This is a lightly updated reprint of a diary I published in late October. Since it is as relevant now as it was then, and there have been thousands of new Kossacks in the intervening months, I thought it might be useful to republish it. If you didn't read it then, please consider reading it now.
I might have saved a life, as I detailed several months ago.
You might be able to as well. See if you agree.
There are plenty of reasons for Kossacks to argue about whether the PPACA, aka ObamaCare, aka the new health care law, is a good or bad thing. But there is no excuse for Kossacks, surely one of the most educated and politically aware set of people on the planet, to be ignorant about how the law might help their family members, friends and acquaintances.
And yet many of us are not well informed, as some are willing to admit on these pages:
Ask a few people what ((the PPACA)) means to them and their families, they don't know much more than 26 year olds are covered under their parents plan and pre-existing conditions cannot be excluded by insurers... they (and I) have no clue.The question of who is to blame for this sorry state of affairs is neither here nor there. The point I'd like you to take away is
if you know one little fact about the PPACA, you may well be able to save someone's life or get them the treatment they need to make their life a ton better.
What's the secret?
You need to know the basic facts about the PCIP -- The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a part of the PPACA. Why do I think that this feature, in particular, is important? Because in the several months I have talked to four people who are either eligible or know someone who, it turns out, is eligible for the program, but didn't know that the program existed.
I am not a talkative person. I don't randomly go up to people and ask them "So, do you have a pre-existing condition and no health insurance?" And still I've encountered four people recently for whom that was true. If I can randomly encounter such people, then you might well encounter them too.
If you learn a couple simple facts about the PCIP -- or even just keep in mind that it exists -- you may be able to point someone towards getting life-saving or life-changing treatments. Not for free, and that's unfortunate; but potentially for bazillions less that it would have cost them to purchase such treatment without this insurance, making help a possibility instead of an impossibility.
Okay, I've kept you in suspense too long. What are these facts you need to know about the PCIP?
- If a person
- has a pre-existing condition
- cannot get insurance at all or at a non-exhorbitant price because of it
- has not been insured for a least six months
- and is a US citizen or legal immigrant
- THEN THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PCIP PROGRAM, and
- here's where you send them or go yourself to start helping them.
The PCIP program could well be the most obscure program in the entire Federal bureaucracy. It was projected to have some 300,000 enrollees by now, and yet it has less than 20% of that number currently. While it was unveiled by the Department of Health and Human Services with some fanfare a year and half ago, you never see it mentioned any more by them or in the press (except in my diaries!). Yet it has plenty of room for everyone you might encounter who qualifies.
So now you know.
The next time someone tells you about how they or someone they know is unable to get health insurance, don't JUST start ranting about the absurdity of America's health care system. After you're done saying how single-payer is better (it is), how Obama might have sold us out (let's not debate that here), and how Republicans think the best health care solution is for sick people to "die quickly" (assuming they think at all), ask a couple questions. Pry a bit. You might find out that the person in question could, within a month, start getting costly treatments that they could not possibly otherwise afford -- paid for by the PCIP. You might even save the person's life.