Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Pre-Existing Conditions, Pre-Existing Conditions, Pre-Existing Conditions

posted by swaldman

Religious leaders advocating for health care reform have tended to emphasize the plight of the uninsured, which surely is a great injustice.
But to me, another facet is just as unjust — and politically more potent: that is, the tendency for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
The ranks of the uninsured include both people who want to have insurance but cant and those who don’t want insurance — in other words, both the needy and the comfortable. By contrast, most everyone who had been turned town for coverage because of a pre-existing condition is suffering. And on a gut moral level, the idea of denying someone coverage because they are sick ranks just as high in my book as the broader argument that a just society should “cover everyone.”
I understand that as a practical matter, solving the pre-existing condition issue may require a broader coverage base but to me we have the cart before the horse both ethically and politically.
I heard Kathleen Sebelius on the Daily Show the other night and once again she was emphasizing the uninsured and “costs.” I remain baffled as to why health care advocates don’t stress the pre-existing condition issue.



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Marian

posted July 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm


Among other things, mandating coverage of pre-existing conditions might alleviate the malpractice litigation “crisis,” if there really is one. One of the main reasons people sue for malpractice is that it creates a pre-existing condition for which the patient will never again be insurable if the tortfeasor doesn’t cover it.



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hootie1fan

posted July 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm


There also pre-existing conditions that the patient never finds out about under after their policy has been cancelled.
It doesn’t take much. Once you’ve recieved a diagnosis, evn if it’s later proven to be a false one, you “officially” have a pre-existing condition.



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Wendy

posted July 21, 2009 at 8:24 pm


I am self-employed and uninsured. One reason I’m uninsured is the dreaded pre-existing condition thing. I looked into buying health insurance but everything I’ve looked at will run about $600/month AND won’t cover the two conditions for which I take meds… and the meds are expensive. I can’t see much justification for paying $600/month for insurance AND paying another several hundred bucks a month for meds that my $600/month for insurance won’t cover. So… since I have to pay full pop for the meds with OR without insurance, I’ve “chosen” to go bare. Sort of a Hobson’s choice, really.



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JB Chicago

posted July 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm


One of my closest friends has a pre-existing condition and has lost her health insurance. In Georgia she can’t find any insurance at any cost, so there is no “uninsured choice” here. Because she has assets she isn’t eligible for poverty-level government options. Similarly in another state, a doctor’s wife living in a $2 million house cannot get insurance because of a prior cancer (now in remission). Makes one fear that we are all one job loss and major illness away from personal financial ruin.
This is truly an immoral situation for the richest country on earth.



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Michael

posted July 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm


Let’s call this what it is: rationing. Insurance companies are rationing care by refusing to assist certain people who are too expensive to cover. The market is acting as the rationer.
The next time someone wants to talk about the government rationing health care under Obama’s plan, remind them that health care is already being rationed by health insurance providers.



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praesta

posted July 23, 2009 at 3:16 am


Many (of all political stripes) think that health care is a matter of personal responsibility, and that no one should have to pay for someone else. If someone can’t afford health care, then they’ve probably haven’t worked hard enough to earn it. Do I think that’s morally questionable? Yes, partly because my religious beliefs clash with that mentality. That might be inadmissible in the public sphere. But in the end, it’s just downright inefficient to have an unhealthy populace that can’t be a strong workforce without getting the care they need.
But this idea that America is the place where you go to achieve wealth and be judged by your wealth is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. Perhaps we should all read Max Weber again and wonder if this mentality truly benefits all of us in the end.



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Your Name

posted July 29, 2009 at 11:27 am


praesta,
” If someone can’t afford health care, then they’ve probably haven’t worked hard enough to earn it.”
It isn’t only about affordability. Please re-read the above comments about people very able to “afford” health care insurance (you forgot the “insurance” part) but who cannot get it because of (the topic of this thread) pre-existing conditions.



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Parmenter

posted August 15, 2009 at 11:59 am


The bill calls them “chronic conditions” and severely restricts healthcare for people who have them, and they don’t even have to be preexisting!



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