Link to Dateline Article "The Cost of Living" Link to "VA Horror Story"
Maybe it would be more accurate to say "extortion or extermination of the unfit," as in "your money or your life."  Sound rash, sound crazy?  As politicians quibble over what to do about illegal immigrants, many of whom receive free socialized medicine in the form of Medicaid, we hear absolute silence on the subject of what to do about the uninsured?  Perhaps the politicians don't care because they get free socialized medicine at the taxpayers' expense and don't know what it is like to be medically disenfranchised. The uninsured who don't get sick are hardly even a statistic.  They are gambling with their good health, but until they lose that health, it seems a non-issue.

The uninsured who are basically uninsurable*, however, are another story.  They may be people born with chronic illness who have never qualified for any kind of program because family members earned $1 or more over the amount allowable to qualify for public assistance, and whose families could not afford insurance.  They may be chronically ill young people, off their parents' insurance for the first time, and unable to find private insurance on their own.  Or they may be those who were uninsured and healthy one moment and find themselves uninsurable and very sick the next.  

Medicaid in its present form is like the bed of Procrustes - you either fit or you don't.  We would think it was set up to help those who need it most, but it isn't.  Nor are there laws assuring some sort of available coverage for low income working people or those unable to work, but with an "unearned" income above the guidelines.  Insurance companies don't want to cover them and are not required to do so.  Government is so busy providing additional benefits for those already covered by existing programs, they continue to deny help to those currently left out on all fronts.  And the cost to these people will go up even more as group discounts are given to those covered.  Dateline recently profiled three such people.  Above is a link to that article.  

It is interesting to me that in our prison system, inmates are guaranteed health care.  Yet many ordinary citizens must do without or wait until they are so desperately ill that an emergency room is required to take them.  By then it is often too late.  That excuse "Well, you can always go to the emergency room," rings hollow.  We condemn nations which use the denial of medical care as a political weapon and yell "human rights violation!"  Yet it is happening in a systematic fashion right here under our noses.  Some people make just a little too much money for Medicaid, cannot afford health insurance, and own nothing valuable enough to barter for their lives.

The Dateline article also points out that in the end we all pay because the cost of finally treating desperately ill people who waited too long is astronomical.  One woman profiled by dateline has a story very similar to Oz's.  Like him, she died because she was forced to wait until it was too late.  It might be argued that if you own a home, why not trade it for your life?  I would have done it in a moment, had it been possible for us and had Oz been willing to do so.  I would have lived in a cardboard shack if we could have used the equity in our home at that time. (The house was under contract to be sold and the buyers kept delaying the closing.) Donna Huebner was too proud to give up her home.  She was exterminated because she didn't want to yield to the extortionists.  How long must this kind of thing go on?  If you want to see a stop put to it, write your congressman.  He may not listen, but give it a shot!

*most states provide for "guaranteed coverage" but it is so expensive, only very wealthy people could afford it, so we are back to extortion.