Independent Sen. Angus King: Without health insurance I would have died 40 years agoby David Pinar on Sep. 30, 2013, under Pol. & Govt.
Independent U.S. Senator Angus King of Maine recent gave a heartfelt interview with Salon. In the interview he detailed how at age 29 he got health insurance as a staffer for then-Sen. Bill Hathaway, R-Maine, and for the first time in a decade went to a clinic for a checkup. It saved his life.
“I had a health policy that included in it a free annual physical as a part of the policy and they had evening clinic hours. And I wouldn’t have taken the day off — and if that hadn’t been covered under the insurance there’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have gone to have the checkup.
It was a routine checkup and the doctor found this mole, and I went in a week later to have the stitches out. The doctor told me I’d better sit down and that I had melanoma…. A month later I found myself having every cancer test you could imagine. Ultimately I had a fairly major surgery. The point of the story is that without the surgery I would have died.”
Because he had health insurance, health insurance that provides preventive care and checkups with no co-pay cost – key components of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, if you must) – he didn’t die in his twenties. Forty years later at age 69, Mr. King is still going strong. He served 8 years as Governor of Maine as an Independent, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, again as an Independent. But the purpose of the interview wasn’t just to defend the ACA in face of the House Republicans efforts to shut down the federal government if we don’t let them defund or delay the law. Mr. King went after what he called “well-heeled conservative groups” who are appealing to uninsured young people to remain uninsured — part of a backdoor effort to undermine the structural integrity of the health care law. You see, for healthcare reform to work younger, healthy people need to get insurance so the cost of insuring older people or people with pre-existing conditions doesn’t overwhelm the program. And Mr. King is talking about “well heeled conservative” efforts like this:
That ad is offensive and dishonest on so many levels. The implication is that the poor guy is about to undergo a rectal exam, a very unpleasant prospect for most males. And the implication is that if you sign up for health insurance from one of healthcare exchanges, an evil (and creepy looking) government will “stick it to you”. Secondly, the ACA certainly doesn’t mandate any medical procedures, that is the decision of the primary care giver and the patient. The only government mandated medical procedures are those passed into law by Republican state legislatures in a couple states, requiring women who are considering terminating their pregnancy undergo an ultrasound vaginal probe before they’re granted “permission” to terminate their pregnancy.
The ad campaign is funded by a group called “Generation Opportunity”, whose website describes it as “a free-thinking, liberty-loving, national organization of young people”. According to Yahoo! News, the group has financial ties to the billionaire Koch brothers – the guys who lobbed several hundred millions of dollars trying to influence the 2012 election. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again I guess . The group will also be launching a television ad campaign and college campus tour this fall, expected to cost $750,000, to discourage young people from enrolling for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
So, if the Republican House isn’t successful in defunding or delaying the healthcare law – and they won’t succeed – the billionaire Koch brothers will lob three-quarters of a million dollars to discourage young people from enrolling in subsidized, low cost health insurance. “You’re young and healthy, you don’t need no stinkin’ health insurance” – what could possibly go wrong? Independent U.S. Senator Angus King has some choice words for these guys:
“That’s a scandal — those people are guilty of murder in my opinion. Some of those people they persuade are going to end up dying because they don’t have health insurance. For people who do that to other people in the name of some obscure political ideology is one of the grossest violations of our humanity I can think of. This absolutely drives me crazy.”
It drives me crazy as well. I hope it makes you mad as hell.