Sunday, October 14, 2012

`A possibly fatal mistake' - The stakes, the mandate, the election //Nicholas Kristof - NY Times

Scott Androes in freshman year
Nicholas Kristof today tells the story of Scott Androes his dying childhood buddy in Future Farmers of America and Harvard College classmate. An actuary who defied the odds and lost, Androes quit his job, went without health insurance, and didn't go to a doctor when he should have.  Now, at 52, he has advanced Stage IV prostate cancer.  His bill at Swedish Hospital, Seattle is over $550,000 - paid by (misnamed) charity care - that is by the taxpayers - not philanthropists.  That, says Kristof, is the consequence of our irrational health insurnce system.  Instead of enabling preventive care we pick up the tab at the end of life.  The idea behind the health insurance mandate is to protect people from themselves.  One can take a "no nanny state" approach to those like Scott who gamble and lose or the Obamacare approach which Kristof describes this way:
"When I make mistakes, my wife and friends forgive me. We need a health care system that is equally forgiving.  That means getting all Americans insured, and then emphasizing preventive care like cancer screenings. Presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt have sought to create universal health insurance, and Obama finally saw it achieved in his first term. It will gradually come into effect, with 2014 the pivotal year — if Romney does not repeal it."
Androes today - charity care patient

No comments:

Post a Comment