The health-insurance conundrum, in one little anecdote

The health-care debate is rife with “argument by anecdote”, in which individual stories of ObamaCare’s success or failure are cited as substitutes for actual evidence. But sometimes — especially when illustrating the foibles of human nature — anecdotes and stories are far more revealing than all the facts and numbers in the world.

4220797_1430332335.6822 Take the case of Luis Lang of Fort Mill, South Carolina. Lang, 49, is a diabetic and a smoker. He is also self-employed, with no health insurance. In fact, he made the conscious decision NOT to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act, believing that his conservative principles called for him to pay his medical bills out of his own pocket.

That’s admirable, I guess, but also foolish, because the rest of the story is pretty predictable. Lang became ill, unable to work and is about to go blind without expensive surgery. “At the moment I am down to about 20 percent in my left eye and about 30 percent vision in my right eye,” he says. He has quickly gone through his savings, the annual window has closed on buying health insurance on the federal exchange, and South Carolina, like Georgia, has refused to expand Medicaid coverage.

And as reporter Ann Doss Helms writes in the Charlotte Observer, there’s this:

“Lang, a Republican, says he knew the act required him to get coverage but he chose not to do so. But he thought help would be available in an emergency. He and his wife blame President Obama and congressional Democrats for passing a complex and flawed bill.

“(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” Mary Lang said last week. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”

It’s amazing: Somehow, it’s Obama’s fault that Lang chose not to buy insurance, Obama’s fault the gamble didn’t pay off, Obama’s fault that the Supreme Court decided to let states opt out of Medicaid expansion and Obama’s fault that South Carolina Republicans exercised that option. It’s just not fair!

It’s the free-rider problem, the political problem, the pre-existing condition problem, the role of ideology, the often enormous expense of health care, the human eagerness to believe that “it can’t happen to me,” the difficult conflict between feeling sympathy for someone in trouble and the reality that his trouble is to a large degree self-inflicted — it’s all there, all wrapped up in the story of Luis Lang.

In short, the health-care problem would be a lot easier to solve if it wasn’t complicated by the fact that it involves human beings, or if human beings were actually the rational beings that economic theory likes to pretend we are.

(The Langs have established a GoFundMe page to raise money to help offset the cost of the surgery. As of 2 p.m. today, it reports $900 in contributions toward the $30,000 surgery.)

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963 comments
Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Sounds like MRS. Lang needs to get off her duff and get a job with health benefits, so she can insure her very foolish husband.  I mean, he KNOWS he smokes, he KNOWS he has diabetes.  His life/health is only going to get worse.  A lot worse, when he has to have amputations.


She needs to understand, there is no "front of the line".  And it isn't ACA that is flawed

bastetsmom
bastetsmom

The Republicans really nail it when it comes to brainwashing people into voting against their own self interest.

earthworx
earthworx

I'd take this story with a grain of salt. Interesting that his reason for blaming Obama and the democrats is the exact same meme the republicans have trotted out in case the SCOTUS eviscerates the ACA. Remember all the people they brought out with story after story about how the ACA had negatively affected them, only to have every single example fall apart under closer scrutiny.

RexHavoc
RexHavoc

My father-in-law was anti-ACA insurance.  He then spent over a week in the icu and racked up over $200,000 in hospital bills.  His total was then paid by a charity.  I, on the other hand, have paid the out of pocket maximum for the past 5 years (thousands of dollars per year) and I have 'quality' health insurance. 

I'm trying to decide who is the dumb one.

PudHead
PudHead

We can call that a success right liberals?

kitty72
kitty72

@PudHead 


IT is called personal responsibility, pudhead..your kind might want to quit trying to be Cleopatra, queen of denial.

juvenal
juvenal

corps still managed to lobby high drug prices, incomprehensible hospital bills, no arbitration, too many procedures........

jmbCodeWriter
jmbCodeWriter

I learned this lesson from my grandfather over 70 years ago when I was a child -


"Sal and I we went to the circus. Sal got hit with a bowling pen.

We got even with that old circus, cause we bought tickets and didn't go in!"


One can be dumb, just don't stay that way!


notagain
notagain

@jmbCodeWriter Sal went to the circus one day,determined to get in without pay.Under the tent he went,no one knew where he went because the elephant thought he was hay.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

UK No-Go Zones (the free speech variety) sheetz...

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

My neighbor, who is about 58, is morbidly obese.  He is tall, but weighs about 325.  He gets no regular health or dental care, has no insurance.  He is a veteran, so if  he can wait long enough, he goes to the VA (it takes forever to get scheduled, treated, referred on)  When he has had to go to the ER, he leaves the bill for the rest of us.  He loudly declares his disgust with Obama, Obamacare, etc.  Yet he was fine with his mother's care, the last 10 years of her life, in a nursing home,  being paid by Medicaid.  I am guessing eventually that is what will happen with him, unless he dies more quickly.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

Bitta's - the moral of this story is -

Cling to your failed ideology too much, and you'll go blind

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

I can't believe Jay hasn't run with this story yet.  


"Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a controversial plan Tuesday that would have offered $110 million worth of tax investment credits amid concerns that it would tear a costly new hole in Georgia’s state budget."


