamned spot. Not cancer thank God but a condition no insurer would cover pre ObamaCare.

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    jharp says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    “Why does Kevin Drum want to postpone single-payer?”

    Lots of us do. Let’s see how ObamaCare pans out. So far it seems to be working pretty well. Imagine if Republicans would allow it to be tweaked.

    And keep in mind that the Dutch went from a single payer to an ObamaCare model.

    Single payer might not be all that some think it is. More don’t use it than do. I think.

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    RaflW says:

    I feel quite certain that Republicans will do nothing to help me out.

    That is all.

    Really, nothing much more needs to be said about Republicans. If you aren’t already rich and white and healthy and politically connected, I feel quite certain that Republicans will do nothing to help you out. Period.

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    Yeah, but we shoulda had single-payer and the public option! F*** the ACA!!

    …I kid, of course. I have insurance now thanks to the ACA. No, not everything is covered (some tests, for instance) but it was a big help when I was hospitalized in January to be treated for a pretty serious case of pneumonia. The ACA isn’t perfect, but it’s a helluva lot better than what came before. And it’s light years ahead of what the GOP has in mind (which is nothing at all).

    What Drum says is right on. That’s why we need to get the hell out there and vote in 2016. No more of this sitting on our asses and not voting to “send a message” or some other stupid nonsense. It’s not just the ACA, but the Supreme Court and many other important issues that we need to be concerned about, because the GOP will toss the country over the fence and give it the business. If that means I vote for Hillary to prevent that, I will. There is too much at stake and I have no patience for the idiotic shenanigans we saw in 2010 and 2014, as well as the foolish “Don’t vote!” pablum coming from folks like Michael Moore.

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    Brachiator says:


    Single payer might not be all that some think it is. More don’t use it than do. I think.

    Yep. It drives me nuts that as long as people have been debating health care, there is this smug assumption by some in America that single payer is the only way to go, and that every other nation with universal coverage uses single payer. This is just not the case.

    And even if we had some kind of perfect single payer program, we would still have issues to resolve in making sure that people can get the doctors and the hospital care they need, when they need it.

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    Brachiator says:

    @Judge Crater:

    This health care “debate” is insane, and cruel. Health care should be like electricity. Or clean water. Everyone gets it.

    You mean like those news stories from Detroit?

    “The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) announced that it will begin shutting off service for 1,500 to 3,000 customers per week. The shutoff process will commence on Monday, when the department will mail out shutoff notices to customers who are behind on payment.”

    I believe in universal health care, but I know that it has to be paid for. And part of how you pay for it is by having a healthy, vibrant economy. And that’s the case even if you taxed the wealthy into the ground.

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    cckids says:

    @Brachiator: People we’ve talked to at healthcare.gov just tell us it is based on annualized income. I’m frankly afraid to underestimate it & end up with a big repayment – we’re already repaying the IRS monthly from a f-up with a former partner of my spouses, who “forgot” to pay payroll taxes for 2 years & just kept the money. (And then dropped dead after losing all the money, so no recourse there)

    ETA: As with so many government programs, they are not really set up for self-employed people. We ran into this repeatedly with Medicaid & Social Security for our disabled son before he turned 18. The system is just not set up for people who have income that isn’t a regular paycheck.

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    jharp says:


    “As with so many government programs, they are not really set up for self-employed people.”

    Huh? ObamaCare is absolutely set up for the self employed. I’ve been self employed since ’85 and it is helping my family tremendously (child with pre existing condition).

    Estimate your annual income and be done with it. One of 3 things will happen. You will over estimate or under estimate or nail it.

    Then settle your bill at the end of the year. And save a little extra if you think you might owe.

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    Brachiator says:

    @cckids: Yeah, you use an estimate of your household income for the year as a base figure, but they also talk about notifying them if there are changes to your income. I wasn’t sure whether they had some plans that better accommodated income swings, but see how this could be a problem. I can also see how your other issue with the payroll taxes is a huge complicating factor.

    They need to do better with self-employed people, come up with more flexible plans.

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    Ruckus says:

    Not as bad off as some, like Drum but I was uninsured for almost 7 yrs because of preexisting conditions. Had a heart attack while uninsured. Now have to take 4 meds daily. Without the VA I’d be on Medicare but that would make living difficult due to what it actually still costs to get care with Medicare and on SS.
    It would be wonderful to be sick with something that has even small ongoing costs and a rethuglican government. /snark++

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    Diana says:

    @WaterGirl: So why don’t you like her?

    Give me a real reason. Not Whitewater, Benghazi, Eghazi.

    I’ve yet to hear an actual, real reason why Hilary wouldn’t be an effective leader. All I ever see is Clinton-BS on steroids because if Clinton was bad, surely his bitch is worse….

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    jamesbfranks says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    While the US Marine Corps is a separate and distinct service branch, it has many close ties to the US Navy, and the Department of the Navy oversees both service branches, each having its own autonomous leadership.

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    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator: I think most Americans who think about health care outside the US at all have only really heard of the Canadian and British systems, and vaguely assume that everything else is like one or the other.

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