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I don't care how much of a voucher they get. I don't care how much they have to supplement that voucher with their own money.

They're not going to be able to get insurance.

Why doesn't anybody talk about this?

Insurance companies don't sell you insurance if it looks like you're at risk for needing it.

You can't get insurance on your home when there's a forest fire heading your way.

You can't get flood insurance if you're in a flood plain.

Unlike an employer-sponsored plan that has to accept everyone at the same price, private plans in most states are underwritten based on your age, weight, smoking status and health history. In some cases, applicants will even have to undergo a medical exam. A preexisting condition as common as asthma could be enough for an insurer to hike your premiums, while a history of anxiety or depression might cause an underwriter to think twice. And if you have a history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes, you could be out of luck entirely. A plan could either be too expensive or include a rider that excludes the very ailment for which you need coverage.

Seniors, by definition, are retirement age. They are no longer getting health insurance through their employers, or through their spouses' employers. They'd be thrown onto the private market.

And the private market would look at probably 75% of the applications for insurance, and refuse to underwrite.

Why is everyone just talking about the additional cost that the GOP/Ryan voucher system would require from seniors?


It's like saying "We're no longer going to give you a horse. We're going to give you part of the money you're going to need to buy a unicorn"



My aunt, for example. She has had breast cancer twice. Two masectomies. She is 67 years old. She also has been diagnosed with a condition called clostridium difficile. It can cause a condition called "toxic megacolon". She is frequently depressed. She has high blood pressure and a heart arrhythmia. Why does she have all these health problems? Because she's 67 freaking years old, that's why. The reason we quit working when we get to be 65 years old, the reason we retire at that point, is because our bodies stop working.

I couldn't get private insurance two years ago because I'd had a basal cell carcinoma on my nose. That, by the way, is the good skin cancer, the one you get cut off, and everything's fine. And now I'm uninsurable, at age 53.

So how the hell could my aunt get insurance?

Answer: She can't.

That's why there is medicare. It's because the American system of employer-provided health insurance no longer works when people retire because they're too old and sick to work.

My dad's last three weeks in the hospital cost $236,000. What for-profit insurance company would take the risk on that type of payout? How much would the premium have to be?

I'll tell you how much: an infinite premium.

Or maybe they'd take a unicorn.

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