You would think the "no corporate welfare" crowd would he singing his praises, but I guess that R by his name has them all in a tither.


http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgia-governor-vetoes-110-million-tax-break/nmFNQ/

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@fiftythreepercenter

I saw the story (it's behind a paywall)--it looks like Deal didn't think this program was worth the cost and made a reasonable decision. He appears to have thrown Casey Cagle under the bus in the process.

Way down at the end they list some other stuff he vetoed. One bill, I wasn't aware of, but it sounds like it was a good enough idea, perhaps poorly written? to wit:


Senate Bill 76 would have allowed motorcyclists to scoot through some red lights when their bikes don’t weigh enough to trigger sensors. Deal said the legislation is “confusing” to motorists.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

@Visual_Cortex @fiftythreepercenter  what happens on de island stays on de island, but locals know when you see too much of Casey Cagle down heah, you know there's some serious schmoozing going on. I (and they) thought they had this one in the bag. But the tide is turning against them, and hard. Couldn't happen to a 'nicer' bunch.  

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

"confusing” to motorists."

Confusing and downright dangerous.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Obama is mad about news stories which report on his FREEBIES phones and other benefits.  Obama states that we must change how the news channels report on these issues... Think that is called CENSORSHIP Mr Lame Duck!!!

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@Visual_Cortex  of course you would take that statement out of context.  Guess that is your TROLL tendency showing...

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@honested @Bulls_3y3 Ed, I know you think your posts are cute, but they're not.  They're a waste of blog space.  If you don't have anything useful to add to the debate, please do EVERYBODY a favor and just pass on by.

honested
honested

@Bulls_3y3 

Is there a prize this morning for which wrong-winger can post the idiocy that is the most 'wrong'?

bastetsmom
bastetsmom

@Bulls_3y3  That is not "censorship", that is free speech, which goes both ways.  Fox has dumped on the President from day one, so turn about is fair play, right?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Bulls_3y3 I think it is EXTREMELY dangerous.  We don't want our leaders in charge of media--that's how we get Hitlers and Pol Pots and other despots.

honested
honested

This loser's picture is still up?


When King vs Burwell loses 6-3, will the wrong wing divert their funds to him and all the other fools who thought their ideology would save them from reality??

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Democrats block trade bill...  Lame duck president pouts and claims everyone is wrong except him...


World Leaders and now democrats blowing off Obama.  About time the DEMs kept up with the GOP!!!

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@honested  Haha - let the republiklans make fools of themselves.  Sorry the story was about democrats slamming Obama not republicans but whatever flips your switch sport...   Read much???

honested
honested

@Bulls_3y3 

President Obama had to know this would never fly with Real Americans, but he had to let the republiklans make fools of themselves.

Let's hope the Senate Democrats water the whole ridiculous idea down to where it has no disastrous effects on American Workers!

PudHead
PudHead

I love how liberals praise the ACA, it tripled the cost of my plan for less coverage, and I had to change doctors. Any idiot that believes that the ACA is a good thing, at a cost of almost 2 trillion to cover an net gain of 5 million people, not the 40 – 50 million it was supposed to, does not understand several things, like economics, the math and economics of the ACA don’t work, but they simply ignore that FACT. If the ACA is so good why are we sending billions of dollars to the insurance companies that have lost money because of the ACA, but hey liberals keep patting yourself on the back at a job well done… losers…

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@PudHead No, you must have it wrong, because Jay and others here have decided through their extensive research [watching the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC and reviewing old comments by Olberman] that it is wildly successful. What say you?

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@Numbers_R_Us  he did buttercup straight from his wallet...  

tripled the cost of my plan for less coverage, and I had to change doctors. 

It's not an isolated case either but keep shoveling the crap if it makes you feel better...

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@LordHelpUs  WHY, the liberals will block all efforts to change ACA because of Obamas' legacy!!!

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@LordHelpUs @PudHead The GOP can't just come up with a better plan.  It has to be something they can get Obama to sign and the liberal media to get behind and neither of those make the effort worth their time. 

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@LordHelpUs  if it's so good, then why do you bother asking the GOP for their plan???  You a TROLL that's way.  TROLL TROLL TROLL

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@LordHelpUs @PudHead I see ya'll want to pretend the Presidential veto doesn't exist.  I guess that impresses your friends down at the map and hemp store, but it's ain't doing you any favors here.  Just sayin'.....

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@fiftythreepercenter @LordHelpUs @PudHead Nope, YOU want to pretend the GOP actually have an alternative.  And they don't.  All they (and you have) is whining and moaning about that bad ol' Obama and the mean ol' media.

What a bunch of pansies...

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@PudHead The ACA is SO BAD that the GOP can't come up with anything better...

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@fiftythreepercenter @Bulls_3y3 @Numbers_R_Us My insurance premiums via my former employer, increased an average of 25% per year from 2009 to 2014.  Now I have insurance through healthcare.gov and it costs me less than my old insurance and I kept all my doctors and I have better coverage.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@Bulls_3y3 @LordHelpUs BS.  They can pass it in committee, have it scored by the CBO, promote its merits and, since they control both houses of Congress, put it to a vote.

The reason they don't, is they know it would be a POS compared to the ACA we currently have.