New Orleans When is health insurance not health insurance? The answer should be simple. In the United States, at this point in time the answer should be that any health insurance offered by a private company that is both unaffordable, meaning that it costs more than 9.5% of someone’s annual income, and doesn’t provide basic coverage, defined now as the guarantees offered by the Affordable Care Act, is not health insurance. Period.
We are clear that a burial policy is not the same as life insurance, right? At best, some might call it death insurance, since that’s all it covers.
Why would anyone, especially someone as well versed in healthcare issues as former President Bill Clinton used to be, be willing to call substandard, often simply rip-off policies, that have been predatorily fleecing lower income families by providing next to nothing for the little people could afford, anything remotely like health insurance. When Fox News has to expose a CBS report interviewing a woman in Florida complaining about the fact that she was going to lose her $50 per month health insurance policy and have to pay 10 times that amount to keep health insurance, you know things are totally out of control. In that instance Fox’s Greta Van Susteren wanted to make hay with the story and went on the website and found four or five policies that fit the woman’s income for about $200 per month, not $500. To their credit Fox could have stopped there and simply ran the story as 4 times more than she had been paying, but instead Van Susteren actually looked at the woman’s policy and it turned out she was really paying $600 per year for no hospital coverage, but only some reduction in the cost of prescription drugs and doctor visit. When Fox News knows something isn’t adequate health care coverage, how can Bill Clinton be confused?
This must be the frightening intersection of good policy colliding with bad politics. Fortunately, President Obama and his team have not bent to the pressure to pander to the health insurance haters and agree that these kinds of rip-offs can count as health coverage, when they are no such thing. Who are they trying to make happy? Insurance companies with their high profit margins. I don’t know, but anytime you don’t act responsibility as a steward of the health and happiness of the American people, blood, not future political contributions will be on your hands, and that’s a death insurance policy of another kind.