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Saturday, May 20, 2017

We're Back To The Lies About Healthcare

When I went to Yahoo News just now, the big headlined article of the moment is a piece by a cancer survivor Jamie Remo who wonders if he will be able to survive "Trumpcare".  It's a minor article, the kind the news services use to fill space on a Saturday, but it is also a great example of the kind of misinformation that is being spread about the Republican health care plan.

Let's start with some background.  Remo is a self-employed journalist who has always gotten healthcare from his wife's employer.  She works for a large university.  According to the article, about 20 years ago, Remo was diagnosed with "stage four cancer" (he never says what type) and underwent chemotherapy.  He knew he would be okay, however, because he was sure the treatment would work and he knew the country "wouldn't let him die."  Now, however, he is worried that he will have a pre-existing condition which will prevent him from getting health insurance at a reasonable price.  It seems the grants that his wife has been coordinating are coming to an end so she will either "transition" to another position or "her job will be over".  Remo says that under Trumpcare he might have to pay $145,000 per year for health insurance.

Now let's look at reality.

1.  First, his wife seems to have been able to hold her university job for 20 plus years, so there's no reason to think she will lose it now.
2.  If she does lose her job, she can go on COBRA and keep her insurance in place with no increase in premiums for 18 months.  During that time, she can seek another job which provides health insurance.  If she gets such a job, then she and her husband will have no gaps in coverage and his pre-existing condition will not and cannot be considered in either providing insurance or in setting the premium.  In other words, so long as his wife gets a job within 18 months, their health insurance will be essentially unchanged.
3.  I the wife loses insurance, then Jamie himself can get a job that comes with insurance.  Since there is no gap in coverage, Jamie's cancer cannot be considered in issuing the new policy.

This means that the entire story is based upon a misunderstanding of the terms of the new law at best and a total lie at worst.  Since the author claims to be a journalist who specializes in covering healthcare, I vote for the latter.

I guess the political rather than factual nature of the article is best illustrated by the author's sentiment that twenty years ago, he was sure that the country would not let him die.  The funny thing is that nothing has changed in that regard.  Twenty years ago, if he had gone through his savings to pay for treatment, he still could have gotten treatment on Medicaid.  If the new law is passed with no further changes and Jamie goes through his savings to pay for treatment, he still can get treatment on Medicaid.


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